Source: Times of India ( )

After one of the most tumultuous years in modern history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, homebuyers are on the lookout for larger, greener properties. They are also moving towards suburbs, secondary cities and vacation destinations world over. The report also highlights that vaccines against the virus will bring urban centres back to life. New York is almost restored to its post vaccination normalcy, and high street life in London is slowly coming back.

When it comes to buying luxury homes in gateway cities of the world, India ranks high. According to a Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report published in 2020, in the nations recording the highest number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (which Credit Suisse categorizes as adults with wealth greater than US$50 million) India ranks fourth, right after United States, China, and Germany. For the real estate industry, this means the bulk of buyers in the market for homes priced from US$10 million and up will come predominantly from US and China, followed by Germany and India. These pandemic buyers have trended toward sprawling compound-type properties in suburban and resort markets in the case of U.S. consumers and diversified investment properties across global cities, in the case of Chinese buyers. In India, wealthy buyers have opted for home purchases in destination beach and hill states such as Goa, Alibaug, Rishikesh and Shimla. In large cities of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Kolkata, there’s been a rush for a lifestyle upgrade to spacious villas and luxury apartments, in the toniest zip codes.

Indians are searching for million-dollar homes across the world. The website’s search statistics show that the Indian homebuyer is now ready to invest in properties worth millions across geographies. According to the recent website traffic report by Sotheby’s International Realty, there’s a huge surge in online property search world over, and significantly, India is second only to the USA when it comes to online property searches.

India’s second position under the ‘source of visits’ shows that Indians have been searching for good properties availability. The first quarter of 2021 has been the best for Sotheby’s Realty online – with a 27% increase in unique visits pushing the 4 million visits per annum figure even higher. The top searches by Indians are in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Dubai, Lake Como, Sydney and Malibu. The new revamped features human translations in more than 15 languages and nearly 60 currency conversions to serve 72 countries the virtual home buying experience, one of the best globally.

Just a couple of years ago, most people would have balked at the idea of seeing a piece of real estate online and then make a buying decision. But the coronavirus and the resultant lockdown forced everyone indoors. Most countries are yet to relax travel restrictions and embargoes, rendering flying out to check out a property in person impossible. People also consider it unsafe to venture out. Prospective home buyers began to find the property they wanted to buy online, instead. The first quarter of calendar year 2021 show a 63 per cent increase in traffic over 2020 with more than 37 million visits to Sotheby’s International Realty website,

So, what does this mean for global real estate players?
The virus has changed the home buying trends, perhaps for a long time to come. With the COVID-19 forcing everyone indoors, and the pandemic not entirely behind the world, people realize having a well-appointed, spacious home is not a luxury, but a necessity. Those who have the purchasing power will continue to look for homes with vast open areas, more rooms that can hold designated spaces for work from home options, children’s online education and recreation. They will opt for spacious homes in prime spots where essential amenities are at hand, and another home in a beach or a hill destination.