“Rs 20-40 Lakh ticket-size category is a significant contributor to residential demand in Chennai. The success of this segment, which largely caters to first-time homebuyers with end-use intent, is indicative of growing homeownership aspirations across markets,” said Vimalendra Singh, Chief Sales & Service Officer, Mahindra Lifespaces.
In an exclusive interview with RoofandFloor, he spoke about Chennai’s residential market, rising sales, changes in homebuyers’ preferences, and much more. Here are the excerpts.
Elaborate on the impact of the second wave of the pandemic on real estate. How was it different from that in 2020?
Healthy recovery in demand for homes signals that residential real estate has performed well across markets in 2021, as compared to when the first wave ended last year. Specific to Chennai, new project launches have grown by more than 50% YoY in H1 2021, and residential sales have increased by more than 90%, as compared to H1 2021. Also, unsold inventory has decreased during this period.
The second wave might have served to further reinforce the importance of smartly designed, future-ready homes that meet emerging user needs such as intelligent storage, privacy, the flexibility of use and connectedness with nature.
How has the residential sector responded to the disruptions this year?
The fundamental approach to the design and development of the ‘product’ in real estate – the home – has remained unchanged for decades, and demands a fresh perspective. We are continually pushing the envelope on the design of our residential projects, whether from the perspective of efficient space utilisation or by incorporating specially curated features and amenities like solar-powered working pods, hobby rooms, outdoor gyms and landscapes that encourage outdoor, intergenerational activity.
At Mahindra Lifespaces, we are driven by the aspirations of Indian homebuyers, who are now increasingly conscious of the intangible benefits of homeownership.
Homebuyers across markets are today evaluating multiple factors beyond just location and ticket size. These include space usage; features and amenities to support wellness and privacy; and sustainability initiatives that help reduce ongoing maintenance costs (through waster, water and energy management efforts).
At the same time, we are also focused on innovating in the construction process by adopting new technologies that can help us build faster, improve quality and reduce our carbon footprint even further. These include technologies like ‘Stay-in-Place Formwork’ and holographic computing.
Compact 1BHKs are also gaining ground in the city. Do you think the trend is here to stay? Also, is there enough supply of 1BHKs in Chennai? In Chennai, which budget segment and region is stealing the show currently?
Rs 20 – 40 Lakh ticket-size category is a significant contributor to residential demand in Chennai. The success of this segment, which largely caters to first-time homebuyers with end-use intent, is indicative of growing homeownership aspirations across markets. For us, it represents an opportunity to develop homes that serve as a springboard to a better quality of life, with improved social and economic outcomes for families.
What is your project pipeline?
After the successful launch of Mahindra Happinest in Chennai, we are now gearing up for planned project launches in every one of our key markets in this fiscal; including Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.
Do you think this is the right time for homebuyers to take the plunge?
The average price of residential real estate rose in the second half of 2021, as did demand – both of which are strong indicators of recovery. The opportunities for investment value in real estate thus appear encouraging. And with record low-interest rates on home loans and other interventions like the temporary stamp duty cuts in specific states, intending homebuyers now have every incentive to go ahead with their purchases.