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How has the COVID crisis affected real estate in India?

How has the COVID crisis affected real estate in India?

The outbreak of coronavirus or the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in multiple negative repercussions for most businesses, and real estate is no exception. As individual customers – looking for investments in real estate or simply buying property to have a house of their own – became panic-stricken, the real estate industry saw a sharp dip in sales. Economic activities in India came to a grinding halt since the union government announced a lockdown on March 25, 2020. The lockdown was further extended till June 20 in the face of the rapid rise in the number of infected patients. With the lockdowns being removed in a phased manner, the economy is expected to revive in the long-term.

Effect of lockdown on the real estate sector : 

The lockdown, which lasted for 70 days, had multiple adverse impacts on this sector, like sharp decrease in sales and halting of project launches. As the Indian economy dipped, many private companies resorted to cost-cutting measures, like mass layoffs, retrenchment of employees and sharp pay-cuts. So amidst the threat of job insecurity looming large, individuals looking for buying property or making investments in real estate deferred their plans. Another effect of coronavirus on real estate was seen during the lockdown, when construction of housing projects got stalled because of transportation logjams and mass exodus of daily wage workers. However, experts have been predicting a revival of the sector guided by a sense of security.

Revival measures by the union government :

In the face of an impending crisis for the real estate sector, the union government announced an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) of Rs 25,000 crore for its revival. To boost demand, and allow individuals to buy property along with making investments in real estate, the government had previously announced tax exemptions up to Rs 3.5 lakh per annum for making home loan interest payments. Alongside, lowering of the interest rate – at the rate of 7% – on home loans was also announced. The RBI’s decision to cut the Repo rates was also taken to boost consumer sentiments on buying.

Signs of revival in the real estate industry :

Though the downtrend continued in the second quarter (April -June), there were strong signs of revival in the third quarter (July-Sep). According to a report titled ‘Real Insight Q3 2020’, a quarterly analysis of India’s eight major residential markets, by PropTiger.com, builders sold more than 35,000 units in the third quarter – an increase of 85% as compared to the second quarter. Net supply graph also increased by 58%.

Why could this be just the right time to buy property ?

  • For making investments in real estate through buying property or purchasing residential houses, this could be just the right time as the nature of the market has now changed from being a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. Along with tax-benefits for both developers and customers, interest rates are also low. The prevailing scenario is unlike the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008, when the market valuation of residential properties was unrealistic, thus affecting the sector’s financial health. As compared to the GFC, the economic health of the sector is relatively better, with lesser speculative fear, streamlined market valuation process and friendly tax-regime.
  • The interest rates on Home Loans are on the lower side as compared to 2019.
  • Alongside, buying property is a viable choice now because of the higher Loan to Value (LTV) ratio and affordable availability of credit.
  • Also, other investment avenues, like stock markets – as seen during the lockdown – became highly volatile, resulting in losses to investors. An investment in real estate or buying property comes without the risks of uncertainty and fear of fluctuations as a house is categorized as a real asset.
  • Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, you stand to gain by buying property as builders can negotiate on prices and provide advantageous discounts.

Conclusion:

Thus, although the coronavirus pandemic has created a crisis-like situation you can stand to benefit by buying property now. If you are looking for purchasing property or making investments in real estate, always remember to choose a trusted and reliable real estate agent. For availing home loans, you can zero in on Hero Housing Finance, which provides easy and hassle-free new home loans for all types of customers.



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