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Will Film City project near Jewar boost real estate markets in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway?

9/24/2020 2:45:00 PM

After Jewar airport, there will be another feather on Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority’s cap. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced that a 1,000-acre plot located just about 6 km from the proposed Jewar International Airport, has been identified for a film city project. While this is expected to revive the fortunes of Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway real estate market that has taken a beating especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, the real benefits in terms of price appreciation and increased infrastructure activity will only be witnessed once construction gets underway, say real estate experts. Besides the commercial segment which is expected to see a spurt in demand, the residential category which may benefit from this project would be the luxury segment, say experts. “Similar to any mega infrastructure project, proposed film city too will help in reviving the property market in nearby areas like Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway. However, the ‘real’ benefits - in terms of price appreciation and heightened real estate activity in residential, commercial and retail will be seen only once the project sees visible signs of construction activity or nears completion,” Santosh Kumar, vice chairman, Anarock Property Consultants told Moneycontrol. For instance, property prices in Ayodhya shot up 25-30 percent back in 2019 when the SC verdict was announced and then almost doubled when the temple ‘poojan’ was done back in August. In this case there was some activity or progress that happened. “Likewise, even while the film city project has been announced and the area for it has also been identified, we need to see some ground activity for property prices to scale up significantly. Those having land parcels nearby or even the investors will be in a wait and watch mode,” he explained. The site is located in Sector 21 along the Yamuna Expressway in Gautam Budh Nagar which is barely an hour’s drive from Delhi. According to the presentation, of the 1000 acres, 220 acres would be kept aside for commercial activity. “The site is also located close to the proposed logistic hub in Noida, the proposed dry port and freight corridor, thus providing all facilities of transport and movement,” chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said on September 22. The region would also boast of an international electronics city and a global financial hub in the coming years. The Jewar international airport is expected to be functional by 2023. While there is no official date with regard to the completion of the film city project, sources said that it could be ready by 2023. The land identified for the project was among three proposals submitted by the Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authorities. Will the announcement help mitigate the impact of COVID-19? Even before this announcement, real estate activity was already beginning to pick momentum in the NCR region. Housing enquiries in Gurgaon have reached almost the same as the pre-COVID-19 levels while in Noida and Greater Noida enquiries are back at more than 80 percent. “It will be the progress of the project that will determine its impact on the property market and the trends therein,” Kumar said. The proposed Film City is likely to boost investment sentiments across Uttar Pradesh, particularly in areas adjoining Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway. “This bodes well for the real estate sector and it is likely to have a positive impact on demand for both residential as well as commercial properties. Along with upcoming Jewar Airport, the proposed Film City is expected to provide a new lease of life to existing projects and will boost new project offerings immensely,” said Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com The proposed Film City is located close to Gaurs Group’s integrated township, Gaur Yamuna City on Yamuna Expressway. “Such developments will bring positive momentum in developments and investments. This announcement would be a boon for the region both in terms of residential and commercial development. Post Jewar Airport, this is the biggest announcement for the region and we hope that the work starts soon,” said Manoj Gaur, MD, Gaurs Group. Some experts say that the initiative is bound to improve economic activity in the region and have a major “economic multiplier effect on the local economy,” said Amit Modi, Director ABA Corp & President (elect), CREDAI Western UP. “It will not only attract the best talent involved in the filmmaking process, but also millions of support staff and workers, who will be looking for accommodation in the region. We feel it will have a huge impact in both owned, rental, office and commercial real estate in the regions where national production houses will also be opening their satellite offices to support the filmmaking process. It is indeed a welcome step and will open gates of opportunities for the regional real estate market,” said Modi. There may also be a possibility that once the Noida Film City is running in full force, a lot of celebrities would want to invest in and around the region for the want of easy access and reach, he said. According to Deepak Kapoor, director, Gulshan Homz, Noida will emerge as the most robust luxury real estate destination after the film city comes about. The demand for customized penthouses, villas, and farmhouses in the region is likely to go up in the region. The wellness home concept will also witness demand, he said. The recently proposed plan by UP Govt. development of Film City in Sector-21 of Yamuna Expressway is going to be a monumental step in making the region of Noida the biggest entertainment and business hub of North India. It will go a long way in creating job opportunities and also transform the face and scale of real estate developments planned in the area, said Ashish Bhutani, CEO - Bhutani Infra. Will the announcement enable Noida to finally overtake Gurgaon? Both property markets are actually independent and it is not as if Noida will overtake Gurgaon, or vice versa, say real estate experts. Having said this, Noida and Greater Noida still have scope for growth as property prices here are far more affordable in comparison to its counterpart in Haryana. As per ANAROCK research, the average property prices in Noida are around Rs 4,795 per sq. ft. while in Greater Noida it is Rs 3,350 per sq. ft. As for Gurgaon, the average prices hover at Rs 6,100 per sq. ft, says Kumar from Anarock. According to an earlier report released by Knight Frank, the impact of the pandemic has been so drastic that Gurugram was pushed to second place for the first time in seven years in office leasing activity in the first half of this year. According to the report, more office space was leased in Noida in January-June as supply was available at much lower rentals in the satellite city. According to the report, 0.92 million sq ft office space was leased in Gurugram in the first six months of 2020 compared with 1.08 million sq ft in Noida. Noida outperformed Gurugram in terms of overall transactions and became the highest contributor to gross leasing in the National Capital Region market, posting a year-on-year increase of 86 percent. This came on the heels of a 45 percent decline in gross leasing by area in the NCR in the first six months of 2020. “Demand for office spaces has been growing in Noida mainly due to relatively high rentals in Gurugram’s established office space locations such as DLF Cyber City, Golf Course Road, MG Road and Udyog Vihar,” the Knight Frank report had said. Better infrastructure, including roads, improved metro rail connectivity and competitive rentals helped Noida pip Gurugram, it said. Source: Money Control Chandigarh

Real estate body to revive stalled projects in NCR

9/23/2020 2:31:00 PM

After its intervention to restart a stalled housing project in Noida, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UPRERA) is now contemplating to help resume operations of other stalled projects in the state. The UPRERA decided to step in after successful restart of the Jaypee Kalypso Court (Phase-II) project which restarted construction work at the site after a wait of nine years, on September 19 as UPRERA facilitated conciliation between the promoter and the allottees. As per the UPRERA sources, NCR region has witnessed many projects slipping into a limbo making it miserable for the buyers who end up making a huge investment for a house of their own but the projects get delayed as the builders often fail to fulfil commitments made to homebuyers. According to Rajive Kumar, chairman, UPRERA has been successful in resolving the dispute and restart a stalled project. “Jaypee Kalypso Court project of Jaiprakash Associates Limited has been the first such project that UPRERA had taken up for revival and now the promoter has commenced construction work on the project” added Kumar. Not only NCR, but the regulatory authority is planning to extend this approach to various other districts also in the state where projects are stalled either due to an impasse between the promoter and the homebuyers or the completion date, as declared by the promoter, has lapsed, including the one-year extension permissible under Section 6 of the RERA Act. In Lucknow, several housing projects of private developers are stuck for several years. Allottees in the state capital want RERA to intervene to restart these pending projects. According to RERA officials, based on the audit done by consultant Currie & Brown, it has come to light that around 40 stalled projects in Gautam Buddha Nagar district could restart with the intervention and following conciliatory tactic between the promoter and the buyer. This approach is ideally suited to such projects where the promoter is keen to complete the project but unable to do so either due to expiry of registration of the project with UPRERA or due to differences with allottees. Source: New Indian Express Chandigarh

Ayodhya land prices double month after Ram temple bhoomi pujan

9/22/2020 1:05:00 PM

In what could only be described as miraculous or divine intervention, land prices in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya have doubled in just a month since the Ram temple ‘bhoomi pujan’ in August. This surge was observed above 30-40% growth witnessed between the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit nine months earlier and temple ceremony in August. Even in surrounding areas near the town, land prices have shot up to Rs 1,000-1,500 per square feet, whereas at prime locations these rates stand as high as at Rs 2,000- 3,000, as per TOI. Before the verdict, the land was easily available at Rs 900 per square feet. The report said that the demand for land shot up in the area after the announcement of three large infrastructure projects, three-star hotels and an international airport by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who promised to turn the city into India’s Vatican. The city’s realty prices remained depressed for decades owing to an ongoing highly-volatile political controversy which ran for decades. The nearest hotel to the city was on Faizabad. Lack of amenities in the outskirts kept prices around Rs 300-450 per square feet. More than private demand, the prices are surging in anticipation of state government buying vast tracts of land for infrastructure projects. Private buyers, however, remain wary of their investment getting jeopardised in case they buy at premiums and later their land gets acquired by the state. Local property agents quoted in the report say the local authorities have already put land registry strictures in place. Many properties are disputed and a majority of land parcels up for sale lie on the wetlands of Saryu river and are being watched by the National Green Tribunal. While most buyers want the land for religious purposes such as setting up dharamsala and community kitchens, there are some who see it as a solid investment for the future. Source: Timesnownews Chandigarh

Private equity inflows into Indian real estate plunge 85% to Rs 65 billion, says Colliers International

