RBI Slightly Cut Rates, Developers Seek More

RBI decided to cut the key policy rates by 0.25%. Welcoming the rate cut, realtors said that this will boost the sector.

Finally the Reserve Bank of India cut the key policy rates. While welcoming the decision of RBI, realtors said that it would boost the sector. RBI cut the repo rate (the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI) by a mere 0.25%.

RBI slightly cut the key rates.

RBI slightly cut the key rates.

Commenting on the rate cut, realtors said that the interest would have gone down if the reduction rate was further lowered. A further reduction would necessarily boost the home sales. Home loans will be lowered. This will boost the sentiments of the buyers.

Along with the buyers, the builders also will benefit from further rate cuts. If the repo rates are further revised, it will bring the EMIs down.

Speaking on the issue, former CREDAI chief Lalit Kumar Jain said that the common house buyers will benefit from the reduction of repo rate.

The Central Bank of India today cut the repo rate, short-term lending rate, by a mere 0.25%.  After the reduction now the repo rate stands at 7.25.

Developers seek more rate cuts from RBI.

Developers seek more rate cuts from RBI.

The RBI decision was met with mixed response. DLF, one the largest developers in India, said that the rate cut will hardly have any impact on the realty sector. The realty major said that the reduction is too small to leave an impact on the sector.

Rajeev Talwar, Executive Director of DLF Group, demanded further reduction. He opined that only a further reduction will boost both economy as well as realty. Mr. Talwar stated that the rate cut is very so small that it is insufficient to boost either economy or realty.

Sachin Sandhir of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) also expressed a similar view. He too said only further rate cuts can boost realty sector.

Assotech MD Sanjeev Srivastva said that the move will boost the sector. He hopes that the rate cut by RBI will be passed on to the customers by the financial institutions.

ECB Norms Likely To Be Relaxed to Boost Affordable Housing

The officials of the finance ministry and of RBI will hold a meeting this week to discuss about relaxing the norms for external commercial borrowing (ECB). The relaxation may boost the affordable housing projects.

To discuss about how to imply relaxation on the norms related to external commercial borrowing (ECB), officials from both Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India, may meet this week. Continue reading

Home Loans’ Interest To Fall As RBI Cuts Rates Finally

Finally, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) declared a cut in its main interest rate on Tuesday. As a result the banks will be pushed to provide home loans at lower interest rates.
Home loans will become cheaper

Home loans will become cheaper as RBI cuts rates.

Home buyers finally heard the much-awaited good news when the Reserve Bank of India cut its main interest rate (Repo Rate) and cash reserve ratio (CRR). As the central bank cut the rates the impact will be on the subsidiary banks. They will be able to provide home loans at lower interest rates.

Home loans will become cheaper. The banks will remain capable of providing easier EMI loans (Equated Monthly Installments) to the home buyers. D Subbarao, Honorable Governor of RBI, said that the act of  RBI will boost the investments. He added that the RBI rate – cut will keep inflation in a moderate level. Further, the rate cut will improve liquidity and credit flow. Continue reading

Mumbai Realty Market Looks For Some Upward Growth

The real estate market in Mumbai looks poised for some upswing after going through a lukewarm phase for the past few months. Evidently, there has been a marked increase in sales in March 2012 when 5,776 properties were registered, which is 37% more than the 3,639 registrations in the month of February 2012.

Similarly, at least 50 projects have been launched in the last three months, which further underlines the positive sentiment in the real estate market. The developers ‘ fraternity is quite upbeat about this encouraging development in the past few months.

Says Bharat Mody, CFO, Hubtown Limited, “The recent registration data is certainly encouraging and we are hopeful of numbers getting better from here on.” Similarly, Diipesh Bhagtani, Executive Director, Jaycee Homes Ltd, says: “It’s always good news when we see higher number of registrations and project launches.” Developers, however, have their own reasoning for this positive trend witnessed in the real estate market. The festive spell in the month of March has also been instrumental in giving a boost to the sales in the residential space, observe developers.

Shailesh Sanghvi – Director of Sanghvi Group of Companies, says: “Auspicious occasions such as Gudi Padwa, Akshya Tritya and Dhanteras give an impetus to booking of flats. As Gudi Padwa fell in the month of March, this worked as a major driver for property registrations.

With several developers attracting homebuyers with significant discounts and incentives the trend will continue to prevail since it is the most favourable day to purchase the flat or to perform their Graha Pravesh puja.

On this festive occasion there is an affirmative sentiment in people and more prospects are keen to buy, a discount offer helps them to take the decision faster, releasing some monetary burden.” In addition to this, bonus and healthy job market have certainly created an optimistic sentiment in the market, he points out. However, according to Mody, this improvement has mostly come from the re-sale property rather than any fresh purchases. “Therefore, things will significantly change only if situation on pending approvals improves drastically. That will create fresh supply in the market and ease the upward pressure on prices and will prove to be win-win for government, home-buyers and developers,” he says.

