How housing sales saw a boost among stamp duty reduction and how luxury deals took the leap
Real Estate

How housing sales saw a boost among stamp duty reduction and how luxury deals took the leap

India’s real estate was in a peculiar situation in the last fiscal. The COVID-19 pandemic had also led to a temporary halt in ongoing real estate projects. 

One would assume that the pandemic has bought about a standstill in buying of houses. However, on the contrary, with several companies declaring a work from home (WFH) situation, it has actually led to homebuyers buying their own space, or rather, a bigger space. 

Demand for townships with a range of amenities has accelerated after COVID-19 emphasised the importance of having amenities within your project, as per a report by CARE Ratings. This may include amenities ranging from a swimming pool to an office centre.

Availing

India’s real estate was in a peculiar situation in the last fiscal. The COVID-19 pandemic had also led to a temporary halt in ongoing real estate projects. One would assume that the pandemic has bought about a standstill in buying of houses. However, on the contrary, with several companies declaring a work from home (WFH) situation, it has actually led to homebuyers buying their own space, or rather, a bigger space. Demand for townships with a range of amenities has accelerated after COVID-19 emphasised the importance of having amenities within your project, as per a report by CARE Ratings. This may include amenities ranging from a swimming pool to an office centre.Availing of cheap home loans, lucrative payment plans and attractive prices, the sector has seen an increase in home buying activity, especially in places where buyers are able to avail taxation benefits. Launches, sales and supplyHome sales in India’s eight prime residential markets showed a quarterly increase of 12 per cent in the January-March quarter (Q1) of CY2021 as compared to the last quarter – Q4 CY2020, as per a report by PropTiger.com.Notably, builders sold a total of 66,176 homes in the primary markets in the January-March quarter of 2021, a time marked with several state governments, including Maharashtra and Delhi, announcing stamp duty and circle rate reductions to boost buyer sentiment and by effect housing sales.On the supply side, a total of 53,037 units were launched across India during the three-month period, which saw the Union Cabinet approving a Bill to set up a Rs 20,000-crore Development Finance Institution to offer long-term capital support for infrastructure development in India. This marked an annual growth of 49 per cent in housing supply, says the PropTiger report. A quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) comparison shows new launches declined 2 per cent when compared to the last quarter of CY2020.States act onState governments have been undertaking measures to boost consumer sentiment in the real estate space. 
The Maharashtra Government announced a reduction in the stamp duty on property purchases. The reduction came into effect August 2020 onwards and the state brought down the stamp duty on property registrations from 5 per cent to 2 per cent till December 31, 2020. After this period, buyers would pay 3 per cent as the stamp duty on property registrations from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021. During that period, housing registrations saw a sharp uptick, with the number in December 2020 and March 2021 setting new records as homebuyers rushed to avail the benefit of lower stamp duty payment. 
Madhya Pradesh followed suit with a reduction of the cess on stamp duty charged for registration of property to 1 per cent from 3 per cent in urban areas. Further, the Karnataka state assembly passed a bill that supports government measure to reduce stamp duty from 5 per cent to 3 per cent for flats priced between Rs 21 lakh to Rs 35 lakh and from 5 per cent to 2 per cent for flats costing up to Rs 20 lakh. The bill proposes exemption from registration charges and lower stamp duty for industrial units set up in backward areas. Reduction in the rate of stamp duty effectively leads to lowering the cost of purchase for buyers. Maharashtra, the heroThe Government of Maharashtra has taken some positive and growth oriented steps that has driven the realty sector post the first wave of the COVID-19 lockdown. “Some of these measures include lowering of construction premiums, reduced stamp duty rates, low home loan interest rates and uniform developmental rules,” says Shreyans Shah, Managing Director, MJ Shah Group. These measures have seen an appreciable improvement in property sales across the state, and more importantly, in the city of Mumbai. This, on the back of pent up demand, has seen home sales peak to an all time high.”With over a 350-per-cent YoY jump in property registrations for the month of March, Mumbai saw a huge surge, much similar to the robust sales in December 2020. “Close to 18,000 housing units registered in the month indicates that consumers have grabbed the golden opportunity to purchase properties in the last few days,” avers Ashok Mohanani, President, NAREDCO Maharashtra. As per data by the Inspector General of Registration (IGR), Maharashtra, the stamp duty cut period between September 2020 to March 2021 saw as many as 80,718 properties registered in Mumbai alone – a growth of 114 per cent against the same period last year (September 2019 to March 2020.)Prashant Thakur, Director & Head-Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants, says, “Despite the stamp duty cuts in this period, the state government collected almost the same volume of registrations revenue as it did last year in the same period. The total revenue collected stood at Rs 2,914 crore between September 2020 to March 2021 period, while it was Rs 2,958 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.”Evidently, the state’s decision to temporarily lower stamp duty on property registrations also helped mitigate the steep decline in sales for the Mumbai and Pune markets that contribute the most to the national stock of unsold homes. What’s more, with reduction in stamp duty, developers can expect a reduction in their working capital requirement, which in turn will reduce the overall cost of the project. “The state government should have continued with the benefit of reduced rates to keep the sales momentum going,” believes Mani Rangarajan, Group, COO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and Proptiger.com. “We also expect states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to announce stamp duty and circle rate reductions in order to provide support to the crucial housing markets of Noida and Gurugram in the NCR,” he adds.Luxury housing, it isOver the past few decades, the concept of luxury has become an integral part of the Indian landscape. “We see a growing demand for luxury homes across the country post the first wave of the pandemic. WFH has in fact been instrumental for people now looking at moving into larger and more luxurious spaces,” says Shah. According to him, while the pandemic may have impacted the real estate market, but the aspiration with which people are turning to luxury homes is quite unprecedented. “What the sector is witnessing at present is the demand to upgrade homes – property with better quality, convenience and facilities.”The luxury housing market has caught the fancy of the upper middle income group as well. Also, with COVID impacting the stock market, HNIs are investing in luxury property as they believe it to be a safer investment option.  