India’s economy may have taken a beating from the public health crisis. But real estate is indeed looking attractive for NRIs in a pandemic-hit year. They are reaching out to developers with genuine enquiries and eagerly logging into real estate websites. It doesn’t stop here. Many of them are investing in projects especially in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi. 

The interest has been driven to a large extent by a rupee that is falling in value, lower interest rates for housing loans, as low as 6.95 per cent at some banks, a feeling of uncertainty that they might have to return to India for good and of course the irresistible offers & deals from the developers.

Nearly 50,000 NRIs could be in the market scouting for homes, says an industry observer quoted in a recent BloombergQuint report on the Indian real estate scene. If this demand gets converted into sales once travel curbs ease, it could well be a “historical high”. NRIs from Africa, Europe, and Asia, including the Middle East, are the most active in enquiries given the high level of economic uncertainty. Besides, asset prices have fallen in these regions and investment opportunities to earn returns have turned negative.

Hiranandani Communities is among the premium developers that caters to NRI buyers, BloombergQuint noted. Numbers have grown in the post-lockdown era, Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director and co-founder of the group, told BloombergQuint. While the number of queries has risen, he said, the status of most of these transactions is “work in progress”.

“We have closed a few NRI deals, and they prefer larger homes in integrated townships, which offer lifestyle features similar to what they have experienced while being expatriates in a foreign country,” he said. The demand is mainly from the diaspora returning from the U.S., the U.K. and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Hiranandani added. This is expected to grow in the rest of the year and beyond.

Hiranandani is celebrated for his luxurious, self-sustaining townships that are hugely popular with the NRI segment as well as Indian home buyers as they combine prime location, sound infrastructure and best in class amenities. All these features can be experienced at Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel, Navi Mumbai.

It is home to well-planned residences, retail stores and office spaces at Hiranandani Business Park, living up to the philosophy of Live, Work, and Play. This township project in Panvel is designed as a multi-use space, offering ample opportunities for recreation, community-interaction and cultural expression. Just what the doctor ordered for NRIs returning home!

Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam, Chennai, has always been a favorite destination with NRIs and is home to scores of expats who work at 22 Fortune 500 companies and Indian auto giants located nearby, on Tamil Nadu’s industrial corridor. It is a vibrant 360+ acres, self-sustaining, integrated township with over 40 unique attractions and feted for its stately high-rise towers, stunning neo-classical architecture, top-notch amenities apart from villas, premium plots and retail outlets. A sports township, Hiranandani Parks hosts a compact golf course, polo ground and over 12 professional grade sports facilities.

For the NRIs, living in Hiranandani Parks means living under a green cover of over 2000 preserved trees or beginning your day with the sound of temple bells ringing.

Experts believe that around 65% of the NRIs are buying homes for their own use while the rest, especially those with considerable savings, are buying as an investment considering the fall in property prices

The demand seems to be for ready-to-move homes or properties that will be completed within the next 6-12 months. Flexible payment options appear attractive for this group, especially when offered by reputed developers behind quality projects.

For NRIs, the idea of owning a home in their own country is comforting and provides a safe haven. The prevailing pandemic has created uncertainty in their minds. 

A Bengaluru-headquartered developer too confirmed to BloombergQuint that it is seeing an increased interest and enquiries from NRIs though they cannot come on site visits because of the travel restrictions. The developer expects conversions to improve as the country goes through the unlock phase. He expects nearly 20% of the inventory to be picked up by the NRIs in 2020. Not that there are many other investment options available in the country for them.

While the first quarter of 2020-21 was muted across the country, developers expect a renewal of interest from domestic buyers as well. The adoption of digital technologies and tools by developers has enabled NRIs and buyers based in India to experience and compare projects through virtual tours and walkthroughs and even book a home online. Unimaginable a year ago.