COVID-19 has forever changed our perspective towards our home. With the forced dictate of working, staying, and functioning from the confines of a home, the real merit of being able to have your own space has stood out. Close to 90% of people in Tier 1 cities are actively considering the possibilities of investing in a home in 2021. According to the India Real Estate Report 2020 survey results, there is also a marked increase in their budgets.
A home is no longer just a substantial investment – it offers the security of a much deeper, more significant nature. Let’s look at some of the changes that had COVID-19 has bought about in the real estate sector.
● Virtual site visits ease shortlisting projects
The real estate industry has embraced technology effectively by offering families the benefit of enjoying site visits from their homes' convenience. These virtual meets and exchanges have made it much easier to access multiple projects in several locations. It increases search horizon and saves a significant amount of time, thus, allowing people to make a much more informed decision for the money available.
● Noticeable preference for ready-to-move-in houses
There has been a 20% in demand for ready-to-move-in flats according to PropTiger. With a large inventory of houses available for outright purchase, ready possession houses are the pick of the moment. Several investors have anxieties around the completion of projects and timely possession, especially in case of projects by smaller developers. Given the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the inclination is more towards ready-to-move-in projects with ready amenities.
● Emerging locations on the outskirts are gaining popularity
Taking advantage of the work from home trend, people are looking at homes in emerging locations on the outskirts of the city. Here,they not only benefit from bigger houses at lesser cost but also from the sprawling area of the development. These self-sufficient integrated townships offer an unmatched quality of life with exponentially larger open spaces and greens, airy residences, facilities that foster wellness, and perks of community living, among other things.
● Emphasis on owning vs. renting
The pandemic made us all realise the value of owning a home. There are reports of those staying on rent having to face harsher treatment during the pandemic induced lockdown. Staying on rent means one has almost no say in the matters of the housing society and about the decisions that may impact them. The other aspects that’s working in favor of owning a home, is the realization that your home can truly provide a safe haven for your family’s well-being and also provide financial stability. Real estate is not subject to market volatility unlike an equity and is therefore considered a safer investment option in the long term.
● Emphasis on larger houses, deck and open spaces
There is marked preference for homes that are spacious, offer a deck and are set in developments offering ample open spaces. The forced confinement with having to accommodate work, homeschooling, etc from home as resulted in demand for larger homes. It has also highlighted the benefits of greens, movement, and nature. Homes that incorporate flexibility, versatility, and opportunity are the need of the hour.
● Sops to help boost the sector
Real estate sector is among the top contributors to our economy. With a view to propel growth in the sector, the government has extended certain benefits. Investors can gain from lowered interest rates, reduced stamp duty in certain locations, in addition to tax- saving opportunities. The home loan interest rates are lowest in the last decade. The PMAY scheme allows individuals to avail interest subsidies and another benefits in case of opting an affordable housing project.
● Importance of prioritising contingency funds
With favorable market conditions this is an ideal time to buy a dream home, however, one to needs to also make provisions for contingencies that may arise. COVID-19 in many cases has resulted in diminished job opportunities, slashed salaries, job losses and severe impact on incomes. It proved to be a good lesson to plan for contingency funds. If looking to buy a home do ensure that EMI is not greater than 30% of take home income and provision for funds to atleast pay EMIs for three to six months.
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