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The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the way we live and work. It has had a significant impact on the economy and on multiple sectors, including real estate. It has also resulted in a shift in consumer behaviour and new trends are emerging, giving an opportunity for the industry to re-invent itself. Here are some aspects that consumers are looking for, while considering home purchases, post-COVID-19:
1. Trusted developers
The residential real estate sector is expected to witness further consolidation owing to this unprecedented crisis and provide an opportunity for corporate developers to expand their portfolios across marquee locations. Today, many developers are offering discounts and schemes, to entice customers. Home buyers must be careful and opt for trusted developers, who deliver the right communication and value for money.
2. Biophilic designs
Amid the countless problems caused by the pandemic, consumers are facing a ‘pandemic fatigue’, which is becoming a growing concern. Increasing stress and anxiety in people is affecting their health, personal and professional relations. Many psychologists are suggesting that being closer to nature and the outdoors, achieves tranquility and calmness. As a result, many home buyers are now opting for homes that offer ventilation and open green spaces. An emerging trend of ‘Biophilic design’, which helps in connecting the natural environment to the built environment, using natural materials, spatial design, and views or access points to nature, is being witnessed in various upcoming properties.
3. Community living and townships
The most crucial benefit of community living, is the self-sustainable ecosystem. The pandemic has altered the preferences of home buyers, who are now looking for safe, well-designed and self-sufficient spaces that offer everything under one roof through spacious communities – for example, co-working spaces, cafes, convenience stores, fitness centers and reading lounges, amongst others, within the township.
4. Home office
Work-from-home and remote learning are the new normal for families and it has highlighted the need for quiet spaces. Following the lockdown, having a separate, functional home-office has become more critical than ever. Home buyers are looking for houses that can accommodate their work preferences and style, along with projects that offer practical luxury with efficient layouts. They are looking for setups that will empower them to be more productive and effective.
5. E-tours and online experience
The pandemic has seen a revival in the industry, with new trends emerging in terms of purchasing a home. Home buyers are now preferring to visit the website first, fix a virtual meeting and take an e-tour, before opting for a site visit. Considering the safety of the customers, developers are offering end-to-end digital experience for home buyers, with investments in both AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) to ensure an experience that is almost akin to a physical site visit. These 360-degree e-tours from the comfort and safety of one’s home, have been a breakthrough in the sector.
6. Safety measures
Today, people are more cautious about hygiene measures and social distancing. To ensure safety and hygiene, they are engaging with developers who have strict safety norms. To cater to this, developers have adopted the practice of asking customers to pre-book appointments for site visits and providing visitors with hand sanitisers, masks and PPE kits at the site. Employees are also given training, to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
See also: How to ensure safe site visits post-lockdown
Today’s home buyers are young, educated and health conscious. Their changing behavioural patterns are aligned for a better future. It is critical for developers to adapt to the new normal, by enticing consumers. These adjustments will ensure that the developers stay relevant in this dynamic market and are able to sustain in the long term.
(The writer is, president, sales and marketing, Piramal Realty)