9/21/2020 12:00:00 PM

With investors, both foreign and domestic, are adopting a cautious approach to Indian real estate against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the overall private equity inflows into the sector stood at Rs 65 billion through August 2020, which is just 15 percent of the corresponding period in 2019, a report by Colliers International has said. The report by Colliers International titled Future India: Captivating Strategic and Private Equity Investments was launched on September 17 at the FICCI 14th Annual Summit. Newer asset classes such as data centres and rental housing gained prominence among investors. During 2020 through August, the leading segments have been data centres, driven by demand for cloud infrastructure, as well as offices as they tend to offer steady rental income. Robust domestic consumption also maintained investors’ con­fidence in industrial and logistics assets. The growing demand for data centres provides an attractive opportunity for investors to capitalise on the interplay of real estate (location), infrastructure (power and fi­bre network) and technology (cloud services). According to Colliers International, through August 2020, data centres attracted investment of Rs 29 billion spread across two deals in Delhi and Mumbai. The segment garnered the highest (46 percent) share in the total private equity investments in real estate in India, replacing commercial office segment from its usual top position. “Commercial office continues to drive investor demand for quality Grade-A assets and with successful REITs established depth across institutional and retail investors. There is likely to be an enhanced demand for operating assets which may extend to warehousing/ industrial, consumption and technology-driven assets demand, such as data centers. "Further, market situation is giving opportunities for investors to look at specific situations and residential is providing an excellent opportunity where inherent and pent-up demand remains strong,” says Piyush Gupta, Managing Director, Capital Markets and Investment Services, at Colliers International India. Continued investor confi­dence in office segment The commercial office segment in India continues to attract significant interest from investors even in the current times of uncertainty around the remote working culture that is likely to continue until the end of 2020. The segment attracted investment inflows of Rs 5 billion during 2020 through August, accounting for a 24 percent share in the total investment pie. Investors see upside in industrial and logistics assets As per Colliers International, in 2020 through August, the segment attracted interest from multiple large institutional investors, with investment inflows of Rs 7.8 billion. While investment over the coming year may be muted due to pandemic-inspired slower decision-making by investors, the segment is expected to grow over the next two-three years as existing participants expand their portfolio and new players enter the market. The segment will attract inflows from both foreign and domestic funds to the tune of Rs 297 billion during 2020-2023, translating into a CAGR of 5 percent. Against the backdrop of robust demand from e-commerce and other consumer-led occupiers, investors are recommended to stay focussed on the segment to reap the benefi­ts. Green shoots in the residential segment Due to the ongoing pandemic, the residential segment has experienced lower sales velocity, leading to near-stagnation. Certain developers are looking to offload bulk inventory to investors by offering steep discounts, owing to tough market conditions. Investors may consider equity investment in completed units of affordable and mid-segment residential projects that may offer desirable returns beyond a holding-period of 3-4 years. Investors should benefi­t from low entry price and gradual recovery in the economy due to increasing impetus of the government to revive demand in the residential sector. Investors should consider partnering with top-tier developers and invest in greenfield residential projects to capitalise on inherent end-user demand. Investors may consider opportunistic assets in hospitality and retail real estate segments that offer attractive valuations. Investors may also explore opportunities presented by over-leveraged developers who are keen to monetise their assets in order to reduce debt burden. Chandigarh

Indian residential real estate: The new hotspot for NRI investments amid Covid-19

9/18/2020 2:33:00 PM

The significant drop in property rates, stricter regulatory measures, increased transparency and greater consolidation in the sector have together created a lucrative avenue for NRIs to invest in the Indian real estate market. With uncertainty looming almost everywhere, individuals living overseas are looking forward to have a property in India as well, driven either with a hope to return to India or at the very least own property in their homeland. According to property consultant Anarock, the rupee’s depreciation had been a factor of considerable interest for NRIs considering Indian real estate as a sensible investment option during these volatile times. This calls for developers to address this demand and help revive and grow the residential real estate market in India. Generally, the Indian real estate market has been irrepressible, and in spite of the slowdown that the industry witnessed in these past few months, buyers have become more active and interestingly the demand continues to grow from the NRI clientele. Now with various international brands also considering India over China as their preferred hub for production, manufacturing plants and business going forward, India is gearing up for some major inflow of global investments, that will have an impact across various industries. The NRI investors have always been the first to forecast such trends and enjoy the first mover advantage, disregarding the general sentiment. As per various reports, the current NRI investments in India will hit an all-time high of $13.1 billion in FY 21. Especially since the formation of RERA, NRI buyers have extended confidence to invest in India, more than ever, through a more simplified format of engagement along with trustworthy developers and properties that are registered under RERA. This helps the investors take interest and enter the Indian market even during the pandemic. UAE, USA, UK, and Canada are the biggest source of NRI residents who invest in India, with 42% of the total inflow coming from GCC alone. Even after having spent a significant part of their work life in these countries, citizenship is not an option available to Indians based in the Gulf region, which brings them back to India when it comes to investing in assets like a house. Especially due to COVID 19 Indians living abroad are looking at their home country as an option to settle in the future by investing in residential real estate. In the past the investment decision has been across residential, commercial, and retail real estate, largely to benefit from returns in form of rentals, but today most enquiries have come around residential properties and primarily for end-usage. Today the demand is not limited to luxury properties only, buts cuts across segments starting from affordable and mid-segment housing to premium, luxury and super-luxury properties, especially for cities in Southern states of India – Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, followed by New Delhi and Mumbai. There has been a steep rise in demand for ready-to-move-in inventory in projects that offer safety and protection in addition to ensuring availability of lifestyle essentials. Rise in demand for ready to move in houses or near-completion projects has largely surfaced from the deferred deliveries related to under-construction units. Also, with no Goods and Services Tax (GST) payable on resale flats, the demand for ready-to-move-in houses has soared. Credible developers with a proven legacy to deliver on commitments will have an advantage in today’s marketplace. The recent depreciation in the Indian rupee has sweetened the deal as NRIs now have to shell out lesser to buy a home. The significant drop in property rates, stricter regulatory measures, increased transparency and greater consolidation in the sector have together created a lucrative avenue for the NRIs to invest in the south Indian real estate market. COVID-19 had a drastic impact on pricings and demand in regions like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Consumer demand has spiked in these markets as more home buyers from across India and abroad are quickly taking advantage of the prevailing conditions to buy their dream homes. This lockdown has helped people realize the importance of living at home & a community that can be called their own. This psyche will be one of the driving forces in the future as buyers begin to accept and adapt to the new normal where they will continue to consider buying residential properties as the safest investment option. Real estate has always been an important aspect of the Indian economy. Early this year, the industry had been predicted to reach $1 trillion by 2030, contributing 13% to India’s GDP by 2025. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, the real estate market has seen a surge in demand from investors. This can be attributed to the fact that real estate is a safe and secure investment that yields high appreciation. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

Delivery of nearly 5,000 housing units offered since lockdown in Noida, Gr Noida: NAREDCO-UP

9/16/2020 2:06:00 PM

The Uttar Pradesh chapter of realtors'' body NAREDCO on Monday said its member developers have offered delivery of nearly 5,000 housing units in Noida and Greater Noida since the imposition of COVID-19 lockdown. These units are from five major real estate groups -- Supertech, Migsun, Panchsheel, Sikka and Trident. Details from other members regarding their deliveries in Gautam Buddh Nagar district have been sought, NAREDCO-UP said in a statement. NAREDCO-UP President R K Arora expressed optimism on the real estate sector, which had come to a grinding halt since the lockdown in March, returning to tracks soon. "Based on the available data, NAREDCO member developers like Panchsheel Group offered delivery of approximately 1,100 units, Migsun Group 1,225 units, Supertech Group 1,976 units, Sikka Group 250 flats and Trident Group 350 units after the implementation of the lockdown," Arora was quoted as saying in the statement. Details of flats offered by other member developers are also being collected, Arora, who is also the chairman of Supertech Group, said. He said the UP chapter of the National Real Estate Developers Council (NAREDCO) has made efforts to bring back the migrant workers who had left construction sites amidst the lockdown. The developers'' body had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UP government for rehabilitation of migrant workers, on the basis of which many of them have been brought back from different parts of the state and provided job, accommodation, food and necessary facilities so as to resume construction, he said. "With the joint efforts of all developers, the workers could be brought back and construction resumed at sites. In spite of all odds, the developers have been able to give possession of an impressive number of units to buyers since the implementation of lock down," he claimed. PTI KIS RVK Source: outlookindia Chandigarh

