While 2020 has been an unprecedented year globally, it has been able to create certain unique opportunities for the real estate sector that are likely to usher in a new era of innovation and digital transformation going forward. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated recalibration at a systemic and individual level. The real estate sector has not remained untouched from this recalibration but has shown remarkable resilience in the face of the pandemic. As we continue to learn to live in this COVID era, the year 2021 would require us to reimagine the way we have operated so far.
Below is a lowdown of how the real estate story unfolded in 2020 and its outlook in 2021:
The commercial real estate sector has made large strides in the past decade. Robust occupier interest, ascension of organized real estate developers and the emergence of institutional capital have accelerated this growth. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the office sector, it could very well become the flag-bearer of recovery in the real estate sector. The quarterly growth in office space take was up by 14% from April 2020 to September 2020, with increase in absorption of space from 6.9 million sq. ft in Q2 2020 to 7.9 million sq. ft in Q3 2020. At an overarching level, the future of the workplace has been witnessing a lot of debate. Most of this debate has been centered around how office space would be used and designed, what role would tech play and what status would the workplace hold in terms of its physicality amid changing work patterns. The post-COVID-19 new normal has been characterised by the evolution of work patterns, which has altered the way both occupiers and developers have operated so far.
While concepts such as wellness, workplace strategies and agility have been around for some time, their enforcement is expected to strengthen and advance further in the coming years. In addition, as operations have commenced in a phased manner, companies could in the future prefer a more distributed workforce. Therefore, it would be reasonable to believe that the workplace would be less centralised and have more widely distributed teams that are appropriately linked through technology. The industry is also witnessing a growing inclination towards a hybrid work model, wherein, a portion of the workforce would be able to work-from-anywhere (WFA) with the option to operate out of remote locations on certain day/s of the week. However, a majority of the firms would retain the traditional physical space model as they arrive at an optimum remote working / workforce intensity for themselves.
The growth of the Indian retail sector has been marked by rapid evolution in consumer behavior and growing integration of online and offline retail formats over the past few years. Discussion around the transformation of the retail sector has intensified in recent years as the industry adopts new technologies and approaches to fulfill consumer demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these trends, with e-retail quickly progressing from being a regular habit for a minority of consumers to becoming a new norm of shopping behavior. The quarterly growth in retail space take was up by 79% from Q2 2020– Q3 2020.
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