The COVID-19 lockdown has accelerated technology-led homebuying in India, making it possible to inspect properties online as well as negotiate and finalize deals. Virtual site visits are now a firm reality and a large chunk of the property selection and purchase process can now be done digitally.
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There are altogether over 6.1 lakh affordable units under construction across the top 7 cities, of which NCR and MMR alone account for nearly 59% – or 3.59 lakh units. These units were launched between 2013 to 2019. Both cities together also have a 57% share (approx. 1.34 lakh units) of the overall unsold stock of 2.34 lakh units in the budget homes category. (Unsold affordable stock consists of both under-construction and ready-to-move homes.)
While the commercial office sector will dominate Indian REIT listings for the next couple of years, retail and logistics REITs are sure to follow. However, Indian residential REITs remain at best a distant possibility. The draft Model Tenancy Act, 2019 will make rental housing a more attractive investment play – but for Indian residential REITs to succeed as they have in countries like Singapore and the US, rental yields on Indian housing need to significantly surpass the current 1-3%.
In the late 2010, buyers were largely in the age groups of 35-45 years and 45-55 years, but the share of homebuyers in the 25-35 years age group was minimal. However, improved tax benefits motivated more working youths in this age bracket to opt for home loans. Millennials predominantly favoured paying EMIs for buying a home over the ‘dead’ expense of rentals.
The festive season has traditionally been an active period for real estate sales as many buyers consider Navratri and Diwali an auspicious time to buy property. Like in previous years, developers this year have sweetened property deals – some up-front discounts, or more commonly 0% GST (which is in any case not charged on ready-to-move properties), waived stamp duty and registration charges, free reserved car parking, modular kitchens, etc.
In the April-June 2019 quarter, India’s GDP grew only by 5% – the slowest pace in over six years. Consumers are spending less on everything from FMCG to automobiles – and, of course, real estate. Naturally, the sector eyes RBI’s monetary policy for cuts in the key lending rates to support the various measures taken by the government to boost consumption sentiment.
Among the major factors contributing to the escalating ‘claustrophobia effect’ of shrinking apartment sizes, demand for affordable homes in metros tops the list. Also, buyers are increasingly looking to avail the government’s credit subsidy benefits for affordable housing. These require a home to be priced
There is no simple yardstick to calculate the exact number of units and the actual funds that are needed to complete them. Each delayed project is different in size, stage of completion, city and micro-location, etc. Also, various methodologies are used to reach an approximate number. After considering the government’s caveats – non-inclusion of projects under NCLT, and inclusion of mid and affordable units only, ANAROCK has shortlisted units launched in 2013 or before.
Additionally, the fact that the corpus will be completely professionally-driven including real estate experts, banking or housing finance specialists, it is likely to move more smoothly and in the right direction with little scope for misadventure. These specialists will need to identify such projects that are affordable and middle-income projects and are in need of last-mile funding for completion. The government’s move to relax commercial borrowing for affordable housing is another welcome step.
Even as India’s middle-class grapples with the prospect of an uncertain future in their careers and financial ability – the main drivers of housing demand – the rise of India’s super-rich continues unabated. According to Credit Suisse report, there were an estimated 3.42 lakh dollar-millionaires in India as on mid-2018 who collectively held around USD 6 trillion. It is forecast that 5.26 lakh Indian dollar millionaires’ wealth will be around USD 8.8 trillion by 2023. Market fluctuations make very little difference to the personal networth of these individuals.