Only a little while ago, potential homebuyers were researching best localities to buy a house near their workplace. Data from India’s leading real estate platform, NoBroker.com, shows how it has all changed since the onset of the pandemic. Earlier, proximity to workplace took the topmost spot among homebuyers’ considerations. But ever since the Covid-19 outbreak triggered the new normal and work from home became the norm, the demand in areas other than the ones located near IT hubs has been increasing.
Over the last decade or so, the significance of “dream” in “dream house” had waned with people prioritising the area or the locality instead of the size and even the quality of the unit. For instance, in cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai that are notorious for their traffic, homebuyers have traditionally preferred staying close to their office to save commute time, often at the cost of their lifestyle-related preferences. But all that is changing for the better.
In the wake of the pandemic, many companies have mentioned that their employees would continue to work from home until June 2021. Consequently, homebuyers are looking to buy properties that are not only more spacious but also located in less populated areas, irrespective of their distance from the workplace. This trend is reflected in the fact that in Bangalore, localities such as Whitefield, Marathahalli, HSR Layout, and Electronic city which were high in demand pre-Covid have experienced a decrease. Conversely, new localities that are attracting greater interest from homebuyers post May 2020 include Horamavu (32%), Yelahanka (56%), RT Nagar (42%), and Hebbal (36%). Currently, space is a bigger concern for working-class couples as they need a home that can accommodate two workstations along with a study room for kids. The prices in areas that are not strategically located around IT hubs are more affordable and living conditions are better as they experience less traffic. The NoBroker portal has registered a growing demand for bigger houses like 3 and 4 BHKs.
A similar pattern is being observed in Chennai as well. The platform has received more queries for localities such as Ambattur (46%), Perambur (105%), Kolathur (77%), Mylapore (31%) and Valasaravakkam (26%) in Chennai. Only a few months ago, the more popular and in demand areas were Velachery, Madipakkam, Pallikaranai, Porur, and Choolaimedu. The data at the platform also indicated a similar trend in Hyderabad where areas such as Malkajgiri (26%), Kothapet (18%), Nagole (19%), Toli Chowki (9%) and Ramachandra Puram (12%) are more in demand than ever before.
People are prioritizing better lifestyle over staying closer to work. The benefits of this development are many. It would help reduce stress from popular areas and distribute population more evenly for better management of resources. Further, this trend might even be the representative of a larger, nationwide sentiment because the platform has found this trend to be dominant in Delhi-NCR and Pune as well. In Delhi-NCR, some of the regions that are experiencing a spike in demand in the post-pandemic landscape include Rohini (126%), Dwarka (73%), Vaishali (69%), Okhla (53%), and Indirapuram (53%). In Pune, the regions that homebuyers are showing keener interest in include Baner (28%), Ambegaon BK (16%), Wadgaon Sheri (31%), Hinjewadi (68%), and Wagholi (25%).
Saurabh Garg, Cofounder and Chief Business Officer of NoBroker.com said, “The work from home culture has helped demand spread more evenly across the cities of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad and suburbs are seeing a surge in demand. This is a good change as it has helped price correction in a couple of localities and people do not have to compromise on space, size and locality in order to stay close to their workplace. It gives builders also a good opportunity to build and develop more areas and not fixate on areas around IT hubs only. But the key thing is that this change is bringing people closer to buying a house. They can buy with the available corpus instead of compromising on lifestyle to save up to buy in high demand areas. The pandemic has given people an understanding that the satisfaction that comes from owning a house is equal to none other.”
Even after offices open by next year, many employees will continue to work from home. Work from home has proven beneficial for both employees as well as organizations. Amid the crisis, many big companies have come to grips with the benefits of the work from home model of continuing business as usual. Not only does it affect employee productivity, but also helps the firms in cutting down on costs that they incur when offices operate in full capacity.
The best takeaway is that people are closer than ever to consider taking the plunge of buying a house. This is a good thing for the sector that has been battling a slump for a few years now.