In July this year, Jagdish Sharan (37) returned to his hometown, Pratapgarh, to take care of his ailing father, as Covid made it difficult to manage things from Delhi.
“I bought a 4 BHK apartment in a town hall. All I needed was high-speed internet and a study I got, in addition to services similar to any NCR company, ”said the graphic designer, who now works from home (WFH), for an Indore-based digital marketing company .
Pramod N Patil (40), a content writer on specialty chemicals, also has a similar history. Patil returned to Nashik, his hometown, from Vapi (Gujarat), where he works in a pharmaceutical company.
“I moved to an apartment on the ground floor of 3 BHK with study, in a closed society, with the family during Navratras. It is better this way as I have to report for work only 3-4 times a month,” he said.
Both Sharan and Patil are part of a growing list of entrepreneurs and consultants who in the past six months have decided to return to their families in Level II and III cities without having to compromise their careers.
Analysts point out that the trend has already been present in the last six and seven years, as economic growth has gone to smaller cities and the digital economy has proliferated.
The blockages and health issues due to Covid-19 along with the company’s commitment to WFH are further fueling this trend.
“If you look at home sales from 2014 to 2019, Tier I cities grew by 28%, but Tier II grew faster by 51%.
This is largely because level II cities have gotten better traction from government plans like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
In addition, affordable housing here is at a convenient distance from the city center as opposed to level I cities, ”says Pankaj Kapoor, managing director of Liases Foras, a real estate consultant.
Kapoor said professionals who have been in the service for five or six years would be more likely to return to their hometowns, if economic condition allows.
“Those who have lived 10-15 years in a city will face problems such as early childhood education, etc. that could deter them. They are more likely to acquire a bigger house,” he added.
DLFAakash Ohri, senior executive director (sales and marketing), agrees.
“Pandemic has accelerated sales in smaller cities because some of these living spaces are available in developed and accustomed municipalities. Demand for condominiums and integrated municipalities in Level II cities has also increased, with a greater need for a safer environment and amenities within of protected communities, ”he added.
Ohri said DLF recently launched a limited number of 188 plots for sale (ground floor and two floors) in its municipality, DLF Hyde Park in New Chandigarh, for which it has received inquiries from NRI in Canada and the UK.
Similarly, in June, DLF received an overwhelming response by launching its Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low-Income Group (LIG) sections in Garden City, Lucknow, with a number of applications nearly double the stock.
Anand Singhania, one of Chhattisgarh’s leading developers, said: “People, especially in the service sector, are looking back as they feel they can find work in the city, even though the salary is lower than the big cities. Raipur has now a consolidated and growing base for services, education and small industries. Naya Raipur, smart city, is also here. ” Singhania is also the president of the real estate association, the MSME wing of Credai.
Forward, Emami RealtyNitesh Kumar, CEO and CEO, said many organizations plan to continue working from home and policies like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Brand in India will create opportunities in Level II and III cities. Reverse migration is likely to continue for some time so demand in these cities will increase.
“At Emami Realty, we have several plans for Level II and III cities. During Covid, we launched our residential project in Jhansi which received a good response. In 100 days we got 100 bookings, which is fantastic in a city like Jhansi, ”he added.