Impact on real estate is short term: real estate experts

Realty WEBSERIES which is being organised by ICCPL, country’s leading PR firm in association with Realty & More, a renowned realty magazine, moved to practical aspects being faced by the real estate sector in its 5th edition (webinar). Real estate experts talked about rental situations, online marketing, investment situations, etc in the present scenario where people are raising questions on how real estate will behave and the time it will take to revive. The panel included Kapil Kapur, director strategy, sales & BD, Bullman Realty; Ajay Rakheja, National Head Commercial Real Estate, 360 Realtors; Amit Raheja, CMD, Wealth Clinic; Abhi Batra, director, Buniyad Group; Khairul nissa shah, ED, WTC; Supriya Chaterjee, senior director – leasing services, Cushman & Wakefield; Amrendra Shukla, National Head Sales, OLX India; and Salil Kumar, director, Assotech Realty.

Maintaining that the virtual tours and lucrative schemes have helped get good sales even during lockdown, Kapil Kapur, director strategy, sales & BD, Bullman Realty, said, “Use of digital has helped a lot as clients get to spend a lot of time at home and thus searched online. In fact, our cost of marketing came down to a lot. We now see a boom in residential as well as commercial real estate. People, who invested in various financial instruments, have realised that these tools do not have the kind of stability that real estate has.”

Attaching the increase in sales and enquiry to lockdown, Ajay Rakheja, National Head Commercial Real Estate, 360 Realtors, said that “There were emotions as people were locked up in small spaces and no balconies. This made people realize the importance of having their own home or have a bigger homes. In commercial segment too we got enquiries for investment in office spaces with ticket size of Rs 50 lakh ready to move in and last mile completion. Investors might use it for their own use or may be use it as a saving portfolio that they can sell at later stage.”

Experts were of the view that the fear in India is misplaced as even China, from where Corona originated, has gone completely operational. Amit Raheja, CMD, Wealth Clinic, was of the view that “The plan like 10:90 schemes worked in favor of real estate. The people came out and we received good response. They want second income and are responding to real estate. These schemes are building confidence in people. When offer is there buyers come out as they don’t buy when prices are flat but wait for the movements, which was provided by lucrative schemes during the lockdown.”

After the relaxations of lockdown, people came out to visit sites apart from just relying on virtual tours. “This month people have visited Noida and our experience was amazing. In fact, during the lockdown our sales teams made almost 35000 calls daily and after the initial hiccups when people were shocked because of Corona, they started giving us more time to understand the offerings. This led to good response.”

Agreeing to the increased demand and realisation of people to have a home, Amrendra Shukla, National Head Sales, OLX India, said, “People were struggling in spaces and during lockdown started looking for bigger homes. These are the people who are looking for second home and contribute to 69 per cent of enquiries. The rest of 21 per event are people who wanted to buy in Jan-Feb-March, now they are coming out and looking for less properties worth less than Rs 50 lakh.”

Agreeing that there was a huge increase in online visits and it will remain the major factor to be used for marketing, Abhi Batra, director, Buniyad Group, added, “Selling was not as tough as we thought it would be. There are some basic necessities and real estate is one of these needs. We have enquiries from people who want to move to new property and looking for bigger size unit. Talking of commercial, I would say that earlier people used to have bigger offices or presence at one place, but now we are getting queries where people are dividing their requirement for acquiring multiple spaces with a view to increase their presence.”

Touching upon the issue of rental, the webinar witnessed a candid conversation where everyone agreed that situation is already there and some tenants are using pandemic situation to squeeze out benefit from the landlords. Khair Ull Nissa Shah, ED, WTC, said, “At WTC we have signed 22 new leases and that too at higher rental. Having said that there are various models regarding rentals being seen in the market. A lot of restructuring is happening in retail where tenants are asking for combination of revenue share, asking for reduction, etc. 90 per cent of retail is coming for restructuring of rents.”

Supriya Chatterjee, senior director – leasing services, Cushman & Wakefield, added that “We are witnessing that new clients are asking for deferment of rent commencement and corporates asking if escalations can be waived off in cases where lease renewal is due soon. My submission to developers is that they have to take it as per case to case scenarios and they should definitely have compassion for some industries that are affected badly. We all are in evaluation and thinking mode, once the lockdown is lifted the picture will be clear.”

Salil Kumar, director, Assotech Realty, agreed and said ,”Customers are pressing for rental waiver and in case of high rentals they are asking for decrease. Landlords are preferring not to lose the customer and thus there are discounts and deferment of rents for some time. However, the negotiations are still going on and no such reduction has happened so far. Another fact is that tenants are searching for low rental markets.”

Chaterjee added that rentals will not crash, however in pockets developers who are towards peripheral hubs will soften rentals. “We have seen that rentals in SBD have picked up looking at CBD markets. CBD rentals will be stable as there is hardly any vacancy. The kind of increase we were witnessing earlier may not happen as of now. Overall, it will softening of rental rather than crash.”

Realty WEBSERIES is an initiative which during the lockdown has given a new paradigm to how realty shows were watched. The series of live webinars is being watched by thousands across the nation gets millions of views within few hours. The platform has delved into discussing important aspects of realty sector which post COVID 19 pandemic in India the viewers want to understand.