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Property developers may have already matched last year's H1 sales numbers

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Sales data from property consultants and some well-known developers reveals that a bumper July-September quarter may have offset the industry’s losses in the preceding quarter.

Property developers may have already matched last year's H1 sales numbers
There’s a good chance that property developers have sold as many homes in H1 FY21 when compared to H1 FY20, despite three months of little or no activity thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. Sales data from property consultants and some well-known developers reveals that a bumper July-September quarter may have offset the industry’s losses in the preceding quarter.
"We have already matched the first half of last (fiscal) year's sales figures, and the October-December quarter will see that trend continue," said Niranjan Hiranandani, national president, NAREDCO, speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18.
However, there is one important rider. Not all developers may have recovered losses and matched up to last year’s sales, for only a few well-known names have had the wherewithal to weather out the dry months, overcome the labour crisis and resume business. Hiranandani agrees.
"Recovery has not been apparent across the board since a large number of projects are stalled, and developers are not delivering or constructing homes," he said, "However, wherever developers are delivering reasonably good quality, there is demand and buyers are closing transactions."
Lodha's bumper Q2
Among the bigger names, the likes of Lodha have had a bumper quarter. The company told CNBC-TV18 that it witnessed a 131 percent quarter-on-quarter jump in homes sold in July-September, and a whopping 145 percent increase in quarter-on-quarter sales volumes thanks to big-ticket sales of homes at a premium to luxury projects.
"We have been witnessing a huge spike in sales, and have seen our best quarter in the last three years," said Prashant Bidal, chief sales officer, Lodha, "In July-September, we sold 1,770 units as opposed to 767 units in April-June. Since luxury and premium-luxury homes have been selling well, our increase in value over the last quarter has been 145 percent."
Lodha claims that as a result of the spike at a time when smaller developers have seen below-par sales, has seen its market share in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region jump from 24 percent a year ago, to about 35 percent today. Even a year-on-year comparison of its sales makes for encouraging reading.
"We saw a 28 percent upswing in year-on-year sales too in July-September," Bindal added, "We almost managed to hit last year's first-half numbers, despite the sharp fall in sales between April and June." Lodha is confident of matching last year’s sales by October.
Sales movement still "restrictive"
Not all developers though are admitting to seeing increased sales on the ground. While the Nahar Group has said that buyer sentiment is better than before, sales movement has been "restrictive". The company's vice president, Manju Yagnik has said the company is looking at virtual tours to stimulate better buyer interest, at the company’s projects in Mumbai and Chennai.
"With COVID, Q2 and Q3 have been restrictive in terms of movement, so we took the digital route to reach out to stakeholders," she said, "Virtual tours of sites for prospective home-buyers ensured consistent engagement where advisory was provided on the basis of their query or need."
The company believes that affordable homes will continue to catch the fancy of the prospective home-buyer, while overall buyer sentiment is increasing even as migrant labour has begun returning to its projects in Mumbai and Chennai.
Many other developers are as optimistic about better days ahead. The reason: prospective buyers have more reason to make a purchase now than before. Hiranandani explains why.
"Restoration of demand from Q3 onwards"
"There is going to be a restoration of demand, and the trigger for this is a combination of the fact that stamp duty has been brought down by 3 percent and products being bought are ready-to-move-in homes, which don't see GST of 5 percent being levied," he says, "So, there is a saving of 8 percent upfront in addition to what the developer is willing to provide by way of a discount."
A recent report by JLL indicated that the July-September quarter saw a 34 percent quarter-on-quarter spike in homes sold, with Mumbai accounting for 29 percent of these sales numbers. According to the report, unsold inventory across seven top cities saw a marginal decrease from 4.59 lakh homes to 4.57 lakh homes.
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