Real Estate Rentals Segment in India after COVID-19: ANAROCK Research

Real Estate Rentals Segment in India after COVID-19: ANAROCK Research

Major cities across India will see some changes in real estate sector and in real estate rentals (for both commercial and residential real estate) after COVID-19. A report by ANAROCK Property Consultants suggests that landlords and commercial real estate owners will have to change their strategy to boost their rental incomes. The report by Prashant Thakur, Director & Head – Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants, follows...

As an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, tenants are negotiating on their rentals and many landlords face the prospect of reduced rental income. While the incidence of renegotiation is lower in mid-segment properties and higher in luxury homes, the supply of rental homes has increased, and many property owners may face the prospect of lower rental income.

In a market where tenants have the leeway to bargain, property owners need to go the extra mile to attract tenants at good rentals. This helps them to let out their property faster while also justifying higher rental asks.

Topping Up Property to Attract Tenants

The onus is now less on location and more on how much tenants can do with their rented homes. To attract new tenants faster and command higher rentals than others, a landlord will need to make a one-time investment and go that critical extra mile to earn good rentals. This has always been true, but especially so in these times.

Make the Property WFH-ready - Short-list 4-5 critical must-haves in a post-pandemic rented home, focusing not only on cheery interiors but also home office equipment and other critical WFH features. The appeal should be both practical and psychological - for instance, air conditioning is not merely comfort but a feature associated with a work-enabling office atmosphere. A fast Internet connection and WiFi router, and a work decent desk and executive office chair, strike the right psychological chord for the same reason.

If a tenant perceives that the property ticks all the critical boxes of a work-from-home environment, more than half the battle for more attractive rentals is already won. Apart from cosmetic enhancements, features which make work and recreation a matter of ease and convenience are in demand. Tenants should not need to invest in such features themselves.

This will attract both families and working singles who have hit town with little more than their personal belongings. Choosing this property over others should be a veritable no-brainer.

Furnished or Semi-furnished? - While some tenants, especially working singles, prefer fully-furnished rental homes, families may have their own furniture and be on the lookout for semi-furnished units. The rental difference between semi-furnished and fully-furnished properties can be anywhere between 10-20%.

To evaluate, the landlord must factor in aspects such as the kind of tenants that patronize the area, the functions of the location, project type, etc. A seasoned broker will be able to advise on whether the highest demand in this area is for furnished or semi-furnished apartments.

The Co-living Format – An Option?

Coliving has been increasing in popularity in Indian cities largely due to the millennial workforce. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted this segment too, coliving may pick up pace faster than the normal rental format. This is because an increasing number of people currently living in paying guest arrangements will prefer to shift to coliving now.

This business model operates on the fundamental where a company/start-up - such as OYO Life, Colive, etc. – acts as a go-between for property owners and tenants. Different start-ups have different business models. To be noted – coliving players will only consider independent houses for such ‘adoption’ – it is not an option for single owned flats, as housing societies will not allow it.

If an independent house ticks the right boxes and a coliving firm is operational in the area, letting it out as a coliving unit may be an option. If it is, the landlord needs to factor in the different business models such companies follow. For instance, a landlord who earns a fixed monthly income from a coliving partner may have less to worry than when the arrangement is on a revenue-sharing model. This needs to be considered before partnering with any co-living start-up.