Sunday, January 31, 2021

Post Lock-down Real Estate & Home Buying!




Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction... Germany Kent

Germany Kent is an American print and broadcast journalist. Kent is also regarded as a social media etiquette expert. Kent has authored ten nonfiction books including The Hope Handbook Series, best-selling written work The Hope Handbook, and the critically acclaimed book “You Are What You Tweet”, a national bestseller. And with the new year here (actually one month has already passed) not just real estate but all of us need to not just read but live by the philosophy hidden in the words of Ms Germany, especially now when the vaccine is in market & herd immunity against the pandemic is building (hopefully). Lockdown is over, though the pandemic is not but just like World War wounds which took decades to heal for the most European countries, this war also we will be carrying in our minds for much longer time than the lockdown period. There will be calculations for the damage done & predictions but one thing is sure each of us has been hit in some way or other so the silver line is barring few companies ( Netflix, Amazon etc) every segment of the business world has its own wounds to look after & nurse it. Real estate isn’t also exception & that way real estate was in doldrums even before the pandemic hit the world but let’s look from the positive aspect of the lockdown or the pandemic as one thing is sure the dimensions were already changing to buy a home (let focus Pune) & I will say the pandemic helped in gaining speed for this change of dimensions for buying a home! 

Speaking about Pune which has been one of the dearest place (read as city) for the migrants from all over the country & even the world,(as someone told me there are over ten thousand Koreans in the city, that’s big number) for not just the jobs or knowledge this city offers to the residents but the life style also, which is an important aspect when you conclude on some place over other options as your home! And Pune was (is too) having it fullest in the form of hundreds of eating (and drinking too) outlets as well shops & malls with multiplexes & drama theaters & not to forget the social events like Ganesh Festival & Savai Gandharva which keeps the citizens entertained all around the year, what more one wants to for living when one is earning some money too in a city! So, agreed Pune was a hot destination for real estate & many industries as when a person is happy with the home then the reflection is bound to be seen as outcome of work front, is what every HR manager has been taught in his or her MBA degree, isn’t it! And so was real estate happy too as more jobs & more colleges’ means more migrants & means more need of the homes. AT the same time the existing genre of flat buyers in early seventies & eighties was also looking for up gradation of their home in the form of redevelopment or change of location of space. All this made real estate in Pune also a deer business for everyone associated with it, including the govt! 

Well, with the pandemic fear factor melting slowly once again people will start a fresh & definitely one thing will be there that owning a home will be priority & this I am not saying because it’s my profession but that's a natural course of action in changed times! Take a look at early news headlines in midway of year 20, all those which fled from the city were the ones residing on rental basis in the city & when they came back in mid way of peak of pandemic the way they found it difficult to re-enter in their rental premise (courtesy the respective society's managements), I am sure they must have decided two things either move away from this city for ever or buy a own home & most will go by later option as getting away from Pune permanently is not an easy option, especially if you are from some small place in rural India! As once you are used to this lifestyle, its addiction is worse, is a fact! So this segment which was a rental resident will be a new flat buyers for the real estate though their budget may not allow them to buy a home where they were residing pre-lockdown (or else why would they get in rental in first place) but they will be ready to move a bit away also, yet have a own home! 

Then there is work from home culture which is a life changing for many families, as never all five or six members of three genre has been needed to stay at a time for so long in the home & this has made many families to have a slight bigger home with added specifications in the home. And with work from home culture along with online schools & senior citizens not allowed to travel indeed need of additional room than having just big room sizes is being seen. One BHK family is looking for 2 two BHK & 2 BHK families are thinking of 3 BHK home as if husband wife are going to be work from home with kids school also from home then you are bound to need more rooms. This again will have own limitations as salaries are reduced (in most cases) & job security is a concern but life is not going to stop for this, right? So, start looking for options is the right way & upgrade on the basis of number of rooms rather than just location or amenities like swimming pool of club house which are actually useless for a while from now, yet the maintenance costs are there! At the same time do we really need big (I meant very big) room sizes as there always is a debate of what should be the ideal sizes of the rooms i.e. bed room or hall or kitchen. Well, there is no specific definition of such (there is actually in by-laws of PMC but that’s for sake of use) ideal dimensions of the rooms but what I feel is its individual’s perception which decides or say defines ideal, when its room sizes. So, just know what you want as room size because a 10’6” wide & 14’ long can be a good bed room & a 13’ wide & 18’ long also is a bed room only! I am not saying stay in a cramped room but reduction by a feet in all rooms if can give you one additional room then that’s need of the time is what I feel.

Also about the luxuries of the life, the pandemic has shown us that living by needs is always better than greed as who cares what brand of the jean or the watch you are wearing if you are wearing a mask to cover your face itself all the time, right? So, instead just looking for luxurious specifications  if the project is offering more open spaces with trees & has open gym on terrace as well & if it’s a township then option of having some guest rooms common for the outstation visitors along with common workplaces & yes, Wi-Fi also, all these can be good & useful amenities. Agreed challenges in front of the builders are more high as everyone will try to salvage the damage done by the lockdown & even the Govt is not exception & will try to take away as much it can from the pockets of the business fraternity (what else it can do), the present 50% discount in premiums vs. making developers pay the stamp duty of the flats (homes) is classic example of the attitude the govt is thinking with! At the same time more FSI means more premiums & more homes & more revenue, is also what govt thinks & will flood the market with FSI but that means more supply & lesser margins & turnover at slower speed; do mind, all these aspect of real estate. And then there is issue of increased labor costs as our dear State (Maharashtra) opened its gates later than all others, most labor gangs have got engaged in other Metro cities as we can't expect them to be jobless for so long. And now real estate industry in the State is facing acute labor shortage, especially the skilled ones & then this is not an industry which can accommodate to work from home culture as its the home we are building in first place! The developers must consider all such aspects of real estate & yet try to give what the new generation clientele needs for their ideal home & not what as a builder we think is a best home! 

I have deliberately used the term “New Generation Home Buyers”, as this is a new generation which has survived in the pandemic & has faced the lockdown bravely & is overcoming the damage it has done & I am sure in the process they have become wiser than earlier & this wisdom will be reflected in everything they buy hereafter & do mind a home is a need but the costliest need, do I need to tell any more to the real estate people!


Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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