Investing in Real Estate. How will COVID-19 affect this sector?

Expocity Albania, on June 10, 2020, organized the webinar:
“Investing in Real Estate. How will COVID-19 affect this sector?
During this webinar, important topics were addressed regarding the behavior of the real estate sector during pandemics and the expectations for the future.

Some of the topics addressed during the webinar were:

  • Has investment in construction stalled?
  • What are the modalities of the real estate market in Albania; what is the role of real estate agencies and have they managed to adapt their activity to the conditions of pandemics?
  • Consumer trends and potential buyers;
  • Uncertainties regarding the future;

The panelists that joined the discussion were:

Mrs. Zhaklina Rira, Head of Business Development, LIM-EM
Mrs. Denada Male, Brand and Marketing Manager, Century 21
Mrs. Silvia Deda, Marketing-Sales, Kontakt shpk

Mrs. Zhaklina Rira, Head of Business Development at LIM-EM, gave an overview of the of the construction sector situation in the country. Although construction companies were found unprepared for the situation, they did not slow down the investment pace.
Also, Mrs. Rira, highlighted that there had been no decline in demand, however the sector had adapted accordingly by using online tools towards marketing efforts.

Uncertainty has led people to invest in real estate as the safest form of investment. On the other hand, prices have not decreased, but bank interest rates have decreased, which favors the possibility of purchasing property on credit, explained Mrs. Rira.

Mrs. Denada Male, Brand and Marketing Manager at Century 21, said that their company has adapted to new ways of operating in the market.
Mrs. Male explained that “Marketing did not stop, transactions did not stop but they were reshaped, properties were visited online using online platforms etc. However, in person visits were required for the final buying decisions, in line with all the safety protocols.
Referring to Tirana as the largest real estate market in Albania, a high rate of investment in 4 years has been established and these investments are not expected to slow down as they are directly related to the need for housing. There seems to be an orientation of consumer demand, towards: apartments with outdoor spaces, vacation homes, beach housing etc.

Ms. Silvia Deda, Marketing & Sales Representative of Kontakt shpk, mentioned that the industry experienced a slight fluctuation in sales. This was more noticeable in March 2020 because the customers were insecure about the pandemics, following the abrupt measures taken by the government.

Ms. Deda emphasized that from her perspective, the construction industry has not stopped working. This has provided some security to continue their investments for interested clients. According to Ms. Deda it is necessary to emhasisthe difference between investments in houses or in units. Investments in units were strongly affected from the global pandemics. However, Ms. Deda stated, there have been no changes in price and demand, as stated by the two other panelists as well.

Ms. Deda explained that the demand curve for new housing will be constant despite the demographic changes.

Mrs. Male from Century 21 stated that despite the fact that we see an internal migration to the largest cities in the country, to Tirana and Durres, these changes do not affect the overall demand curve.

To sum up, during the webinar, it was highlighted several times that it is still too early to predict the consequences of pandemics in the real estate sector. The situation in the construction sector and real estate has so far been optimistic and stable, activity has continued and prices have not changed. More in-depth analyzes at the global level should be made, especially in terms of the impact of pandemics on unemployment and the economy as a whole We hope to have a more accurate picture of what will happen in the following months.