India’s ministry of housing and urban affairs has launched an online marketplace to sell certified property online and restoring transparency trust in the segment once again.
Announced on January 14, HousingForAll.com will operate just like any other real estate marketplace. However, the state-run portal will limit itself to those properties which have a valid occupancy certificate (OCs). Interested buyers can go through the complete inventory, which will also offer basic information such as floor plan, room dimensions and external views, along with video tours.
The ministry believes that HousingForAll will create positive sentiment for the real estate industry and will also boost confidence of the buyers when it comes to buying property online. In addition, the housing ministry is aiming to improve the liquidity flow in the real estate industry and contribute to GDP growth.
India’s real estate market has been hit by a slowdown just like the auto industry. Housing sales fell by nearly 10% in the July-September quarter, according to a November 2019 report from real estate analytics firm PropEquity. Housing brokerage firms PropTiger and Anarock reported 25% and 18% fall in sales in the same quarter.
But as of now HousingForAll is not yet open to consumers and is limited to real estate developers. The marketplace is expected to be open for customers from February 14 with a 45-day sale period.
Customers will be able to directly book or reserve properties through the marketplace with a refundable amount of INR 25K. The buyers will also be offered a money-back guarantee for an initial deposit, just in case they decide not to go ahead with the purchase.
In light of the real estate slowdown, high cost of ownership and high urban migration, homeownership rates have fallen in many cities. This has resulted in newer models such as coliving besides traditional rentals.
The Indian real estate tech sector is evolving to accommodate these models. These include the likes of NoBroker, YourOwnROOM, Nestaway, Zolo, Clicbrics, Colive and Stanza Living among others.
While the government will be promoting HousingForAll, it will be competing with these tech companies and others, in a move similar to the government-run ecommerce marketplace. Will the official portal restore trust in the real estate market and boost demand? It remains to be seen, but the government could announce other reforms at the Union Budget 2020 to give a push to real estate demand.