With United States and Europe making three quarters of the Coronavirus cases worldwide, NRIs are preparing to return to “safe haven” India by buying a piece of the country’s real estate.

With India reporting a little over 40k COVID infections and job prospects dwindling sharply in foreign countries overseas high networth individuals are house hunting as a backup plan, if foreign economies nosedive further.

Demand for uppity houses between the Rs 5 – Rs 15 crore price bracket has seen a sharp jump with developers like DLF, Oberoi Realty, the Hiranandani Group, Sunteck Realty recording the bulk of enquiries.

“I am seeing a lot of enquiry happening now, we ourselves are focusing a lot on the NRI market and see a sweet spot in the Rs 3-4 crore range,” said Vikas Oberoi, MD, Oberoi Realty.

”NRIs are realising that India is the only country that they can really call their own. The way our government has proactively send planes and got people from all parts of the world is really commendable. This is giving them confidence that India is a country to be in. Our medical facilities are also among the best in the world. The mortality rate of Covid 19 death are the lowest in India.”

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University nearly 2.5 lakh people have died globally from COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases exceeds 35 lakh, while nearly 12 lakh people have recovered. The financial woes caused by the pandemic have been severe with the US government desperately trying to stave off an economic collapse.

According to IMF, Global growth is set to fall to -3 percent, as it plunges into what has been called the worst recession since the Great Depression. India is a silver lining which is projected to grow at 1.9 percent, though considerably lower than the 5 percent levels thought earlier.

As economic prospects dwindle fast, the Indian natives are busy making Plan B. This has brought cheers among real estate developers who have seen domestic demand crash after the nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24. According to 99acres.com, developers have deferred all new launches and festive offers for the next 2-3 quarters. What is more worrying is the unsold inventory is now at 6.48 lakh housing units across metro cities.

“There is a silver lining for real estate developers in metropolitan towns as NRIs are looking for high end apartments,” said Rajesh Narain Gupta, Managing Partner at SNG & Partners, a law firm. “Perhaps Covid 2019 is compelling the NRIs to consider India as “safe heaven” as they wish to own a home here in case any global calamity compels them to be back. Most of the students studying overseas returned to their parents in India as pandemic spread implying that for Indians safety is in their home land. It’s a blessing in disguise for developers as demand for high end apartments had dried up.”

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