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Second wave may dent housing sales revival

The recent outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 and semi-lockdowns in many States may impede the housing sector’s revival seen during the last nine months, a top real estate executive said.

“In April 2021, the online demand for houses has decreased as compared to March 2021. There has been a low double-digit decline,” said Mani Rangarajan, Group COO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com. “But there is no trend to point out a decline which is significant as compared to April 2020.If the COVID situation worsens from now, the real estate market will take a bigger hit,” he added.

“Though it is too early to assess the impact, we need to keep in mind that the real estate industry is more prepared this time to handle the situation. The sector has taken a giant leap in adoption of digital tools for marketing and sales during the last one year,” he added.

PropTiger.com on Friday released a research report on the housing sales for January-March 2021 quarter in top cities. According to the report, nearly half of the total housing demand in the primary residential market across 8 major cities was for two bedroom apartments costing up to ₹45 lakh.

It said housing sales across eight major cities declined by 5% year-on-year to 66,176 units, indicating that demand is inching back to pre-COVID levels.

When compared with the January-March quarter of 2020, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru witnessed fall in sales, while Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad witnessed growth in demand.

According to the report, about 45% of sales in January-March 2021 were affordable homes priced below ₹45 lakh.

Mr. Rangarajan said housing sales in January-March this year almost reached to pre-COVID levels driven mainly by low interest on home loans and stamp duty cut by the Maharashtra government.

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