City’s housing sales this quarter exceed last year’s pre-Covid levels

Sales in Pune’s housing market in the ongoing quarter have exceeded figures from the corresponding period from 2020, just before the pandemic hit, according to real estate observers. Reports released by realty consultants JLL and Anarock said other markets across the country too were rallying and attributed the increase in sales — especially in Pune and Mumbai — to stamp duty and premium rebates by the state government and a 10-year low interest rate on home loans. Real estate consultancy Knight Frank, in its report, observed that 12,696 properties were registered in Mumbai between March 1 and 24. This implied a daily average of 529 units, over four times higher than in March 2020. The Knight Frank report added that the increase in registrations was not affected by the 3% cut in stamp duty being revised to 2% in January this year. Players in Pune’s real estate sectors reported a similar rush in registrations in the days leading up to March 31, when the stamp duty concession would expire. City’s housing sales this quarter exceed last year’s pre-Covid levels Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director of Knight Frank, said, “As the economy revived in the first quarter of this calendar year, it boosted sales. The euphoria among homebuyers continued despite the 1% increase in stamp duty rates. A combination of lowest home loan rates, reduced prices, rebates, and payment flexibility, as well as increased household savings, have provided the right growth environment,” Per JLL, the nationwide market recorded a 93% recovery in the first quarter of 2021 compared to Q1 2020. Pune’s recovery has been marginally higher than 100%, while Mumbai recovered slower, at 84%. Other cities — Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, and Chennai — recovered better, but Mumbai topped absolute sales numbers. Samantak Das, the chief economist of JLL, also attributed the increase to the aforementioned factors, and said, “The easing of lockdown restrictions and the start of the vaccination drive have further helped to bring buyers back to the market.” Anarock stated that most of the sales were driven by the mid-segment, followed by the affordable segment, Anarock noted in its report. “The Mumbai and Pune regions were the most active this quarter as the stamp duty cuts and other sops and discounts substantially reduced acquisition cost,” Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock, said. “Apart from stable property prices, the circular by the state government that the reduced stamp duty rate can be paid now, with deferred registration, is also helping drive up sales,” Vineet Goyal, MD of Kohinoor Group, said. Conversely, Credai-Pune Metro president Suhas Merchant said, “Sales may decline from April to June, along with the decline that the monsoon generally brings to home sales. We urge the state government to retain the stamp duty cut.