RBI resolution plan guidelines favourable for residential real estate, says ICRA

9/15/2020 2:43:00 PM

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently released sector-specific leverage and debt-coverage guidelines for determining eligibility for restructuring of stressed loans, including those in the residential real estate sector. Real estate has been identified as one of the more deeply impacted sectors, and consequently, relatively high leverage levels have been permitted for the sector. The required debt coverage levels are, however, similar to those expected across most identified sectors. ICRA has, in its earlier commentaries, maintained that Covid-19 has served a double whammy to the already reeling residential real estate sector in India. With inflows from both new and already booked sales having been adversely impacted, stress levels on developer’s operating cash flows have increased significantly. The ability of developers to meet scheduled repayment obligations in a timely manner would therefore remain closely linked to refinancing or carrying out of one-time restructuring of debt obligations under the recently-announced government relief measure. Commenting on the same, Mahi Agarwal, Assistant Vice President and Associate Head at ICRA, said, “Developers were already suffering from reduced credit availability post the onset of NBFC liquidity crisis and with Covid-19, the overall liquidity available to the residential real estate sector has reduced further, amidst lender’s concerns on deteriorating asset quality and increasing loan-to-value ratios. In addition, collections and construction-linked disbursements have also witnessed a slowdown due to the weakness in demand and disruption in execution.” “However, with these guidelines providing for financial headroom, stressed developers are now likely to receive much-needed liquidity support which will aid management of cash flows and allow for completion of slow-moving/stalled projects. The efficacy of the assumptions made by the lender though, particularly with regards to demand risks, will remain a critical determinant of the ultimate success of the restructuring plan,” she said. As per the resolution plan guidelines, residential developers will need to maintain the following parameters at a project-level in order to be eligible for loan-restructuring: If the above parameters are met, the residual tenor of the concerned loan may be extended by up to two years, with or without a payment moratorium, with the asset classification remaining as “standard”. Sanction of additional facilities, and/or conversion of debt to equity or non- convertible debt securities may also be considered. As per ICRA estimates, the operating cash flows of real estate developers are expected to reduce by around 30-50% in the current fiscal, resulting in higher reliance on refinancing and incremental debt to meet project costs and debt obligations. While many companies have availed moratorium to bring down debt repayments, which, coupled with automatic reduction in collection-linked prepayments, has provided some support in terms of debt coverage levels, developers with a high proportion of slow-moving or stalled projects with significant impending debt repayments are likely to continue facing cash gap issues. A one-time restructuring of debt obligations can provide considerable support for such stressed projects, as deferment of obligations/additional funding to meet the cash gap, with a favourable repayment structure spread over two years, would provide the required liquidity to enable project completion. In fact, the scheme, if successfully implemented, would achieve objectives similar to that of the SWAMIH fund, which has a target corpus of Rs 25,000 crore to provide debt financing for the completion of stalled projects. The fund has, since its inception in November, 2019, already cleared investments of over Rs 10,000 crore in 101 projects, and the high volume of proposals that it continues to receive reflects the high requirement for liquidity in the realty sector. In terms of implementation of the restructuring scheme, lender assumptions on future cash flows, structuring of debt obligations, and accounting policies being followed would be the key look-out areas. Appropriate structuring of repayments, based on expected future cash flows, would be important, as the same would allow for the suggested debt coverage levels to be met and would ultimately enable project completion on the back of the external funds thus provided. Post completion of the project, outside liabilities would reduce, as customer advances would be converted to sales and project creditors would be paid off, leaving external debt as the major outside liability. This, combined with the requirement of most lenders for a 35-40% equity margin on construction funding, would allow for the specified TOL/TNW parameter to also be met within FY2023, provided that the equity has been brought in in the form of promoter funds and not project accruals. Given buyer preference for completed inventory, sales would also be likely to receive a boost post project completion, which, combined with the reduction in construction out-flows post project completion, would support EBITDA generation to service the increased debt. Lenders would, however, need to ensure that the assumptions made while drawing up future cash flows, particularly with regards to sales, collections, and project progress, are realistic and achievable, in order to avoid a subsequent breach of the defined parameters. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

Pandemic Boosts A New Real Estate Asset Class

9/14/2020 3:58:00 PM

When both commercial and housing property markets suffered during the pandemic, work from home increased interest in one category of real estate: data centres. Immediately after India went into a lockdown mode due to Covid-19, there was a 25-35% increase in data centre capacity usage as companies began to overhaul their digital infrastructure to deal with the new work environment, according to Anarock Research. It expects that to boost growth of data centres as a real estate asset. Data centres were classified as an essential service and there has been a huge surge in cloud usage because of schools, e-commerce or streaming applications such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, said Shard Sanghi, chief executive officer-global data centres and cloud infrastructure (India) at NTT Ltd., a provider of hosting and cloud services. “You need to have more physical servers to be able to support demand from these places. So absolutely it is a factor in the growth in data centres.” To be sure, developers were warming up to the idea of building their own data centres—dedicated space to house internet servers and other data applications. The pandemic will only aid this newly emerging asset class when owners of commercial real estate, so far immune to slowdowns, are also feeling the pain. Apart from the Data Protection and Privacy Bill that calls for localisation, multinational companies coming to India are also driving demand, according to Sanghi. “If they have sensitive and critical data, it has to be hosted and processed in India itself.” Anarock estimates that additional 10 million square feet of data centre space is likely to be added over the next two to three years. Currently, data centres in top eight cities occupy 7.5 million sq. ft. space, with Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad seeing maximum demand. “Work-from-home compulsions, online education, video-based medical consultations, a huge increase in e-commerce and business-related video conferencing and webinars are increasing the demand for data centres,” said Shobhit Agarwal, managing director and chief executive officer Anarock Capital. “The government’s move to make data localisation mandatory ensures a promising future for data centres in the country. ” Adani Group, Hiranandani Group and Salarpuria Sattva have already rolled out investment plans for building data centres. Source: https://www.bloombergquint.com/ Chandigarh

Demand for ready-to-move-in homes accelerates in Covid times

9/9/2020 2:10:00 PM

Demand for ready-to-move-in (RTM) property has increased in recent years due to a variety of reasons, including project delays by multiple builders. However, in times of the current pandemic, people are showing an inclination towards RTM homes more than ever. Last year, it was estimated that around 3 lakh RTM homes will hit the market by the end of 2020, but as of now, there might be a slight change in the figures. However, the demand for these homes has transformed with people ready to pay extra just to ensure that they immediately own a real estate asset. According to 360 Realtors, one of the leading institutional channel partners, RTM sales in Delhi NCR (Gurugram and Noida markets combined) were 3,870 units in the previous quarter (April- June), and the sales of RTM homes in the present quarter (July- Sept) are expected to rise by 18% based on early numbers. “During the lockdown, many households realized the importance to own a home. Hence there was a healthy demand for RTM homes. Moreover, in RTM properties one can save GST as well. However, due to attractive payment plans, under-construction projects were also able to garner buyer’s and investor’s interest,” says Ankit Kansal, founder & MD, 360 Realtors. With home loan interest rates at an all-time low, the situation of homebuyers has improved and they are not in a mood to wait for property. The demand has increased due to the situation thrown at the door of the people after the global pandemic. “People who were living in rented accommodation faced many difficulties and they realized the importance of having their own home. Then we have the NRIs, who after witnessing the tough times abroad, are coming forward to buy a piece of property in India that can help them have security in case of exigencies. Post-COVID, people are more concerned about the real estate asset and are ready to pay extra if the property fulfills their set of requirements,” says Amit Modi, Preident (Elect) CREDAI Western UP & Director, ABA CORP. In fact, in their last report ‘Concerned yet positive – The Indian Real Estate Consumer (April – May 2020)’, which was jointly released by Housing.com and National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), the majority of the consumers showed an inclination towards RTMs or the projects that are near completion. A majority of respondents surveyed (73%) comprise ‘first-time homebuyers’, who are looking to buy a ‘ready-to-move-in-house’ for end-use and are from the age group of 25-45 years. While 60% of respondents opined that for the next six months, they would prefer a ready-to-move-in home, 21% said they were okay with a piece of property with a delivery timeline of a maximum one year. Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com & PropTiger.com, said, “Our survey showed that potential homebuyers who were searching for flats have pressed a pause button for the time being because of liquidity concerns and uncertainty over the COVID pandemic. But, a majority of them will gradually start returning to the market in the coming months. This survey has established again that credible developers and ready-to-move-in or nearing completion properties are preferred by prospective customers, who are largely end-users.” Realtors say that the demand for RTMs is mostly from the millennial who are most concerned about their health & safety as against the prices of the right property. Vijay Verma, CE0, Sunworld Group, says, “The New Age generation is very specific about the needs and this pandemic has made them realize the importance of having a real estate asset. For their own use, they are looking for RTM properties where they can have control over their health. Even for investment purposes, they prefer RTM property as it will be an immediate source of extra income for them. The demand has increased as the need is immediate and people want an immediate solution, which is provided by the RTM properties.” Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

Digitization enabling real estate sales during lockdown

9/5/2020 12:50:00 PM

The real estate industry which was already poised for digitizing its processes, practically overnight, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the announcement of the lockdown has magnified its importance on technology. Within the residential real estate, developers have taken the digital leap. They have become more inclined towards investing in online sales processes to ensure a convenient home buying process during the pandemic. We have been seeing good traction in the demand for residential homes and we are seeing demand coming back to the sector. We have seen a considerable increase in enquiries over the past 4 months with most customers using digital mediums for house hunting and project shortlisting amid the lockdown. The emergence of this unprecedented crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the pace of digitization within the industry, redefining parameters and forming a path for fundamental home buying and selling strategies to ensure the sector stays afloat. Several real estate developers have been working towards digitizing the complete sales process with the help of cutting-edge technology while duly abiding by their social distancing protocol. The following are some methods that have helped developers like Godrej Properties to adapt to the changing times and that will be essential during the ‘new normal’: Enhanced networking and lead generation through social media: Realtors can develop strong networks with customers and prospects along with their industry peers through various social networking sites. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 47% of real estate businesses note that social media results in the highest quality lead compared to other sources. While social media does provide a platform for mass e Personalized experience with Conversational AI: Chatbots, which are the most common form of Conversational AI, can engage sales prospects online. Customers today favor a conversational tone in marketing messages which makes it imperative to have a more personalized approach. Chatbots can identify a user’s intent and extract important details enclosed within their request to provide appropriate responses and solutions. Site visitors are nurtured with insightful information about the properties that they are looking for and are provided with recommendations to help them make informed decisions. Closing deals through video conference: Video conferencing has emerged as a convincing digital tool that has been adopted lately by realty players. While staying true to the social distancing norms, developers have made sure that they are in constant touch with their internal stakeholders, channel partners and customers by using tools such as MS Teams & Webex to host CPs and customers, taking them through the product offering and make live bookings, without the need of any paper intervention. Seeing the bright side of adversity, developers, along with their channel partners, are counting on webinars and online seminars to tap potential buyers and investors. Prospective homebuyers can also view the properties from wherever they are, allowing them to scrutinize the property and ask detailed questions carefully. Market listings with remote viewing and virtual walk-throughs: Social distancing has changed the way people interact and inhabit physical spaces. However, the combined power of advanced 3D modelling and virtual tours are spearheading the online property market. Developers are striving hard to bring this technology to a broader audience and provide a unique virtual tour experience for home buyers. These contactless walk-throughs save time, avoid multiple people from visiting properties and are ideal for the initial stages of seeing homes online. The following few months are going to see a massive adoption of technology as an outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic. Customers are going to be more active on digital platforms, and developers will come up with new strategies to sell their homes online. The crisis has undoubtedly given the sector a major push towards widespread technology integration and equipped them to face crisis situations with ease. Digital platforms that are aiding the industry today will form a strong foundation for businesses tomorrow, and these new upcoming technologies will create a seamless buying experience for homebuyers. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

