Yearender 2020: Top realty trends of 2020 that will redefine home-buying

Realty Trends Post Covid-19

COVID-19 has altered the homebuying process in ways more than one. As a part of our year-ender series Square Yards delves into the top realty trends of 2020 that will compel the real state sector to reassess and re-align product offerings in the future.    

The after-effect of COVID-19 has forced us to live, work, and play in controlled environments. This has further led to a shift in the way we buy new houses or modify our existing ones. The extended amount of time spent at home due to the lockdown gave people an opportunity to analyze their homes like never before. Being compelled to spend more time indoors brought the design and layout loopholes of previously less occupied or utilized areas such as the living room, the study, balconies, and even the kitchen to the fore. What this essentially means is that in a post-COVID era, the needs of a homebuyer are going to be different.

The pandemic has altered not just the design needs but also how a common man perceives homeownership concerning the type of property, type of development, location, budget, etc.  Thus, the real estate sector – like other sectors – will undergo major changes in the coming years.  This article focuses on these changes and takes a deep dive into the top realty trends of 2020 that are here to stay in the post-COVID-19 era.  

The growing need for Homeownership

People who were earlier comfortable living in rented accommodations are now moving towards buying a home. Thus, one of the top realty trends of 2020 is the growing need for homeownership. The lockdown has reinforced the importance of a home as it is the only place where one feels the most secure. This is why the concept of owning a home has gained renewed importance in the post-COVID era. The home will now hold prominence over the workplace, and this might decide the real estate choices for years to come.

While the government was already pushing Housing for All, 2022 by promoting the affordable housing sector, COVID-19 has helped pace this up. Since the majority of buyers are inclined towards affordable housing units and the government also wishes to do away with the liquidity crunch, this sector has suddenly become the focal point. Many initiatives have been launched and funds allocated to give the Real Estate sector a boost amidst such unprecedented times. Rebates are being offered to developers who prioritize Affordable Housing in their plans.

Changing perspective on Homebuying and Layout Modifications

The pandemic has led to what is being termed as ‘pandemic fatigue’. Stress and anxiety about insecure careers, futures, being cramped in small spaces, and other factors are on a rise. Psychologists are of the idea that being close to nature and greens can help achieve a sense of calmness. This has resulted in a change in the outlook for property buying and the preferred home layout. Here is a list of top realty trends of 2020 w.r.t to home design and layout:

  • Distance doesn’t count anymore: Remote working is here to stay even when the pandemic fear subsides. Living near the place of work hence won’t be the priority any longer as commute will drastically subside. Homebuyers will now be willing to explore options at peripheral locations that fit their budget.
  • Inclination towards biophilic design: Since the pandemic has made people realize the importance of living close to nature, homebuyers are now looking for homes that offer better ventilation and access to open green spaces. Creating a biophilic design means connecting the natural environment to the built environment by using natural construction material, spatial designs, and access to nature.
  • Additional workspace and study: With work from home and remote learning becoming the new norm, the need for quiet spaces has risen. Homebuyers are now looking for homes that can accommodate their work and study-related needs. Spacious setups that let them be more productive and effective are in high demand.
  • Community living and townships: Since such living provides a self-sustainable ecosystem, community living is being preferred by many these days. Homebuyers now look forward to amenities and key facilities like co-working spaces, cafes, convenience stores, fitness centers, creches, and reading lounges, etc. under one roof and hence the township living.
  • Plotted development: As Mark Twain put it – ‘Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.’ Even though in India, land investment has always been preferred, it had lost some sheen over the last few years thanks to the growth of the apartment culture.  However, with the realities of social distancing and the need for larger homes presented by the pandemic, plotted development is gaining back preference especially in top cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Gurugram. “The recent growth in demand for plots can also be attributed to an increase in planned plotted project launches by Grade A developers. Earlier the supply was largely restricted to Grade C and smaller developers with very scattered launches,” believes Tanuj Shori, CEO Square Yards.
  • Demand for weekend homes/ vacation homes: Nothing provides better social distancing than farmhouses and weekend homes. People who can afford to put their money in the luxury sector are now moving towards buying such green, salubrious properties that act as their second home. This trend is on a rise in the NCR and monthly transactions have gone up too.

Reverse Migration – Housing Demand goes up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to country-wide reverse migration. A major chunk of the workforce belongs to Tier-2 and -3 cities, and they have been forced to leave their temporary rented accommodations in metro cities. This has led to a rise in demand for housing in their hometowns. Demand for affordable housing units in Tier-2 and -3 cities has significantly gone up in the past few months. With many companies and organizations considering work from home as a long-term solution, this graph will see a steep rise in the times to follow.

As per industry insiders, cities like Agra and Amritsar witnessed an impressive growth of more than 100 percent in the virtual residential demand as compared to pre-COVID times. Other cities like Vadodara, Ludhiana, Mangalore, Chandigarh, and Lucknow saw more than 80 percent growth in residential demand this year.

Growth of Digitalization

In the wake of the pandemic, the world has gone into a zone of digital irreversibility. Following suit, the real estate industry has also been quick to adopt digital solutions. Be it virtual tours, booking the property, transactions, or even property management, digitalization has already started to dominate the real estate sector. Innovations in the form of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) are helping provide an enhanced customer experience.

People who used to be apprehensive about making real estate investments online because of the big corpus of money involved are now taking to this digital revolution willingly. With safety becoming a major parameter, homebuyers are now preferring to visit the website first, fix a virtual meeting, and take a 360-degree e-tour, before opting for a pre-appointed site visit.

Post the pandemic, the young, educated, and health-conscious homebuyers of today are aligned for a better future. Having happily preferred renting a home for all these years, they are now taking homeownership seriously. Since home layout specifications now include various changes, it is critical for developers to adapt to the new normal, by enticing consumers with what they want.

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