"The housing website is an important step towards empowering homebuyers and will enable them to take an informed decision," he said.
Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra on January 14 launched NAREDCO's e-commerce platform for marketing completed residential projects, saying that the portal has the potential to become the 'Amazon of India's real estate' sector and is an important step towards empowering homebuyers.
"This website is not for NAREDCO but for consumers and homebuyers who can take an informed decision," Mishra said in his address after launching the portal.
The website will feature only ready-to-move-in homes.
"Homebuyers will get a window to book a house online. Once they have zeroed in on the projects online, they can visit the site to take the final decision," he said, adding this is "an important step towards empowering homebuyers."
Sanjaya Gupta, Managing Director, PNB Housing Finance, however, cautioned that while the real estate portal will be a great sentiment booster – it will be an indicator that the houses have been delivered and bring about a lot of transparency.
"We must remember that in India only discounts sell but it is also a fact that only discarded products sell at a discount," he said.
The biggest test for potential homebuyers is to see lights on in houses in societies, the clothes hanging on the clothesline – "that is the biggest indicator of an inhabited condominium, something that will attract buyers."
"Online is a very good model for search but the purchases happens offline. Nobody is going to buy a home online. Millennials do a SOBO (search online but buy offline). Nobody is going to buy a house online. This is the largest asset that you are buying in a lifetime. Generally an Indian buyer buys a home not for himself or herself but for three generations – it is a wealth generating asset. So the service standards should not come down," he said.
Besides completed dwelling units, rental housing projects and even student housing projects can be featured on this portal, he suggested.
"In the past five years, the average age of a homebuyer has gone up and not come down. It used to be between 28 years and 32 years which today has gone as high as 37 years to 42 years. You should realise that millennials are delaying the process of homebuying a real estate asset because they are highly mobile. Sales process too takes much longer than before"” he said.
The HousingForAll.com initiative was proposed and announced by Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, at the first national RERA Conclave held on November 4 last year in Lucknow.
Buyers can directly book/reserve a unit on the portal with a refundable payment of only Rs 25,000. They will also get a money-back guarantee where their initial deposit made on portal is fully refundable in case they decide not to purchase the unit. Customers will be immediately notified if any units they have shortlisted are already sold.
The National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), formed under the aegis of Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, would list only completed RERA-registered housing projects on the platform.
After the launch, the portal that will display only ready-to-move-in homes, will be open for one month only for the real estate developers to register their projects (January 14, 2020 to February 13, 2020).
The portal will be opened for homebuyers with a 45-day sale period starting from February 14. For the initial 15 days, buyers will be able to view offers and shortlist their homes and will be able to start making the purchase of homes from March 1 till March 31, 2020.
NAREDCO expects over 1,000 projects would be listed in the online home-buying festival for ready-to-move-in homes.
"The aim of this event and the platform would be to not just generate sales but also inspire confidence in the minds of the consumers, developers, banks and HFIs and other stakeholders and allied industries," said Rajan Bandelkar, president, NAREDCO Maharashtra.According to the industry reports, more than 1 lakh ready-to-move-in homes are available at present in the market and nearly 2.75 lakh new ready-to-move-in homes are expected to be added to the market over the next one year. NAREDCO expects this entire ready-to-move-in inventory to be available on sale through this e-commerce platform.