In fact, luxury housing markets performed better than expected in 2020, with 66 of the 100 markets featured in Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100) recording annual price growth of 2 per cent. PIRI 100 tracks the movements in luxury residential prices across the world’s top residential markets.Globally, Delhi ranked 72nd in terms of luxury residential prices which remained marginally lower at -0.1 per cent YoY in 2020. Mumbai (ranked 77th) and Bengaluru (ranked 79th) registered a decline of 1.5 per cent and 2.0 per cent YoY respectively in prime residential prices. “The luxury residential sales saw an exponential surge in Mumbai in Q4 2020 and the demand outlook for 2021 remains resilient,” says Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India. “The current market price offers a premium value to make a luxury residential asset purchase in Indian cities for both domestic and global wealthy individuals.”Area (in sq m) purchasable for US$1 mn over the last 5 years for Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru: Cities 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Mumbai 99 92 100 102 106 Delhi 195 188 202 197 202 Bengaluru 323 311 336 336 351 Source: Knight Frank ResearchBigwigs on a home-buying spreeLuxury apartments have now become a fashionable address and statement for the rich and the aspiring upper-middle income group. From a global perspective, India is expected to record the second-highest five-year growth in Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (US$ 30 million +) by 2025, says Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2021. Further, India’s billionaire count is expected to increase from 113 in 2020 to 162 by 2025. Notably, Mumbai (920), Delhi (375) and Bengaluru (238) have a high concentration of UHNWIs in the country.A number of big names have taken advantage of the goodies spoken about earlier in this article and invested in luxury property. For instance:DMart founder Radhakishan Damani has bought a bungalow in South Mumbai’s Malabar Hill for a whopping Rs 1,001 crore, in what is known to be one of the most expensive real estate transactions in India’s residential realty market. The property, Madhukunj, is a two-storey bungalow measuring 61,916.3 square feet.The Motilal Oswal Family Trust bought two duplex apartments located in 33 South Condominium at Peddar Road for Rs 101 crore. Gautam Daftary, Chairman of Bharat Serum & Vaccines’ bought two sea-facing apartments on South Mumbai’s Carmichael Road, spread across 6,366 sq ft, for Rs 101 crore.Hrithik Roshan recentky bought two sea-facing apartments worth Rs 100 crore on the Juhu-Versova Link in Mumbai. Spread across 38,000 sq ft, the apartments are on the 14th, 15th and 16th floors. The house reportedly has a 6,500 sq ft terrace, 10 parking spots, a private elevator, among other amenities.Anurag Jain, Managing Director of Endurance Technologies, and also the nephew of Bajaj Auto’s Chairman Rahul Bajaj, bought two apartments, spread across 6,370 sq ft, in Carmichael Residences at Altamount Road-Carmichael Road for Rs 100 crore. Amit Mahendra Mehta, Chairman of Diamines & Chemicals, has bought four apartments in Artesia, a project launched by K Raheja Corp in Worli, Mumbai, for Rs 80 crore – a unit with carpet area of 3,875 sq ft for Rs 22.5 crore; a unit with area of 3,064 sq ft for Rs 17.8 crore; another one with an area of 3,875 sq ft for Rs 22.5 crore; and another with an area of 3064 sq ft for Rs 17.8 crore. Smita D Parekh, the wife of HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, has bought a property in the same project – Raheja Artesia, for Rs 50 crore. The project offers views of the Arabian Sea and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Daughter and wife of former HDFC Bank chairman Aditya Puri, actress Amrita Puri and Anita Puri, in December last year, jointly bought a sea-facing luxury apartment at Lodha Seamont at Malabar Hill in Mumbai for Rs 50 crore.Keki Mistry, HDFC’s Vice Chairman and CEO, in December last year, bought an ultra-luxury sea-facing apartment in the Artesia project in Worli, worth Rs 41.23 crore. Spread across 7,390 sq ft, it is located on the 35th floor.A Rs 54-crore worth property in the Runwal – The Residences project in Malabar Hill was also registered a few months ago. The size of the unit is 442.25 sq m.360 view also saw the registration of another property worth Rs 50.5 crore in September last year. The size of the unit is 730.02 sq m.A 7,595.3 sq ft property worth Rs 45 crore was also registered in September last year for the Indiabulls Blu project in Worli.Another property in the same project – 360 West – was registered in September last year for Rs 42.5 crore. The size of the property is 699.56 sq m. Similarly, a property worth Rs 39 crore, located in Carmichael Residences by Peninsula Land in Tardeo was registered on October 9. The unit measures 3,185.68 sq ft.Recently, Jhanvi Kapoor bought a triplex house worth Rs 39 crore in Juhu Vile Parle Scheme. The house spreads across 4,144 sq ft and is located on the 14th, 15th and 16th floors.Lawyer Cyril Shroff and his daughter Paridhi Karan Adani, who is the daughter-in-law of business tycoon Gautam Adani, have bought an uber luxury sea-view apartment in Worli, Mumbai, for Rs 36.3 crore. The unit, located in 360 West by Oberoi Realty, is spread across 583.53 sq m. Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt too bought a 2,460 sq ft apartment in Bandra’s Pali Hill Vastu building for Rs 32 crore. Besides these, according to reports, deals of more than Rs 100 crore are expected from time to time.And, as per Knight Frank’s upcoming Wealth Report 2021, 19 per cent of India’s ultra-wealthy are considering buying a home in 2021. 

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