After a turbulent year, the positive winds of change in the real estate sector in 2021
As in the case of most other sectors, the real estate sector also had a tumultuous time in 2020 due to the pandemic and nationwide lockdown. The interdependence of supply chains, migration of labour, cost overruns, and liquidity constraints came to the fore during the pandemic and have emerged as some of the looming challenges.
However, some positive changes are being seen in the real estate sector as the economy is gradually limping back to normalcy.
Speaking about the signs of revival in this sector, Prashin Jhobalia, VP - Marketing Strategy, House of Hiranandani, said, “We already had a robust digital marketing infrastructure in place and post lockdown we strengthened it further. We deployed a series of new prop techs such as 360-degree tours of projects, virtual reality and video conferencing to provide the buyer with an immersive experience of the property. Our digital platform also enabled customers to book their apartments digitally, even while they were located miles away from the project. Today, a substantial portion of our marketing spends are towards digital marketing. This includes setting a robust digital marketing infrastructure and sustaining it with appropriate marketing strategies. However, since home buying involves a huge investment and also is an emotional decision, home buyers will prefer visiting the property once before closing the deal.”
The demand for luxury homes has always been high and has further gone up in the post-lockdown period. With remote working becoming part of the ‘new normal’, many people are seriously considering a shift of residence, away from the crowded cities to luxurious holiday homes to escape congested cities.
Commenting on the demand for luxury homes, Lindsay Bernard Rodrigues, Co-Founder and Director, Bennet & Bernard Group, said, “Considering situations like home quarantine and lockdown, people have realised the importance of larger spaces and self-sustained communities. Hence, the desire to have bigger spaces for the same investments would definitely shift focus from buying realty in cities to second homes in holiday destinations. Goa will definitely attract investors because of its culture, lifestyle and the value for money that it offers.”
By embracing tech-enabled tools such as VR/AR, real estate professionals can create an extremely simulative experience and aid the customers’ decision-making process. In today’s real estate market, this approach will provide options for people to tour properties without having to see them in- person.
Raunika Malhotra, President, Corporate Brand and Communication, Lodha Group, elaborated, “With the changing norms, digital interface will increase, but all mediums are here to co-exist. First, in a home-buying experience, the touch and feel aspect is important and there will be site visits post the consideration stage, but engagement will happen digitally. Second, developers will venture into enabling various means of AV technology like virtual tours, video walkthroughs, and video conferencing providing real time experience to the viewers with a 360-degree view of the realty projects.”
The positive signs notwithstanding, the road to recovery in 2021 is going to be a long and arduous one. Business models will have to be re-evaluated and only the smartest may come out to become successful.
According to Samujjwal Ghosh, Director, Xanadu Realty, “Real estate developers will need to invest heavily in creating consumer centric brands to help them differentiate their product. Optimising indoor space utilisation through fluid designing principles in structural framework and interior fit-outs will allow easy transformation of space for multiple needs and functions. Co-living and student housing – the buzz words in the sector prior to the pandemic will have to repurpose their offering, as recovery of the shared economy will take longer. Flexible workspaces and the co-working sector will face headwinds over the next 12 months.”