Real Estate Hour

COVID-19 pandemic impacts Indian Real Estate sector, Silent Navratri force virtual project launches

Activity may pick up after June 2020: Real Estate experts

India is currently in a precarious position, with the ground situation changing every few hours, as the government is trying its level best to contain the spread of pandemic COVID-19, which has so far claimed about 10 lives in the country. To prevent the continuous rise in the number of positive cases each day, the government on 24th March announced a 21-day lockdown.

Surprisingly, this lockdown begins with Hindu New Year “Vikram Samvat”, which is referred to as Navratri in North India and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. Due to restrictions on public gathering and promulgation of social distancing, there would be far-too fewer celebrations on the occasion this year. That said, alongside the limitation on celebrations, there would be also an impact on the business, especially that of real estate as traditionally this festival is considered auspicious to buy properties.

Since footfalls and site visits are almost nil following the countrywide lockdown and a ban on construction, some real estate developers launched new projects virtually, stating they had decided to defer the new launches until Dussehra.

Ritesh Mehta, the senior director, and head- West India, Residential, Jones Lang Lasalle India said, this is perhaps the most silent Gudi Padwa and Navratri we have ever seen. There have been no bookings and no enquiries, with most developers deciding to defer new launches until Dussehra and Diwali.

At present, the discounts are limited and people are not sure of their jobs and are not ready to take on a long term liability. Realtors say that the sector like any other has been badly hit by the pandemic and there is a dip in buyer interest. The lockdown may also see the loss in the real estate business to the tune of Rs 5,000 to 6,000 crore.

However, industry experts are expecting that the real estate sector might pick up after June, especially residential.

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