Solving the Rent vs Buy Conundrum in the time of crisis

2 min read

The exploding pandemic has again raked up the age-old conundrum-should we rent or buy a home right now? Times are different now. We are in the middle of a life crisis, with a virus baying for our life. At this point of uncertainty, we need to have a go at this dilemma with a level-head.

Housing has been a stellar attraction for people for centuries. Not only is a home the biggest purchase in our lifetime, but it is also an important investment too as it brings with it a chance to create sustainable, long-term wealth. For Indians, home-buying is an emotional decision. So, they make it a point to buy a home when the time is ripe, while in the meantime prefer to stay on rent.

Better sense prevailing

The coronavirus situation has forced people to have second thoughts about buying a home and at the same time prepone this idea. Boxed up in small rental apartments and labouring in confinement for months, apartment dwellers are in desperate need of a spacious home with green spaces.

The contentedness of staying in rental apartments has developed cracks of late with the flaring up of the virus and the responsive need to distance oneself from others to avoid getting infected. The benefits of renting including flexibility, freedom of choice, and reduced financial commitments, seem to have gone out of the window.

People are now faced with increasing urgency to keep themselves safe and healthy. The lines of dilemma between renting and buying a home are getting blurred with the passing of each month. The annihilating nature of the virus is reason enough for many to act on the ambivalence of buying a home so that they don’t have to face such uncertainty again.

Vulnerability of renters

Renters are the most vulnerable during this Covid situation. Ask why? No security. So, they face the ripe possibility of eviction if they are unable to settle rental bills every month.

News of landlords asking tenants to vacate their apartments are now a common affair with tenants not able to foot bills due to salary cuts and job losses. No sympathy card works here. It may be hard to part with the feelings attached to that place, but that’s the name of the game, and that’s the nature of the world we live in. And bills cannot be mixed with feelings. Did we mention renters have no autonomy either?

Lock this: Buying a home is the right decision now

Given the uncertain nature of the ongoing pandemic, let’s set the facts straight. If you have set your sights on a home, have job stability or money in the bank, and can also get financing from the bank without any fuss, buying a home now can be a wise choice and the right thing to do.

The advice also goes for people looking to buy a property as an investment. With home rates clocking below the 7.5% mark, the lowest in 14 years, it’s time to make the right call of buying a home. Are you listening?

Real estate developers are doling out unheard of deals on properties in this pandemic situation. So, scooping up a property at a lower capital value and finance it with rock-bottom interest rates is a great idea to boot.

For decades, we thought of playing with stocks and equities, even gold deposits for good ROI. And who played spoilsport with our expectations? A virus. Real estate as an asset stayed strong, almost immune to this invisible demon; something which calls us for safely putting our money into a home, sit back and watch the home value go up.

And if you have done your calculations right, you will find that a 5-year rental outgo for living in a metro is equal to nearly 50% of the cost of a home in a suburban location now. Bingo! So, who’s the winner? The homebuyer, period!

It won’t be too illogical to say now that the Covid-19 pandemic is a blessing in disguise for all homebuyers looking to fulfill their long-cherished dream of owning a home. The trend of digital homebuying erupting during this pandemic is another icing on the cake, given the ease, it brings to the table of homebuyers. So, no matter what happens in the future, home and hearth need to be secured first. The buck stops here!

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