Affordable housing demand takes back seat: CII-Anarock

Anuj Puri
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Anuj Puri

Highlights

For the first time, affordable housing sales has taken a back seat as demand for premium properties, in the range of Rs 90 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore, gained traction.

Hyderabad: For the first time, affordable housing sales has taken a back seat as demand for premium properties, in the range of Rs 90 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore, gained traction. The affordable housing buyers have been severely hit economically by the pandemic. Interestingly, demand for luxury properties has increased since the pandemic.

As per the latest CII-Anarock Consumer Sentiment Survey, affordable homes were the most preferred in the pre-Covid survey accounting for more than 36 per cent share. However, now it is the lowest priority, with just 27 per cent respondents voting in favour of houses priced below Rs 45 lakh. The survey underscores how radically Covid-19 has altered homebuyers' preferences.

The survey, conducted between January and June 2021, polled 4,965 participants responding via various digital platforms. While attractive pricing continues to rule the roost of must-haves, established developer credibility is the second-highest priority for 77 per cent of the surveyed buyers. Project design and location also feature prominently on the wish list. Anuj Puri, Chairman, Chairman – CII Real Estate Knowledge Session and Chairman - Anarock Group, says: "The budget range which this survey identifies as the hottest seller is a surprise, but it makes sense if we consider that it is precisely this segment of buyers who are least financially impacted by the pandemic."

"Online home sales are gaining traction, with close to 60 per cent of the entire property buying process now being conducted online - against 39 per cent in the pre-pandemic period. From property search to documentation and legal advice to down payments, homebuyers are leveraging the new tidal wave of digital technology driving the Indian housing sector," adds Puri.

"Only developers with sufficient online presence will remain relevant going forward. Also, social media are among the most effective property marketing platforms at this stage. Approximately 41 per cent participating property seekers are considering second homes for self-use, of which 53 per cent prefer mountainous regions." Over 65 per cent respondents currently working remotely now prefer larger homes. About 68 per cent aim to relocate to peripheral areas to buy them. NRI participants in the survey primarily prefer luxury properties priced between Rs 1.5-2.5 crore. Bengaluru, Pune, and Chennai are the hottest NRI picks, while Chandigarh, Kochi, and Surat top their tier 2 and 3 cities list.

The survey also highlights a stark contrast between consumer preferences during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Investor confidence in real estate has risen to 54 per cent during the second Covid-19 wave, against 48 per cent in the first wave. Ready-to-move homes are still the most preferred category at 32 per cent up, but this is still a dip of 14 per cent from first wave levels.

Nearly 71 per cent respondent property seekers in the second wave are end-users, and only 29 per cent are investors. In the first wave period survey, investors accounted for 41 per cent. A significant factor possibly driving this is the increased desire to acquire second homes in greener, healthier environs during the pandemic-infused lockdowns.

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