by Mitu Mathur, Director, GPM Architects and Planners
Like every other industry, the real estate sector took a major blow due to the imposed nationwide lockdown last year. The mass exodus of the migrant laborers due to the Covid-19 pandemic led to housing projects being stalled and delivery dates postponed, inevitably decreasing the new project launches and corresponding sales by almost 50 percent. Further, the uncertainty of the salaried jobs led to a rollback in investments in the housing industry, increasing the unsold housing inventory across all major cities.
The slowdown in housing demand may have pulled prices lower during the previous year, but with the rollout of the vaccine, this slump will undoubtedly bounce back to normal. The lower rate of interest, coupled with a decrease in housing prices and government initiatives to extend project completion deadlines, has led housing sales in the key markets to resume, although slowly, showing a renewed potential in the real estate industry.
In light of the pandemic, homeownership has become a prime concern for a city dweller, especially with the rise in remote working. This will inevitably lead to a shift in the buyer's mindset and a rising demand for the upgradation of living spaces in forthcoming years. The pandemic has led to a significant change in our lifestyles as well, with the increased importance of a work-life balance and the need to invest in houses that cater to more than just our living requirements.
With a shift in buyer sentiment, the demand for dynamic spatial layouts with higher safety, wellness facilities, and green areas within the housing development is witnessing a rise. We had incorporated these features in our recent project 'Rangoli Greens’ in Jaipur, where the addition of 5.5 acres of green space in the new-age apartment complex seeks to bridge the gap between nature and users. All the housing units are planned to be open from three sides, enabling cross ventilation and ample daylight to ensure healthy living. To cater to the premium needs of housing, the development consists of all high-end facilities and amenities, such as an activity area under each tower block - highlighting the community-driven design development of this project. One of the main highlights of the development is the clubhouse, which accommodates interactive spaces to promote community participation. The addition, landscaped areas connected with the clubhouse provides a sense of solitude and tranquility by creating a closed green envelope, covered on all sides by the high-rise towers. Rangoli Greens successfully creates a seamless bridge between community and green living, and is one of the examples where we saw the success of these facilities.
We are also currently doing multiple projects for the affordable housing segment, wherein innovative features like a small study area for study/work from home for the entire family has been introduced. In addition, the developers are giving a lot of importance to the introduction of sizable balconies and open areas within the residential towers, which facilitate as an extension of the homes in a more recreational way and, the introduction of vertical greenery to enhance the experience of vertical living for the residents. As far as the amenities are concerned, a lot of emphasis is being given to the amenities catering to all age groups at the overall development level and their introduction as spill-over spaces into the green areas. The concept of 'resort to residence' or ‘residence as a resort’ is also picking up very fast. With schemes like PMAY, DDJ, the affordability of the residential units on the rise, and with the introduction of efficient and innovative design solutions, the value of these homes can be highlighted multiple times. The evolution of construction technology has reduced the cost of construction and is speeding up the process dramatically. The acceptance of newer construction technologies is also a key driver in the housing segment.
Even though the pandemic has affected the housing industry, it has significantly changed the way we perceive our residential spaces. The growing importance of homeownership and shift in housing requirements will certainly lead to better days and a quicker pace of revival in the coming year.