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In a trend reversal post-covid, a higher percentage of non-resident Indians (NRIs) are scouting for properties in India for self-use, according to CII-Anarock Consumer Sentiment survey.

At least 53% of NRI respondents who will buy properties in India in the coming months will look at the property for self-use, while 47% will consider buying for investment. The pre-covid survey in the first half of 2019 saw a reverse trend, with the end-use to investment ratio at 32:68.

As per the report, one major factor influencing this change could be that many NRIs sought to return to India amid the pandemic-induced uncertainties and dwindling job prospects globally. Most saw the top seven cities as the best options, though many are also considering smaller cities to be close to their families.

Commenting on the survey findings, Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Group, said: "In the recent years before covid, many NRIs were in wait-and-watch mode amid the various structural reforms in the economy and the real estate industry. Before the pandemic, many NRIs keen on real estate preferred commercial properties—housing was low on their wish list. In short, the fallout of covid on global economies and job prospects has once again rekindled housing demand from NRIs."

The survey found that the highest demand was for luxury properties with state-of-art amenities. About 50% of NRI respondents preferred luxury properties priced more than 1.5 crore, while 32% favored premium properties priced between 90 lakh and 1.5 crore. Only 11% favored mid-segment homes (priced 45-90 lakh), and just 7% were interested in affordable properties.

The survey also highlighted that the higher demand was for bigger homes. At least 48% NRI respondents preferred larger homes of 3BHK configurations (more than 1,500 sq. ft.) while 28% favored 2BHKs. A significant 24% stated a preference for 4BHKs or higher configurations.

The top metros favored by NRIs are Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Mumbai. There was also higher demand for tier II and tier III cities, most notably Chandigarh, Kochi, Surat, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

In comparison to the previous survey (H2 2020), trends indicate that Chennai is seeing increasing interest by NRIs, while their preference for the other top cities remained more or less the same.

The CII-Anarock Consumer Sentiment survey was conducted among 4,965 respondents of which 6% were NRIs.

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