COVID-19 helped accelerate things to move online: MagicBricks CEO Sudhir Pai

Real estate portal MagicBricks has transitioned from a real estate discovery platform to a full-stack destination to offer a variety of services to home buyers.
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The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic had its immediate impact on two sectors – travel and real estate. Though the travel and tourism industry is yet to show any signs of revival, the real estate sector is seeing green shoots of growth.

While the coronavirus-led lockdown in March to combat the virus did have a deep impact on the real estate sector in India, the subsequent relaxation has put this industry on a firm footing. This was also the time for the recalibration of strategy for a player like Magicbricks.

MagicBricks CEO Sudhir Pai (right) and Priya Sheth of YourStory

One of the leading real estate portals, which is a part of Times Internet, MagicBricks has been better able to understand the needs of the customers during the pandemic to make itself a valuable online destination for those looking to buy homes.

In an interaction with Daily Dispatch, Sudhir Pai, CEO, MagicBricks, said, “We have been a discovery platform for a long time. Now, we have leapfrogged from discovery to a full-stack platform.”

According to Sudhir, MagicBricks has been seeing a new trend where more buyers have been visiting its portal, which has increased by 40 percent compared to pre-COVID-19 level. Some of the popular searches include bigger homes, outskirt locations, and destinations away from the metros.

“COVID-19 helped accelerate things to move online,” says Sudhir.

Prior to the pandemic, MagicBricks saw that around 20 percent of its efforts were online and the rest was offline. Now, it wants to remove the various frictions and make buying a home a more seamless digital experience.

Towards this end, it has launched a few services in areas such as home loans, rental agreements, property inspection, etc. All these go a long way in firming up the decision of a prospective buyer.

According to Sudhir, the real estate market in India did not cave in despite the shock of COVID-19 pandemic. “The prices firming up by one percent is a good signal,” he remarked.

Prior to the pandemic, since 2014, the real estate industry went through difficult times such as adjusting to various new regulations.

However, in 2019, there were certain tailwinds, which includes sops for affordable homes, cheap interest rates, and favourable income to price ratio, but all this came to end with the start of the pandemic.

“The Q3 numbers show that the industry is close to pre-COVID-19 levels in terms of sales and launches,” said Sudhir, adding that the industry will be up and running by the end of Q4.

The CEO of MagicBricks feels the priority of the industry will be to increase the number of transactions on people buying their homes.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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