Till recently seen as a crucial and emotional decision, buying a house has been transformed into an online transaction: click, and you are done.
While a traditional consumer believes in strict human interaction before homing in on a property, new-age and tech-savvy consumers take a virtual tour of the property and make multi-crore purchases online, defying the tradition of 'touch and feel' while buying a house.
Moreover, in digital transactions, local brokers and brokerage channels have no role, thus saving the buying cost.
In last three months, for instance, Tata Housing and Tata Value Homes have sold over 400,000 square feet through 450 apartments online, with sales value of over `350 crore. Companies such as Tata Housing, Godrej Properties and Adani Township are joining the digital media marketing bandwagon in a bid to strengthen their online sales.
"We received a humongous response to the online sales from the consumers across the globe. The percentage (of online sales) is bound to increase in the coming months, but it is directly proportional to the trust the consumers have in the brand," said A Harikesh, vice-president, marketing and sales, Tata Housing.
Another real estate company, Godrej Properties, has seen its online queries double over a year. "Today, 14% of our bookings are through the online medium," said Girish Shah, executive vice-president, marketing and sales, Godrej Properties.
While most of the sales are happening at the local level, non-resident Indians from United States, West Asia, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Africa and Australia are also pushing online sales. On an average, realtors are selling 15% luxury properties to NRI consumers while 75% of buyers are metro-based. The rest are tier-II (small town) consumers, according to Tata Housing data.
"The age bracket of buying the first home has now moved from 30- 35 to 25- 30. Going forward you will have younger people buying their first homes. Also, the other trend is that generation next will buy homes at least twice in their lifetimes," Shah said.
"This is a pointer to the fact that people are becoming far more comfortable in transacting online, especially when it comes to high volume transactions" said Nilotpal Chakravarti, associate vice-president, Internet and Mobile Association Of India (IAMAI).
"The trust factor, which was hampering online transactions earlier, is slowly eroding from the minds of the people, with growing awareness. I expect this trend to grow further," he added.