COVID ‘booster’ for Realty Must Continue

Affordable housing, SRA projects to drive demand


Chief Operating Officer, Ruparel Realty

Developers will need to become more tech savvy and innovative particularly to merge customer experience with technology.

We entered 2020 with a positive outlook expecting necessary changes that would aid to sustain market equilibrium in the real estate sector. The nationwide lockdown brought everything to a standstill and caused a disruption in the overall functioning of the industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, helped accelerate the pace of digitization within the industry. Developers reformulated their parameters and created a path for fundamental strategies to make sure that the sector stays afloat. With the implementation of virtual tours and web-based collaborations, developers were able to close deals online and homebuyers could conveniently visit multiple properties from the confines of their own homes.

Coming to Mumbai’s real estate market, this year it continues to be the only market below the affordability threshold of 100 as per a report by JLL. This being said, it is important to note that Mumbai is the fastest moving city, showing a significant improvement in HPAI (Home Purchase Affordability Index) from 47 in 2011 to 95 in 2020.

We at Ruparel Realty successfully sold 300 units amidst the lockdown. This was mainly because the security in home ownership had gone up in value which had made people realize the importance of buying a home rather than renting one.

One of the biggest catalysts for this growth has been the support from both Central and State Government, for instance, initiatives such as a positive stance on the repo rate throughout the year. Additionally, significant reduction of stamp duty by the Maharashtra Government 300 basis points created a win-win situation for the government as well as the industry.

In 2021, we foresee the surge in demand for affordable and Slum Rehabilitation Development projects especially in Mumbai that has already breached the affordability threshold and become affordable at an overall city level. This is also supported by the Maharashtra government that has already set up a stress relief fund of Rs. 700cr to 1,000cr to support developers undertaking Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) projects in the city.

Furthermore, with the digitization boost, the sector has already taken its baby steps in adopting technology and this will continue to grow in the future and developers will need to become more tech savvy and innovative particularly to merge customer experience with technology.

The year 2021 will be challenging, but at Ruparel we are geared up to face the challenges and move forward. The unforeseen crisis has emphasized the importance of having a business continuity model and brought to light the significance of an off-site model. At Ruparel Realty, we will continue with our strategy of innovating and customizing project configuration and will expand our slum rehabilitation development portfolio. We will also be providing 2 bhk homes at Rs 1 Cr within the MMR city limits. We will also be deploying newer construction technologies that will ensure that our projects are completed and delivered on time.

We look forward to the continued Government support for the developer community by providing GST exemption, reduced stamp duty, single window clearance, and the lowest loan interest rates that will favor the potential and genuine home buyers. We are hoping to see multiple funds, such as the SWAMIH fund, getting set up by the government.

During times like these, a large capital support by the government will help provide great relief. This will bring the much needed momentum in the market and tame the inflation in the system. In sum, it will definitely help in the revival of the real estate sector and also boost the economic confidence and long term commitments.

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