Ugadi, one of the biggest festivals in South India and Gudi Padwa, the beginning of the Hindu calendar that signifies the start of the New Year are considered to be the most auspicious time to buy a property; the festivals won’t be the same this year. The outbreak of COVID-19 has actually dampened business activities across the globe and real estate is no far behind. Construction activities too have taken a considerable hit as the situation has been worsening each passing day. The impact is such that it has put a significant dent across the real estate market in this auspicious period.
Assessing the current scenario, Ram Naik, Executive Director, The Guardians Real Estate Advisory said, “Real Estate as a category thrives on customer footfalls at the project site for successful closure of transactions. With the outbreak, sites have been shut to prevent gatherings of customers and channel partners. The affordable and mid-income housing segment, will also be hugely impacted as it’s success depends on large gatherings and higher footfalls. Some of the much awaited, project launches have been postponed for now. The scenario is equally grim for the ongoing projects, as real estate expects to do well in the last month of the financial year, March, as a result of buying to avoid capital gain tax and asset purchases on the auspicious day of Gudi Padwa. The lockdown could result in a Y-o-Y set back of anywhere between 11-14 percent.”
Although the sales have been impacted, a lot of developers are showing solidarity to curb the further spread of a deadly corona virus. Many developers are skeptical and have their reservations around the launch of new projects considering the current situation whereas some have opted for digital launches.
“As a responsible corporate, Runwal Group too have taken utmost care and precautions and are also adhering to Government’s initiatives. We have taken an important step to sanitize all our construction sites for the safety of our workers and have stopped all the work till further notice. We have postponed our Gudi Padwa launch and all our campaigns too. All our site offices will also remain closed,” said Subodh Runwal, Director, Runwal Group.
Considering the festive mood for Gudi Padwa, Vijay Khetan Group was going to launch a new project ‘Codename Amazon’ at Andheri East. “Earlier there was to be a physical launch with channel partners and brokers but now due to the COVID-19 situation, we will be conducting a digital launch where we will accept requests from customers online. To avoid crowd gathering, we will give time slots to the customers once the impact of this virus settles down,” said Anuj Khetan, Director, Vijay Khetan Group.
According to The Guardians Real Estate Advisory, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region might see a 27 percent reduction in property registrations Y-o-Y. The region has managed only 9,300 home registrations between 1 January 2020 to 15 March 2020 as against 12,800 home registrations in the January 2019 to March 2019 quarter. The lockdown till 31 March will see the most expensive region in the country losing on business worth anywhere between Rs 5,050 – Rs 6,500 crore.
Many of the developers are not expecting bigger sales but have taken rapid measures to stop further spread of COVID-19 and ensure safety of the people by introducing online sales opportunities to the customers.
Speaking on the online buying opportunities and sales expectations, Bhasker Jain, Head – Sales, Marketing & CRM at The Wadhwa Group says, “The Corona outbreak may have halted the on-ground project operations; it has impacted sales too in short term to a certain extent. We have a business continuity plan and necessary project finance in place. Our design philosophy backed by strong execution capability has helped us to meet customers’ obligations and generate further interest digitally. On the occasion of Gudi Padwa we have opened the option of online buying where families staying back home can interact with our team through our virtual platform and chalk out their plans of finalising a property of their choice from our bouquet of offerings; they can also avail cashback on booking properties online. Our virtual site tours are appreciated by the customers and we feel that reputed developers like us will have an edge in retaining and adding into sales pipelines. Although the sales numbers may not see an instant spurt this festive season but we are expecting around 30 percent sales through our digital virtual platform on the occasion of Gudi Padwa.”