India’s real estate sector has registered a strong resilience against the pandemic which hit the economy last year. Despite setbacks, the sector realigned very quickly to the new normal with digital interventions and was back in recovery mode soon. The pandemic’s second wave has altered the atmosphere for real estate buyers and investors in the country, and there is now a greater demand for own homes keeping in mind the factors of health, hygiene and safety. The macroeconomic recovery has also shown a significant pick-up inducing a positive trend in the last few months in the real estate sector. The appetite for residential property in the mid-income segment is growing, with people looking to buy homes sooner than they had anticipated given the current scenario with the pandemic. Developers have analysed the trend of a healthy lifestyle and have shifted their interests towards developing projects that fulfil the changing needs of new-age buyers in a post-Covid world. In the context of this change in mood, it is important to grasp the new trends in the real estate sector.
Real estate now a buyer’s market
As the pandemic continues to abate, noticeable changes in consumer behaviour and market sentiments are shaping up new trends in the segment. The realty sector has now transformed into a buyer’s market, and today, with an evolved sense of buying preferences, consumers are focusing on bespoke offerings to make the best investment decisions. Buyers also have the options to see and research projects digitally before purchase. Customer-centricity is defining the Indian real estate sector and it is important to recognize the shift in their outlook towards property purchase.
Preference for larger, healthy homes
The pandemic has given homeowners the time to reflect on the value of the space that they call their home. Having spent a good amount of time indoors over the past one and a half years, homebuyers now realise the value of having multifunctional homes. Demand for slightly larger homes with added spaces like a work station, reading nook or activity space has certainly increased. With increased time being spent at home, homebuyers are identifying projects with well-designed apartments that give them that extra breathing room.
Access to wide infrastructure
Locations that comprise a strong mix of physical and social infrastructure and are relatively better priced in comparison to expensive locations, have witnessed a higher demand recently. Home buyers are preferring properties with good connectivity in terms of access to transport hubs like bus and metro stations and cab services to prominent localities and the central business district, along with access to hospitals, educational institutions, supermarkets, parks, entertainment spots, and recreational centres. Today most homebuyers are looking to upgrade their lifestyle and are willing to stretch their budget a little more to ensure that they find homes that provide comfort, space and convenience too.
Ready to move in homes gain further traction
Ready-to-move-in spaces will remain the top priority of today’s discerning customers who do not want to wait endlessly for their properties and expect quick possessions. There’s more demand for ready-to-move-in projects or the ones which are closer to completion over under-construction properties. Given the pandemic and the need to be safe, buyers are eager to buy a home in quick time. There is also increasing interest in villas, as this serves the purpose of a standalone home but at the same time is within a community with a host of amenities.
Lower interest rates boost demand
As the vaccination campaign continues to strengthen and the central bank maintains its supportive position pegging interest rates at historic lows, residential demand is set to revive strongly in the coming quarters with buyers going in for loans at lower interest rates. The RBI’s firm assurance in maintaining the status quo has boosted demand in the market. The segment has remained the safest investment option and conducive government policies with guaranteed higher and secured returns are attracting investors to keep market sentiment buoyed. Home ownership sentiment is also induced by decision drivers such as flexible payment plans offered by developers.
Branded developers gaining strength
The sector is most likely to see more people preferring properties developed by prominent brands than unorganized and smaller players. Buyers are reviewing the history of the brands, their performance, the standards that they maintain, quality they offer and schedule of delivery. The preference is towards financially stable developers with a good track record, execution capabilities and high-quality projects that are gaining substantial market share.
The pandemic has transformed the market and 2021 is a turning point for the Indian real estate sector. The segment now understands the ‘new normal’ and is better prepared than last year. Imagination, innovation and digital transformation will drive the sector, and with new trends shaping up, the realty sector will enter a new growth phase soon. The real estate sector continues to prove, time and again, that the investment made on this asset will yield robust returns. As the pandemic subsides, the segment will be the key pillar to strengthen India’s economic growth.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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