Housing sales are likely to be affected in the short-term due to fresh restrictions imposed in many states to control the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, industry players said, but hoped that digital platforms will limit the impact.

Real estate industry was hoping housing sales in the current calendar year will reach the 2019 levels, driven by gradual recovery in demand from July 2020 onwards, they said.

However, the current wave of COVID-19 and lockdowns/curfews imposed by the state government will definitely put a brake on this recovery process, according to industry experts.

“The first quarter this year has witnessed a robust 44 per cent growth as per the Knight Frank report, but the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and associated panic most likely will have a short-term effect on the recovery in the real estate sector as we are better prepared as an industry than the last time,” CREDAI President Harsh Vardhan Patodia told PTI.

In case of a partial or short durational lockdown, the buyers’ sentiments may get impacted temporarily, he added. Nevertheless, Patodia said the pandemic has also put focus on the significance of investing in homes.

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com and Proptiger.com, said the decision of various state governments to impose curfews / partial lockdowns was necessary.

“While this will once again have an impact on the housing sector, which was witnessing a recovery, we believe the impact will be mitigated as many property buyers have moved to online search and discovery since last year”s lockdown,” Agarwala said.

Amit Goyal, CEO, India Sotheby”s International Realty, said there could be a temporary slowdown in property transactions with the curfews and lockdowns.

“However, we don”t see any big impact in the luxury segment. In fact, the second wave will further reinforce the need for people to have large spacious green homes with open areas for recreation and separate space for office and studies,” he added.

Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said the impact of the rising COVID-19 cases across the country will not be as significant on the overall housing sales as witnessed last year.

“Having said this, there will be some impact in the overall sales volumes in the ongoing quarter or even thereafter if cases continue to rise,” he added.

Omaxe CEO Mohit Goel said if the lockdown goes on for an extended period, then the sector will be impacted, resulting in slowdown in new launches, sales, construction and delivery of the projects.

Gaurs group Director Sarthak Gaur said: “I don’t think curfews etc would affect real estate much now. Footfalls during weekends may get affected which will eventually be compensated with increased online queries and online virtual tours.”

Achal Raina, COO, Raheja Developers, feels there will not be much impact because of increased adoption of technology by developers.

Recently, a PropTiger report said housing sales dropped marginally by 5 per cent year-on-year during January-March 2021 to 66,176 units across eight big cities.

The data by PropTiger was in contrast with two earlier reports by Anarock and Knight Frank that suggested 29 per cent and 44 per cent growth, respectively, in sales volume during the January-March period of this year across major cities.