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Why Indians don’t buy property during monsoons

No one may officially admit it, but privately many developers maintain that the client conversion rate out of the footfalls on sites is the least during the monsoons.

Representational image. In addition to seepage and leakage, the rains also expose flooding and water-logging problems in a project.

Representational image. In addition to seepage and leakage, the rains also expose flooding and water-logging problems in a project.

Globally it is an established fact that the monsoon is the best season to evaluate a property. There’s no better time to ascertain building flaws such as seepage, leakage or for that matter dampness in a building during the rainy season.

In an infrastructure-deficit country like India, the rains also expose flooding and water-logging problems in a project. And yet, the rainy season in India from June to September is generally a drought season for property transactions.

This defies conventional wisdom that property should be bought when demand is low and there is greater room for negotiation. In India, home buying sentiment is low during the monsoons, so much so that the economic rationale of demand and supply and logistical issues do not hold water.

There are multiple factors why home sales are subdued during the monsoon. One obvious reason is that Indians traditionally don’t make any high-value purchases after Akshaya Tritiya and before Ganesh Chaturthi. Since a home is an emotional and aspirational asset, life’s biggest purchase, Indians prefer to wait until the beginning of the festive season. Inauspicious periods of Shraddh and Pitripaksh also fall during the monsoon season, where the traditional belief is that any new purchase will invite the curse of the ancestors.

Secondly, real estate developers too are conscious of local buying sentiment during the monsoons and generally refrain from any tangible marketing offers to tempt homebuyers during the period. Home listings are slow and buyer response across the secondary market transactions is also subdued.

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No home buyer would be excited to commit to the purchase after visiting a housing project where the construction speed is either too slow or has stopped due to rains. Construction workers, too, return to their villages during this season.

No one may officially admit it, but privately many developers maintain that the client conversion rate out of the footfalls on sites is the least during the monsoons. Part of the problem lies with the fact that the project sites and the connectivity (both infrastructure and traffic bottlenecks) are at their worst when it rains. For buyers, too, it is not prudent to go house hunting with the family during the monsoon season, thanks to the potholes, water-logging and traffic bottlenecks that they may have to encounter along the way.

Also, since most developers take the concept of Shubh Muhurat seriously, the market does not witness too many new launches during the lean period.

This time around, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some developers are offering monsoon discounts to clear unsold inventory. But this is an aberration rather than the norm.

Another aspect to be borne in mind has to do with rewards and bonuses which are generally announced during the festive season. Buyers therefore wait for the October-November season to sign on the dotted line. For an average salaried home buyer, who has to shell out 15-20 per cent of the project cost upfront and get the rest financed through a home loan, it comes as a psychological relief to commit at a time when they receive monetary rewards.

There are logistical issues to consider as well. Most young home buyers prefer to buy houses close to where their children go to school. The school admission season generally gets over by April. Most home buyers find it convenient to buy a property at the end of the year or during the festive season and move into their new house after their kids’ examinations and before the new school session begins.

While the concept of festive buying is a pan-India phenomenon, it is generally noticed that young professionals are less likely to be carried away by auspicious muhurats.

Call it a curious case of belief over logic but this is the way Indians buy property.
Ravi Sinha is CEO, Track2Realty.

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