Real Estate: Tier II And Tier III Cities On Integrated Township Radar

9/3/2020 12:00:00 PM

Tier II and Tier III cities are rapidly developing and reforming boundaries to closely located towns, with improved road connectivity and frantic economic activity, the stage is all set for these cities to witness the concept of Integrated Townships. What this essentially means is that instead of the regular run-of-the-mill colonies developed by Government bodies or local developers, people will now want to enjoy the luxuries of modern living: plush markets, schools, hospitals, entertainment facilities- all in the same compound especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. So what can people expect from such forays? Township is the largest format of real estate at least 100 acres of development. The bulk of the construction in an integrated township is residential (30-40 per cent), roads and parks are 15-20 per cent, houses for economically weaker section comprises 5-20 per cent, and rest is commercial. A township is a place that is self-sufficient with physical infrastructure (roads, power, sewer, etc) and social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, retail, entertainment areas, mass transit system, etc). Townships in India have varied in size. They range from (1) 100 acres to 500 acres (2) 500 acres to 3000 acres (3) Above 3000 acres. These townships are not just comprehensive residential hubs but are meant to provide a new way of life. It is life amidst the very best of nature coupled with strategic location and ultra-modern facilities. Major developers from around the country are already eyeing these 'prime' cities. The latest trend observed among millennials is to look for projects that provide environmental sustainability. The young generation is conscious about the world around them and wants their place to be in sync with the environmental concerns. "We have noticed that this generation is inclined towards buying homes in integrated townships. It is the 'in thing' for them to stay at a place that takes care of all the needs such as schools, shopping / entertainment, and healthcare. Many millennial are inclined towards these townships as the place has office spaces which provide them the option of walk-to-work or cycle-to-work. With many corporate likely to move towards tier II and III cities, demand for townships is going to increase. It is very clear that this generation wants to own a home as early as possible and that is why they want a place which is completely livable even if it is in the outskirts of a city," says Prateek Mittal, Executive Director, Sushma Group. "The rise in demand for homes in the post-covid scenario will veer towards facilities in a home that address health and safety concerns. This is addressed in integrated townships due to the controlled living environment they offer to its residents. Reasonable land prices, scarcity of organized living options and migration of working professionals, etc are some of the reasons that could reignite demand in cities like Lucknow, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, etc. With home loan interest rates at their historic low and government subsidy to home buyers, the acceleration in demand seems certain," says Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd. Omaxe is currently developing 9 townships at various locations and has delivered several townships in the past. The reason Integrated Townships will succeed in these cities is that most of the colonies here are either badly planned or unauthorized, which means hardship such as poor sewerage, inadequate electricity, and security issues. Kushagr Ansal, Director, Ansal Housing says, "The continuing cost pressures characterising India's Tier I cities are encouraging more companies to actively look at Tier III cities to satisfy their future requirements for the offshoring of business processes. These cities provide cost advantages of 15 per cent-30 per cent over Tier I and II cities through lower labour and real estate costs and reduced staff attrition rates and this gap is expected to widen further. Thus, more jobs mean people in these cities need upgraded lifestyle and townships are the formats that they are looking at." Residential markets across various tier-II or tier-III cities have witnessed heightened activity which is expected to grow more after the Corona scare, leading to a push in commercial realty as well. "Lower price points for properties is one of the most formidable reasons for the changing outlook of real estate here, which includes inclination towards living in integrated townships. Industries are open on moving to smaller towns, as an exercise for a cost- effective expansion and also due to the land congestion and high rental & property rates in metros", says Raman Gupta, Director - Branding & Construction, GBP Group. Goodreturns.in Chandigarh

McKinsey’s survey sees India’s growth despite pandemic woes

8/31/2020 1:43:00 PM

In the context of both structural growth slowdown and the economic shock of the pandemic, recovering to a high-growth path will not be business as usual for India, according to a survey titled India’s Turning Point by McKinsey Global Institute. Excerpts from the survey reveal that two sectors - manufacturing and construction - have the potential to give India the biggest lift to productivity and job growth, respectively. In other emerging economies, sectors such as construction and trade typically absorb the greatest numbers of workers moving out of agriculture and increase average labour productivity at the same time. Indian businesses can create economic value of about $635 billion by 2030 if they tap into the shifting preferences of Indians aspiring to a higher standard of living. India has the opportunity to put in place a robust planning approach for its top cities, which have low capital investment per capita and are less productive than they should be. India would need 25 million affordable housing units by 2030, at a low cost of at most 2,000 rupees per square foot, depending on income segment. For example, mass affordable housing that uses modern construction practices, including prefabricated and modular construction and lightweight aluminium formwork is five to six times more productive than the sector average and would reduce cost to home buyers. Other opportunities include a planning approach that increases the floor space index (FSI) systematically to make the right parts of cities more dense and productive. India’s maximum FSI ranges from 1.8 to 5 across most cities, while averages are lower as the minimum FSI across cities ranges from 1.2 to 3.5. For a country of India’s urban scale, McKinsey estimates that these ideas could generate $195 billion in economic value in 2030 and support about 30 million jobs, for average yearly investments of $75 billion. The construction sector has the potential to more than double its GDP to $550 billion, from $250 billion in 2020. Productive and resilient cities, will require significant changes in the real estate sector. The ratio of home price to income is on average 4.3 in the eight largest cities in India, compared to less than 1.5 in a set of OECD countries. The higher price of land in India is a large contributing factor and land market reforms would have a substantial impact other sector-specific measures could also help boost the real estate sector. Homeownership could be incentivised by rationalising stamp duties and registration fees to reduce costs to buyers and offering greater tax incentives. The high cost of land is a key reason. By enacting several key reforms, India has the potential to reduce land costs by 20 to 25 percent and increase the supply of land available for construction. Finally, the process of land acquisition for industrial use could be significantly eased. Some states have implemented measures like land pooling, enhancing the state land bank for industrial use, and introducing legislative amendments to ease the acquisition of land by the private sector, subject to high level clearance. To ease conversion of land from agricultural to industrial use, Karnataka has implemented a simplified online, single-window system that requires fewer document submissions for land use conversion for industrial purposes. Approval is automatic after 30 days if no response has been received. Source: Gulftoday.ae Chandigarh

Booster dose for realty: Maharashtra reduces stamp duty on sale deeds

8/29/2020 1:02:00 PM

The Maharashtra Cabinet approved a proposal on Wednesday to reduce stamp duty by 3 per cent on all land or home sale transactions executed and registered between September 1 and December 31, this year. There will be a 2 per cent reduction on stamp duty from January 1 to March 31, 2021. Batting for an early resumption of real estate works, a government-appointed committee for economic revival had earlier recommended concession in stamp duty for first sale transactions. Another committee headed by HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, which studied the impact of the lockdown on the sector, too, had batted for the cut, while also pushing for reduction in construction premiums. A plan to lower construction premiums is also in the works, said officials. The government is hoping that the concession will kickstart home buying in Maharashtra. Tax income from property transactions is the second highest revenue grosser in the state after Goods and Service Tax. In Mumbai, the stamp duty rate is 6 per cent of the agreement value or the ready reckoner value, whichever is more. The concession will mean that this will to 3 per cent of these values from September 1. “This will certainly stimulate the housing demand and help in converting inquiries into sales closures. The fiscal advantage should nudge fence sitters to convert into actual home buyers with rippling effect on economic growth. With many other favorable market conditions, this announcement shall rekindle the ailing real estate sector and see volume in transactions,” said National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) national president Niranjan Hiranandani. He further emphasised that if the central government can slash GST rates, it would act as a shot in the arm to the real estate sector. In another move to push construction and redevelopment activity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the state Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend Mumbai’s Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) model to all urban local body limits in the region. Ironically, the Mumbai model, which promised heightened area incentives and perks to slum redevelopers, has fared miserably with just 20 per cent projects completed in over two decades. The SRA will have a separate set up for clearance of projects in the rest of MMR. The Cabinet also appointed a study group to check if more than one authority would be needed for these areas and the feasibility of extending the same slum redevelopment model to urban agglomerates outside MMR. Source: The Indian Express Chandigarh

