The world has never perceived an emergency state of such terrible scale. COVID-19 has interrupted the business networks, international markets and operations all over the globe. Home quarantine and work from home have become the new normal, as the only safeguard that can shield a person from this contamination is his own home. This unparalleled environment has convinced humans reconsider and re-plan their financial behaviour in various ways. Housing, an industry dominated by people’s living and expenditure patterns, is all set to witness a trend of change as we prepare to unlock gradually for setting the country’s economic arc right. A detailed parallel analysis of changing homebuyers’ behaviour and patterns in Pre-Covid and Post-Covid situations will help us understand this better.
In just about three months, our perspective about life and survival in this erratic world has changed drastically. It has made us re-think and re-plan our financial behaviour.
As we gradually reopen our markets to fix the economic curve, we can’t help but contemplate over how this white swan event has disrupted the real estate sector in a microscopic period of time.
Now, if we look thoroughly at the Pre-COVID scenario, property purchasing was a considerably long process. Fence-sitters spent huge time in examining and then the paperwork and other regulations during purchase further extend the entire process. Now with everything turning digital, the home-buying process has definitely gained drive. Previously, when buyers were personally visiting construction sites they were limited by the time and distance. The virtual tours currently provide them the ease of scrolling through multiple properties in a single day right on their personal screens. Apart from this, buyers were never stressing for amenities that focus on their hygiene and health needs; lately due to the virus this has been changed. An interest towards holistic wellness is rekindled. Similar pattern was translated in their financial behaviour before Corona entered our lives; the expenditures were majorly made on lifestyle, food, and on other recreational activities. Only a few people thought about building a future asset like property for difficult times. People have never foresighted the advantages of investing in property, they generally kept it for their later years and preferred living in rental accommodations as cost-effective.
Health experts have said that we have to learn and unlearn things to get accustomed with Corona, this will result in increased interest of buyers’ towards wellness homes. Wellness areas like yoga and meditation centres would make their way as a necessity in modern living. Facility Managers and housekeeping staff will play a detrimental role in ensuring safety and wellbeing of the residents.
In this phase of lockdown, the real estate industry was rapid to carry out their business operations effectively on digital platforms. This gave them a chance to create a customer base online, opened new channels with better reach and impact. Digital Campaigns and lucrative payment offer were some of the strategies adopted by the established real estate players.
The digital implementation helped the developers in preventing muted sales, as construction activities were already paused.
Selling of stalled inventories via digital platforms was definitely the boost needed for realty. It even helped the developers in understanding the changing buyer’s preferences. As homebuyers showed keen interest in ready to move in homes, integrated townships, flexible homes with workspace etc.
The virus’s timeline is unpredictable, and with the rising uncertainty in the market stable income generating assets like property are bound to witness increased consumer interest. Government has made things easier by reducing the repo rate and launching CLSS scheme for affordable housing, they will be helpful in attracting investments towards the realty market. Reverse migration in NRIs and working professionals from metros will lead to increase in demand for realty in Tier II and tier III cities. Talking especially about the northern region.
Also, India is on its path of becoming the manufacturing hub, it will create demand for office spaces, business parks and other commercial complexes in coming years.
The real estate sector went through a lightning transition in its operations during the lockdown. Real estate developers went digital and registered good sales.
The use of digital platforms laced with virtual reality, 3D walkthroughs and digital transaction modules, simplified the home-buying equation. Homebuyers raised a toast to this new-fangled homebuying trend.
This digital shift also gave developers a better understanding of buying behaviour with the induction of machine learning and AI technology.
It won’t be pompous to say that digital home-buying will be the new norm in the real estate sector. The demand for asset class has perked up with homebuyers going for near-finished properties rather than new launches, except for the brands they trust.
Homebuyers are now considering real estate as the safest bet and are looking for an immediate investment with the reduction in repo rate and launch of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for affordable housing.
The perception of living in crowded places has changed dramatically and the demand for townships and properties with huge green spaces has become the main draw. Amenities and health spaces within projects are top priorities now while selecting a property.
The phase till COVID remains with us is definitely going to be difficult. However, India being a potential land of investment for all Asian, European and Middle Eastern firms shifting their bases from China is a boon to realty & infrastructure.