With almost six months into the lockdown, India has already entered a new normal which has brought about innumerable changes in consumer behaviour. The realisation of a home being a safe haven has resulted in increased desirability towards home ownership. What used to be a place to unwind has now become an office, a place for recreation, a movie theatre, and everything else in between.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for space has surfaced more than ever. This has given birth to a new set of homebuyers, customers who are willing to purchase a property that provides them with just the right degree of comfort and space to relax, if not break, the monotony of the new normal.
To further understand the shifting dynamics of consumer behaviour, Lodha Developers recently conducted a survey with over 1,600 participants. The survey displayed a clear shift - what were considered “desires” less than a decade ago, are today considered to be “vital needs”.
As many as 81.5 percent survey respondents consider open spaces a ‘must-have’ in developments. A whopping 90.2 percent participants vouch for homes with decks or balconies and 80.1 percent are actively looking for multi-purpose usable spaces within their homes. Over three-fourths of respondents need homes that have additional space to accommodate full-time help.
With homes becoming the sole space for all activities, there is a need for extra rooms as consumers look to create activity driven arenas like a study room or workout space within their homes. Further, residences having private gardens and homes with decks/balconies are being preferred for the much needed fresh air.
Open spaces within and outside living areas thus aid in maintaining physical and mental well-being. Additionally, customers have started seeing the importance of a society that offers everyday facilities to its residents. As many as 77 percent of survey participants have showed an inclination towards integrated developments, as gated communities with easy access to essential services, round the clock security, and the oneness of a community have become an utmost priority to customers today.
The survey also revealed that 58.6 percent of the respondents are looking for standalone towers in the ‘New Normal’ era; which comprises 13.5 percent respondents being inclined to such developments because of lesser number of units that eventually limits the total number of residents living in such standalone developments, while 18.6 percent respondents opted the same because of a higher degree of privacy and 9.2 percent showed interest as such developments ensure quick as well as timely delivery.
The present-day homebuyers have further become more cautious and are willing to transact if assured of quality and delivery. Buyers are opting ready-to-move-in homes rather than those under construction as in the latter case, the projects could get delayed and miss delivery deadlines. Moreover, ready inventories ensure no double expense of paying rent and EMI and a surety of investment as buyers pay for what they see.
A recent compilation by JLL and CREDAI reported only 2,600 of the total 77,460 unsold residential units across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are ready for possession, which means that with the demand of ready homes there will be the demand-supply crunch in the coming times.
With the pandemic re-instating the value of homeownership and the growing desire of having a stable financial asset, potential home seekers are looking for reputed developers offering future ready homes.
Developers are being mindful and adapting the consumer insights in strategizing design and developments accordingly. Availability of enough open spaces, greenery in the vicinity, ease accessibility to essential amenities, well-connected location are some of the key areas that developers are stressing upon currently.
The Indian real estate sector is currently witnessing a whole new breed of customers who are beginning to see homes as much more than a place to eat and sleep in. These behavioural changes and new consumer demands are here to stay in the coming times and will consequently have a long-lasting impact on the residential segment. Given the changing market dynamics in the Indian real estate sector, it has become vital for brands to adapt accordingly. The new preferences will serve as a key yardstick for consumer-centric developers while they plan future developments.The author is chief sales officer, Lodha Group