The COVID-19 pandemic has affected real estate in a variety of ways. As per the new guidelines, developers are trying to start project activities with workers who are already present at sites. Although, timely mobilisation of labourers post-lockdown will be the crucial challenge for curbing delays in project completion.
The Central Government had initiated a 21-day National lockdown on March 24, 2020, to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus in India. With many construction workers in metropolitan cities like Delhi NCR and Mumbai being from other states, the looming economic uncertainty propelled them to cross-migrate back to their hometowns. Although the Ministry of Home Affairs had allowed work to commence in some locations, the major challenge will be to mobilise labourers promptly post-lockdown so that that project completion delays can be minimised.
1. How has the COVID 19 outbreak impacted the Indian real estate market?
The majority of Indian homebuyers believe in due diligence before purchasing a home, within which going to the project site is essential. Site visits have been severely reduced, and this has postponed the finalisation plans of many homebuyers.
While many developers have been affected, the ones who are reputed for their products and work under the guidelines of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, will not be as affected in these times. We have also seen a significant upsurge in online queries, and many buyers are also comfortable in discussing via video conferencing and other means etc. Post this phase, the role of technology in real estate will greatly increase as people start getting used to technology for property searching and booking.
2. By what margin has the pandemic hit construction activities? If so, what measures will be adopted to counter-balance the impact?
The Ministry of Home Affairs had allowed work to begin in areas that were not designated as COVID-19 hotspots. This is a great initiative to provide relief to developers. The various measures taken by the Central Government and the Reserve Bank of India will help the construction sector in the coming months.
A major problem post-lockdown would be in mobilising labourers. Although, for developers like us and others who have looked after their labourers at their construction sites, kickstarting construction will not be as big an issue.
3. Are buyers still enquiring?
Yes, enquiries have increased, and some are interested in going forward with us for our projects. People are waiting for the lockdown to end so they can start finalising deals.
4. Is commercial real estate as badly hit as the residential segment?
The residential segment is hit harder than the commercial segment. Although commercial spaces are not operating in silos and the overall economic slowdown will affect their books as well.
Post-lockdown, the commercial market may revive quicker than the residential market.
5. Can you give an account on the property sales in the last month in your city?
We don’t have exact figures but yes, as said before, enquiries have increased. Noida is a growing real estate destination; therefore property sales will keep growing post-lockdown.
6. Do you think the epidemic has/would hit prices of (new/resale) commercial units in India?
Prices will not move as much, though developers might have to come up with innovative schemes to boost their sales numbers.
7. When the lockdown gets lifted, what measures will you take to ensure safety at your construction sites and offices?
We shall follow social distancing and hygiene norms. We will also encourage frequent hand-washing in all our sites and offices.
8. Do you expect a strong realty rebound in the near future?
Real estate will rebound in the coming future, as it is an integral part of human beings.
9. What more measures are you expecting from the government to help realty revive quickly?
We are hoping for a relief package as the lockdown has severely impacted the real estate sector.