Lifestyle

How has the Coronavirus affected Pune’s property market?

[ecis2016.org] We examine why this might be the right time to book your dream home in Pune

If you are looking to buy a property in Pune and wondering whether the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted prices or real estate investment in any way, the answer is encouraging. As per the Gera Pune Residential Realty Report, it looks like the best time to buy a home in the city. Not just this, against popular opinion, if you thought that the luxury market is on shaky ground, this is not entirely true either.

You are reading: How has the Coronavirus affected Pune’s property market?

Affordability in Pune

In 2021, the average rate of property in Pune currently stands at Rs 5,083 per sq ft, after recording a 3% annual appreciation in the July quarter of calendar year 2021. The average rental rate in the city is Rs 19,880 per month, as per listings on ecis2016.org. “The latest reduction in interest rates, has led to increased affordability, which is now at 3.79 times one’s annual income (it was 3.91 times at the same time in 2019), making this is the best time to buy a home,” notes the Gera report. Home loan rates are as low as 6.65% from some public banks.

How did the Coronavirus affect Pune’s property market?

[ecis2016.org] Cost of living in Pune

Inventory in the Pune market

While real estate may have suffered a setback due to the Coronavirus spread, it is likely to be temporary. Developers, channel partners and other stakeholders, have adopted new and innovative ways to keep in touch with interested buyers or even those who are contemplating a purchase. The report too suggests that inventory is at a five-year low, as new launches have decreased by 60%.

As per data with ecis2016.org, there are close to 50,000 properties for sale in Pune, a majority of which is in the secondary market. While COVID-19 may have affected launches, the trend towards rationalisation in new launches, can be mapped back to the real estate law, following which builders focused on completing existing projects, rather than launching new ones. The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) mandates stringent action against developers who flout rules.

Read also : Delhi Budget: Government allocates Rs 3,106 crores for housing, urban development

“New launches have seen a significant decrease, falling by 60% from 52,631 new units introduced into the market in H2 2019 to 21,072 new units introduced in H1 2020. On an annual basis, new inventory launched across the city has fallen by 16%, except in higher priced neighbourhoods,” notes the Gera report.

A good time for the luxury housing segment in Pune

While new launches may have gone down, the reality in the luxury segment looks different. New launches in this segment have grown by 71%, says the report. While launches in other segments have remained the same or seen a decline, according to the Gera report, there were 5,050 new luxury project launches in the city between June 2019 and the same time in 2020. Boat Club Road, Model Colony, Senapati Bapat Road, Erandwane and Sopan Baug are among the premium residential areas.

[ecis2016.org] Posh areas in Pune

Hiral Sheth, HOD – marketing, Sheth Creators, which caters to luxury and ultra-luxury home buyers, says that with the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate unarguably became the most suitable investment product. “The upward curve of the segment was witnessed from Q2FY21 and this has been consistently growing, breaking the jinx of all these years. In fact, all through the nationwide lockdown, realty transactions continued to happen virtually. This positive development can be attributed to reasons like the RBI pumping liquidity into the segment, increased significance of home ownership among the buyers, deferred payment scheme in favour of ready-to-move-in properties and the sales incurred during the festive season. The home buyer’s comprehension that capitalising on real estate is the most secure long-term investment in a fluctuating market, has also created a strong base for the sector to grow,” notes Sheth.

Strategic steps taken to boost property sales

Some of the biggest catalysts for real estate sales, Sheth says, have been the stamp duty cut, slashing of repo rates and an all-time low interest rates on home loans.

Stamp duty cuts to mobilise fence-sitting home buyers

It is no secret that many potential home buyers are fence-sitters, owing to the huge financial obligation involved in property buying. In addition to paying the down payment and availing of home loans where one would be paying an EMI every month, additional expenses like registration charges, stamp duty charges, etc., affect home buyers’ budgets, especially now when the entire world is battling a pandemic. Any respite in these charges is a big relief and can give a push of confidence to the customer.

Aptly understood by the Maharashtra government, stamp duty reduction from 5 per cent to 2 per cent in this state has been a game-changer. The same will become 3 per cent from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021.  The results of this slash were to be seen immediately with Mumbai recording registrations that increased significantly. Similarly, Pune’s property market has been witnessing healthy green shoots which has brightened the hope for better real estate sales for the upcoming quarters. Pune has now recorded a significant jump in sales when compared to the previous quarter. 

Low-interest rates on home loans

Read also : Stamp duty rates on property purchase in India

In Sheth’s opinion, global exposure has resulted in people taking realty investments seriously for both, self-use and as an asset. This has also led to more buyers between the 25 to 35 years of age, because they can leverage on the home loan financing option. However, the rate of interest on home loans was a huge matter of concern for home buyers, earlier. Now, interest rates have come down to a 15-year low, making it one of the most lucrative times to borrow a home loan. After the RBI reduced the repo rate to 4%, most leading banks in India offer home loans below 7% annual interest. Resultantly, more home enquiry leads have translated to sales.

