Stressed inventory in real estate requires a quick turn around

By Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M

Real estate sector has undergone several paradigm shifts over the past years, restructuring its dynamics time and again. It has just begun to overcome the economic slump and recover the trust of buyer sentiments with the help of the government. Amidst the downturn, the number of stuck projects across the industry has increased significantly, negatively impacting the market. While the lockdown comes to an end and economic activities start to pick up, there is dire need to revive the sluggish market. This would require extra efforts from the developers.

Pankaj BansalDelay in delivery or uncertain delivery timeline owing to stalled real estate projects is amongst the prime challenges faced by the end customer. The worst-hit victims of this crisis are buyers, the majority of whom have already made a portion of payment for the property they chose, but are unclear when they would get its possession. As India is currently in the Unlock 5.0 phase, the restarting of economic activity and revival of sentiment has set the pace for real estate to bounce back with a renewed vigour. One cannot underestimate the importance of landmark policy decisions to streamline the path ahead. The decisive measures of extending the timeline for real estate project completion and registration by six months and slashing of the repo and reverse repo rates have laid the foundation for the recovery of the sector. However, developers also need to take the onus to revive consumer sentiment through various initiatives. Though the Unlock phases have accelerated the pace of construction activities, thereby improving the prospects of project delivery, developers need to think out-of-the-box to come up with viable solutions.

Re-strategizing on business models and approaches will lead to a win-win situation among them and also maximize customer satisfaction.

Leveraging emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality is one solution. Technology can help real estate players in the precise mapping of consumer preferences, ensuring a greater degree of personalization and developing customized solutions. These steps will ultimately motivate customers towards purchase decisions on account of the revival in sentiment.

The crisis has underscored the significance of innovation across functions to come up with novel solutions to address consumer concerns. As real estate players shifted their approach from hard selling to enhancing customer experience through technology and personalization during the lockdown, it is evident that they need to go a step ahead to revive consumer sentiment in the wake of the festive season.

Real estate developers are now looking to capitalize on the opportunity to boost sales. Hence, they are mulling attractive discounts, value-add-on services through collaboration with banks, financial institutions and relevant stakeholders. However, this alone is not a long-term solution to the problem. Amid economic uncertainty, consumers will be extra-cautious and will negotiate to the core and derive best value while purchasing a property.

The COVID-19 lockdown witnessed real estate players devising unique strategies to enhance customer experiences. The festive season will ensure a continuity of this trend. At the same time, it will be imperative for brands to regain consumer trust by emerging as their formidable partner during this crisis through their emphatic and problem-solving approach. While the overall focus on health, hygiene and wellness will be paramount, brands need to do much more to win customers during this critical junction and build their base.

The need of the hour for developers is to embrace innovation on an extensive scale to gain a competitive edge in the long-run.

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