Over the past one year, the effects of the triple reforms – demonetisation, RERA and GST – resulted in a deceleration of new property launches in Bengaluru. While it dampened market sentiment, it also brought about a fair balance to the market, making it surprisingly end-user friendly, says Vestian, in its half-yearly report on affordable housing titled ‘Real Estate Trends 2018: Bengaluru Residential Market’ .
Furthermore, the government’s ‘Housing for All by 2022’ initiative provided a boost to most developers who were deliberating their entry into the affordable housing segment. Another factor spurring developers to take up affordable housing was the granting of infrastructure status to the segment, thereby opening up a whole gamut of incentives including ease of getting bank loans and a host of tax rebates. Buoyed by the various tax benefits and incentives associated with these policies and schemes, affordable housing is finally on a serious growth curve.
Majority of the housing demand observed in Bengaluru has always been in price range of 25 lakh to 60 lakh. While the lower value is considerably sparse, given the rising cost of land in and around the city, the upper range hovering around 45-60 lakh attracts a significant number of buyers. With 2017 proving to be a period of learning for industry stakeholders, the most potent opportunity as deduced by the developer community was pegged in the sub-60 lakh category.
As such, the first half of year 2018 (H1 2018, estimated till mid-June) saw the launch of 13,356 units in the sub-60 lakh category, as compared to just 8,240 units six months earlier, in the second half of 2017 (H2 2017). This depicted a whopping appreciation of 62% in H1 2018 over H2 2017, a significant change in tide.
Out of the total number of new launches, approximately 65% belonged to the ticket size category of sub-60 lakh. On the sales front, H1 2018, estimated till mid-June, saw 3,762 units sold, as compared to 2,183 units sold in H2 2017. Around 72% of the total units sold, of the new launches in H1 2018, were in the ticket size range of sub-60 lakh.
A word of caution
While all seems positive at the moment with demand picking up, some caution needs to be tended to. The government has provided enough policies and incentives to boost the sector but if not treaded with care the glut of relatively cheap housing might potentially create a bubble of artificial demand. The U.S. sub-prime crisis of 2008 serves as an important reminder as to what may go wrong.
Therefore, affordable housing should be treated primarily as a tool to improve the housing situation, rather than create a situation that may spiral out of control. Policy-makers, as much as individual investors, need to tread carefully in the segment.
While affordable housing is considered more as a need-based acquisition, it has high prospects of becoming an attractive proposition to an investor as well. Growth corridors in Bengaluru such as Electronics City, Attibele and Chandapura in the south, Tumkur Road in the west, Budigere Cross in the east, and Doddaballapur Road and Devanahalli in the north, that presently offer more of affordable options could potentially become affluent markets in future and yield a substantial return on investment. Additionally, upcoming infrastructure in these peripheral regions portend well for their viability.
For Grade A developers in the city, the segment is no longer looked down upon but has turned into a strong and lucrative avenue for generating profits. Today, the segment holds the key to unlocking inventory, reducing the demand-supply gap and provide for a rewarding business proposition. Besides, the Centre’s recent move to increase the carpet area for residences eligible for interest subsidy under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme has come as a boon for the affordable housing sector. The new rule will cover many ongoing projects under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana and expand the market size.
Over the next 3-5 years, the momentum for sub-60 lakh housing in Bengaluru is expected to gain ground at a rapid pace, thereby benefiting the long-neglected end-user of affordable housing, as well as work for the betterment of the economy.
With transparency setting in on the industry, on account of the recent reforms, affordable housing is projected to become one of the principal demand drivers of real estate in the near future.