Additionally, developers are offering bespoke payment schemes like 10:90, 20:80, etc., waiver of stamp duty/registration charges/ GST waiver (8% of the property cost has to be paid as GST on under-construction properties) and cash-back schemes that are reducing the significant financial burden on home buyers.

Better product quality for home buyers

Between July 2017 and June 2018, it took 45 projects to sell 10,000 units. The Coronavirus pandemic seems to have accelerated consolidation in the industry. The report suggests that thoroughly professional builders, with strong financial health, emerged stronger. This also led to providing better returns for consumers, both, in terms of service and product quality.

In one of the webinars organised by PropTiger, Jitendra Singh, VP, sales and marketing at the Runwal Group, said, “For the success of any project, three things are important: first is the brand/developer, second is the location and third is the product.” Developers need to create products that are not only superior in terms of internal and external design and amenities, but also offer the units at the best possible cost. “We have launched our project at a price below the usual range and have also given a payment holiday till March 31, after the initial 10% payment,” says Singh. With such offers, a number of reputed developers in Pune are trying to make it easier for prospective home buyers to consider these brands.

ecis2016.org initiatives

Similarly, real estate portals have also announced several measures to make real estate transactions easy, following the COVID-19 crisis. ecis2016.org, the largest real estate listings and advice platform, for example, introduced a number of innovative measures for buyers and sellers, while the world was in a lockdown:

  1. Video connect: Connect in real-time with buyers and sellers.
  2. Rewarding experiences: Pay rent through your debit or credit cards and even use UPI to transfer the rent to the house owner. So far, ecis2016.org has enabled the transfer of Rs 100 crores worth of rent.
  3. Housing in Hindi: To help more buyers, ecis2016.org is now available in Hindi.
  4. WhatsApp Connect: ecis2016.org has enabled WhatsApp connect between brokers, sellers and buyers.
  5. Self-reliant: To ensure that sellers make the most of their time, all promotional and ad packages have been made self-serve with zero manual intervention.

Advantage Pune in 2021

The gradual appreciation of property prices in Pune, is a win-win for home buyers and developers, says Ankit Goel, director, Goel Ganga Developments. The presence of prestigious institutes, the metro rail and even the extension of the Pune rapid transit system and one of the best environments in terms of cities, are some of the added advantages if one chooses to buy a home in a vibrant city like Pune. Pune also showed a big jump of 22 spots in the Swachh Survekshan 2020 rankings which was revealed in August 2020. It was ranked the 15th cleanest city in India and this too puts Pune on the map of coveted real estate hotspots in India.

Pune property market: Latest news

The lockdown-like restrictions that were imposed during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to a drop in the number of property registrations. Moreover, the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) had said that the expiry of the stamp duty cut, led to the decrease in registrations in June 2021. However, the impact on the residential segment was not as severe, as compared to the nationwide lockdown in 2020. Amid the rising work-from-home trend, the demand for spacious homes among home buyers, continues to grow.

The demand and supply of properties improved in the month of June 2021, as restrictions were relaxed. However, the pandemic led to an increase in the unsold housing inventory in many cities, including Pune. According to the Real Insight (Residential) – April-June (Q2) 2021 report by PropTiger.com, the unsold stock in Pune, as on June 30, 2021, was 1,28,206 units in the second quarter while it was 1,27,891 units in the first quarter.

FAQ

Is it safe to buy a property in Pune now?

Home affordability is at its best, making it one of the best times to buy property in Pune. There are fewer launches but developers are focusing on sales and product quality.

Have property prices risen in Pune in 2020?

Yes, research shows that there is an increase in the average market prices across Pune. However, the average price went up on account of new projects being launched at more prime locations than before and not due to any change in market sentiments.

Have property rates in Pune risen in 2021?

There has been a growth of 3% in the average prices of new properties in Pune, during second quarter of the current calendar year (2021), as per the Real Insight (Residential) – April-June (Q2) 2021 report by PropTiger.com.

How are real estate developers tackling COVID-19 impact on their construction?

Definitely, stress for developers has increased with salaries and most overheads continuing to deplete their cash flows through the lockdown. Moratoriums on repayment of debt have merely deferred payments to financial institutions, while the interest burden has continued to add to the liabilities of developers through the period of zero activity. At such a juncture, defaults may be rampant, if the financial footing of the developer is not strong. At this juncture, better interest rates to home buyers, may improve sales.

Source: https://ecis2016.org/.
Copyright belongs to: ecis2016.org

Source: https://ecis2016.org
Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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