Unlike expectations, 2020 turned out to be a fair year for the real estate sector as it negated the highly detrimental predictions. In the end, the year witnessed a sale of around Rs 90,000 crore in the first three quarters in seven major cities as against around Rs 1,50,000 crore in the same period in 2019. The maximum sale was achieved in the mid-segment as the price range below Rs 70 lakh was in maximum demand during the year. The ease-out in home loan interest rates triggered the much-needed revival, which is expected to improve further in the coming year.
Though the year saw a decline in sales by almost 40-45% compared to the previous year, it has to be seen in light of the economic crisis arising from the global pandemic. Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd., says, "The overhang of subdued demand from last quarter of 2019 continued into 2020, and with the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown in March, the sector went from bad to worse. The migration of labours and disruption in the supply of raw materials saw a stoppage in construction activities. On the back of government stimulus and RBI's liquidity measures, there was some uptick in demand post the partial opening of the economy."
Nevertheless, the positives that have emerged from the COVID-19 crisis will form the cornerstone of the coming decades of growth in the real estate sector and overall Indian economy, Goel adds. Talking about the year ahead, he says, "The increased investment in infrastructure development by governments and businesses in developing tier 2/3 cities as centres of economic activity along with increased consumer spending and activity will write the story of growth, employment and opportunities in the coming decades in India."
Majorly driven by the mid-segment, major cities' housing sales value saw a significant jump over pre-COVID-19 levels. Chennai saw almost 3.5 times jump in Q3 2020, NCR recording a jump of more than 150%, Hyderabad went up by 152%, MMR witnessed an increase of 145% over the previous quarter, Pune saw 125% increase, Kolkata witnessed 121% jump, and Bangalore saw an increase of 81%. Throwing light on 2020, Ankit Kansal, Co-Founder & MD, 360 Realtors, says, "As the Black Swain event spread like wildfire, markets started staggering, with a drastic slowdown in sales. The industry showed some limited manoeuvring with embracing the digital medium. The repo rate cuts and liquidity infusion by the government were also helpful as it reduced home loan rates. The developer fraternity also introduced attractive payment plans to arrest any steep decline in sentiments. Once the lockdown was suspended, markets started reviving, despite a slowdown in business activities weighing on the overall economy. Finally, in the last quarter, the previous year's growth numbers were restored, and the industry reached near normalcy. The euphoria that started with the festive season should lead up to year-end, clocking a 75-85% quarterly growth in sales."
Though starting with challenging times, 2020 is ending with many positives for the real estate sector. This is the year when home loan interest rates got reduced to a 15-year low, and steps were announced to help stuck projects and liquidity issues, says Vimal Monga, Vice President of Sales & Leasing (commercial), TDI Infratech Ltd, adding that "The year also witnessed the movement of people towards tier II and III cities, thereby increasing the scope of real estate far and wide. The coming year will see an increasing demand owing to the people's likeness for gated communities post-COVID-19. In 2021, we will also see interest in well-planned commercial developments as the requirement of malls and office spaces will go up."
Saying that the reverse migration among the working professionals from metros and NRI's lead to increase in demand of property in Tier II and tier III cities, Raman Gupta, Director (Branding and construction), GBP Group, adds, "When it comes to analyzing the northern region, Tricity and its peripheries witnessed an upsurge laying the foundation for a market that is going to grow exponentially from here. The year 2021 promises favourable returns, as people's lifestyle will change drastically after overcoming the pandemic effects. Residential spaces that promise holistic living, unique amenities, an ideal location would become the epitome of an ideal home. We will be witnessing a wave of tech-based innovations, apart from the construction technologies which will be evolving the traditional sector of real estate further."
Drawing conclusion from the renewed interest of buyers in 2020, Ashok Gupta, CMD, Ajnara India, says, "The buyers in NCR are likely to see more number of housing units hitting the market in 2021. Around 6 lakh units were launched in the region from 2013 to 2020, and only 30 per cent have been completed till now. With the focus of developers in NCR on project delivery, many mid-segment units will be up for grab. The market in 2021 definitely looks promising as the measures taken by the Government to boost buyer sentiment will start showing result starting from Q1 2021."