NRIs based in the US, the UK and Singapore are investing in larger housing units in their hometowns, having learned from the painful experience of living in space-tight units during the lockdown in India, and as the Work from Home (WFH) mode has become a requirement, according to experts. The real estate experts, who took part in a Singapore property show held from November 19 to 20, also said that the Non Resident Indians are also settling down with extended families, another lesson from the pandemic that living together with family members is much helpful in facing another COVID-19 wave type development in the future.
"There has been a paradigm shift in the residential market in terms of living and lifestyle," said Isha Kotwal, head of international sales at Total Environment, Bangalore, who presented a sustainable residential development concept at the show. Chetan Sharma, senior general manager for sales and market at Emami Realty Ltd, a pan-India property firm of Emami Group, said that WFH had become a requirement post-pandemic and professionals are now seeking out additional space to set up workstations within their residences.
The opinion shared by the real estate experts during the show was based on their observations after keeping a tab on the recent trends relating to investments in real estate. Prabhakar, who is the vice president at VNCT Global, a 50-year-old property group and one of Tamil Nadu's leading developers, said that with the US in recession and job cuts by heavyweights Twitter, Amazon and Facebook, Indian professionals in the United States are rethinking their priorities and are investing in large housing units, be it condominium apartments or bungalows.
"Weak rupee is another drawing factor as stronger US dollar and other currencies have made it attractive to invest back home," he said of the residential property boom created by the NRI dollar flow into India. The executives said that the value of bungalows and villas appreciates as much as 18 per cent per year while apartments offer a minimum of 8-10 per cent return on investments. Abhinandhan D'Souza, deputy vice president at Piramal Realty, said: "Post-pandemic, demand is for larger carpet area".
"People have learned the value of space following the pandemic and are now preparing to invest in larger houses, in case there is another lockdown and the need to be ever ready for WFH," he said. Large units, which were not selling pre-COVID, have been sold out tower by tower post-COVID, according to D'Souza. "The dynamics of living and lifestyle have changed, and there is upgrading to bigger carpet space," he said.
The business representatives of over 30 developers see housing demand for extended families, especially adding parents in all possibilities to ensure no one is left alone in case of another lockdown. "Having a home in your hometown is a must among NRIs, especially the high-net-worth individuals," observed Anubhuti Dhote, a former corporate personality working through the growing community of Singapore-based Indian executives managing international businesses across Asia.
She said the show was a joint effort with the developers to reach out to Indian executives, offering investment opportunities in real estate for which pundits predict good double-digit returns. "We showcased the top 30 realty Brands' 100-plus projects from over 10 major cities," she said. Property observers believe that NRIs, fearing job loss in the United States, are more than ever drawn to be in their hometown, given their abilities to work online from anywhere in the world.