COVID-19 crisis accelerates Indian real estate’s giant technology leap, says GlobalData

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Real estate companies have started using advanced technologies like virtual tours, artificial intelligence-enabled customer engagement, digital bookings and online payments in order to draw customers and drive sales amidst the COVID-19 crisis, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company

COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the real estate sector in India. The nationwide lockdown announced in March 2020 and the uncertainty it created in the employment market have dented the demand prospects for new as well as rental properties in residential and commercial real estate segments. Meanwhile, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, liquidity constraints, and restrictions on commercial activity have also brought construction projects to a standstill.

Nidhi Gupta, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, says “While the country has already relaxed the lockdown restrictions, prospective customers are still reluctant to make personal site visits for the fear of contracting disease. This therefore has been driving real estate companies to use digital marketing strategies such online listing, video demos and tours, and e-launches for the properties on offer.”

For instance, NoBroker.com, a tech-enabled real estate platform with over eight million registered users, unveiled video walk-throughs of properties in March 2020. Mumbai-based Xanadu Realty too boasts of a technology interface that enables it to provide customers a virtual tour of the property and its neighbourhood, and using a combination of virtual reality, automation and analytics to provide a seamless experience to its customers.

“As social distancing and contactless services gain momentum, there has been a significant rise in the number of people choosing to pay rent online using their credit cards”
— Nidhi Gupta, Technology Analyst, GlobalData

Not only new property developers, even online rental platforms are leveraging technology to push their demand amidst the crisis. CoHo.in, a co-living space provider, for instance has been promoting its properties online through virtual tours on its portal to attract prospective tenants approaching to shift post lockdown.

Ms Gupta adds: “As social distancing and contactless services gain momentum, there has been a significant rise in the number of people choosing to pay rent online using their credit cards. Digital rental platforms have quickly responded to this demand by enabling online credit card rent payments on their portals and mobile apps, offering convenience, and safety to customers while making their rent payments, and ensuring sufficient liquidity of up to 45 days.”

Housing.com and NoBroker.com, for instance, have launched rent payment platforms on their mobile apps to facilitate easy rent transfers via credit cards to their landlords’ bank account and generate digital receipts instantly.

Ms Gupta concludes: “While virtual property tours and online bookings have been a popular trend in several developed nations, the trend is only now beginning to catch pace in India thanks to the lockdown and social distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 crisis.”


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