With the unprecedented arrival of the pandemic, almost all sectors were severely hit. The case with the real-estate sector was not different. NewsX recently interacted with Platinum Corp Founder and CEO Vishal Ratanghayra as part of its special series NewsX India A-List, where he explained the face of real-estate during the pandemic.

Speaking about the impact Covid-19 had on real estate especially as having a plethora of commitments, Mr Vishal said, “Covid affected all industries including real estate. Due to this, construction slowed down. Along with this reverse migration, lack of availability of labourers, shortage of construction material was there. This impacted the industry severely. Slowly by the end of May 2020, we were able to start working again but with special permission. However, as the stamp duty was reduced, and as sales increased, the industry was recovering suddenly. One of the best sales in the past 5 to 10 years happened between September to December 2021. Further, we managed to give possession to land buyers. This was possible as Covid made us work more efficiently and more technology-driven. Overall it can be said that our effectivity increased during the pandemic”

When asked about how the company managed the increased cost of raw materials which further affects affordable housing, Mr Vishal said, “Cost of raw materials like cement and steel increased dramatically in the past one year. Due to this, the cost of labour increased as well. Luxury projects in metro cities cost 20-35 per cent, the affordable sector cost 60-70 per cent. Hence covid impacted affordable housing rather negatively. This further results in increased house prices and ultimately affects the budget of home buyers. We have sent representation to the Government and they have assured us that prices will come back to normalcy within 5 to 6 months or else it would be very difficult.”

While talking about the further expansion plans of the company amidst the second wave, he said “currently we have little sluggishness in terms of decision making. However, in the next 6 months, real estate will be in huge demand and hopefully, there will not be a third Covid wave.” He further said that “nowadays demand for housing has increased in a lot of countries. Everyone owning a home wants a larger home, people in small apartments wish to upgrade the size of their home, so most probably demand will pick up. As of now, we are looking out for projects after 12 months”

Platinum Corp is based in Mumbai where the property prices are high. When asked about what will be the situation there, especially if people may not have enough money like in previous times, he said “ Our focus is not on luxury. Our target audience is the people who want to buy their first or second home and those people moving from rented apartments. As the EMI cost is anticipated to increase at a larger scale soon, they would probably own a house with whatever they have. Ours is a need-based kind of home. Eventually, when we come out of this situation, it could focus more on high income which is 2 or 3 years down the lane”.

On a concluding note, Mr Vishal added that “Foreign investors are looking at India favourably. They are extremely hopeful about real estate infrastructure here. Usually, they come with 5 to 15 years horizons and there is a lot of appetite for international investments. India is looking much better in the next 5 to 10 years.”