Real Estate Sector Witnesses Improved Market Sentiments In Unlock Phase

8/28/2020 1:50:00 PM

The pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is evident on real estate through stalled deals, halt in sales, and delay in launches. As India enters Unlock 4.0, the restarting of economic activity and push by the government through various initiatives have set the pace for boosting demand and sales in the real estate sector. "The real estate sector was already hit by the market slowdown. It was expected that it would take longer to return to normalcy, but with the revision in interest rates and a few favourable government policies, the market has already started reviving and the demand graph is trending upwards. The construction works have also resumed in order to deliver the projects as per the given timelines. Homebuyers are more conscious now to invest in a property with assured safety, to live a sustainable life. The rise in the housing demand for Tier-II cities can be seen because of affordability and better growth prospects." says Ashish Sarin, CEO, AlphaCorp. It is expected that the pent-up demand in the residential sector will give a fillip to sales especially of ready-to-move-in and near-completion properties in the post-COVID-19 scenario. In the commercial segment, co-living and office spaces are likely to lead to recovery. In the logistics and warehousing sectors, supply contraction in the sector will lead to a dip in vacancies and better pricing. Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd. says "The enquiries and sales in the real estate sector are picking up post-lockdown albeit some shift in demand and preference of homebuyers. The developers' agility to adapt to this new demand is the key to the quick recovery of the sector. The RBI's liquidity support has been helpful but it is pertinent that measures to shore up demand must be taken. Being an end-user driven market, the demand has picked up faster in 2/3 cities due to a host of reasons like government's industry and infrastructure push, corporates looking for cheap real estate and skilled workforce that are staying back or returning and higher capital appreciation. In the commercial segment, organised retail with 2-3 years delivery timeline is showing a lot of demand from investors and retailers." Expressing views on traction picked up by the office space market, Ashish Arora, Director-Distribution, Viridian RED, says, "Real estate market sentiments have gradually improved during the unlock period. Decision-making processes and deals which were put on hold due to the lockdown have been resumed now. In the last couple of months, India's office space market has witnessed few of the key transactions led by global firms which have brought much-needed breather to the sector. Despite the hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial realty segment has an optimistic future. Backed with affordable rentals, the abundance of skilled and low-cost talent, increased interest of investors towards REIT would augment the growth of the commercial realty sector." The COVID-19 crisis is also expected to redefine certain trends in real estate. The lockdown witnessed players leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality to enhance the consumer experience. Amarjit Bakshi, CMD, Central Park explains, "There has been a revival in demand through increasing footfalls and sales. We have also seen an increase in unique visitors on our website and have been witnessing an increase in queries for various assets within our township. There is so much latent demand for real estate, that we have started reviving the sales impetus. There has been a comparative upsurge in sales in the third quarter of 2020 largely influenced by the investor segment. As more and more investors are finding the equity market volatile, they are skewing towards prime real estate investments from reputed builders. COVID-19 has invariably renewed focus on developers with a strong track record and penchant for style and design. There is still caution against launching new projects but hopefully, we will see new zest in the coming festive season." Going forward, we foresee an extensive use of technology to offer curated experiences. The overall concern towards hygiene, health, and wellness measures will inevitably benefit real estate players with sound credentials and an enviable track record. Source: Businessworld.in Chandigarh

Model tenancy law to be approved in next one month: Housing Secy

8/27/2020 11:25:00 AM

The government will approve the model tenancy law in the next one month and then send it to states/UTs for adoption, a reform aimed at boosting rental housing, Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra said on Wednesday. Addressing a Assocham webinar on the housing sector, he said the Centre would encourage states/Union Territories to adopt this model law. He hoped that they would pass necessary legislations over the next one year. "We are bringing a very big reform. We are changing the tenancy law," Mishra said. The secretary pointed that the present tenancy laws in various states were skewed towards safeguarding the interest of tenants. As per the 2011 census, Mishra said, 1.1 crore homes were vacant as people fear giving them on rent. The secretary said the model tenancy law will be approved in a month by the competent authority. Mishra said his ministry would ensure that within one year every state passes legislation to implement this model law. The secretary said the model law provides for rent transactions on agreements and dispute resolution system. "We hope that 60-80 per cent of the vacant flats will come into rental market once this law is implemented," he said, adding that the real estate developers could also convert their unsold inventories into rental housing. The ministry had in July 2019 floated the draft model tenancy law, which proposes that landowners will have to give a notice in writing three months before revising rent. It advocated appointing a district collector as rent authority and heavy penalty on tenants for overstaying. Talking about the newly launched Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) scheme, Mishra said the programme aims to convert lakhs of vacant flats owned by the Centre and states into rental housing for migrant workers at a very cheap rent. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the ARHC scheme as part of the over Rs 20-lakh crore economic package to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Last month, the housing ministry issued guidelines to implement ARHC in the country. "We want to bring vacant homes owned by the central, state and urban local bodies into this scheme and provide affordable rental housing to migrants/urban poor," he said. Mishra highlighted that ARHC also encourages private players to participate in this scheme by giving extra developable area (floor area ratio) to them. Subsidy wll be given for adoption of innovative construction technology. Interest rate will also be lower. The secretary said the scheme would generate a return of 13 per cent to make it financially viable. Mishra assured the industry that he would look into their suggestions to make this scheme more attractive. To make ARHC scheme tax efficient and boost investment in rental housing, NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani demanded accelerated depreciation and increase in rate of standard deduction and enable private players as well as financial institutions to earn decent return. Property consultant Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said rental housing offers great opportunity, but to encash that tenancy laws need to be reformed. He said many large corporates and companies like Signature Global have entered into affordable housing segment and the same could be replicated in rental housing. Last month, the Union Cabinet approved the ARHC scheme, under which existing vacant government-funded housing complexes will be converted into affordable rental housing complexes through "concession agreements" for 25 years. ARHC is a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban. The concessionaire will make the complexes livable by repair or retrofit and maintenance of rooms and filling up infrastructure gaps such as water, sewer, sanitation, road and related work. Source: Outlookindia.com Chandigarh

Why now is opportune time to buy house ‘Work from Home’ influences home buying preference

8/25/2020 12:20:00 PM

The pandemic inducing virus COVID-19 came into the lives of individuals out of nowhere and spread like a sheer wildfire, altering almost everything that came in its way. People across the globe found themselves confined within the four walls of their homes and the brick and mortar operations of offices, stores, and businesses came to a halt. These changes paved the way for a new professional culture called work from home, wherein employees had to carry out all their functions remotely from the safety of their homes. However, keeping in the mind the myriad benefits and the ease of work that this concept offers it will be safe to say that this is bound to become an integral part of one’s daily life. As per a study conducted by the research firm Gartner, over 75% of business employers plan to increase the number of permanent remote employees. This new development has not only infused high degrees of trust in professional relationships but has also transformed the face of the real estate sector. The buying patterns of those willing to purchase property have noted significant influence arising from the modern changes in their work cycle. Here are some factors that have fuelled this transition- Emerging popularity of Peripheral areas Before the virus outbreak, office goers looked for houses that were situated closer to their work-place. It meant that convenience and lesser travel time were the two primary drivers of a homebuyer’s choice. However, as remote working gains popularity with each passing day and seems to become a permanent aspect of one’s life the very parameters that governed one’s decisions have witnessed an absolute change. Individuals are now looking for offerings that provide them with extra space, modern amenities, and enhanced ambiance. For the buyers in the post corona era, the location will not play a major role, as they do not mind residing in a house that is bigger and cheaper as well as situated in the periphery of the city. Affordability Coronavirus has adversely affected the economy and caused severe consequences, the brunt of which is being faced by employees across the board. With a reduction in earnings, organisations are finding it difficult to stay afloat and are resorting to all possible methods to ensure cost-cutting. One of the paths adopted by the corporates entails cutting the overall pay of employees, simultaneously resulting in low income in hand. During such persistent scenarios, the affordability aspect of properties emerges as a prime point of consideration. However, the government measures such as lowering of home loan interest rates are playing a significant role in protecting the interest of home buyers and making it an opportune time to own a house. Home Ownership Covid-19 has brought with itself a sense of deep-rooted uncertainty and ambiguity, leaving mankind grappling for something that provides them with a feeling of safety as well as security. A rented house can never be that peaceful abode, rather it will continue to have the hassles of monthly payments and undue restrictions, leaving one at the whims of their landlord. Additionally, with property rates adopting a downward trend and the varied measures introduced by the government, the option of owning a house amidst a pandemic seems to be increasingly lucrative. However, with the world adopting the new normal of working remotely, the charm of the above-mentioned trend stands tarnished, consequently rendering the distance factor immaterial. Further, the idea of work from home provides employers with access to a greater talent pool, making them more convinced about the permanency of this method of operating. Hence homebuyers are now looking for quality homes irrespective of the closeness to one’s place of work. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

