Apartment size, developer's track record, access to healthcare, open green spaces and low density are factors and features that have gained importance during the pandemic for prospective homebuyers, according to a survey.
JLL India and RoofandFloor have jointly conducted 'Homebuyer Preference Survey 2021: The COVID-19 Impact' covering more than 2,500 prospective homebuyers across the top six cities of Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.
Among the factors that are being considered by homebuyers during the pandemic, the survey found out that the size of the apartment rank first, followed by developers profile, access to healthcare, access to green open spaces and lower density environment.
Proximity to public transport hubs ranks sixth in priority list, connectivity to workplace and school at seventh, and access to entertainment hubs at the last position.
"The factors and features that a prospective homebuyer considers while making a purchase has not changed to a great extent. However, there has been a shuffle in the relative importance of these aspects," JLL said in the survey report.
Connectivity to office and schools no longer dictates home purchase decisions, it added.
"Lower density environments, access to open, green spaces, access to healthcare and the size of the apartment have moved up in importance in the decision-making matrix," JLL said.
In the pre-COVID survey conducted in the first quarter of 2020 calendar year, prospective homebuyers gave top most importance to connectivity to office and school.
Proximity to public transport hub was at the second rank in pre-COVID survey, followed by developer profile, size of the apartment, access to healthcare, access to entertainment hubs, access to green spaces and lower density environment.
The first survey was conducted online in early 2020 and the second round of survey was conducted in 2021 in the last few months.
The report mentioned that real estate developers have taken cognizance of the changing preferences and are open to customization in order to suit buyer needs, the consultant said.
Additionally, developer profile now occupies an even more significant position in the decision-making matrix.
"There is an increased preference and willingness to pay a premium for projects by developers with an established track record," the report said.
The survey found out that prospective homebuyers continue to prefer ready to move in apartments by reputed developers.
"However, ready to move in inventory by established developers has gone down in certain markets. In such markets, prospective buyers are becoming more open to making purchases in under construction projects by developers with an established track record," it said.
This shift is further driven by the fact that the price differential between ready-to-move in projects and under construction projects has gone up over the past few quarters, JLL said.
"Developers are offering more flexibility and price discounts in under construction projects, whereas the price of ready to move in projects by reputed developers has witnessed an uptick," it said.
Furthermore, JLL noted that structural reforms within real estate in the last few years have started the process of weeding out smaller, unorganised developers from the market.
"The COVID-19 pandemic was the final nail in the coffin as it tilted the scale further in favour of established developers. Most of the new launches, especially during the pandemic months have been driven by reputed developers," the report said.
Among other findings of the survey, more than 80 per cent of prospective buyers likely to make a purchase within the next 3 months. Around 80 per cent of the homebuyers prefer properties in the sub-Rs 75 lakh category.
Majority of the respondents, almost 89 per cent of those surveyed, wanted to buy a home when asked to choose between buying and renting.