Monday, June 1, 2009

Rays of recovery - ASSOCHAM sees real estate recovery in 3 months

According to ASSOCHAM, anticipating strong policy measures for real estate in forthcoming Budget, embattled realty majors see positive signs of recovery taking place, within next 3 months as affordable housing rev up demand and improved cash flows address their liquidity concerns.

Mr Sajjan Jindal president of ASSOCHAM said that based on an expert group of 25 real estate firms, found 88% of respondent CEOs sensing a quick revival in the sectoral activity within next 3 months as developer’s strategic shift towards affordable housing and a significant price correction in the housing projects have pepped up the sale of residential property.

As per the Survey, a whopping 92% of the respondent developers considered affordable housing as the most dominating segment to shore up the demand in real estate sector. The policy actions supplementing the robust demand in the housing sector is likely to hold the key for a speedy recovery phase in the sector.

With developers concentrated efforts to target the lower and middle income consumer group during the downturn, 84% of the surveyed CEOs signaled the least impact in the affordable housing segment.

According to the Survey, at a time when luxury housing more than 50%, SEZ 40% to 50%, retail space 30% to 40% and commercial space 20% to 30% were witnessing steep contraction in demand, affordable housing was the single most resilient segment with a minimal contraction of 0% to 10%.

On the policy front, the surveyed CEOs sought single window clearances for all schemes under affordable housing in the line of SEZ clearances to enable fast development of units and achieve the short fall of about 26 million houses at the earliest.

However, a majority of 76% of the ABB respondents viewed the stimuli given to the sector through fiscal and monetary measures as inadequate to help boost the demand to supply scenario. However, of all the measures taken by the RBI and the commercial banks, 64% of the respondent CEOs were of the view that RBI’s allowance to banks to restructure loans to developers has been the most successful in improving the liquidity for real estate sector.

In the present market scenario, 60% of the surveyed CEOs perceived resurgent stock market as the most prominent source of finance to fund the sector’s cash requirement, followed by 28% viewing bank credit as the best viable option. Almost 92% of the respondent CEOs strongly agreed to the need to unify stamp duty on property across all the Indian States. The surveyed developers also sought reduced stamp duty charges to increase revenue and avoid duty evasion.

Among other policy issues, respondents asked for a central regulation body, recognition of real estate sector as industry, further relaxed norms for ECB and FDI along with a need for speedier and hassle free statutory approvals.

The Survey found that metropolitan cities has been the worst affected market segment whereas tier II cities have been seen as the most promising one to boost up the sector as commercial activity moving to these cities and their greater yield has given a tremendous impetus to investment in the these market segments.

Meanwhile, among the 6 metropolitan cities, the financial capital of India, Mumbai has been ranked first as the most saturated in terms of real estate assets followed by Delhi NCR and Bangalore whereas Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad were ranked fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

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