• Only 7,620 units in 23 projects had subvention schemes – a mere 11% of the total 69,000 units launched across top cities
  • Leading developers with sound financial backing outnumbered smaller players in taking a hit from NHB’s recent curb on subvention schemes
  • MMR topped the list with 17 projects, followed by Bangalore with 4 projects and 1 each in NCR & Pune
  • No projects in Kolkata, Hyderabad & Chennai offered any subvention schemes
  • 5:90:5 was the most common scheme on offer to homebuyers

Mumbai, 19th August 2019: The National Housing Board’s (NHB) recent directive to housing finance companies to refrain from giving loans under subvention schemes was not as crippling as was initially assumed.

ANAROCK research reveals that out of the total 280 projects launched in the April-June quarter of 2019, only about 23 projects (or 8%) were marketed under subvention schemes. These 23 projects comprised of 7,620 units – about 11% of the total 69,000 units launched in the quarter.

 Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants says,

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

As India embarks on another year of independence, the country’s real estate sector has a lot to be grateful for, a lot to hope for – and still a lot to worry about.

Amidst the dual challenges of liquidity crisis and stuck projects that hang like persistent thunderclouds over the sector, we nevertheless inch closer to the ultimate goal of Housing for All by 2022.

From the viewpoint of stuck and delayed projects, the freedom to buy homes has turned into shackles for many.

Over 1.74 lakh homes in 220 projects across the top seven cities are completely stalled. Housing worth over INR 1.77 lakh Crore is in limbo with zero construction activity.

The affected buyers exercised their freedom of choice – only to see their hard-earned money imprisoned with scarce prospects of parole until recently.

Nevertheless, this state of affairs is not unilateral and countless more Indians have indeed successfully achieved freedom from rent.

Though not nearly as fast as can be hoped for, housing sales are picking up. In sharp contrast to earlier years,

  • New supply of homes priced >INR 1.5 Cr stood at 16,100 units in H1 2019 against 5,240 units in H1 2017 (period immediately post DeMo)
  • In H1 2017, luxury supply in most cities fell to three-digit numbers; NCR & Pune saw minimal launches – merely 140 units collectively
  • Expensive markets MMR & NCR together comprise 59% share of new luxury stock in H1 2019 – 6,490 units & 3,030 units respectively
  • Over 9,940 units in H1 2019 added in price budget of INR 1.5 – 2.5 Cr, remaining 6,160 units added in >INR 2.5 Cr budget
  • Of the total 6.65 lakh unsold units in top 7 cities in Q2 2019, approx. 86,430 units are in the luxury category (priced >1.5 Cr)

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

Along with the resale homes market, luxury housing took the hardest hit after demonetization. The Government’s continued focus on affordable housing coupled with the surgical strike on high-value currency denominations in November 2016 took the sheen off luxury housing for two years in a row.

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The hard facts of declining consumption and a deepening economic slowdown in India are inescapable, and real estate has been severely impacted by them. To this gloomy backdrop, the RBI’s repo rate cut of 35 bps to 5.4% announced in the latest monetary policy is obviously welcome.

This rate cut, the fourth consecutive cut since February 2019, is meant to boost consumer sentiments once commercial banks transmit the benefits to actual consumers.

For real estate, a rate cut of 35 bps is however insufficient to significantly improve buyer sentiment in the mid-income segment, which still has a staggering unsold inventory of 2.17 lakh units in the top seven cities. On the other hand, demand for affordable housing, which accounted for 2.40 lakh unsold units in these cities, may see improvement as this highly budget-sensitive segment already has the benefit of other incentives.

Even minor downward revisions in interest rates can and do make a difference in affordable housing. If banks transmit this reduction in the prime lending rate to consumers, budget housing demand may improve. Likewise, housing demand in tier 2 and tier 3 cities,

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

Overall consumption in India has taken a serious beating in the recent past, and the RBI needs to give a serious booster shot to hike up consumer sentiments.

A massive rate cut of at least 50 bps in the upcoming monetary policy could be meaningful since a cut of such magnitude would make it feasible for commercial banks to lower the interest rate substantially.

At the end of the day, only significant transmission of a repo rate cut can help revive much-needed consumer demand.

Real estate is a highly cost-intensive investment and demand for it will only pick up if the cut is deep enough to result in significant cost savings on home loans.

Over and above, even if a cut in the repo rate happens, banks will need to percolate it down to borrowers.

Also, it does bear keeping in mind that it is not only affordability but other factors such as low ROI and lack of confidence in under-construction projects that have impacted housing demand in recent times.

Reduced interest rates alone may not help kick-start a wholesale revival in housing demand for all budget segments.