The COO and Co-Founder at Square Yards, Kanika Gupta Shori, has opined that Indian real estate has ended the year on a high note after weathering the storm brought about by COVID-19 which saw housing sales nosedive by a whopping 80% in the first two quarters of 2020 and a total halt in all construction activity while accompanied by massive GDP contractions and poor economic sentiments alike. COVID-19 came as a huge surprise for the property sector which was making a cautious recovery in the early months of 2020 as per Shori.
The Central Government made a strong effort to revitalize the real estate sector with multiple financial incentives and stimulus packages. States like Karnataka and Maharashtra saw uptick in real estate transactions owing to the stamp duty reduction of 2-3% on an average. Developers were finally able to liquidate idle stocks and the CLSS was extended for affordable housing units till March 2021 with a liquidity infusion of Rs. 70,000 crore, extra Rs. 18,000 crore outlay for PMAY and Rs. 20,000 crore in last mile funding for stressed developers. This brought major relief to the sector as per Shori in combination with other Government measures such as tax cuts, moratoriums, project timeline deferral and construction premium cuts among others.
The third quarter of 2020 witnessed 35,000+ affordable housing units being sold in Indias 7 leading cities which indicated 85% growth (quarter on quarter) while developers saw sales figures returning to almost 80-90% of figures witnessed in the pre-COVID days. 19,865 units were launched in these three months with an increase of 58% (quarter on quarter) and 43% of the same was seen in the price band lower than Rs. 45 lakh. Realty players successfully witnessed higher sales momentum owing to digitization of businesses while partnering with digital platforms such as Square Yards for ensuring more credible and transparent buying experiences for customers, complete with 3D walkthroughs, virtual tours, digital signatures, multiple payment gateways and a lot more. Feedback was garnered steadily from customers, helping the evolution of new experiences and strategies in sync with the present mood of buyers. Housing sales went up to 2X levels on a quarterly basis while new projects sold out within only a couple of weeks as well, something that was only seen last in the pre-COVID period.
Buyers found it more important to own homes as a result of the pandemic with properties becoming more affordable, interest rates hitting rock bottom and incredible opportunities becoming available in the market. Consumer sentiments have positively rebounded with economic recovery of the nation and this spurred several fence sitters to finally cash in on attractive property deals from developers. In fact, turnaround times reduced considerably across online portals between final conversions and property enquiries. In spite of previous economic adversity, Shori feels that real estate has achieved record performance in Q3 with unsold inventory even coming down and buyers are increasingly looking to cash in on the advantage of lower prices of property on account of the pandemic. She stated that it can fairly be said that Indian real estate has well and truly bucked the storm while gaining more strength by year end.
Square Yards is a technology-enabled, global real estate aggregator and India’s largest player for primary residential real estate. It’s subsidiary Square Capital is one of the largest marketplace for secured mortgages in India. Square Yards platform offers an integrated consumer experience & covers the full real-estate journey from search, discovery to research, transactions, home loans and post-sales service – fully integrating buyers to an extensive network of 500+ partner real estate developers, and 90+ banks & NBFCs. Square Yards is led by accomplished professionals, ex-bankers, and Ivy school alumni and is backed by the competence of more than 2500 employees in 30 cities and ten countries.