The sale of residential units decreased by 29 per cent to 27,451 units in the Q1 of 2020 calendar year as against 38,628 units in the year-ago period.
"The economic slowdown aggravated by the ongoing health crisis is manifesting itself in the form of a hit to sales with buyers postponing their purchase decisions," JLL India said in its quarterly report.
This was the second largest dip in residential sales in the last five years, after Q1 2017, when the market witnessed a 37 per cent fall in sales due to demonetisation, it added.
The sales declined in all the seven major cities.
Bengaluru saw the maximum fall of 52 per cent at 4,186 units.
Housing sales in Mumbai declined 19 per cent to 6,857 units, while Chennai recorded an 8 per cent fall at 2,453 units.
Delhi-NCR and Pune recorded 18 per cent dip at 5,941 units and 3,728 units, respectively.
Residential sales in Kolkata dropped 35 per cent to 1,259 units while 41 per cent fall was seen in Hyderabad at 3,027 units.
The first quarter of 2020 witnessed an increase in unsold inventory as launches outpaced sales by a significant margin.
New launches were up by 3 per cent at 40,574 units.
Unsold inventory increased from 4,42,228 units in Q4 2019 to 4,55,351 units in Q1 2020. Moreover, Mumbai surpassed Delhi-NCR to become the market with the maximum quantum as well as value of unsold inventory.
Across the top seven cities, developers are sitting on an unsold inventory worth Rs 3,65,100 crore at the end of March 2020. Mumbai has unsold stock of Rs 1,37,900 crore, while NCR has 81,300 crore and Bengaluru 64,000 crore.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to weaken the GDP growth, which is seen falling below 5 per cent in FY 19-20 and potentially reaching 2008-09 levels in FY 20-21, said Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India.
"However, the residential real estate market appears to be at an advantageous position today as compared to the global financial crisis, led by a series of structural reforms by the government in the past five-to-six years," Nair said.
"When the COVID-19 scenario stabilises, factors such as better-priced deals, enhanced the financial health of banks and greater demand from end users will aid in improving buyer sentiment. Sales are expected to regain some traction towards the end of 2020 supported by the festive season during that period," he added.