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Real estate remains preferred asset class for investors: Housing.com & NAREDCO survey

59% of respondents think economic scenario will either remain at current levels or see revival in six months

Real estate consumer, Income stability, Concerned yet positive – The Indian Real Estate Consumer, Housing.com, National Real Estate Development Council, NAREDCO, Fixed Deposits, Residential realty, Post-COVID-19, Rental homes, Singapore, Elara Technologies, Makaan.com, PropTiger.com, Dhruv Agarwala, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Hiranandani Group, Hiranandani Communities, Rajeev Talwar, DLF

The real estate consumer remains positive with regard the economic scenario and income stability for the coming six months; according to ‘Concerned yet positive – The Indian Real Estate Consumer (April – May 2020)’ a report jointly released by Housing.com and National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).  Real estate (35%) is still perceived as the preferred mode of investment, followed by gold (28%); Fixed Deposits (22%), Stocks (16%); and homebuyers are likely to slowly return to the market in the coming six months.

Price-points of residential realty have remained muted for the past few years, but are still a key deterrent, with the perception of being still unaffordable. This was the response from nearly half of the potential homebuyers surveyed, who are currently staying in rented accommodation.

A majority of respondents surveyed (73%) comprise ‘first time homebuyers’, who are looking to buy a ‘ready-to-move-in-house’ for end-use and are from the age group of 25-45 years. While 60% of respondents opined that for the next six months, they would prefer a ready-to-move-in property, 21% said they were okay with a property with a delivery timeline of maximum one year.

The survey was conducted in April and May 2020, through a random sampling technique for a fair representation across regions. The insights presented in the survey entirely represent the view of more than 3,000 potential homebuyers.

Going forward, NAREDCO believes, real estate will be ‘positive’ for both end-users and investors in the post-COVID-19 world. Those living in rental homes have realized the importance of being in their own homes while NRIs facing challenging times in their present domiciles are looking at creating a safe haven ‘back home’ in India. Demand for additional space for home offices is on the rise, with need for more efficient layouts. The importance of common amenities, business centers and more open spaces will be an inherent part of the new demand criteria in the post COVID-19 world.

Housing.com, which is owned by Singapore-based Elara Technologies that also runs Makaan.com & PropTiger.com, under its division Housing research, conducted an online survey of around 3,000 visitors on its flagship platform Housing.com to gauge the mood of the people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dhruv Agarwala, group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com & PropTiger.com, said, “Our survey clearly shows that potential homebuyers who were searching for flats have pressed a pause button for the time being because of liquidity concerns and uncertainty over the COVID pandemic. But, a majority of them will gradually start returning to the market in the coming months."

"This survey has established again that credible developers and ready to move in or nearing completion properties are preferred by prospective customers, who are largely end-users. With the significant correction in stock markets and the continued volatility, it is not surprising that real estate has become the top choice as an investment asset class," Agarwala added.

Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, founder-chairman, Hiranandani Group and CMD, Hiranandani Communities and national president – NAREDCO said, “The pandemic has not only shaken up the economy, it has further added to the distresses of real estate, which was already reeling under pressure post the Tsunamis  of economic reforms, including demonetization, GST and RERA. This pandemic has come as a rude setback for our industry and the allied sectors. In the current scenario, we can see a change in consumer behavior and perception, of owning a house with safe and secure surroundings, which will be the driving force for demand. As an industry, real estate needs to adapt to a tech-savvy future in terms of digital platforms for sales and marketing as also adopt enhanced automation at sites, given the obvious challenge of being dependent on migrant labor. As we prepare for opening up the economy in a phased manner, the industry will need enough financial cushioning to deliver homes as also get the industry back on its feet.”

Rajeev Talwar, chairman, NAREDCO and CEO, Director DLF, said,” While the sector recalibrates the approach to stay afloat in these challenging times, we are moving towards a more digitally inclined world. The overall behavior of the consumer has changed to Save more, spend less and invest smart model. Real estate has always been less volatile as compared to share markets making it the safest investment available, the preference of this new age home buyer has also changed owing to the crisis and it is imperative for us to adapt to new technologies that will ease the entire home buying process for this new age home buyer.’’

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