Here are some latest developments in the sector:
• No credit bubble: According to the RBI data, the exposure of the banking sector to retail home loans reached an 8-year low at 9 per cent. This lessens potential concerns of a credit-led bubble in real estate providing headroom for future growth, says Edelweiss, a Mumbai-based firm. This means banks should lend more to borrowers of new homes.
• Prepayment charges removed: RBI has banned pre-payment penalty charges on floating rate home loans recently. This means borrowers can change their lending bank without having to pay any prepayment penalty. Prepayment and other charges deterred borrowers from switching banks. Analysts expect banks to offer competitive lending rates to home loan borrowers to acquire retail home loan assets.
• Mumbai shows promise: Property registrations for March and April 2012 in Mumbai were 5,830 and 5,150 respectively. This is well above 4,100 reported in January and 4300 in February 2012, according to Edelweiss. The underlying demand for homes in cities like Mumbai Metropolitan Region or MMR is growing. While the year-on-year growth in sales for quarter to March 2012 was flat at 9.13 million square feet (msf), it rose 20.3 per cent over the December 2012 quarter. The focus was on the Thane region which saw over 5,000 homes launched for sale in the quarter to March 2012 out of the total 7,000 in the MMR region.
• So do other markets: The National Capital Region reported a growth of 36.1 per cent to 30.99 msf in the March 2012 quarter. This was largely led by sales in Noida following the resolution of the land row and a pick-up in the project approval process. Over one year to March 2012, residential property prices rose 34 per cent in Pune, 29 per cent in Chennai and 17.2 per cent in Bangalore. The NCR region witnessed property prices jump by 14.8 per cent.
• Companies cut debt: Aggregate debt of listed real estate real estate companies stands at Rs 48,900 crore, rising 2 per cent over December 2011 quarter and 14 per cent over March 2011. DLF accounted for Rs 22,730 crore as of March 2012. Analysts believe that companies are looking to cut their debt. DLF is selling non-core assets actively while Godrej Properties have issued additional equity. Sobha Developers has also cut debt during the year.