“Plotted developments with access to basic infrastructure and amenities have witnessed increasing interest from buyers in Hyderabad over the last year,” said Rakesh Reddy, Director, Aparna Constructions & Estates.
In an exclusive interview with RoofandFloor, he spoke about Hyderabad’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?
The second wave had minimal effect on the real estate sector as the sector was better prepared to deal with the repercussions. The demand moderated in Apr-May 2021 due to the lockdown, and it accelerated in June 2021 and had reached its pre-pandemic levels.
Importantly, the faster sales revival after the second wave indicates strong housing demand and growth in subsequent quarters. The fact that real estate demand bounced back after each wave reinforces the sentiment that real estate is a strong investment.
Compared to the first wave, real estate developers benefited from the adoption of digital tools such as virtual tours and online advertising to maintain sales with minimal disruption. Construction activity was not impaired due to government restrictions during the second wave, so project timelines were preserved. Consumers were also more inclined to purchase properties due to the realisation of lower home loan rates and the implementation of policy initiatives.
The availability of vaccines and large-scale inoculation drives also improved overall consumer morale during the aftermath of the second wave. The onset of working from home (WFH) was a major factor in bolstering real estate demand during the second wave. There was an increased demand for more spacious homes to accommodate home offices.
The demand for properties in suburban areas, tier-2 and tier-3 cities also rose. During the second wave, consumers were more confident and ready to take advantage of the market scenario.
According to our research, there is a good demand for plotted developments in Hyderabad. What are the reasons for this increased demand?
Plotted developments with access to basic infrastructure and amenities have witnessed increasing interest from buyers in Hyderabad over the last year. Buyers who may not want to commit to a large amount of money but still want to make a secure long-term investment are opting for plots. They can build their independent house on the plot of land or retain it as a long-term investment since it requires minimal maintenance.
Accordingly, plotted developments have been critical to the revival of the real estate sector as they widen the market opportunity. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns considerably altered consumer lifestyle. Housing preferences began to lean heavily towards spacious independent homes, larger apartments with private outdoor spaces. As WFH continues to be a long-term scenario, consumers are prioritising space, safety, and wellness. This makes plotted developments a fast-growing segment.
How has the residential sector responded to the disruptions this year?
The residential sector has seen a significant increase in both sales and launches in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in the previous year. This trend was driven largely by timely policy reforms. The RBI’s decision to keep interest rates at historic lows has subsequently reduced home loan rates. This has incentivised some homebuyers to take advantage of the market opportunity. Coupled with discounts in stamp duty in some states, this has led to increased sales momentum.
Developers have recalibrated their approach to launches while also developing properties that address new consumer preferences, including larger spaces and green surroundings. As WFH becomes the norm, homebuyers are opting for spacious and well-equipped projects with dedicated home offices.
There is a growing demand for projects with premium facilities including clubhouses, fitness centres, swimming pools, playgrounds and sports facilities, as well as on-site supermarkets and pharmacies for added convenience and comfort. Larger homes and luxury properties continued to see greater demand during the lockdowns.
In Hyderabad, which budget segment and region is stealing the show currently?
The growth corridors in the western and northern suburbs of Hyderabad, including Nallagandla, Kompally, Tellapur, and Patancheru are gaining interest from home buyers for their value. These areas offer larger properties at more affordable rates, as well as strategic connectivity to commercial hubs.
With WFH becoming the norm, many professionals in the IT and financial sectors are opting for more spacious properties to accommodate home offices. Homebuyers are demanding much more, including modern amenities, open spaces, connectivity, and social infrastructure. Accordingly, the premium segment in the western and northern suburbs is seeing the majority of launches.
What is your project pipeline?
Aparna Constructions will be launching eight new residential projects in 2021. We recently launched Aparna Sarovar Zicon – a luxury gated community located at the rapidly growing IT hub of Nallagandla, Hyderabad. Additionally, we are planning to launch three residential projects in Hyderabad and two in Bangalore in 2021. The company will also launch two plotted layouts in Hyderabad. With these new ventures, the total portfolio of Aparna Constructions in the residential segment will be 64 projects. Apart from the residential projects, we are also planning multiple commercial launches in the south market this year.
Do you think this is the right time for homebuyers to take the plunge?
Record-low home loan interest rates combined with advantageous policy initiatives and a wide selection of properties make this an opportune time for homebuyers. Over the past year, the RBI has cut interest rates which are now at historic lows. This has subsequently lowered home loan interest rates to 6% in some banks. This trend is likely to continue throughout 2021.
Furthermore, since the construction sector was given priority to continue operations during the lockdown, there are more options available today in terms of ready-to-move-in properties. Established and reputed developers have been able to expand their footprint and continue providing high-quality residential properties. There is greater availability of RERA-approved, branded projects by prominent developers.