After facing a slow year in the first half of 2020, amidst the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, the real estate industry found a standing ground in the second half of 2020 and further made a revival in 2021. The pandemic has made consumers realised that owning a physical asset is much than just brick and walls and also brings in a sense of security. Infact, it’s an enabler of our sustenance and well-being. And while 2020 was a roller coaster ride, 2021 will further accelerate change in the real estate industry, bringing a focus to social justice and safety and wellness amid a backdrop of economic uncertainty. And with the roll out of vaccine, there will again be a positive sentiment among buyers. Let us have a look at some of the trends that are going to bring a shift in the real estate industry.
Adoption of Work from Home culture
Last year, India, along with rest of the world, saw a major shift in the work culture. On one hand, the government induced lockdown to save lives from the deadly pandemic, on the other hand, businesses had to move to a virtual workspace, resulting in employees working from home. Many CEOs, especially in the IT/ITeS sector are now looking to include work-from-home model as an integral part of their long-term strategy, which will reduce their overhead costs. On the employee side, a corner in a home is now getting transformed into a virtual call room, workplace area, etc. The result is that, people who have compact homes are now actively looking for properties that can offer a balance of work-life culture and can incorporate the work from home culture. This change in buying behaviour will give rise to collaborative work studios and a SOHO (small office home office) areas that developers can take note of and provide them as their amenities package.
Demand for Bigger Residential Spaces
The ‘new normal’ has seen people working and studying from home, making it a lot more than just a place to rest and relax. Even for couples working in metro cites, there has been a need for separate workspaces to tend to their respective work commitments. Additionally, kids need their own space to attend virtual classes. Thus, people who are buying houses now will most likely look for a bigger space to accommodate all their needs.
Besides, there is a never seen before emphasis on safety and hygiene. In real estate, we can see this in an increased preference for open and bigger spaces. The need for social distancing that came through last year’s pandemic is still there. As stated before, people are opting for bigger living spaces, be it apartments or houses. They are also opting for housing projects that have larger open spaces, to have an active lifestyle while maintaining social distance.
Move from hustle bustle of the city to cleaner and greener areas
In the past couple of decades, most urban residential housing have been developed around workspaces, SEZs as people look for locations that would dramatically reduce their commute time. Remote work culture has reduced the importance of distance from work being a factor. Along with this, people are looking to invest in real estate in areas that are good for their health, are less polluted, and offer more greenery.
This will led to two major shifts in trends in real estate industry. People in urban areas are likely to look at housing spaces in areas that are somewhat away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial locations, even towards suburban areas. Along with this, residential societies with more greenery around will be preferred. This shift would further give rise to plotted developments or builder floors over apartments in the suburban cities.
Lifestyle - The bigger picture
The toll on the mental health people had been facing from the start of the pandemic has also made us look at our lifestyle with more perspective and contemplation. Health and wellness have rightly become the most important priority and we will be seeing its impact in people’s choices for real estate. With the intention to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle, people are looking at housing spaces that can provide the same. This includes walking and jogging tracks, gyms, availability of sports infrastructure among others.
Speaking generally, from a homebuyer’s perspective, this is a good time to invest in the real estate industry as there are lower prices. Our needs and priorities have changed and so have our real estate choices. These trends represents the major lifestyle shifts and are here to stay for the time being.