The Indian real estate industry has been zooming through multiple changes over the past five years but none of those have threatened the health of the sector as acutely as the current crisis is projected to have. The lockdown and the ensuing fear of job loss has further dented the demand side and with construction work at a standstill, the supply side has also been disrupted. Although the clouds look dark right now, it is too soon to jump to unflattering conclusions.
The post-lockdown era will have some positive developments and some seemingly negative ones. Before we know it, we would have entered a more futuristic era. Let us slowly walk through the dark clouds towards a clearer perspective.
Rental Market Post-Lockdown
The rental market will be broadly unaffected due to lockdown. There is latent demand in the market, and it will come back once the lockdown lifts. People can stall buying decisions amidst uncertainties and fear of unemployment but once lockdown gets over, the latent demand for rental homes will come back. No course correction needed here.
Sale-Purchase Post Lockdown
As far as buying decisions are concerned, a temporary dip in buyer demand is expected in the post-lockdown era as people will first focus on getting back to the normal routine. However, once people get habituated to the new normal, lower interest rates and additional lucrative deals from builders will stimulate demand in consumers.
It might take a couple of quarters to see a measurable change. But it is bound to happen. As the pandemic fizzles, the fear and the anxiety that has accompanied it would also fizzle.
Consumers’ faith in real estate as an asset class will also return. Amongst Indians, physical assets are known to render the highest sense of security especially in times like these when stock markets are plummeting to unprecedented lows and other financial instruments also lack stability.
Faster Adoption Of Technology
Most real estate companies have started using video walkthroughs to help consumers shortlist properties from the comfort of their homes and without a physical visit. Consumers too have been surprisingly fast in getting on board with the process.
It’s quite easy to see property details online and videos give a good estimation regarding the actual measurements and look of a property. They are more realistic and engaging than images and a more efficient way of shortlisting properties.
As more and more customers get comfortable with the many ways in which technology can help the real estate sector, by the time the lockdown gets over it would have made many tedious processes simpler, faster, and more economical. The crisis has mandated people to do things differently by embracing technology and it has proved more effective.
Online Rent Payments
As social distancing and contactless services gain momentum, there has been a significant surge in the number of people choosing to pay rent online through credit cards as they offer convenience, safety, and liquidity. Credit cards make rent payments more worthwhile as it gives the opportunity to earn reward points as well as gives extra liquidity of up to 45 days.
Physical payments for rent will soon be a thing of past. The lockdown has given an enormous push to digital payments and it does contribute to the brighter side of things.
Housing societies will adopt visitor and society management technologies to enable social distancing and efficient use of resources. Many societies have been fast to sign up for visitor and society management apps as they are enabling residents to procure daily essentials and also making communication within the community and with the security easy and seamless.
Society residents can place the grocery order on the app and volunteers from within the society consolidate the order and ensure smooth delivery by procuring supplies from grocery majors. Even the entry of visitors and the entire society management process can be handled from the smartphone. Going forward, more and more societies will be adopting this over physical registers and bookkeeping.
The Dynamic Shift
The sector is doing enough to respond to the current situation using technology to keep the ball rolling. As consumers learn to cope with the new normal, the pandemic has necessitated a new lifestyle and already set into motion some changes which were only deemed possible in a distant future.
Faster adoption of online real estate coupled with technologies such as video walkthroughs, online instant bookings, and online rent payment are poised to be a game-changer in real estate in the post-lockdown era. It is safe to say that we are in a transformative phase and once it is over, the real estate sector would have transitioned to smarter era.