Pandemic blues: COVID changes realty sector's fate

One year on since the Novel Coronavirus outbreak the real estate sector which is one of the largest country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributor, generating largest employment opportunity underwent a turbulent change. In fact, the sector was believed to be badly affected however, policies and measures introduced by the government helped revive the sector recording an upward trend in property buying activity especially in Mumbai. The decision of Maharashtra government to to cut down stamp duty registration fees resulted in sales of nearly 10,000 units per month. Besides, 50 per cent discount in premium payments to developers offering complete waiver in stamp duty to homebuyers and installment facility to pay other developmental charges helped the cash ridden developers largely.

- 2% stamp duty till December 2020

- 3% stamp duty uptil March 31st

- Nearly 10,000 unit sales recorded in Mumbai every month

- 50% discount in premium payments to developers/builders offering free stamp duty

Krish Raveshia, CEO, Azlo Realty said, "The financial year 2020-21 was a turnaround year for the real estate sector. A year which saw activities largely affected for the first few months. Then, the government intervention with unlocking and series of reform measures boosted the sentiment for the better. Pandemic taught homebuyers the importance of a spacious home with state-of-the-art amenities, and fiber connectivity that can double up as an office space. We have already started witnessing consolidation in the sector, developers with scale and strong books will emerge stronger post the pandemic."


To prevent migration of labourers, which could eventually delay the real estate projects several developers made onsite provision for them. They took care of the food and health requirements. Runwal, one of the popular real estate group recalled, they had set up labour camps ensuring that the migrant workers were there all along so that it can help them in fast movement of work once they resume after the lockdown. Also to prevent any threat to their employees they started functioning from homes so that sales activity remain unaffected. "We have been using online and digital channels extensively to conduct business during the lockdown. From digital advertising to online meetings and virtual project tours, we have been utilising every possible avenue to connect with customers, channel partners and vendors," spokesperson explained. In fact, Runwal group asserted that this measures helped them to get business during the lockdown period as well.


On completion of one year of nationwide lockdown and repercussions on realty industry Jayesh Rathod, Executive Director The Guardians Real Estate Advisory expressed, "The last one year has been a memorable time for the India Real Estate sector. Since after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown it was largely believed that the real estate sector will see an unprecedented correction in prices, some believed it could be as steep as 20 per cent from the existing levels. Thanks to the policies and measures of both the central and the state government, the sector was saved from undergoing a steep reduction in its prices and instead witnessed a revival in business and volumes. The measures have been very effective and highly successful in reviving the fortunes of the sector at large."


Interestingly, the real estate sector's apex body NAREDCO in Maharashtra had also unanimously decided to waive off stamp duty completely on the sale of residential properties until December 2020. Supporting government' decision to push the housing demand in state.

Ashok Mohanani, president of NAREDCO Maharashtra said, "On behalf of the real estate fraternity, we urge the State Government to extend the reduced 3 per cent stamp duty charges for another two quarters so that home buyers continue to be encouraged and invest in their dream homes. Since the various measures introduced by the RBI, Union Finance Minister along with both the Central and Maharashtra Government injected liquidity into the market and has already spurred the demand and revived confidence in the real estate industry."

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