Additionally, developers aver that the primary reason is that the new Development Control Rules (DCR) that came into effect in January has been instrumental in boosting the sales. The recent bunching up of project launches after the new DCR came into effect in January 2012 seems to have driven the recovery, observe realty experts. “Developers and customers are now certain of what they are buying and investing into. Also, we have made it mandatory for developers to sell flats on carpet pricing, leaving no dispute on clarity of areas.”

Moreover, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cutting interest rates for the first time in three years after raising borrowing costs by record 375 basis points in 13 moves from mid-March 2010, this factor has also been responsible for the spike in purchases. The RBI lowered the repurchase rate to 8 per cent from 8.5 per cent on April 17. Incidentally, Mumbai’s residential home sales recovered from a three-year low in the quarter ended in March.

 

India: ICICI Bank eyes growth after strong Q4

ICICI Bank, India’s No. 2 lender, posted on Friday a larger-than-expected 31 percent rise in quarterly profit and forecast a higher growth rate for domestic loans and stable asset quality for the coming year.

Loan demand in India is expected to pick up after the central bank last week cut its benchmark lending rate for the first time in three years to help revive sagging economic growth. The Reserve Bank of India has projected loan growth for Indian banks for fiscal year 2013 at 17 percent against 16 percent in the previous year.

ICICI expects its domestic loans to grow 20 percent in the year that began in April from 17 percent last year, driven by demand from companies for working capital, home and car loans, Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar told reporters.

“These numbers may give us comfort to keep what we have (but) we don’t have any particular plans to increase our stakes. We have concerns about the India story in general,” said Olsson Jan-Olov, portfolio manager of Carnegie Emerging Markets at Sweden, which owns ICICI shares.

“We have been a little hesitant towards increasing positions in India due to the overriding political and macro economic situation.” Earlier this week, Standard & Poor’s cut India’s credit rating outlook to negative from stable on hefty fiscal and current account deficits and political paralysis in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The negative outlook jeopardises India’s long-term rating of BBB-, the lowest investment grade rating. Indian banks are actively easing terms on loans for companies, as high interest rates and an economic slowdown has hurt the ability of some to repay loans on time. Power, textile, aviation, construction and real estate are the hardest hit sectors.

ICICI, which is also listed in New York and competes with State Bank of India and HDFC Bank, sees a “very small” and “minimal” pipeline for corporate debt restructurings, Kochhar said.

Affordable Housing Investors finds RBI Rate Cut a Boon

The recent move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual Credit Policy has given some hope for investors in the affordable housing segment. This is being seen as a positive development for the overall property market. While investors remain cautious and wait for banks to announce the lowering of interest rates, realtors are optimistic of the scenario, however, hoping that inflation remains under check. “While the rate cut of 50 basis points is definitely a ray of hope, it does not dispel the shadows nearly as much as may be initially supposed. It should be borne in mind that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked interest rates 13 times between March 2010 and October 2011,” says Om Ahuja, CEO – Residential Services, Jones Lang LaSalle India.

“While this is understandable, given the on-going concerns over inflation and liquidity in the market, the spate of rate hikes has created a compounded problem for the residential real estate sector. The series of hikes in the past have also affected the price that builders put on their properties, since their own costs of borrowing have increased. It is unlikely that property prices will come down because of this rate cut. In fact, it is very likely that there will be an upward bias on property rates because of the anticipated improvement in sentiments of buyers who have so far been sitting on the fence, waiting for some signals of relief,” adds Ahuja. Shrinivas Rao, CEO, Vestian Global Workplace Solutions says the reduction in repo rate will boost economic growth and improve business sentiments which in turn will strengthen buying activity. However, the impact will vary across sectors depending on implementation of the cut by leading banks.

“Leading lenders are likely to cut interest rates on deposits and loans. Home loans are likely to turn cheaper. For instance, a 25 basis point cut could lower home loan EMIs by Rs 16 per Rs 1 lakh. A cut in the repo rate will also reduce the interest on commercial loans which in turn will favour developers to avail cheaper loans, thereby providing traction to real estate activity. Cheaper loan rates are expected to attract more end-users, impacting the residential sales positively,” he says.

With banks offering loans at cheaper rates, developers are likely to prefer the bank loans as against private equity funds. However, an increase in market demand in the short term will drive capital values, thereby benefitting retail investors, adds Rao. According to Ganesh Vasudevan, Vice President and Business Head, IndiaProperty, the cut of 50 basis points by the RBI is a move that will have a positive effect on the real estate segment.

