One needs to look at more than just the carpet area numbers in the floor plans
Following the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, an event that has no recent precedents, real estate ownership grew multifold in importance. There was a surge in consumer demand, which is expected to grow further this year. While investors have started looking at real estate investments with renewed rigour, they need to understand that the needs of the consumer are changing as a result of the pandemic.
Here are some pointers that can enable real estate investors to make informed decisions:
Look at Architecture & Design
With a significant portion of the population spending long hours within the confines of their homes, the inherent lack of space within their homes was soon evident. A typical Indian family is non-nuclear and separate independent spaces are required for the couple to work from home, kids to attend their classes online, and older parents to engage in their pastimes. Pre-Covid, most home-buying decisions were made based on the proximity to one’s workplace after deciding on the budget. In the current scenario, the requirement of additional space within one’s home has brought the focus back on an oft-ignored aspect of real estate - architecture and design. Homebuyers today are focusing on more spacious homes. One needs to look at more than just the carpet area numbers in the floor plans and study how the space allocation for full sized furniture has been done. Does the floor plan provide enough privacy from one part of the home to another, so that multiple people can perform independent activities without disturbing each other? Are the balconies large enough to enable one to enjoy fresh air without stepping out into the common areas? An investor needs to consider projects that offer better functional space utilisation through superior design - a feature that will also make the projects future-proof for decades to come, increasing the market value in the long run.
Outdoors & Amenities are Vital
In addition to indoor spaces, a variety of outdoor spaces and sports amenities within communities have grown in significance in the checklist of home buyers. These outdoor amenities not only provide the residents with ample space to relax but also cater to one’s physical fitness and recreational requirements - important factors in the routine of a modern home buyer in a growing economy such as ours. Thus, one needs to look at the master plan thoroughly to check the outdoor spaces and amenities, not only from the perspective of their variety but also from the density of amenities per capita - a factor that is crucial for the practical usability of these amenities, especially during high-demand periods such as weekends. The present-day home buyer is willing to commute longer distances to work in search of projects that offer all of the above: superior design, larger spaces, both indoors and outdoors, and a wide range of amenities, if their budget doesn’t accommodate such projects in prime locations. Investors who consider projects that have all the above features before deploying their funds will earn more returns in the years to come.
Consider Corporate Requirements
For most global firms who have a temporary work-from-home plan to tackle the pandemic, physical offices will continue to be central to their long-term strategies to enable in-person collaboration, employee well-being, and productivity, and to attract new talent. With a flexible office space strategy in place, these firms will only look at more spacious offices, offer flexibility, and have the highest standards in terms of maintenance and hygiene. Those that do not satisfy the above may have issues with occupancy going forward. Managed offices that cater to enterprise tenants and are located closer to residential localities will also be in demand, in line with the hub and spoke office strategies of large firms.
What's in Store for the Future?
Well-designed properties, be it in the commercial or residential sectors, go a long way in creating wealth by remaining visually appealing for many years to come while also being functionally useful, thereby giving a huge impetus to increases in their market value. Another significant long-term trend that is emerging globally, as well as in India, is the demand for international standards in luxury properties that cater to the growing affluent population. This is where new-age developers with more design-focused projects may offer better investor value than other traditional ones focussing on achieving scale with unimpressive design. An investor will do well as long as he or she focuses on projects that have superior design, spacious indoors and outdoors, a wide range of amenities, highest standards of quality and maintenance - non-negotiable requirements of the present-day consumer.
The author is CEO at SmartOwner
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.