Housing is the hottest even when the economy is unlocking itself

2 min read

Let’s admit it, nobody among us had ever imagined that 2020 will come to such a pass; that we will have to endure a lockdown situation, revamp our hygiene etiquette and live with an invisible enemy for the moment.

And now with the economy unlocking after being a sitting duck for three months, the brutality of the lockdown is coming out to the fore. A real GDP decline of 3.2% in the fiscal year 2020-21 and growth projection for India down to 1.9% this year are some tell-tale signs that the path to recovery is long.

A blow of this magnitude has strained the real estate sector to some extent. The property industry was coming out of its doom-and-gloom days with renewed confidence and sales looked respectable at the start of the year. The lockdown happened and crashed the expectations of the real estate community.

Real estate experts pegged that the worst for the real estate sector has come. It’s true that the property sector received a setback as the construction of properties winded up, new project launches got shelved, and finishing touches to almost ready projects got stayed. But the demand for new homes didn’t ebb to the extent as projected earlier.

A transition to a new normal

With the lockdown obliterating the traditional concept of buying and selling homes through physical visits, face-to-face interactions, and physical documentation, real estate developers gravitated to the online domain and made merry. Many real estate developers registered phenomenal digital sales, some figures going beyond expectations.

Square Yards with its sophisticated, battlefield-tested tech architecture, helped real estate developers sell 3100+ homes digitally within three months of lockdown.

This splendid development has unearthed the truth that the demand for affordable homes was there. However, due to lockdown, homebuyers were weaned off from their chance of physically buying a home. But with the sudden onset of the digital home-buying trend, homebuyers fulfilled their long pent-up aspirations.

One of the outcomes of this lockdown is that the number of fence-sitters has also increased as some scary homebuyers shelved their home-buying plans fearing job losses and state of the economy. But, looking at the success of digital home-buying, low-interest rates, and the raft of mouth-watering property payment plans dished out by different real estate developers, they too are rethinking their decisions.

Real estate is the hottest investment opportunity

If we see the opportunity in the real estate sector post lockdown, we can say that this is an opportune time for investment. The real estate sector has seen tough times in the past and this lockdown is no less scary for the brick-and-mortar sector. But people have realized that real estate is the safest investment in such tough times.

The bleeding of stocks and gold securities during this time has opened the eyes of millennials who are first-time homebuyers and have attained family-forming years, that real estate is not volatile and has a steady growth rate over the years.

The fact that real estate prices have remained steady in spite of the ongoing pandemic has pulled millennials towards investing in homes. It gave them a sort of comfort that their lifetime savings will not get wasted. The outcome of this thought is evident with the real estate sector brimming with sales making it the hottest sector in the post-lockdown period.

A reason why the Real Estate Sector will come out of this mess in a grand fashion is the fact that the lockdown and WFH etiquettes have instilled in people the importance and safety of owning a house. And with WFH set to become a new normal for some years, the demand for bigger homes has shot up.

Most real estate developers are designing their current and upcoming projects keeping this new-born thought in mind. The ushering of digital selling for real estate has been a boon for the real estate sector as deals get closed faster and home seekers can do virtual property visits multiple times from their couch.

Though with the unlocking of the economy, construction activity will take off at a slow pace due to lack of labor, with the passing of time, things will normalize as the fear of the pandemic subsides. And this will amplify the pace of the real estate sector to its former glory. Till then, let’s wait and watch.

Sumit Mondal Content Analyst at Square Yards
Sumit Mondal Content Analyst at Square Yards