A pandemic real estate boom has hit Goa, fueled by Indians fleeing busy cities where the coronavirus is rampant.
The popular resort on the southwest coast of India is typically a favorite winter destination for sun seekers in Europe. But foreign arrivals have dried up after the country closed its borders last year when the virus swept the country.
Goa is instead overrun with domestic arrivals, many of whom want to squat in tropical idyll for months in anticipation of the pandemic. India has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with 10.8 million confirmed cases and more than 154,000 dead.
“I’ve never rented out so often,” said Rishi Kawatra, a local real estate agent. “We have no seats. All my rental inventory is ready.”
The demand for owner-occupied homes is also strong, in stark contrast to the malaise elsewhere in India. “A lot of people are selling properties in Delhi and Bombay and moving here permanently,” Kawatra said.
Amit Chopra, president of the Goa Association of Realtors, said, “Goa has a natural social distance due to its lower population density. People want open spaces like that, which you don’t get in cities. “
Realtors said most arrivals were wealthy and looking for a second home. It was often retirees and IT professionals who worked from home and who were tired of claustrophobic city apartments.
“They can get a much bigger place here for a much cheaper price,” Chopra said. “Many people are looking for a place where they can also get a workspace.”
Goa, like much of India, was locked up in March in an attempt to contain the virus. Thousands of foreign tourists, mostly Europeans, were stranded before being transferred on special evacuation flights.
But when domestic travel restrictions were relaxed in July, urban Indians began traveling to the city, often traveling hundreds of miles to avoid contact with the crowd.
Anshu Dorairaj, a financial services company from Mumbai, rented a long-term villa to live and run a ceramics studio there. “Restaurants are open here, beaches are open and you can go out for dinner with friends,” she said.
Dorairaj said she had met many residents of Bangalore, Pune, New Delhi and Mumbai who initially came to Goa for a short break but decided to stay, made possible by the home working policy that is still in place for many Indians with White collars.
“You could be in Timbuktu, but it doesn’t matter as long as you’re in labor,” she said.
Rising demand drives up prices. Rents for apartments in Goa have increased by 15 percent to 20 percent in the ‘beach belt’ since July and by 10 percent to 15 percent inland. The price of land for building villas in popular beach locations is up 30 percent to 35 percent, Chopra said.
Detached villas – some priced at up to $ 2 million – are in short supply, and most of the buildings to be completed in the next three years have already sold out.
“Luxury villas were sold when they were nearing completion,” said Chopra. “Now” ready to move in “is very rare. The inventory is exhausted.”