|Will 2018 be a good time to invest in real estate?|
|From the past few quarters, the real estate market in India has been going through a phase of massive change. The regulatory reforms implemented through frameworks defined under the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA), and Goods & Services Tax (GST) to an extent, have led the sector in a certain direction.
It is mandatory for all the real estate projects to be in compliance with the provisions of RERA, which attempts to make sure that projects are delivered in time and the money paid by buyers for certain projects is not squandered for other purposes.
In short, RERA protects consumers’ interests. It will be impossible for fly-by-night operators to be in the market and only the most-committed players will be able to navigate the roadmap. This will benefit both buyers and sellers, in the long term.
It is a buyers’ market
The combination of excess supply, high prices and low consumption has translated into huge inventories across the country. The consumption side has also been impacted by demonetization. Clearly, it is a buyers’ market for now – and for the next few quarters. But not for long!
With RERA in place, developers are now focusing on completing their existing projects. The new home launches, across top eight cities in India, have gone down by more than 75 percent in the third quarter of the current fiscal, as per industry research reports. The overall number of project launches has gone down by more than 40 percent in the first nine months of the current calendar year. These trends imply that the supply side will gradually find some equilibrium with demand, and prices will subsequently start picking up pace.
However, in the present environment, there is a situation of excess supply and property buyers are in a better position to negotiate, and grab a great deal.
As per industry reports, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) have around 2 lakh and 1.8 lakh unsold units respectively.
Home loan interest rates are at all-time low
The excess liquidity in the banking system have led the RBI rejig the key lending rates. Resultantly, the home loan interest rates that were recorded at around 9.5 percent a year in 2016 have now been floating in the range between 8.3-8.4 percent.
That makes for considerable savings in the EMI costs; enabling people to avail of low-cost home finance, and become a home owner. It is expected that the home loan rates will remain low for the next several quarters and may even come down further.
Considering the average annual rental yields at 5-6 percent, there is not much difference between the costs of rent and owning a home.
Steady revival of interest from global investor fraternity
The implementation of overarching regulatory mechanisms has instilled a much higher level of confidence in the global investor fraternity. The real estate sector is projected to receive Private Equity (PE) investments to the tune of US$4 billion during this fiscal year, as per industry reports.
Not just the PE funds from the US, Canada and Singapore are interested in infusing capital in the sector, but countries such as Japan, China, Qatar, Hong Kong and the Netherlands are also poised to invest in the sector.
At the same time, global sovereign wealth funds—that are otherwise known for their risk-averse, conservative approach—have been increasing their exposure to the market and it proves that the sector is headed in the right direction.
As for property buyers, it is a sign of revival on the cards.
In overall, the current environment presents an opportunity to buy property and make the best out of the coming year.
(The author is COO of Square Yards)