With the economy of India witnessing one of the strictest lockdowns, leading to a grievous economic crisis, 2020 has been an abrupt and anxious year for all businesses across different industries. The real estate industry has been no exception to this, with the resultant lockdowns of the pandemic bringing about a sudden halt in their ongoing activities with the unavailability of the construction workforce and constraint of raw materials.
However, this startling shock thus received by the sector has compelled real estate developers to innovate, with making digitization the new face of real estate. In order to retain the sentiments of the buyer while also innovating upon their business, virtual tours and online property bookings have come to replace the age old practice to in site visit and bookings. This in turn has also helped them appeal to reach a larger base of customers, as the latter too have begun to realize the importance of owning one’s own home in such unprecedented times.
And yes, real estate did start making a turnaround after few initial months of uncertainty.
Mr. Sanjay Jain, Managing Director, Siddha Group: “2020 had been a year of panic, patience and resilience. This year had taught people to introspect and reflect on newer ways of doing things with a change in our regular habits & the way we live.
There was an initial panic and uncertainty in the real estate industry. However with time, buyers started analyzing and understanding that this was the best time to buy a home. With prices at their lowest, lower bank interests and lucrative offers from developers, home buying seemed to be the best investment for a consumer.
We, at Siddha, stressed more on customer experience and after sales service during the pandemic because we understood that we need to be close to the Siddha family at this hour. We had been focused on our motto of delivering our projects on time and ensured the pandemic did not delay our progress. We utilized various online platforms to market our projects. Over time, our sales picked up tremendously and we sold more than 200+ flats in the first 4 months since the pandemic hit us. We also pioneered the 1st E-registration in the state, a splendid initiative taken by the West Bengal Government.
With the demand for Ready flats skyrocketing during this period, we were able to meet the demand of consumers, considering our huge array of Ready Flats at all our properties in different zones of the city. Our apartments and complexes are also Work from Home friendly and it was received well by the prospective buyers. We have been selling more now than what we did in the last quarter of 2019.
We are extremely confident that demand for homes will continue to rise in the coming year. We have also entered a new vertical – warehousing and industrial/business parks. Our first business park at Kalyani Expressway will cater to the needs of various corporates. We are highly upbeat about the growth of warehousing in the city.
And most importantly, our promise to deliver the first Skywalk at Siddha Galaxia New Town is taking shape and work for other Skywalks have also started. The resolution for the new year would be to continue delivering value to consumers and remain the most trusted brand in the real estate industry.
Mr. Rishi Jain, Managing Director, Jain Group: “Real estate has witnessed multiple highs and lows over the years; however, it is the pandemic that was one of the most impactful events for this sector. The reason for this inference is that although COVID-19 initially came as a massive blow to real estate, it also provided an opportunity for businesses to bring path breaking changes to their work strategies and serve their customers more seamlessly than ever before.
Initially, most of the consumers were unsure of finalizing property deals as they waited for the right opportunity during the lockdown and have been delaying it further due to the uncertainty associated with the on-going pandemic. However, if one very clear learning that has been established now is the importance of homeownership and why it is the best time to invest in this lucrative asset class. We faced multiple challenges in the form of construction delays, stalled projects, liquidity crunch, etc. in the wake of nationwide lockdowns, is gradually shifting its gear and steering towards normalcy by leveraging digital solutions. As prospective and first-time buyers experience their favorite properties in a digital setting, they come to know the real benefits these platforms offer. For example, the instant sense of ownership, time and cost-saving factor increased convenience, etc.
All these aspects make virtual property visits attractive to customers, while also saving them from the tiring physical site visits. Not only COVID-19 has made people realize the value of having a house, but it has also turned this dream into reality, with developers offering a plethora of attractive propositions nowadays.
Although Covid-19 will impact the real estate market for long time, we feel people will continue to buy homes. Jain Group as a real estate industry in the suburbs and rural areas is doing very well. A lot of people prefer buying homes far away from the city hustle bustle and we have made our presence in such areas. Rental properties and vacation homes are in much demand. And we at Jain Group have plans to launch it soon. Other than that earlier this year we launched our hotel apartments already.
And ofcourse, keeping in mind the role of technology to make living easier, we have our smart home concept to make living experience aspirational.”
Mr. Arya Sumant, Managing Director, Eden Realty: “The COVID-19 pandemic hit hard on the businesses across all the sectors especially the Indian real estate sector. With suspension of construction activities to nationwide lockdown to uncertainty over losing jobs and livelihoods majorly cautioned the homebuyers from undertaking any big ticket investments. In the second half of 2020, the positive measures undertaken by the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India did infuse optimism as well as renewed homebuyers interest. During the festive season, we did come up with few exciting offers for the homebuyers during Durga Puja and Diwali to drive sales. Our two major affordable housing projects – Solaris Joka & Sreerampore have clocked 150 sales from July, 2020 onwards.
In the year 2021, we believe that the controlled demand will be driving sales of the residential properties especially affordable housing as the pandemic has fueled a strong desire for the homebuyers to own a house. We also believe that the MIG/LIG segments will also witness a better growth in the next year. We are planning to launch a few new projects in the coming year also.”
Mr. Abhishek Bharadwaj, Chief Marketing Officer, Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited: “Just like everything has a silver lining, so did the pandemic, giving us real estate developers a chance to innovate and remodel our business practices. It is a known fact that the pandemic has had far reaching ill effects on all industry sectors, however there has been a strong impetus from the Government which has helped real estate to slowly steady itself. In the near future, real estate is expected to see a remodeling, with digital launches, virtual online tours and detailed explanation of queries online being some of the ways of bringing up buyer sentiment. The Covid crisis has remarkably pointed out the importance of owning a home to ‘Stay Home’ rather than a rented one and it is expected that people will understand the necessity and make a move in purchasing their own homes in the coming days thereby boosting the sector. We, at Shristi, are quite optimistic about our increased volumes in the coming days and the revival of the industry in general.”
Mr. Nakul Himatsingka, Managing Director, Ideal Group: “With the country and the world struck by the coronavirus, nearly every industry was severely affected. The nationwide lockdown led to a standstill of not only the businesses but also the routine lives of the people. With the four-month long lockdown, the real estate industry reached rock bottom due to migration of labourers and halting of construction. With adverse effects, the pandemic has also given an opportunity to innovate and introduce newer strategies to appeal to the homebuyers. All thanks to the outbreak of the virus, people gradually realized the worth and value of owning one’s own home which has also driven sales. Technology has also played a major role in accelerating the real estate market. In 2021, we believe that apart from affordable housing, the luxury housing market will witness an upward trend as millennial homebuyers will be upgrading to luxury, superior amenities, and larger apartments in the coming days. Once the anti – COVID vaccination drive commences, we expect an all-round growth in the segment.”
While acknowledging that the pandemic has had far reaching effects, it has ascertained the need for permanent residence and the fact that people will continue to buy homes at large. Further, with the masses acquainting themselves with technology, the otherwise cumbersome process of buying a property shall be an undemanding and effortless task.