Have millions of homebuyers vanished? The success of digital home sales says otherwise

August 12, 2020 5:10 PM

The virtual revolution has changed the fate of the real estate industry and how homebuyers’ shop for real estate.

real estate, real estate in India, homebuyers, digital home sales, Gen Z millennials, Virtual Reality, 3D walkthroughs, AI, Machine LearningYoung professionals living in urban cities and enjoying the cosmopolitan life are not ready to stay in urban slums where sanitation, proper drinking water and electricity are in a mess.

Homes have an emotional weight that supersedes any other kind of investment. It is an asset that provides us refuge from the vagaries of nature, a place to raise a happy family & relish the pleasures life has to offer, and a steady source of rental income down the line.

Tell you what, a diverse, appetizing portfolio of stocks won’t come close to the warmth and excitement of owning a home. People squirrel away a lifetime of savings to own a home since the satisfaction of living in one’s own home is second to none. After all, who wants to deal with landlords and rent increases for life? The drive for independence, self-expression, freedom, and a lifestyle you can brag about, eggs us on to own a piece of real estate.

There’s Much More to Homes than ROI

Home-buying is an art in itself. One has to take note of a hell lot of things under the sun to home in on the perfect house. Everything doesn’t boil down to the financial aspect or the size of the house. Everyone’s wish-list while scouring for a home is different. Some may dream of waking up to the view of a lakefront, whereas others love the pristine swathes of a golf course; some admire the secluded quietude of a home away from the hustle-bustle of the city whereas others prefer the concrete jungle.

While these expectations hover in our mind, the million-dollar decision about the right time to buy a home weighs in on the home buyer too. Most homebuyers prefer to get tempered with insights from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, housing market analysts and other homeowners to stay clear of any pitfalls while buying a home.

Tech Savvy Generation Want their Own Pads ASAP

While that is a precocious move, today’s millennials aren’t waiting till their forties to buy a home. Gen Z millennials have the gall to take the risk of buying a home just upon attaining family-forming years even if that means throwing the dice. Some are even booking home within a few years of their professional career if the job looks steady.

A consistent income and a good chunk of cash for a substantial down payment is all it takes for today’s young blood to book a home. The volatile market forces are not deterring homebuyers. Tech-savvy as they are, home seekers are not shying away from buying homes when the opportunity is ripe, irrespective of seasons or market forces at play.

Housing is a basic need for millions of people in India. Apart from fulfilling life’s everyday pleasures, the dream of owning a home for security has led home seekers to consider this fulfilment seriously. While India is plagued with the proliferation of slums and lack of affordable housing opportunities in prime places within cities, the urban middle-class people are at the receiving end.

Young professionals living in urban cities and enjoying the cosmopolitan life are not ready to stay in urban slums where sanitation, proper drinking water and electricity are in a mess. And with India having a history of health risks due to abysmal living conditions, the country’s emerging millennial population are now hell-bent upon owning a proper home with good amenities even if that means staying in peri-urban areas.

Pandemic Doomsayers Got it All Wrong

The current pandemic situation has hastened the decision of buying a home. While real estate experts thought that millions of ready homebuyers will vanish due to this uncertainty in the market and financial factors, the opposite has happened.  With every earning professional cooped up in their homes for over 90 days and social distancing etiquettes becoming a norm, the need for spacious homes in townships coupled with entertainment zones and health amenities have dawned in on most homebuyers.

The bleeding of stocks and gold securities due to closure of economies have turned the attention of citizens towards real estate. Investing in properties seemed like a propitious move for would-be homeowners as residential real estate came out nearly unscathed from this unprecedented pandemic situation.

The lockdown situation almost shattered the hopes of homebuyers who were willing to invest in a home. Given the physical nature of home buying in India, lack of site visits and face-to-face meetings with brokers dampened the spirits of home seekers.

The Future of Home Sales is Online

However, the quick transition of real estate developers to digital platforms saved the day for both developers and homebuyers. Equipped with sophisticated tech apparatus including Virtual Reality, 3D walkthroughs, AI, and Machine Learning, real estate developers gave homebuyers a taste of the digital.

Prospects looking for home are now able to take virtual tours to map every inch of the property through their smart devices without moving a leg. Meetings with real estate agents are happening through virtual chat mediums. And inventory booking and transactions are all taking place digitally, thanks to digital transaction tools. In all, home buyers are visibly delighted at this new real estate shopping marvel and it resonated well with their expectations. Transparency and credibility of the real estate sector is back on their minds. This virtual revolution has changed the fate of the real estate industry and how homebuyers’ shop for real estate.

The phenomenal digital home sales numbers are a glaring testament to this. The fruition of digital real estate platforms where buyers and sellers can meet, share information & keep them securely at one place and get to shop real estate products seamlessly is the next big chapter in real estate; one that will change the property sector for good and ensure continued success irrespective of the market forces.

(By Kanika Gupta Shori, Founder & COO, Square Yards)

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