Real Estate Problem in India


Liases Foras, the Mumbai-based real estate research firm's Ressex data, or real estate sensitivity index, shows that as on March this year, the total unsold stock in the main markets of the country was 471.91 million square feet. This unsold stock of houses will take at least 22 months to be sold, significantly higher than what the firm says is "the preferred eight to ten months."

"In the Mumbai region itself, sell-offs at today's offtake rate will take around 68 months against the construction period of three years (36 months) if sales do not improve. In such a case I expect a 35% correction in prices over a period of one-and-a-half years. However, for the next two to three months, it would be very difficult to speculate," said Pankaj Kapoor, founder and CEO, Liases Foras.

Kapoor expects prices to soften in almost all the main sectors in the country. There is also a possibility prices will "fall 20-25% and do not appreciate from there for quite some time."

But liquidity would be the key for such a scenario to unravel, says Anand Narayanan, national director-residency, Knight Frank India.

"Though we have been talking of a price correction, developers would slash prices only when there is a liquidity crunch (in terms of funds for projects)," said Narayanan.

The Liases Foras data includes both ready and under construction and is a total of unsold stock from Mumbai Metropolitan region, National Capital Region, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune.

Out of the six main sectors, Mumbai has the second-highest level of unsold stock and highest month inventory. With an unsold stock of around 105 million sq ft, the city's total month inventory (estimated time for clearance) is around 35 months. A year ago, the city had an unsold stock of around 68 million sq feet. The National Capital region has the maximum unsold stock with 194 million sq feet unsold, but a lower monthly inventory of 22 months.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India increase key lending rates by 50 basis points, forcing most banks to increase the borrowing costs. This has made borrowing costs expensive for both real estate developers and consumers.

Nonetheless, Narayanan does not see this as much of an issue. "Interest rates surely are one of the factors that decide liquidity. However, a number of these developers have raised a lot of equity in the past 18 months from the market. Thus, they may be funds available to keep the construction work going. At this point, a few developers have an issue with funds, but not all of them," Narayanan said.

Still, some, including Akash Deep Jyoti, head-real estate rating, Crisil, believe that with not many new projects being launched amid high land prices, not much can be seen in terms of a price correction. 

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