How covid has changed the way we live

8/24/2020 1:53:00 PM

Home-buying activity came to a grinding halt after the lockdown induced by covid-19. According to a report by PropTiger, an online real estate platform, real estate sales ped over 70% in the April-June quarter compared with the previous year. Things are changing now, however. With the government gradually easing the restrictions, online portals are seeing a surge in traffic. The number of enquiries are at pre-covid-19 levels, but the nature of enquiries have changed. With many companies allowing work from home (WFH) to a large number of employees, people are now looking for spacious houses. A joint survey on consumer sentiment by real estate portal Housing.com and self- regulatory body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) indicated that over 40% of buyers are looking to upgrade their homes and there is a in the demand for one-bedroom houses. In fact, to be able to afford bigger houses, homebuyers are also opening up to the idea of moving to peripheral locations. We tell you how the pandemic is changing the way we live. Looking for space Many companies allowed WFH due to the lockdown but are now planning to continue with it. As a result, people are now looking to carve out an office space into their homes. “For around five months, most people have been working from home. This has resulted in a yearning for private space where one can focus on work. Clearly, for those who are looking for an upgrade in the next year, the ‘extra space or study room or multi-functional area’ in the apartment design will be a factor to consider," said Subhankar Mitra, managing director, advisory services, Colliers International India. In keeping with the trend, the demand for one-bedroom houses has already witnessed a . “We have seen a decline in the demand for single-bedroom homes of around 10% as a proportion of total demand for new homes, resale and rental homes. Market anecdotes also point to the requirement for larger homes," said Mani Rangarajan, group chief operating officer, Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com. Apart from that, the demand for new house compared with those on resale has surged due to availability of amenities and open spaces around new homes. “Online search for new houses has gone up as compared to homes available in the resale segment," said Rangarajan. Significant inventory build-up has reduced the premium new houses had over resale properties, which is why the demand has gone up, he added. The problem of rising inventory has intensified post covid-19. As per industry estimates, the premium that new houses commanded over resale properties may have come down from 15-20% to 10-15% depending on the location. Distance doesn’t count Commuting is no longer an issue for those working from home, which has reduced the need to take a house close to the workplace. As a result, people are more open to moving to peripheral locations for better affordability. “Demand for homes located in peripheral areas of cities may go up given that homes are more affordable in these areas and buyers can purchase larger homes," said Rangarajan. Demand from peripheral areas has already increased, said Sudhir Pai, CEO, Magicbricks, a real estate portal. “This is primarily due to affordability and a fresh supply of ready-to-move-in properties. This demand is prominent in major markets of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Gurugram and Noida," Pai added. There is a surge in demand in tier II and tier III cities as well. “With some people moving to their home towns due to WFH, the demand in these cities has gone up," said Rangarajan. Magicbricks is witnessing a 50% increase in searches in small towns. “More working professionals are thinking of having a house in their home towns," said Pai. Credibility is key Covid-19 has heightened the risk of delay in projects. While work was halted across the country due to the lockdown, most developers saw poor sales during the period, adding to the financial stress in the sector. According to a report from Liaises Foras, a Mumbai-based real estate research firm, around 50% of unsold inventory faces high execution risk post covid-19. In this scenario, people are preferring developers that come with a credible track record. “Post RERA and GST there is a certain shift of homebuyers towards reputed developers. Developers with a good track record registered notable sales even during the lockdown. Going forward, this momentum will continue," said Mitra. In any case, there has been a surge in demand for ready-to-move-in houses over the past few years as people are becoming wary of project delays. A house is one of the biggest purchases of one’s lifetime, so it’s important to be careful. Be mindful of the practices adopted by the employers in your industry to assess if WFH will be long term for you and decide accordingly. If you think WFH may not last, buying that big house in the suburbs at the price you can afford may not really make sense. Source: Live Mint Chandigarh

Rental housing in India may boom in next two years: Report

8/22/2020 4:56:00 PM

Driven by rapid urbanization, migration to cities and the rising cost of home ownership, rental housing in India is likely to see a boom in the next two years, according to a report by Savills India. As per the 2011 census, urban households on rent stood at over 21 million, which is around 20% of the total number of houses in urban India. Almost 80% of the rental housing market in the country is concentrated in urban centres. While India’s urban population share has grown more than threefold in over a century at around 10% in the 1900s to the current levels of more than 34%, annual inter-state migration is estimated to be growing at around 9-10 million annually. Meanwhile, the cost of house ownership across India has shown a CAGR of around 5% in the past few years, as per the report. The events and policy initiatives over the last few years &ndash including the establishment of RERA, PMAY, Model Tenancy Law, and others &ndash have laid the foundation for development of rental housing. The missing piece of the puzzle was about making it viable and sustainable for the development and distribution process. This is because the returns from residential real estate have remained very low. It fails to attract capital, or, long- term operations-interest. This missing-part received a significant boost through the Central government’s announcement of creation of rental housing for poor urban migrants during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. During lockdown, the migrant workers and economically-weaker sections frequently symbolised the plight, mainly because impermanent housing and the attendant economic woes forced them into reverse-migration. This class of society has, for long, been the biggest latent demand-segment for such housing. However, high land costs in cities (coupled with overall project costs) have historically rendered any solution ineffective, as rent-paying capacities of the subject demand segment did not provide any buoyancy to project cashflows. Moreover, lack of suitable operational mechanisms for long-term, made it impossible to address this issue in the past. The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs), Operational Guidelines July 2020 released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has now laid a roadmap. “This is a remarkable attempt in this direction. We may say that this could prove to be a possible watershed development in the direction of sorting housing woes of urban poor,” states the report. Operational Guidelines for ARHCs have laid down two models &ndash while the first model (M-1) envisages the operation of vacant government funded houses as ARHCs by a concessionaire for 25 years, the second model (M-2) provides for public & private entities to create ARHCs on their own vacant lands. ARHCs can, arguably, be called the most important of all the policy measures since 2005, since it can enhance liveability in the quickest time &ndash compared to other measures which require longer implementation-timeframes. If implemented via one of the two models, the rental housing availability can begin in less than 2 years. As per the report, the guidelines have laid a clear roadmap for investors looking at stable long-term returns. ARHCs can match the risk-return profiles of offshore wealth, insurance and sovereign funds, and give them a strong foothold in the large residential market of the country. ARHCs also open the prospects of having a residential REIT in the country. “Rental housing is another market that is yet to be tapped, especially in the urban areas which have seen prices of homes go beyond the cusp of most of the city dwellers. The recently released operational guidelines on Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) are a long-awaited giant leap in the right direction,” says Anurag Mathur, Chief Executive Officer, Savills India. Rental housing in India, in fact, is in its infancy. However, there is a tremendous upside potential for the market participants to explore. Much like REITs, India can take a leaf out of the immense learning experience worldwide. Singapore, Hongkong, Germany, UK, etc., have significantly mature rental housing markets. In due course, the Indian market should explore some of the concepts in play in these countries, such as 99-year lease models Greater private and community ownership of assets Negative Gearing, a concept in use in Australia Utilisation of centrally sponsored savings schemes to fund buying or leasing of rental houses, among others. Interestingly, senior living and co-living segments have also commoditised the monthly rentals derived from households. Only, their target segments are obviously different, since they focus on elderly population and the millennial age bracket, instead of the low-income group focus of affordable rental housing schemes. These classes of rental houses are clearly complimentary in nature, and can well be stepping-stones for investors to achieve higher returns and diversification of residential portfolio. Chandigarh

Rental housing in India may boom in next two years: Report

8/20/2020 3:09:00 PM

Driven by rapid urbanization, migration to cities and the rising cost of home ownership, rental housing in India is likely to see a boom in the next two years, according to a report by Savills India. As per the 2011 census, urban households on rent stood at over 21 million, which is around 20% of the total number of houses in urban India. Almost 80% of the rental housing market in the country is concentrated in urban centres. While India’s urban population share has grown more than threefold in over a century at around 10% in the 1900s to the current levels of more than 34%, annual inter-state migration is estimated to be growing at around 9-10 million annually. Meanwhile, the cost of house ownership across India has shown a CAGR of around 5% in the past few years, as per the report. The events and policy initiatives over the last few years &ndash including the establishment of RERA, PMAY, Model Tenancy Law, and others &ndash have laid the foundation for development of rental housing. The missing piece of the puzzle was about making it viable and sustainable for the development and distribution process. This is because the returns from residential real estate have remained very low. It fails to attract capital, or, long- term operations-interest. This missing-part received a significant boost through the Central government’s announcement of creation of rental housing for poor urban migrants during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. During lockdown, the migrant workers and economically-weaker sections frequently symbolised the plight, mainly because impermanent housing and the attendant economic woes forced them into reverse-migration. This class of society has, for long, been the biggest latent demand-segment for such housing. However, high land costs in cities (coupled with overall project costs) have historically rendered any solution ineffective, as rent-paying capacities of the subject demand segment did not provide any buoyancy to project cashflows. Moreover, lack of suitable operational mechanisms for long-term, made it impossible to address this issue in the past. The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs), Operational Guidelines July 2020 released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has now laid a roadmap. “This is a remarkable attempt in this direction. We may say that this could prove to be a possible watershed development in the direction of sorting housing woes of urban poor,” states the report. Operational Guidelines for ARHCs have laid down two models &ndash while the first model (M-1) envisages the operation of vacant government funded houses as ARHCs by a concessionaire for 25 years, the second model (M-2) provides for public & private entities to create ARHCs on their own vacant lands. ARHCs can, arguably, be called the most important of all the policy measures since 2005, since it can enhance liveability in the quickest time &ndash compared to other measures which require longer implementation-timeframes. If implemented via one of the two models, the rental housing availability can begin in less than 2 years. As per the report, the guidelines have laid a clear roadmap for investors looking at stable long-term returns. ARHCs can match the risk-return profiles of offshore wealth, insurance and sovereign funds, and give them a strong foothold in the large residential market of the country. ARHCs also open the prospects of having a residential REIT in the country. “Rental housing is another market that is yet to be tapped, especially in the urban areas which have seen prices of homes go beyond the cusp of most of the city dwellers. The recently released operational guidelines on Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) are a long-awaited giant leap in the right direction,” says Anurag Mathur, Chief Executive Officer, Savills India. Rental housing in India, in fact, is in its infancy. However, there is a tremendous upside potential for the market participants to explore. Much like REITs, India can take a leaf out of the immense learning experience worldwide. Singapore, Hongkong, Germany, UK, etc., have significantly mature rental housing markets. In due course, the Indian market should explore some of the concepts in play in these countries, such as 99-year lease models Greater private and community ownership of assets Negative Gearing, a concept in use in Australia Utilisation of centrally sponsored savings schemes to fund buying or leasing of rental houses, among others. Interestingly, senior living and co-living segments have also commoditised the monthly rentals derived from households. Only, their target segments are obviously different, since they focus on elderly population and the millennial age bracket, instead of the low-income group focus of affordable rental housing schemes. These classes of rental houses are clearly complimentary in nature, and can well be stepping-stones for investors to achieve higher returns and diversification of residential portfolio. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh

