India's residential real estate sector's FY21 sales could dip up to 60%
India's residential real estate sector's FY21 sales could dip up to 60%

Ratings agency ICRA expects the overall sales volume for completed and under-construction inventory to reduce by 40-60 per cent on account of Covid-19 during FY21.

According to ICRA, the overall demand risks for the sector have increased, which is also reflected by a decline in new sales and the associated collections in Q1FY2021.

It said that preference for completed inventory is expected to continue, thus favouring the developers having higher proportion of such projects.

"Further, the steep reduction in home loan rates may aid housing demand to some extent, with home loan interest rates having dropped below 8 per cent for the first time in 15 years," ICRA said in a statement

"Committed receivables from already booked sales have also been impacted, given that some milestone-based payments have been deferred due to stoppage of construction activities earlier."

ICRA noted that projects catering to the self-funded segment have witnessed a more significant disruption in collections as compared to the home loan funded segment, as banks continue to make payments to developers.

Consequently, in FY2021, ICRA expects collections from customers to decline by around 35-40 per cent.

"Project execution has also got hampered, with reduced labour force presence and raw material supply chain disruptions attributable to continuing localised lock-downs on non-essential services. ICRA expects the spend on ongoing projects to reduce by around 30 per cent in FY21 on account of the pandemic," the statement said.

"Notably, Covid has been classified as a force-majeure event under RERA, and therefore, deemed extensions of 6-9 months on project execution timelines have been granted by many states. New launches, which were already on a declining trend given the increased focus on deliveries, are likely to get further deferred."

Overall project cash flows are expected to be impacted by slower collections leading to reduced inflows, it added.

"While there will be reduction in project spends as well, the reduction in inflows is likely to remain higher than the reduction in outflows, leading to lower net operating cash flows and higher dependence on other forms of liquidity or refinancing," the statement said.

"However, higher-rated clients have maintained considerable liquidity buffers, which can be used to meet project costs and debt obligations. ICRA also notes that many companies have availed moratorium to bring down debt repayments, which coupled with automatic reduction in collection-linked prepayments, has provided some relief to the developers."

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