The lockdown in India has reiterated the value of a home and the safety and security it provides. For many, this period has perhaps been the longest time they have spent at home, changing their perspective about space and its value too. Vinti Lodha, Advisor, Lodha Luxury shares that the quarantine has reinforced people’s faith in real estate as an investment option. Despite the lockdown, Lodha Luxury sold 300 units, with over 80 flats on one single day on Akshay Tritiya. “If there is one thing everyone has realised is that a home is a reservoir of memories, it’s your safe haven. There are many things we want but a safe and beautiful home is everything that you actually need,” says Lodha.
On a large scale, however, the pandemic has shocked the economic system,
and luxury real estate will also feel the impact. However, Amit Goyal, CEO of India Sotheby’s International Realty feel that the disruption will be temporary. “We believe the recovery of the residential real estate sector will happen over a period of six to nine months after the lapse of the lockdown,” says Goyal.
“There will certainly be reductions in the price points and even certain concessions from developers for residential real estate, as will be the case in various other sectors. This makes it a fortuitous time for buyers with the necessary spending capacities, as builders and developers are likely to adopt innovative ways to generate demand and encourage cash flow,” adds Goyal.
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Demand for big homes
He also feels that people have realised the need for more space for offices, gyms and recreation within home premises, prompting people to upgrade to bigger homes with more indoor amenities.
“The importance of being in an integrated township/community is being recognized for the need of safety, security, facilities, and the conveniences that it offers,” shared Aditya Virwani, COO, Embassy Group.
Virwani and Goyal, both, say that they are using digital solutions such as augmented reality to communicate with customers and show them properties.
From a business standpoint, Virwani feels that the luxury real estate market will continue to see positive momentum, as HNIs today prefer investing in the asset class. “The rupee’s depreciation against US dollar has made real estate investment a lucrative prospect for the NRI investors,” informs Virwani.
Most surveys indicate that real estate is still considered a top investment asset by Indians living abroad. The current volatility of the stock markets (which rank second in terms of an investment asset among the NRIs), has prompted many people to turn to real estate. Well-researched projects, managed residences with home offices and connoisseur services have proved to be of immense value at this point in time. While new project launches are
being staggered by developers, the ready-to-move-in inventory is getting consumers’ interests.
India Sotheby’s International Realty has also registered increased interest from HNI NRIs looking to invest in Indian real estate. Goyal noted that no new bookings have been made as people are sitting on the fence waiting for price correction if any.
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Interior and architecture firms will have a big role to play in redesigning spaces according to the new normal. “Whether it is offices, homes, schools, restaurants, retail, etc – all industries and typologies and their design will have to be relooked at with fresh insight. Homeowners will now desire a dedicated study area or home office, workout zone, etc to reduce social outings, and offices will need to be tweaked to meet the social distancing norms,” says Meena Murthy Kakkar of Envisage Projects.
Workplaces will also need to meet cleanliness and sanitization protocols for workstations, conference rooms, reception desks, and social/common areas at regular intervals throughout the day, notes Rakhee Bedi Kumar, Founding Principal, RSDA. She also hints at a rise in the urbanization of the suburbs as homes away from city centres become a retreat from infections and viruses.
Not just projects and homes need to be redesigned but the way architects themselves function will change as well. “We need to find new ways of working efficiently in smaller teams and adopt new technologies for easy digital collaboration. We may also need to outsource our current in-house activities to reduce employee strength or work in shifts to allow social distancing.” Secondly, employing limited but skilled labour on-site can help reduce density and allow for more distance between the workers. Rather than production on-site, products can be manufactured and then transported to the main site to avoid
crowding and maintaining hygiene.
The focus will be on sourcing sustainable materials and incorporating sustainable designs in spaces, says Sonali Mahajan, Founder Studio Wodehouse. Moreover, reliance on local resources will take precedence. “As imports will be impacted, designers will be keen on working with readily available resource providers and local providers, as this will prove efficient in terms of time spent, cost and access,” adds Mahajan. The emphasis will be on using items in stock instead of procuring new ones.