WHO NEEDS A VACATION HOME WHEN YOUR LOCATION IS LIKE A HOLIDAY HOME?


Anastasia Ageeva
Managing Director
RmR Contracting S.P.C.

The pandemic has brought about a major shift in the perception of “home sweet home”. The former love affair with the “city vibe” and contentment gained from a typical serviced apartment, near the office with amenities, has suffered a decline amongst renters and prospective homeowners alike. The global effects of Covid 19 have forced us to adapt to a new “normal” and our behaviour has evolved to embrace new lifestyle opportunities.

People have developed a new passion and perspective of home, whilst re-evaluating what’s truly important in their lives. I have personally witnessed a dramatic lifestyle change take place with so many of my existing and new corporate clients. During the first lockdown in Bahrain and the closing of gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and bars, Amwaj Islands saw a dramatic increase of people participating in sporting activities on the streets of Amwaj Islands.  We saw the determination of the people to continue with their personal fitness routines by walking, jogging, and cycling. We also witnessed the occasional micro-outdoor gym, with 2-3 individuals training together with free weights on the pavements. 

Demand for access to beaches became extremely popular with people craving nature, sea views, swimming and walks along the shoreline, in other words, comfort. Spending more time at home and working remotely have resulted in individuals searching for improved living options with extra rooms to be utilised as an office or indoor gym. 

Shifting priorities and lifestyle choices have had a significant impact on the “man-made” Bahrain beachfront property markets of Amwaj Islands, Tala Island, Dilmunia Island, Marassi Al Bahrain and Durrat Al Bahrain. With those areas seeing a high demand for properties boosted by the psychological effects of the pandemic. 

Waterfront villas and apartments, with access to the beach, are at 100 percent occupancy with tenants enjoying the benefits afforded them by the location. I recall my friends, who own a water sports business, telling me that their entire stock of kayaks was sold out within 3 months. This phenomenal demand for sports equipment has also outstripped supply with people buying bicycles literally through window shopping, as the stores shut down. 

Individual villas on the beach, with/without a swimming pool, have been in high demand in both the rental and sales markets. Our bespoke portfolio of waterfront properties, ranging from BHD 250,000 to BHD 650,000, which was previously subject to a static market for the past 3 to 4 years, was actually sold out in the period between 2020 and 2021. The constant demand for these specific waterfront properties, either for sale or to rent, continues to remain strong and with the shortage in supply, market prices have escalated. 

Several villa compounds, for rent on Amwaj Islands, have seen full occupancy for the past six months, with waiting lists growing as prospective clients are willing to take over immediately the current occupants serve their notice to the Landlord. This situation has never previously occurred during the 14 years I have been working with properties on Amwaj Islands. Moreover, quite a few Bahraini and expat investors / landlords have taken their investments off the market with a view to residing in them permanently or utilising them as weekend retreats, and in the process further constricting the property supply.

The current market of Amwaj Islands can be characterised as strong and remarkably resilient to the overall economic environment, compared to the years leading up to the pandemic era. The key to this resilience and potential future growth; is the renewed passion for our homes, a shift in lifestyle towards accessible waterfront environments, tranquil locations and increased demand for more space; all of which is catered for by the Amwaj property market.  

As we emerge out of the pandemic, I see our homes have largely become the hub of our universe with a deep shift in our consciousness and a change in what makes our hearts beat faster. It’s a change that has created an opportunity to redefine ourselves and one that is most likely to last.

This article was published as part of the seventh edition of Property Finder Bahrain’s Trends Report.