About 60% of the overall property buying process in India has now moved online as against 39% in the pre-Covid-19 period. Social media has emerged as one of the biggest platforms for attracting target customers, according to Anuj Puri, founder and chairman of Anarock Group, a leading real estate services company in the country.

“Online home sales are already beginning to gain traction and leading developers with a good online presence will be the main beneficiaries of this change,” says Puri. This, like real estate, is still considered to be the best asset class for investment, despite headwinds in the sector.

According to a recent consumer survey by Anarock and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), several stages in the entire property buying process like search, documentation, legal advice, and down payments are now “almost fully online”.

Consumers are seen to be more comfortable in doing so, despite the pandemic restrictions being eased across metro cities. “Property-search has largely moved online post the pandemic as against the earlier offline modes such as developer launch events, property expos, local brokers, billboards/hoardings etc.,” read the survey report.

Riding on the trend, property consultancy firm JLL had recently announced the launch of its residential portal to enable homebuyers to choose from an array of residential projects that have been pre-screened by its professionals. The firm also did a strategic partnership with prop-tech firm Zapkey for the secondary residential market or the resale of used homes. Through this partnership, Zapkey’s data platform and prop-tech tools will create a 3D digital twin of the apartment for buyers, making it easier for them to virtually tour the property.

Covid-19 has radically altered homebuyer preferences with many in the industry being of the opinion that the second wave of the pandemic has been the change catalyst. Apart from the shift to digital home purchases, the Anarock-CII survey noted that affordable housing (homes priced below ₹45 lakh) is the lowest priority in consumer preference. This wasn’t the case a year ago.

The sweet spot for buyers now are homes priced between ₹45 lakh and ₹90 lakh, and ready-to-move-in homes is still the most preferred category. “The budget range which this survey identifies as the hottest seller is a surprise, but it makes sense if we consider that it is precisely this segment of buyers who are the least impacted financially by the Covid-19 pandemic,” adds Puri.

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