Real estate in Delhi NCR has been grimly impacted due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in India. While property enquiries, sales, new launches, and the ongoing construction work came to a sudden halt amid the rising concerns around safety; property registrations, too, declined substantially in 2020. Amid the gloomy market scenario, independent houses and plots witnessed renewed interest from buyers. 

Enquiries for plots and independent homes seems to have picked up the pace in Delhi NCR, especially post the outburst of novel Coronavirus and the resultant need to practice social distancing norms. Buoyed by factors such as affordability and higher chances of appreciation, a noticeable section of the homebuyers is looking to invest in independent residential properties and land parcels, even in the outskirts. According to a data from 2020, property registrations witnessed a dip of over 60 percent across Delhi NCR in Apr-Jun 2020. The number of properties registered in Delhi alone fell down from 29,467 in May 2019 to 6,391 in May 2020, and from 24,709 in June 2019 to 14,165 in June 2020. The majority registrations across NCR was noted for independent houses and plots.

Since the people residing in independent homes have a comparatively lower chance of contacting an infected person, an increased section of homebuyers is desirous of investing in independent residential spaces, especially in city suburbs. However, in cities such as Noida, the demand for such homes has also been observed within the city limits.

As per YK Agarwal, Financial and Real Estate Consultant from Noida, “In the National Capital Region (NCR), we have around two lakh under-construction properties and only 5,000 ready-to-move-in units. Moreover, under the present circumstances, the construction of under-construction units is likely to be delayed for at least one more year beyond the scheduled time. In such a scenario, the buyers who were willing to invest in a residential property, particularly for their self-use, have shifted their focus towards independent homes and even plots that can be used for customised construction. Additionally, the unchanged rentals, even during the crisis, compelled the buyers and the tenants to invest in other housing options rather than high-rise apartments. Independent properties that were once beyond the reach of many have now become affordable due to low home loan interest rates. However, all said, the liking for independent homes and plots is not something new in Noida. Such properties have always been popular among homebuyers. High valuation and chances of appreciation as compared to apartments is what has attracted the buyers towards independent properties for long. In Noida, while an apartment costing Rs 70 lakh would fetch five percent appreciation in a year, an independent house in the same locality, at the same price will provide the benefits of double. During Apr-Jun 2020, the city has reported a 5-7 percent increase in the number of enquiries related to such properties, particularly towards Noida Expressway, Sector 150 Noida, and Greater Noida. For land parcels, homebuyers prefer Yamuna Expressway due to affordable rates and proximity to the upcoming Jewar Airport.”

Talking about the scenario in Delhi, Karan Manchanda, Owner, JNB Real Estate, Delhi, avers, “The trend for independent homes has always been there. Moreover, the buyers are now fed up of the false promises made by the builders, especially the developers of independent builder floors in a city like Delhi. In Delhi, you do not find high-rise apartments; instead, there are builder floors or independent homes. Scarcity of land parcels in the city, sky-rocketing prices, and increasing rentals have coaxed people, particularly in the age bracket of 30-40 years to move out of the city limits and find independent residential properties/plots in the neighbouring areas of Noida and Greater Noida. In Delhi, while a flat would cost you Rs 2 crore and above, depending upon the location, you can easily get a penthouse or a kothi within that range in Noida/Noida Extension/Ghaziabad. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, around 10 percent of the city’s population has shifted to the neighbouring areas in search of an independent residential unit at affordable rates.”

While Noida and Greater Noida seem to have witnessed an increased demand for small to mid-sized independent homes and land parcels, the scenario in Gurgaon seems to be completely different. Ashwani Sehrawat, Owner, Prime Locations, Gurgaon shares, “The trend of independent homes and plots has never been so popular in Gurgaon, particularly because of the high capital rates. In Gurgaon, if you need to purchase a plot, say around 300 sq yard in a posh locality, you need to have a budget of Rs 7-8 crore in your pocket. While Rs 5 crore would be required to purchase the plot, you need extra Rs 2-2.5 crore for construction purposes. A ready-to-move-in independent house, on the other hand, would cost the buyer over Rs 2 crore, depending upon the plot size and the location. Very few people can afford such properties in Gurgaon. Since the COVID-19 times, we have witnessed a surge in the enquiries for independent builder floors. Other than builder floors, high-rise apartments are the next most demanded property type in Gurgaon.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Shankey Gupta, Owner, Zupita Homes, says, “The situation in Gurgaon is in contrast to other regions of Delhi NCR. Unlike the trend of independent homes and plots that is picking up the pace in other areas, such as Noida and Greater Noida, Gurgaon has maximum buyers for high-rise apartments due to the level of security and the amenities that they offer. As far as the registration of plots is concerned, the buyers, including the developers, have received some desperate deals during the quarter, which explains the increase in the number of registrations.”   

While buyers in Noida, Greater Noida, and Delhi, have reported an affinity for independent residential units and plots in 2020, Gurgaon has an altogether different story to narrate. And though the preferred residential option might be different across the zones, one thing is for sure, the road to recovery is far-fetched for Delhi NCR under the present circumstances.