The changing dynamics of real estate sector in India

In a panel discussion with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Amit Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO, NoBroker.com and Vikas Wadhawan, Group CFO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com review the recovery in real estate and future trends.
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Real estate is predominantly considered the safest investment for buyers, and the asset realisation was felt immensely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After the first wave of the pandemic that led to a nationwide lockdown, there was a cutback on investments for buyers and renters who had moved back home. The second wave, however, induced a home-buying sentiment as demand picked up significantly. 

Amit Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO at NoBroker says that the recovery for demand from buyers picked up sooner after the second wave as compared to the first wave, as people were acquainted with the pandemic. He also mentions that there is an uptick in demand from renters.

“When you look at the demand on the buyers’ side, we have definitely seen a strong bounce-back post-April and May,” says Vikas Wadhawan, Group CFO of a slew of brands — Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com, on the recovery after the second wave. Around 50 percent of its sales were recorded in June itself. 

The recovery for supply continues to be slow, Vikas adds, as developers focus on completing projects that were left undone due to the lockdowns. There is an anticipation of recovery for supply in the next few quarters. 

A report by IBEF states that the real estate sector in India is expected to grow into a $1 trillion market size by 2030. By 2025, this market is also forecasted to contribute 13 percent to the country’s GDP. 

Emerging trends in real estate

There was an evident shift in property buying trends as people were investing in luxury projects despite the pandemic.

“With the uncertainty that came with COVID-19 last March, the general impression was that this is going to be difficult for people and luxury projects are going to be the worst hit but thankfully that has not happened,” says Amit. NoBroker saw strong demand from buyers from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. 

This rise in demand for villas, independent houses and plots can be attributed to the realisation of the house value amid the pandemic. 

Another trend noticed by Vikas was that of people preferring ‘ready to move in’ inventory as opposed to under-construction inventory. This trend has been evolving since pre-pandemic. 

“People want to buy a home where they can move in and take possession or move away from renting accommodation. With the pandemic, people have realised that home is the safest place and that is why ‘buying a home’ sentiment is possibly at its peak,” says Vikas

Plan for 2022

Spearheading into the next year, NoBroker has plans to focus extensively on improving their content offerings that provide a more descriptive experience of the properties listed on their platform. It will also be focusing on advancing with regard to technology. 

In the case of Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com, the primary focus will be the ‘search’ and ‘discovery’ elements on their platform. They want to enhance the whole journey of a buyer in the real estate segment by having a digital intervention and encouraging technological innovation. The platform is already seeing an organic traffic growth of 70 percent on its website since February 2021. 

The players in the real estate sector seem to have acknowledged the ‘new normal’, with these unexpected trends picking pace and going forward, digital transformation might play a huge role in its growth.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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