Quest for homeownership amid covid will drive housing demand: Anuj-ANAROCK

While there are developers who have increased property prices on account of rising input costs, there are many who still continue to offer deals and discounts. There is also quest for homeownership amid covid-like exigencies which will drive housing demand in the upcoming quarters, says Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK in an exclusive interview with Here are the excerpts: 

Ques: How do you see the upcoming festive season for the real estate industry in general?

With Covid cases relatively under control as on date and the vaccination drive on full swing, we anticipate housing demand and supply to see an uptick in the upcoming festive season starting with Ganesh Chaturthi. While few developers have already increased property prices on account of rising input costs and increased sales within them, there are many who still continue to offer deals and discounts. The home loan rates also continue to be their lowest-best. All these factors coupled with the growing quest for homeownership amid covid-like exigencies will drive housing demand in the upcoming quarters.

Ques: How do you see the next one year for commercial real estate in India given WFH, etc?

The office market has been under strain since the pandemic. However, the IT/ITeS sectors have been on a hiring spree in 2020 and 2021. ANAROCK Research shows that the top four Indian IT/ITeS firms – TCS, Infosys, HCL and Wipro – hired around 42,000 employees in the first nine months of FY 2021. Also, multinational majors Cognizant and Capgemini hired nearly 39,500 employees in CY 2020, with bulk hiring plans for CY 2021. To accommodate these employees in a future when we see gradual return of employees and adoption of hybrid workplace practices, office demand may grow – most likely from 2022. Many of the large IT companies – most recently TCS, which employs 500,000 software professionals – have indicated that they expect employees to return to office before the end of the year. The major uptick in IT hiring and the continued strength of the financial markets in India will ensure that office uptake will find an even keel sooner rather than later.

Ques: How do you see co-living industry performing with the pandemic right now?

The coliving segment will have to catch the innovation wave which has swept up most other sectors and segments. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over as yet, and doubtlessly presents some unique challenges to coliving per se. That said, the vaccination drive is showing positive correlations to lower cases and with the right combination of technology and thinking out of the box, coliving can certainly pick up again.

Ques: 4 What regulatory changes are required from the government to spur the real estate market in the country?

• Allow selective subvention schemes for developers with good track record.

• Waiver of GST on homes for certain period may attract buyers as it will reduce overall property cost by at least 5% for premium homes priced above INR 45 lakh.

• Reduction in ready reckoner rates and stamp duty (just like in Maharashtra) may further attract prospective buyers.

• Increase tax benefits to homebuyers and also extend income limit under PMAY to boost demand.

Ques: How successful/unsuccessful has RERA been?

RERA is a process, not an event. This process is akin to a vaccination where antibodies are introduced into a diseased body and build up new defenses and ways to counter infection. It does not happen at once, and there is a period during which the body is even more vulnerable than before. And like vaccinations, RERA needs to be reinforced as we go along and discover new or existing vulnerabilities that need to be plugged. Like a vaccine, it is not perfect but also like a vaccine, RERA is definitely the best bet that Indian real estate has to become more transparent and regulated.