Knight Frank report: Home launches and sales rebound in 2021 but stay below 2019 levels

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Although launches and sales may not have got back to where they were pre-pandemic, the number of unsold homes continues to see a slow but steady decline.

The Indian housing industry across seven top property markets registered a stellar rise in new launches and sales in the first six months of 2021, according to data released by Knight Frank India.
A total of 1,03,238 homes were launched in H1 2021, up 71 percent, year-on-year. Developers sold 99,416 homes between January and June, up 67 percent year-on-year.
While the numbers indicate a revival from the pandemic lows of 2020, sales and launches continue to stay below 2019 levels.
The 1.03 lakh homes launched between January and June this year, for instance, is 3.64 percent below the launch number of 1.07 lakh in H1 2019. Home sales this year (99,416) are still 25.42 percent below the 1,33,317 homes that were sold in the first six months of 2019, pre-pandemic.
‘Bigger developers doing better sales’
Nevertheless, the industry says it is encouraged by resilience displayed by launches and sales in 2021, a debilitating COVID second wave notwithstanding.
“The industry continues to consolidate with residential developments steadily shifting into the hands of stronger developers who have been able to weather the economic storm created by the pandemic,” said the report.
“Homebuyers have displayed a strong preference for ready inventory to hedge any execution risk by developers but have been more willing to commit to under-construction properties with a Grade A developer at the helm,” it added.
Although launches and sales may not have got back to where they were pre-pandemic, the number of unsold homes continues to see a slow but steady decline.
Unsold inventory on the decline, prices fall marginally too
A total of 4,41,742 homes remain unsold in H1 2021, down one percent year-on-year. More significantly, this statistic has shown some decline when compared to the 4,50,263 homes that were in unsold in H1 2019.
The good news for the homebuyer is that prices continue to cool off, even registering a marginal decline of 2 percent in top markets like MMR, Pune and Chennai, while Bengaluru registered a price-decline of 1 percent. Property prices in NCR remained untouched in H1 2021.
Given the impact that the pandemic has had on home sales in the past, the outlook for H2 2021, Knight Frank India said will not only depend on overall recovery but the pace of vaccination, as well.
“India’s growth trajectory will depend on the COVID situation and whether we get hit by further waves of infection. The pace of vaccination will play a critical role to avoid severe waves of infection in the future,” said the report.
“With the government working towards increasing vaccination supply, India’s growth story in this pandemic will be contingent on the speed of vaccination,” it added.

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