Realty developers go digital to woo customers

8/18/2020 5:00:00 PM

From online customer interaction to virtual site visit, the realty developers in the region are leaving no stone unturned to attract buyers and mitigate the impact of the Covid. The real estate players have started adopting digital technologies to target potential outstation and NRI customers. “We are organising virtual tours to ease home viewing experience for our customers. In the coming months, more such innovative tools will be used. Homebuyers in tier 2/3 cities are very enthused with this new normal,” said Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd. The company has also started online bookings wherein homebuyers can the property, make payment and submit documents. According to buyers, virtual tours bring the ease of visiting projects within the comfort of your home by scrolling through screens via latest technology integration. “Due to travel restrictions, many of the potential customers are unable to make a site visit. So we are facilitating virtual tours through WhatsApp and other platforms besides live interaction so that they can see the actual construction site. In addition to this, we also send video bytes to customers to keep them updated about the project,” said Iqbal Singh, marketing head, The Mentor Group. According to housing portals, online search for property has increased significantly amid the pandemic. “To assist buyers, we offer several technology-focused products such as online booking, real-time video connect, virtual tours, webinars to help our users, developers and brokers connect with customers,” said Mani Rangarajan (Group COO &ndash Housing.com, Makaan.com & PropTiger.com) There have also been instances where the developers have seen a surge in demand without going digital. “As compared to February, the physical site visits to our projects have increased by 30% in July and sales have gone up by 10%,” said Prateek Mittal, Executive Director, Sushma Group. Source: The Tribune Chandigarh

NRIs, Invest Now in Property

8/17/2020 4:12:00 PM

The Indian housing market today is in a state of accelerated consolidation, where organised corporate players are emerging as the top real estate developers. This is good for the market's credibility, transparency, and overall health. The INR is currently quoting at Dh20.41, which translates into more purchasing power for Non-Resident Indian (NRIs), historically low repo rates and property circle rate revisions have also enabled housing prices to fall significantly in major investment destinations across the country. Anupam Rastogi, co-founder and Head - GCC, Square Yards, said: "NRIs today, more than ever before have their eyes firmly set on a permanent address in India, given the shifting global equations and the importance of a home that doubles up as an office in a rapidly growing work from home trend." NRIs have also realised that rent is a pure expense while a housing loan EMI is about net worth creation, asset building, a secondary income source if need be. According to the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), NRIs holding a valid Indian passport have a blanket permission to invest in multiple number of immovable (residential and commercial) properties in India. As far as tax benefits are concerned, NRIs are eligible to a tax deduction on interest paid and loan repayment on their home loans if they are NRIs as per the income tax definition and file their income tax returns in India. Some tax benefits also extend to selling of property also where they can exercise the option of cutting down on long-term capital gains tax payable by them by buying another property. Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, NAREDCO, said: "There are several factors that work out in the favour of property investors at the moment. Since the last couple of months due to the Covid-19 lockdown situation there has been a huge in the demand in real estate properties. Almost all the developers are facing liquidity crises and would be keen on clearing their unsold inventory. Many developers are offering properties at very reasonable rates or offering incentives to convert a quick sale. The funds would then be used to complete their stalled projects or start a new project which they had kept on hold." NRI's form a sizeable chunk of our investor base in the Indian real estate sector due to its emotional and commercial reasons. So developers do anticipate demand rising for real estate by NRIs in the coming quarters. India continues to be one of the most preferred investment destinations for expats. Last year, India was one of the top countries receiving foreign remittances to the tune of $83 billion. The real estate sector is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture in India. The developers have ensured that its workforce is well taken care of and paid salaries on time. However, most of them are also facing working capital issues and struggling with paucity of funds at the moment. The Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India have taken many steps, which include fiscal stimulus packages and structural reforms to revive the economy and arrest job losses. The impact of the same would be surely seen in the coming years. The Indian real estate market has been significantly impacted by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. The real estate sector is highly over- leveraged and reduced business over the past several months is bound to make it desperate for sales. Khetsi Barot, Executive Director, The Guardians Real Estate Advisory, said: "The developers have realised that ready-to-move-in and completed projects tend to attract a large number of buyers. Such projects also realise payments immediately as the buyers intend to immediately take possession of their asset." Most developers are currently focusing on completing their projects that are under construction and then depend on inventories at completed projects for their revenues. "In order to make it lucrative for potential buyers and primarily to gain sales volumes developers have begun offering bank subvention and flexi payment schemes as well. These schemes have been introduced to comfort the buyers at a time when they are tilted towards postponing the purchase," added Barot. Today NRI's are not eyeing Indian real estate only as an investment option but are also looking to build something they can use in near future for themselves. Therefore, in current scenario where ready properties are available at good price with option to move in and pay later they can consolidate their investment into a large, spacious, well designed homes that suits their family requirement in an established location with latest facilities and amenities in the complex and if it comes with good location it's an added advantage as an investment. "NRIs can take the benefit of current foreign exchange while transferring lump sum savings they have and the balance can be funded over time through home loan which is all time low at about 6.8 per cent," said Bhasker Jain, Head - Sales, Marketing & CRM, The Wadhwa Group. "More than anything else developers are trying to complete existing projects in hand rather than launching new ones as today buyers don't have appetite to take risk of delay in completion of projects. Also due to Covid-19, end users who have realised the importance of a well planned home want to move in as soon as possible for safety & health of their family. NRI investors too can get a healthy rental yield immediately if they put money in ready projects." Source: Khaleej Times Chandigarh

Haryana resumes process to register properties with agricultural land

8/12/2020 2:35:00 PM

The Haryana government, which had since July 22 temporarily halted registration of transfer deeds related to transfer of land/ properties in the state, will restart the process in a phased manner. The process for taking e-appointments for registration of agricultural land in rural areas of the state will start from Tuesday. However, the registration of agricultural land deeds will start from August 17. Similarly, e-appointments for the registration of land deeds in urban areas will start from August 17 and the date for re-starting registration of deeds will be shared soon. The decision on resuming registration process was taken by a meeting led by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and deputy CM Dushyant Chautala on Monday. The meeting also reviewed linkages of various departments with e-Registration system of revenue department. The CM was informed that the testing of the module for e-registration of agricultural land deeds, in rural areas, prepared by the revenue department, has been completed. Haryana has already made sweeping changes in the process of registration of property/land sale deeds after the alleged registries scam, which occurred during the lockdown and covers over 30,000 sale deeds executed without the mandatory no-objection certificates (NoCs). These land sale deeds were executed without taking NoCs from the town and country planning and urban local bodies departments in Gurgaon, Sonipat, Faridabad and Jhajjar districts. Khattar specifically directed that the decision regarding no registration of transfer of deeds of land for land in urban areas, as declared/notified under Section 7-A of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975 (as amended from time to time) and villages where the jamabandis are currently offline and not available on web-HALRIS will remain unchanged. Besides, this no registration of transfer of deeds of land will be done in controlled areas for the time being. The Haryana government is also using technology-based checks to prevent registrations in violation of the law by interfacing the web HALRIS application with TCP, ULBs, HSVP, HSIIDC, urban estates, police, forests, litigation matters on priority basis. There are a total of 32 lakh properties in urban areas across the state, of which 18 lakh properties are integrated with the department portal. The rest will also be brought on a single digital platform by October 31. Source: The Times of India Chandigarh

