Attractiveness of affordable housing seems to be declining even as more home seekers are opting for properties priced between Rs 90 lakh to Rs 2.5 Cr, according to the latest CII-Anarock Consumer Sentiment Survey released on Friday.
The survey results are surprising given the government push and incentive for the affordable housing segment over the last few years.
More than 34 percent respondent among home seekers expressed desire to buy properties priced between Rs 90 lakh to Rs 2.5 Cr, while 35 percent favoured properties priced between Rs 45-90 lakh, while 27 percent respondents voted in favour of affordable housing (priced below 45 lakh). In the previous H2 2020 survey, approx. 36 percent respondent property seekers has expressed preference for budget housing.
The survey - conducted between January and June 2021 on various digital platforms with responses from 4,965 participants, underscores how radically Covid-19 has altered homebuyers preferences. The second wave has proved to be a significant change catalyst.
“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 COVID-19 pandemic,” says Anuj Puri, Chairman – CII Real Estate Knowledge Session and Chairman of Anarock Group.
While attractive pricing continues to rule the roost of must-haves, established developer credibility is the second-highest priority for 77 percent of the surveyed buyers. Project design and location are also key game changers.
Online home sales are gaining traction, with close to 60 percent of the entire property buying process now being conducted online as against 39 percent 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," says 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.”
The survey revealed that approximately 41 percent participating property seekers are considering second homes for self-use, with 53 percent of them keen to own homes in mountainous regions. Around. 71 percent respondent property seekers in the second wave are end-users, and only 29 percent are investors. In the first wave period survey, investors accounted for 41 percent.
Amid the sustained work-from-home and e-schooling realities, over 65 percent respondents currently working remotely now prefer larger homes. The new work scenario has boosted the appeal of living far from busy and often polluted areas as around 68 percent respondent expressed desire to own property in peripheral or suburban areas.
Where NRI are concerned, the survey revealed their continuing preference to own luxury properties priced between Rs. 1.5-2.5 Crore. Among the metros, Bengaluru, Pune, and Chennai are the hottest NRI picks, while Chandigarh, Kochi, and Surat top their Tier 2 & 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 percent during the second COVID-19 wave, against 48 percent in the first wave.
Ready-to-move homes are still the most preferred category at 32 percent, though this is a slide of 14 percent from first wave levels. However, the available inventory of RTMI homes is limited. Also branded developers dominate the new housing supply as buyers consider them safe bets. .
The desire to acquire second homes in greener, healthier environs post the pandemic-infused lockdowns has given rise to aspirations like 72 percent of respondents designated walking trails a must-haves, while 68 percent have expressed keenness to have adequate open green spaces amid massively increased health awareness.