As a part of Women in Real Estate Series, we spoke with Vyoma Pandit. Vyoma is an MBA from IIM-Bangalore with 8 years of experience as the Head of Sales Planning at Lodha Group, Mumbai & Head of Marketing at Brigade Group, Bangalore. She is known to bring in innovation, critical & analytical thinking and a fresh, energetic approach to sales & marketing an otherwise traditional industry. Here’s what she feels about Demonetization, Real Estate market on the whole, RERA and various related trends that are taking shape.
** 1. Do you think real estate developers are slowly getting more inclined towards the usage of digital & technology to build more efficiencies in the system? **
In the last 3 years, real estate marketing has seen a huge shift from offline to online. Few years back, digital marketing used to be limited to having a website, basic Google hygiene and listing on aggregator websites. With the customer behavior and presence shifting online, digital marketing is now the main stay for the lead generation and branding plan of any RE marketeer. The web presence of a brand plays a big role in ensuring top-of-mind recall and conversion of online interest to offline site visits. At Brigade, we spent 40% of our time, 35% of our budgets and get 65% of our leads from digital. That said, while cost per lead (CPL) has reduced, cost per booking (CPB) is still at earlier levels owing to the clutter and poor lead quality. The next challenge is going to be able to improve the quality of leads and improve conversion efficiency from this medium. And because everyone can afford to market online, content and smarter targeting will win in the long run.
** 2. How does RERA have an impact on large brands like Brigade? Will it bring more parity in the system across different developers? Will it also bring more international investors? **
RERA will definitely help reduce the clutter in the unorganized real estate space. The first wave of consolidation has already started and it will continue for the next few years. The customer will now have more confidence in investing in the sector and developers who can win the minds and hearts of customers on the delivery and valuation fronts will emerge the strongest. International investors will also have more confidence in investing in the sector and with their advent, cost of funding for developers will eventually reduce, hence negating the impact of added compliance costs from RERA.
** 3. Did demonitization impact realty in places like Bangalore & Pune where most of the customers are any ways in “zero cash” segment? **
Demonetization had largely affected the buyer “sentiment” in the the short run. As I write this, we are already seeing buyers coming back to close transactions since they have realized that price correction is unlikely to happen in markets like Bangalore where valuations are very justified in the first place. In fact, it is a great time for buyers since developers are also looking at offloading inventory with decent offers and discounts.
** 4. Besides demonitization do you think government can do any other things to build more transparency and clamp down black money from the sector? **
The government is doing its bit to clamp down on black money already. Over the next few years, with better collections, they should look at passing on the benefits to the home buyers by way of reduced taxes. Today, one of the biggest cost elements for a home buyer is taxes which form ~20% of the total cost. These, along with interest rates eat away most of the capital appreciation (which again is taxed) and discourage investment in the sector.
- The views expressed here are solely those of the person interviewed in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the brands/organizations she is or has been associated with. *