India’s real estate has been impacted deeply by the COVID-19 outbreak and consumer sentiment is currently pessimistic and uncertain due to the national lockdown effects. A recent consumer sentiment report by Magicbricks reveals that one out of three potential home buyers want to drop or keep on hold their property buying decision. However, a large majority of 67 per cent are still planning to go ahead with their investment although with a delay or reduced budget, according to the 'COVID-19 Property Buyer Sentiment Survey'.
The consumer sentiment survey highlights the reinforced significance of home ownership during any catastrophe like a pandemic or a national lockdown.
According to the Magicbricks survey, about 56 per cent of the respondents had either shortlisted or were actively looking to buy property in less than six months before the COVID-19 outbreak happened. However, the outbreak has led to most buyers stretching their timelines by a few months. Interestingly, it has been observed that the Gen Z (people born in the 90s) are the first ones who moved out of the property market, with 50 per cent either holding or dropping their plans to invest in a property.
On the other hand, people in the age group of 25 to 45 years seemed inclined towards buying property with a reduced budget. Also, on an average, 52 per cent of buyers are looking to postpone their buying plans- these are those buyers who had shortlisted a property or were actively looking or exploring.
Sudhir Pai, CEO, Magicbricks, said the real estate industry was already suffering from liquidity crisis and constructions delays and now the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant national lockdown has just compounded the problems for the industry.
"This has temporarily affected the buying intent of more than 80 per cent of home buyers across Tier-I cities. This in turn has also delayed the home buying process by 6-9 months,” he said.
The sentiment analysis found that while both investors and end users remain affected, the investor community is more likely to defer their property investment plans whereas the end-users are more inclined to buy property in the near term post-COVID-19. Thus, despite the overall expectations of price fall in at least few pockets across the country, it seems the end-users should be the first to return to the market.