Consumer behaviour pattern is an ever-evolving subject. In a progressing economy like India, the buying patterns have altered drastically over the years across industries. The real estate domain is no different as the way homebuyers go about buying a home has changed significantly. 

The current global lockdown situation due to Coronavirus has highlighted three major factors in the mind of a potential homebuyer and millennial community – it is important to have your own home, buying a home is a good investment option and having a well-planned home with facilities around is of prime importance. Home investment needs to be given paramount significance in modern times. But in light of the present-day circumstance, it has been countersigned that even the current population is looking forward to investing in a safe haven since lifestyle patterns are expected to change leaps and bounds post the pandemic phase comes to an end.

In current times, the residential sector in India is all set to embark on a diverse growth trajectory with 'home ownership' attaining a noteworthy desire among the probable consumer community. With the aspect of owning a home becoming a priority, the demand for affordable homes, along with upgraded bigger homes, will witness a strategic uptake.

Below mentioned are the consumer trends that have been noticeably altering the consumption of residential realty:

Homeownership has now become a new priority: There is a major fluctuation in the home investment patterns of credible investors, especially the young millennial buyers. Comprehending the importance of owning a home in catastrophic times, these buyers have started to prioritise the aspect of home proprietorship. Despite having to pay a considerable amount as an initial payment, millennials favour making an investment in the real estate taking into consideration the fact that they can live and not pay rent and yet have the title of an asset in the future. Furthermore, another key factor that determines the change in the buying patterns of home buyers is the sense of security linked with physical assets and lower home loan rates. Today, end-users have become inclined towards consolidating their investments into limited assets.

Planned affordable developments are on the rise: The community of buyers living in chawls, slums and clustered living spaces can face an indeterminate future with both their well-being and livelihood being at stake due to the anxiety of infections spreading. Hence, moving to cluster-free, planned and integrated developments in developing areas such as Kalher, Kasheli, Bhiwandi etc. with upgraded amenities is the next go-to buyers' preference. These planned residencies can facilitate the buyers to invest in the same amount even for a 1 BHK home, thus enabling them to live in a decent way. Investing in an affordable home is a viable option and it is sure to be a financially sound move. The vital part of buying an affordable home is that the buyer can enjoy the convenience of investing in homes that are a little far away from the suburban areas like Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan etc. These areas depict great growth potential with speedily developing infrastructure facilities. Additionally, the buyer can benefit in terms of ROI, which will witness an increase in the next five years with the valuation of the property rising due to the booming infrastructure in and around the vicinity.

Online home buying: While real estate will always be an asset that is a family decision in India and one would want to see the property before purchasing the same, the recent lockdown has encouraged online home purchases. Serious buyers and investors are now slightly more comfortable with putting down a token payment on their dream property to cash in on a good price or deal. Many developers are now giving attractive options where one can book online and post-viewing the property, can decide if they want to proceed with the rest of the transaction within a specified period. This new trend is slowly beginning to gain traction, and leading real estate developers with a good track record will be the chief recipients of this shift in consumer buying behaviour.

Work from home concept is evolving, so is investing in homes in the peripheral locations: Although owning their own home is on the wish list of many, the aspect of finance makes the potential buyers mull over the issue of parking their funds in home investment. However, delaying the property purchase until one is able to amass the required funds can also be an expensive proposition. In current times, capitalising in these peripheral areas can prove to be advantageous because of the surging preference towards work-from-home, which has condensed the need to travel to work on a regular basis. This trend is a little easy on the pockets of the buyers who are inclined to buy a home which is far from the work zones but is equipped with all the required amenities.

It is an option that seems to have received a positive response from both employees as well as many corporates. Larger living spaces with the option of converting a room into a home office is also on the minds of potential home buyers.

If an employee has the option of working from home, then being close to the office and travel is no longer a point of concern. This means that potential home buyers can also choose peripheral locations where property prices may be relatively cheaper and at the same time, enjoy the benefit of larger living spaces that fit within their budget.

The year 2020 has been a year of changes in the industry with an augmented focus on liquidity and customer-centricity by both policymakers and real estate developers. The real estate industry should be committed to creating a regular housing supply so that the industry can embark on the path to recovery as soon as the crisis is over.