The pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is evident on real estate through stalled deals, halt in sales, and delay in launches. As India enters Unlock 4.0, the restarting of economic activity and push by the government through various initiatives have set the pace for boosting demand and sales in real estate sector. AlphaCorp, GurgaonOne, Sector 84 located at the heart of New Gurugram adjacent to Dwarka Expressway “The real estate sector was already hit by the market slowdown. It was expected that it would take longer to return to normalcy, but with the revision in interest rates and a few favourable government policies, the market has already started reviving and the demand graph is trending upwards. The construction works have also resumed in order to deliver the projects as per the given timelines. Homebuyers are more conscious now to invest in a property with assured safety, to live a sustainable life. The rise in the housing demand for Tier-II cities can be seen because of affordability and better growth prospects.” says Ashish Sarin, CEO, AlphaCorp. It is expected that the pent-up demand in the residential sector will give a fillip to sales especially of ready-to-move-in and near-completion properties in the post-COVID-19 scenario. In the commercial segment, co-living and office spaces are likely to lead to recovery. In the logistics and warehousing sectors, supply contraction in the sector will lead to a dip in vacancies and better pricing. Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd. says “The enquiries and sales in the real estate sector are picking up post-lockdown albeit some shift in demand and preference of homebuyers. The developers’ agility to adapt to this new demand is the key to the quick recovery of the sector. The RBI’s liquidity support has been helpful but it is pertinent that measures to shore up demand must be taken. Being an end-user driven market, the demand has picked up faster in 2/3 cities due to a host of reasons like government’s industry and infrastructure push, corporates looking for cheap real estate and skilled workforce that are staying back or returning and higher capital appreciation. In the commercial segment, organised retail with 2-3 years delivery timeline is showing a lot of demand from investors and retailers.” Expressing views on traction picked up by the office space market, Ashish Arora, Director-Distribution, Viridian RED, says, “Real estate market sentiments have gradually improved during the unlock period. Decision-making processes and deals which were put on hold due to the lockdown have been resumed now. In the last couple of months, India’s office space market has witnessed few of the key transactions led by global firms which have brought much-needed breather to the sector. Despite the hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial realty segment has an optimistic future. Backed with affordable rentals, the abundance of skilled and low-cost talent, increased interest of investors towards REIT would augment the growth of the commercial realty sector.” The COVID-19 crisis is also expected to redefine certain trends in real estate. The lockdown witnessed players leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality to enhance the consumer experience. Amarjit Bakshi, CMD, Central Park explains, “There has been a revival in demand through increasing footfalls and sales. We have also seen an increase in unique visitors on our website and have been witnessing an increase in queries for various assets within our township. There is so much latent demand for real estate, that we have started reviving the sales impetus. There has been a comparative upsurge in sales in the third quarter of 2020 largely influenced by the investor segment. As more and more investors are finding the equity market volatile, they are skewing towards prime real estate investments from reputed builders. COVID-19 has invariably renewed focus on developers with a strong track record and penchant for style and design. There is still caution against launching new projects but hopefully, we will see new zest in the coming festive season.” Going forward, we foresee an extensive use of technology to offer curated experiences. The overall concern towards hygiene, health, and wellness measures will inevitably benefit real estate players with sound credentials and an enviable track record.