COVID-19 lockdown impact: affordable housing to be most affected

Affordable Housing sector to be in loss, developers facing rising labour costs, interest costs and raw material costs.


Affordable housing will be the most affected due to countrywide lockdown imposed to arrest the spread of COVID-19, a cross-section of industry experts said on Thursday.

Khushru Jijina, managing director of Piramal Capital and Housing Finance, said blue-collar workers will be the most impacted section.

“Only if all of us (developers) survive and our projects are completed, then only we will be able to do business,” he said while addressing a webinar organised by the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).

Jijina said developers must plan how to honour their commitments. “Price reduction is unknown to us, but people should understand that now this is the bottom. We say there is no better industry than real estate for long-term returns.”

Sanjay Dutt, managing director and chief executive officer of Tata Realty and Infrastructure, said developers have been absorbing rising labour costs, interest costs and raw material costs.

“There is no doubt that developers are under huge strain. Investors will come back only if real estate gives them good return in future,” said Dutt.

NAREDCO president Niranjan Hiranandani said a reduction in property prices cannot raise the demand. “The demand in residential properties will take some time, but it will be strong in commercial segments. If we can bring the capital at cheaper rates, it will help the real estate sector a lot.”

On Tuesday, Deepak Parekh, chairman of mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), said estate prices in the country will correct by up to 20% in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and the resultant nationwide lockdown.

“The price of real estate has to come down, and will come down,” said Parekh in his address at the webinar. “I believe NAREDCO’s estimate is around 10 to 15%. One must be prepared for even 20%,” he added.


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