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‘Hunger games’ in Bengaluru as home rents spike. Spruce up your LinkedIn, brokers are watching


Bengaluru: Looks like it’s easier to find a job in the IT capital of India without a LinkedIn profile, than renting a house. Exorbitant rents and links to your LinkedIn profile are among the various demands and conditions put forth by landlords and brokers nowadays.

A sharp uptick has been witnessed in home rentals in recent months as companies recall their staff to work onsite after nearly two years of Covid-related disruptions that brought about the work from home (WFH) culture in Bengaluru and other large cities across the country.

With the influx of white-collar workers, house owners are not just demanding higher rents, but also imposing conditions on the type of tenant they want, demanding their work profiles and insisting on the 10-month advance amount that was largely done away with early this year.

For a house that comes with a Rs 50,000 per month price tag, the required advance amount would be Rs 5 lakh — a significant amount for mid- or low-level employees, according to home seekers.

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Diverse demands

Ruchita Chandrashekar has been on the look out for a home in Bengaluru since mid-October and has seen scores of properties. Her experience demonstrates the diverse demands of landlords apart from the astronomical rents.

“The brokers are also telling us that the owners are trying to make up for what they have lost…sometimes the brokers are also trying to make some bucks. I respect the hustle, but I am suffering in the process,” she told ThePrint.

Currently in Mumbai, Ruchita has to finalise and move into a home in Bengaluru and report to the office later this month.

She said it’s like making a “pitch presentation” in the “real estate hunger games” as brokers on behalf of house owners ask for links to LinkedIn profiles, rush people into making on-the-spot decisions and convey conditions such as no late-night parties and no visitors of the opposite gender.

Her post on 24 November has even made it to the news cycles, as many others relate to her ordeal.

Arya, an advocate, has been trying to move from her residence in Richmond Town towards Indiranagar but has barely found a decent home that comes with an affordable price tag.

Arun Dev, a media professional, whose flatmate moved out mid-way, had an entire two bedroom house to himself for a nominal price through the pandemic. However, he has now been asked to vacate or cough up at least Rs 10,000 more per month.

A broker, who has properties in Rahat Bagh area, near the Baiyappanahalli metro station, claimed that a house that was given out on rent for Rs 26,000, now fetches Rs 50,000, almost a 100 per cent increase.

Demand surges as employees return to offices

“With offices calling their employees back-to-work (at least in the hybrid model), there has been a spurt in rental demand in the last several months. Demand has not only breached the pre-pandemic levels but has gone much above it,” said Ashish Sharma, City Head – Bengaluru, ANAROCK Group, a real estate consultancy firm.

He adds that rents have gone up by at least 15-20 per cent against pre-pandemic levels and in some residential localities, as high as 30 per cent.

Bengaluru has one of the slowest moving traffic globally and this forces home seekers to cough up higher rents, or risk moving further away and spending more time on the roads.

According to a 2020 report by the Netherlands-based TomTom, a global provider of navigation, traffic and map products, Bengaluru emerged the most traffic congested city, beating 415 other cities in 57 countries to earn the title.

Bengalureans spent 243 hours in traffic, or 10 days and three hours, or the equivalent of watching 215 episodes of television series ‘Game of Thrones’, or 139 games of football, it said.

The demand for properties has increased in older areas after villas and shanties in newer areas in the city got submerged in flood waters following the unprecedented rains in August. However, the impact was minimal in older areas, brokers say.

Similarly, demand for homes on rentals is high in localities around Bengaluru’s IT corridor such as HSR Layout, Koramangala, Sarjapur Road, Whitefield and Indiranagar, according to home seekers and brokers.

“Largely, areas in East and North Bengaluru have seen a spurt in rental demand owing to the IT/ITeS belt there,” Sharma adds.

Bengaluru also overtook Pune in overall office space activity, with approximately 6.1 mn. sq. ft. of new office completions and approximately 6.08 mn. sq. ft. office space absorption in the first half of FY23, Sharma said, adding that Bengaluru is far ahead of its closest rival Pune in office space absorption.

Edited by Geethalakshmi Ramanathan

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