Top Nine Trends Shaping Home Buying In 2021

The pandemic has ironically made people realise the importance of owning a physical asset
Top Nine Trends Shaping Home Buying In 2021
Top Nine Trends Shaping Home Buying In 2021

India's real estate industry is its second-highest employment generator after agriculture. In recent times, the real estate market witnessed high growth with a rise in demand for office and more recently residential spaces. In 2019, the segment attracted around Rs 43,780 crore ($ 6.26 billion) in investment and around $ 14 billion from foreign Private Equity between 2015 and third quarter of 2019.

While the viral outbreak last year disrupted markets for some time, the industry bounced back very quickly. It was characterised by an unprecedented jump in residential demand thanks to the post-pandemic-specific developments such as the rise in remote working, builder discounts, society management apps and touchless solutions. Regulatory measures such as stamp duty correction and circumstantial factors such as the historically low home loan rates are also stimulating investor interest and activity in this space.

With Indian homebuyers seeking financial security of owning a home against the backdrop of an uncertain economic landscape, the country's real estate is set to generate immense revenue in 2021 and beyond.

Here's a look at the trends that are most likely to define the investments in this space:

Homeownership is important

The pandemic has ironically made people realise the importance of owning a physical asset. NoBroker platform has seen growing interest from millennials property buying. A year ago, this class of people did not believe in getting pinned down to a city or a job. They advocated in favour of rental living to enjoy the flexibility of moving on the whim. But the pandemic and the ensuing work-from-home culture has changed this mindset. This year should see a large number of millennials and older segment buying the real estate in India.

Trusted developers and branded realty

Homebuyers will prefer projects from developers registered with Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), especially corporate developers focusing on branded properties. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA Act) aims to safeguard homebuyers' interests. Buyers have long felt real estate transactions disproportionately favour developers in the absence of a fair regulator. The RERA Act seeks to provide a unified legal regime, standardising purchase of flats, apartments, houses, etc. across the country to address this need. Astride its implementation, grievance redressal and dispute resolution bodies such as the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority and the Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, are to be established. It will ensure disputes related to home buying are resolved speedily and effectively. Incorporating such systems will drive transparency and trust among buyers, thereby encouraging greater investment activities in this space.

We are likely to see more people prefer properties developed by prominent and branded players than unorganised and smaller players due to low confidence amongst the buyers.

Private equity investment

Following a turbulent period, the economy is showing signs of recovery. Following an improving economic sentiment supported by policy reforms and growth in key emerging sectors, experts anticipate private equity investment in real estate to bounce back to $6 billion. If achieved this would be a 30 per cent year-on-year growth in 2021. These investments will be spread out across residential and commercial projects.

Rise of larger and holistic properties

The line between professional and domestic sphere is blurring. Home has also become the workstation for modern private sector professionals. Following the pandemic, the work culture centres around remote working (work-from-home and work-from-anywhere). As such new-age home buyers are expected to seek more spacious properties to accommodate families with multiple professionals and students. Last year's lockdowns have also highlighted the link between one's surroundings, personal space, and mental and emotional health. Hence, buyers are likely to choose projects that are spacious and surrounded by a green ecosystem. Amenities and facilities available at these projects will also influence the decision of prospective home buyers.

Influx of NRI investors

The uncertainty that followed the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of owning an asset, especially one that can be monetised. This brings focus on real estate as an investment and consumption class.'s latest report suggests a significant shift towards homeownership in post-pandemic India, with a whopping 89% of people considering "right now" to be the best time for buying a house. Improving buyer sentiment also extends to Indians living outside the country. Factors such as customer-centric regulations, low loan and property rates, and a depreciating rupee may propel NRIs to buy India's property in the post-pandemic landscape.

Reduction in brokerage

Brokerage-led transactions are losing value over the years for buyers, sellers, owners, and tenants. The year 2021 should see a further boost in tech-led transactions that are brokerage free.

Society-living will gain more traction

As per NoBroker's annual real estate survey, over 60 per cent of people have cited that they prefer society living to independent accommodations. In times such as these, society living has proved very beneficial. Besides many conveniences, it gave people a sense of community. Developers have upped their game by introducing business centres, meeting rooms, etc. in new projects as work from home is already in motion.

Shift from usual investment destinations

The rise of remote work culture has shifted the focus away from metropolitan cities—typically the employment hub in developing countries such as India. In the new normal where one can work from anywhere, new-age professionals will look to buy property beyond tier-1 cities where property prices are affordable, away from the hustle-bustle of the city long as developers have better track records.

Government initiatives and incentives

The government has been rolling out several policy measures aimed at boosting investment activity in the real estate sector. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), for instance, launched an affordable rental housing complex portal in October 2020. In the same month, the government announced the RERA Act in Jammu & Kashmir, enabling any Indian citizen to buy non-agricultural land and property in the region. Earlier, only local residents were eligible to do so. Further, the union cabinet has approved a Rs 25,000 crore alternative investment fund (AIF) to revive 1,600 stalled housing projects across top cities in the country.

Such optimistic developments that underscore political will to support the country's real state sector are certainly strengthening the trust of Indian buyers. Maharashtra reducing stamp duty charges was a big success and a similar move can be emulated by other states to boost real estate.

The year 2020 also saw new-age real estate players rising to the occasion to stimulate the consumer sentiment by resolving pandemic-induced challenges. Industry-leading real estate companies, for instance, rolled out tech-led solutions to help society residents access grocery items using online portals, drive digital payments, track the movement of guests and neighbours in COVID-19 hotspots, etc. During the previous year, these players focused on coming innovative solutions to tackle extraordinary challenges. In the year 2021 and beyond, they will focus on making these solutions a normal part of the lives of real estate customers in general and prospective homebuyers in particular.

The author is Co-founder & Chief Business Officer at

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author's own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

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