Uttar Pradesh to soon have single window clearance system for developers

8/10/2020 6:01:00 PM

The Uttar Pradesh state government has kickstarted the process of creating a single window clearance system for developers, a move that will significantly reduce real estate project costs in Uttar Pradesh. A builder currently has to take 70-80 permissions through the entire project life cycle— from land acquisition to the completion of the project — from different authorities and getting permissions takes one to two years resulting in cost overruns, according to the developers. “This will ultimately help the homebuyers as the benefit of cost cuts will be passed on to them and it will ensure timely delivery. The authority should also be held accountable if there is a delay from their side. There should be a system where a builder is required to submit documents at one place only,” said Manoj Gaur, chairman of Gaurs Group. Apart from NCR towns of UP- Noida and Ghaziabad, the move will benefit real estate projects in tier 2 cities like Lucknow, Meerut, Varanasi, Bareilly and Jhansi, where developers have shown willingness to invest. Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UP RERA) invited bids for ion of consultants for benchmarking existing policies and procedures to create a single window system of state developmental authorities. “The idea is to bring all the development authorities under one roof and ensure clearance in a time bound manner. It will provide a one stop integrated services to real estate promoters. This will also check delays in approval and clearance processes by putting and tracking Service Level Agreements (SLAs) on each activity involved,” said Rajive Kumar, chairperson, UP RERA. As of July 2020, 53,364 real estate projects have been registered under RERA across the country while in UP the number of registered projects stood at 2818 as of July 2020. Developers say the need for a single window system was a long standing demand and is a step in the right direction. “Sometimes after completing the construction, a builder has to wait upto a year for the completion certificate. There is no timeline for the builder who has to pay interest, which earlier used to get passed on to the homebuyers. Once the approvals start coming in time bound manner, developers can reduce unnecessary cost,” said RK Arora, president of Uttar Pradesh chapter of apex real estate body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). In Noida alone, there are three different authorities that developers have to deal with along with a host of departments such as environment and fire department. Since they can’t advertise before registering the project with RERA, a lot of time is lost between land acquisition and getting required NOCs for the registration of the project. “The single window clearance system is a prudent move by the UP government towards the real estate sector. This will not only help us in fast tracking the projects, but let us work on a project with comparatively lesser interest amount,” said Amit Modi, Director ABA Corp. “The benefit from reduced interest rates would be translated to the price points offered to the end-users. The immense amount of time saved from permissions and clearances can be utilised in developing better stakeholder relationships, and driving more investment towards the sector,” he added. According to a study by property consultant JLL, about 3 lakh houses in NCR are currently under construction of 1.24 lakh are in mid-segment. And maximum proportion (66%) of these 1.24 Lakh mid-segment under construction residential units are concentrated in Noida and Greater Noida area of Uttar Pradesh. Source: The Economic Times Chandigarh

Punjab notifies housing policy, to include areas off MC limits

8/8/2020 10:17:00 AM

To give a fillip to construction of affordable houses, the state government has notified yet another ‘Punjab Affordable Housing Policy 2020’ on July 24 in supersession of earlier policies announced in March 2018, May 2020, and another one on 15th July this year. The new policy would be applicable in all areas developed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential and mixed land use zones of master plans and in 3-km belt around municipal limits even if it is outside the master plan or regional plan. Minimum site area for plotted or plotted and group housing mixed colonies would be five acres and for exclusive group housing colonies it would be two acres. Minimum right of way (ROW) for approach road to colony for plotted development would be 22 to 40 feet wide or as per master plan whichever is more while for group housing or mixed development colonies the ROW would be 40 feet. The apportionment of plotted area has been fixed at maximum 60 percent of effective site area as saleable, 10 percent for EWS (from out of total 60 percent), eight percent under parks, five percent for commercial (excluding parking) and four per cent for community centre. The policy further lays down that maximum plot size for affordable houses would be 150 sq yds and for EWS houses it would be 100 sq yds. Maximum ground coverage of 70 per cent would be permissible with FAR 1:2.1, maximum height 11 metres (excluding mumty and parapet wall), ground plus two floors with both front and rear set back of 7.5 feet. For the group housing colonies, minimum of 25 percent area has to be under parks, maximum permissible ground coverage would be 35 percent with FAR 1:3. Under the provisions of the policy, the Chief Town Planner (CTP) would be the competent authority for the approval of CLU (change of land use) and layout plan/zoning plan of colonies with total area of more than 10 acre while for colonies with area of less than 10 acre STP (senior town planner) would approve CLU. Source: The Tribune Chandigarh

Smart homes for Smart Homebuyers: The future of Indian Real Estate Horizons Cottages

8/6/2020 2:20:00 PM

We’ve all seen the movie Smart House and wondered if we can really embed the fancy features of house automation in our personal spaces. The possibility of it was quite distant back then, but now with technology advancing manifolds, making your abode a smart home can be a doddle. Making your space more secure, convenient, customized, and comfortable, home automation or demotics has quite recently come in the main frame. With customers becoming increasingly aware and dependent on technology, their aspirations for better living is increasing. With smart homes, we will not have to worry about the tedious everyday tasks that take our time, and efforts. Dabbing into our personal spaces, home automation is here to transform dreams into reality. Ranging from remote controlled shutters or doors, to smart home hubs and security, smart home technology is here to make your life easier. With the never-seen-before technology, artificial intelligence and IoT are offering unique experiences to both homeowners, and prospective homebuyers. Industry experts believe that the bespoke technology will soon dominate the real estate market. Still being at a nascent stage in India, the country will see a massive rise in the number of tech-equipped homes where everything can be controlled with the click of a button. Also the concept of “intelligent sensing” comes into mainframe with home automation. The radar or built-in sensors will not only control appliances, but will also be moving beyond passive communication, and will rather engage proactively (we can get a hint with Google’s Alexa). Also, they will be a lot more energy-efficient and cost-effective, with automatic off/on, standby modes reacting to the presence or absence of a person. Redefining the term “modern housing”, we aren’t just limited to opulent homes but these spaces also being technology-savvy. Complementing your fast-paced lives, allow your smart home to make your living stress-free. Embedded with high-end technology, these houses can have new-age solar powered sensor motions or app-controlled systems where you can do things even from a distance. Customers also have the option to the aspects of home automation that they feel are right for them. With the changing needs and preferences, the demand for better housing is scaled up, with homeowners really excited by the possibility of building an intuitive home. Automation has really made it possible for you to speak to your home, and it is not just restricted to a few, but extends to the reach of every customer. Undoubtedly, home automation is the future of living in India. Source: Horizonscottages.com Chandigarh

Use of technology to propel housing demand amid Covid crisis

8/5/2020 2:25:00 PM

Owing to the on-going pandemic and the resulting lockdown, prospective buyers are stranded at home and are reluctant to move outside, which has severely affected the buyer-seller relationship across sectors. However, the changing scenario has required both the supply and demand side to adapt to newer ways to look at the real estate sector. The lockdown has compelled stakeholders to increase the use of digital platforms and technology in this sector, according to Proptiger Research. It says real estate developers are working around the challenges to come up with new ways to attract buyers, especially with the use of tech-based solutions. As the lockdown has hampered physical visits to the site and communication, developers are investing in online platforms including the ability to book homes online and innovative ways to simulate the physical experience of the property for the home-bound buyers. Drone shoots, virtual tours, and online booking platforms are gaining more prominence, as the number of online buyers increase. While the ‘Digital India’ campaign by the Government of India was started in 2015, with the vision ‘to transform India into a digitally empowered society’, the lockdown has given a greater impetus for home-bound citizens to use digital platforms. Though the use of such platforms for financial transactions and e-commerce has been fairly common, online business transactions have gained more importance during the lockdown. Internet users in India are expected to increase to more than 700 million by the end of 2020 this will provide a further boost to the ‘Digital India’ campaign. The economic slowdown has resulted in fewer new launches as well as sales, yet on the buyer’s side, use of online platforms to search and discover property has quickly bounced back. According to Housing Research, Q1 2020 saw an YoY increase of 30 percent in online search traffic over Q1 2019. While online searches initially declined in April due to the initial shock of the lockdown, this quickly recovered and registered a YoY increase of 25 percent over Q2 2019. Even though sales have decreased, owing to the economic downturn, the number of interested buyers is increasing online, as sellers come up with innovative ways to attract them, all from the comfort of their homes. RELINKING BUYERS USING TECH-BASED SOLUTIONS Drones Since 2018, drones have been used in real estate during the construction phases. The current situation has given rise to the use of drones as a tool for providing a site visit experience to buyers, where one can see the exact view of the surrounding areas. Virtual Tours In case of virtual tours, 3D models and walk-throughs are being developed to provide a near-reality experience of the property. Virtual reality (VR) is also gaining traction. VR uses technology to create a simulated environment and has its applications mainly in entertainment, and now in healthcare, as well as retail. In India, many residential real estate developers have already experimented with tools such as virtual tours and VR to attract buyers, and this is likely to grow further. Webinars & Video Conferencing Webinars have evolved as a great tool to connect with multiple buyers at the same time. The process of a site visit required the sales person to organise site visits for each buyer, which resulted in the sales person being able to conduct only one or two site visits. The use of webinars has made the process hassle-free and more productive, as now multiple buyers can be accommodated at the same time. To establish a connection and to provide one-on-one assistance for further process requirements, the buyers are being connected to the sales person through video conferencing. Online Platforms As per the report, owing to the increasing online buyer traffic, many developers are now advertising their properties through online platforms. Such platforms provide end-to-end assistance for online to offline (O2O) conversions. Even though the connect is being established with buyers using such solutions, economic slowdown has increased the financial woes of buyers, which has made them postpone their decision to buy by 6&ndash12 months. Hence, developers are also coming up with schemes to make the purchase options more viable, which include a waiver of registration charges and stamp duty, innovative payment schemes, cashback schemes, freebies, refundable bookings and price protection plans. The use of technology in construction, as well as marketing and sales, is at a very nascent stage in India, yet, the on-going pandemic has propelled various stakeholders to upgrade and explore more in this field. Source: Financial Express Chandigarh