ECONOMY

Changes in housing

The housing construction market will change drastically in the next five years, with big, specialized firms dominating the markets and smaller firms being forced to upgrade standards or forced out of the market, sector experts believe. «Right now, we have a fragmented market, uninformed buyers, a lack of alternatives as to the design and interior arrangement of houses, a blind copying of what other contractors do, houses not designed for the specific needs of the buyer/user and a saturation of building at the expense of open space,» says Dimitris Yiannakopoulos, business development manager at property developer REDS (formerly Kambas). REDS conducted a survey in which it found that prospective buyers would appreciate houses with a better aesthetics, better materials and also better service from developers. «It is important for buyers to know that, after 10 years, they can contact the company that sold the house in case inexplicable damage or attrition have occurred,» says Akis Kiradzis, managing director of Cybarco Hellas, a subsidiary of a Cypriot company that has become increasingly active in the market recently. Another trend will be toward the construction of houses, and apartments, that better suit individual needs. Until now, a construction company building a block of flats, for example, usually catered to four- or five-member families. Future construction will be more flexible than that. Bigger, specialized construction firms will also deliver their product on time, «this being now a major problem in the sector,» says Constantinos Hasapis, head of J&P Development.