Realty firm Godrej Properties on Thursday said it will see growth in sales this year despite COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Mohit Malhotra, managing director and chief executive officer said Maharashtra government's announcement to slash stamp duty to 2 percent from earlier 5 percent until December 2020 is an extremely positive move and it will have a positive impact on demand.
Malhotra said people have accepted the digital medium to buy homes, "We are seeing a lot of demand coming out of digital channels. So, it is new for the industry and the consumers, and brands which can satisfy consumer needs will definitely get the benefit."
According to Malhotra, second quarter has been strong so far, "Compared to a year ago, things would be slower as people are in some bit of a lockdown, the virus is still active, and it is disrupting things on the ground. So compared to the last year, things are obviously subdued and things are tougher, but overall we are seeing a positive demand from the customers. We had a very strong Q1 and we continue to have a strong momentum even in Q2. So we remain optimistic and bullish."
Speaking about prices, he said, "Almost for eight years now, the prices have not moved up in this industry. Of course different geographies would have different things. But between 5-8 years, things have remained stagnant. So, if you adjust for inflation, prices have actually come down quite significantly."
He further added that the company will not able to cut prices despite the reduction in stamp duty, The ability to cut prices is not an available option for us."
On sales, Malhotra said, "We would be looking for growth despite the year having full impact of COVID. We had a very strong Q1. It gives us confidence that consumers are believing in us and despite these temporary issues and short term impact which is having on everyone’s life, people are willing to go ahead and buy home at these prices."
Talking about labour availability, he said, "The numbers had gone down to almost 30 percent in the worst times in Q1, but it is now back to 60-65 percent level. So, we are still 35-40 percent short of our peak labour strength before COVID. However, it is definitely better than Q1, almost double from Q1. We are seeing migrant labour coming back and in NCR we are seeing almost 100 percent labour is now back. Mumbai and Pune, given the challenges and the lockdown which keeps coming in, we are seeing slightly less labour strength. But overall it is much better than Q1."