Real estate loans soar, reflecting strong demand

01 Sep 2023

In July, bank credit extended to both the housing and commercial real estate sectors surged by nearly 38 per cent annually, pushing the outstanding loans to the realty sector to a record Rs 28 trillion, according to the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The data from the RBI, in conjunction with information from property consultants regarding housing sales and new project launches in major cities, clearly indicates that the real estate sector is experiencing a rapid resurgence.

Housing credit outstanding, including priority sector housing, recorded a remarkable 37.4 per cent annual increase in July, crossing Rs 24.28 trillion, as reported by the RBI's 'Sectoral Deployment of Bank Credit - July 2023' data.

Simultaneously, credit outstanding in the commercial real estate sector increased by 38.1 per cent, reaching Rs 4.07 trillion.

Anuj Puri, Chairman of Anarock, commented on the RBI's data, attributing the impressive loan growth in the real estate sector to a significant demand revival across the board. He noted that the commercial office segment had faced pandemic-related pressures the previous year, with employers deliberating on various workplace strategies. However, as the situation normalised, employees returned to offices, resulting in a high demand for quality commercial spaces this year.

Additional RBI data showed that the All India House Price Index (HPI) growth (year-on-year) inched up to 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023-24 from 4.6 per cent in the previous quarter and 3.4 per cent from a year ago.

Puri also highlighted that housing sales in the top seven cities had surged by 54 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year. In the first half of 2023, sales had already reached 63 per cent of the previous year's figures, indicating sustained demand, even in the face of rising home loan interest rates.

Samantak Das, Executive Director and Head of Research at JLL India observed that the RBI's latest sectoral credit data showed exceptionally high growth in bank lending to the real estate sector in July 2023. He attributed this growth partially to the merger of a non-banking financial company with a bank. Excluding the merger's impact, lending to commercial real estate increased by approximately 12 per cent year-on-year, and housing loans increased by about 13 per cent year-on-year during the same period. Das noted that this double-digit growth was robust given the challenging global economic scenario.

Aman Sarin, Director & CEO of Anant Raj Ltd, interpreted the credit growth as a sign of growth and investment in the real estate sector. He also emphasised the banking sector's positive stance towards real estate and its willingness to provide capital for both commercial and housing projects.

Real estate developers and consultants expressed confidence that the sales momentum in the sector would persist and were optimistic about strong sales during the upcoming festive season.

Mohit Jain, Managing Director of Krisumi Corporation, noted that the festive season typically brings optimism and increased real estate transactions. He predicted that the residential real estate sector's robust growth would continue.

Anarock's Puri concluded that the demand momentum was likely to persist, and the real estate sector was poised for further growth.

According to Anarock data, total housing sales in the first half of the year increased to 2,28,860 units across seven major cities, up from 1,84,000 units during the same period the previous year. These cities included Delhi-NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata. This growth occurred despite a roughly 250 basis point increase in home loan interest rates over the past year and a half and rising residential property prices in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

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