Demand on SoHo units may not be affected as working culture shifts

The demand for smaller office spaces may go higher due to the impacts of working from home


THE working from home trend arising from the Covid-19 crisis is expected to have no impact on small office/home office (SoHo) units.

CCO & Associates (KL) Sdn Bhd ED Chan Wai Seen said the sales and trend of SoHo units are unlikely to be influenced by the pandemic, as location still plays a big part in buyers’ decision-making.

“SoHo projects located in established commercial areas will be the preferred choice for its occupiers including working couples or young professionals.

“The nearby commercial developments will complement their office operations,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

He added that SoHo units are too small to be a home.

Chan said the virus outbreak will definitely affect the property market, but it is more on the office spaces segment instead of SoHo units.

Data from the National Property Information Centre showed that transacted numbers for stratified shops or SoHo units stood at 4,136 in the third quarter of 2019 (3Q19), while existing supply was at 82,242 units with 53,271 future supplies.

Around 7,029 SoHo units were launched as at 3Q19, of which 79.3% were sold and 20.7% (1,457) were overhang units.

Asiacap Valuers & Property Consultants Sdn Bhd valuer Kit Au Yong said the trend of SoHo units in the country will be tilted to a certain extent due to the impacts of working from home.

“However, whether the trend can take off or not may not be so straightforward. Post-Covid-19, people will have a mindset shift from solely working in traditional office space to totally working remotely.

“I would think the changes would be more apparent in terms of usage of traditional office space of corporate offices,” he said.

However, Kit said there may be good marketing for SoHo units as a form of lifestyle and convenience to a certain market segment following the Covid-19 emergency.

Property Guru International (M) Sdn Bhd country manager Sheldon Fernandez said the office segment would see some trendsetting in the short term.

“People would still need office spaces, but probably lesser. We are probably going to see demand for smaller office spaces go even higher.

“Maybe shared offices would be a new trend. It is a pretty interesting scenario given the tough time,” he said in a recent PropertyGuru’s Facebook Live session.

He added that the rental market also shares the same sentiments with commercial units as companies that have too much office spaces are looking for less.