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Creating Happinests For The 'New Normal'

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective home buyers are looking for spaces that will cater to everyone in their families. Urban homes remain constrained due to limited floor area and with excellent designing and a focus on amenities, even budget homes can provide solutions to home buyers. Going forward, the quality of life will be in focus more than ever.

In discussion with Housing.com,Vimalendra Singh, Chief Sales Officer, Mahindra Happinest (the affordable housing brand of Mahindra Lifespaces), explains the role of developer firms in ensuring a smooth road ahead for home buyers.

What are the amenities that Mahindra Lifespaces is looking to provide to home buyers post-COVID-19?
Humanity is spending more time at home than ever before. Social distancing, self-isolation, hygiene routines and work-from-home have become essential aspects of our ‘new normal’ lives. These aspects are changing the way we view and experience our homes. This forced recalibration is likely to result in long-term shifts in house design. Adoption of technology for comfortable living along with the well-being attributes of self-sufficient housing projects will become significant. The lockdown situation has created the demand for features, amenities and services that can enable a better quality of life post-COVID-19. The key is to engage with customers continually, to generate insights that can then be incorporated into future projects.

How important is it to offer customisation of units, following the coronavirus pandemic?
There will be a higher focus on customisation of homes in the premium or luxury segment, with emphasis on exclusivity, privacy and security. Across all segments, efficient and aesthetic storage spaces will become important. Many standard features may become digitised. For example, customisable smart home features, including controlling the blinds of a bedroom, or adjusting the luminosity of bulbs could find more takers. Indoor health-enhancing tools, such as smart air filtration systems, may also see increasing favour with home buyers.

Additionally, extended periods of working from home will result in greater attention to indoor workspaces that can maximise productivity and be comfortable, at the same time. In metros like Mumbai, where space is at a premium, multi-functional indoor spaces will be designed to suit various professional and personal needs – for instance, a corridor or a dining table in the living room/kitchen area that can double-up as a workstation.

What are some of the challenges ahead?
The attrition of construction workers, who want to return to their hometowns and villages, has emerged as a challenge for the real estate sector. To overcome it, we are focusing our efforts around prefabricated construction, increased automation, and mechanisation of construction technologies.

Do you see the demand for homes picking up in the near future?
Being cooped up indoors for months has resulted in enhanced awareness for intelligently-designed apartments, organised living spaces, and ‘green’ homes that can utilise resources efficiently. We believe that demand in the residential segment, especially in the affordable and mid to premium segments, is likely to surge post-COVID-19, prompted by the experience of users in the last few months. Homeownership's aspirational value remains strong, as validated by the flow of customer enquiries across markets and even from NRIs, during the lockdown.