Economy and Realty for the Month of April 2012

Healthy office space absorption in 2011-2012 inspite of slowdown in GDP, However 2012-13 seems bleak.

Currently, the top seven cities of India that is Mumbai, National Capital Region, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata together occupy 389 mn sq.ft of Grade-A office space. During 2010-11, a total of 38 mn sq.ft of new space was constructed in the top seven cities and it was 37 mn sq. ft during 2011-12. Office space absorption in India during 2011-12 was merely 2% lower than 2010-11 despite GDP growth slowing down from 8.4% to 6.9% during the same period. This is in sharp contrast to the popular belief that 2011-12 was a dull year for office market in terms of absorption. Healthy absorption rate ensured a drop in vacancy level to 21% by the end of Q4 2011-12 from 27% in Q4 2009-10.

Share of Banking & IT sector falls in absorption while manufacturing sector has witnessed an increasing trend over the last two years and contributed 19% in total absorption during 2011-12, higher from 13% in 2010-11. GDP growth of service segment is estimated to grow at 8.8% during 2012-13, much higher than industry segment growth of 6%. Absorption of space during 2012-13 is expected to be considerably lower than the previous two years and this will make it all the more challenging for developers to maintain existing levels of rent.

However, the latest move by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of reducing the repo and reverse repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) each could provide the much needed impetus to the economy and help in reviewing the demand scenario for office space in the coming quarters.

Realty Industry Feels Rate Cut as Benefit for All

The interest rate sensitive realty industry Tuesday welcomed the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to cut key lending rates by 50 basis points, and felt the move will boost builders’ and home loan customers’ sentiments alike.

“For the real estate in particular, this is indeed a welcome step by RBI. While the sector was already reeling under the pressures of high interest rates, this will allow banks to lower down the interest rates significantly. Both buyers and developers shall get benefitted from this,” said Pradeep Jain, chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI).

Home loan buyers are currently paying a higher rate of interest in the range of 11.50-13 percent on floating basis. Customers, who had earlier opted for dual rate scheme and now just exhausted their fixed tenure rate, are paying the same rate of interest.

Other industry players like Unitech and real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield also welcomed the move, which they said would boost business confidence.

“This development will have a positive impact across the economy and particularly in the real-estate industry. Not only will the cost of borrowing rationalize, this reduction will also provide an impetus to growth and enhance business-confidence,” said Ajay Chandra, managing director, Unitech.

Cushman & Wakefield India said that the banks are expected to pass on the reduction in interest rates to consumers, which will provide a positive boost to market sentiments especially in the residential sales markets.

“We expect to witness some pickup in the volume of sales transactions. For the whole of last year, end buyers had to defer their purchase decisions as they were facing the double-edged sword of rising interest rates and stubborn price levels,” said Anurag Mathur, managing director, Cushman & Wakefield.

The RBI’s announcement also buoyed the BSE Realty index which grew by 32.50 points at 1,813.97 points around 2:50 p.m. Stocks of realty industry players also surged with DLF’s scrip growing by 3.75 points or 1.88 percent at 203.25 points.

Mumbai offers little hope for home buyers.

In a recent report, Jones Lang LaSalle said that Mumbai seems to be in a tighter spot with Rs275 billion being sunk in land since FDI (foreign direct investment) was allowed in real estate in 2005; most of which has failed to yield returns. Even many investments done in South Bombay once named as one of the hottest and costliest property location in the world have met the same fate. Read Mumbai has sunk Rs275 billion in lands since 2005, the reason is known to all. Sky high prices have put off customers. In Mumbai, an average flat costs more than Rs10,000 per sq. ft. and even in Navi Mumbai, in less populated areas, there are many projects that have flats priced at over Rs1 crore.

Add to that the confusion created by the new DCR (development control rules). Many builders now have to make fresh plans to accommodate the proposed changes about FSI; and the worst affected are those whose projects are already underway. Many of the launches have been put on hold, and construction has been stalled in many places. And for people who have already invested in these projects, the longer the deadlock lasts, the more they have to pay.

Buy or not to buy? Despite a profusion of analyses and research reports on housing prices and their future direction, home buyers remain as confused as ever. So it is little wonder that 37 lakh of flats remain vacant in Maharashtra, of which 4.79 lakh are in Mumbai. The Census Directorate data says that even Thane district has more than 5 lakh vacant flats.

“Why doesn’t the government or RBI (Reserve Bank of India) understand that the more they squeeze liquidity by raising interest rates, it raises returns on black investments even higher. If our country can bring down black element out of property, rents will fall, property prices will fall,” said a commentator.

The home-buyer, however, is at a loss. The Budget came as a flop, and a recent Crisil report says that prices of steel and cement will go up, which will probably be passed down to the end-user. And then, there is the proposal to hike on leave-license, which is going to make rentals expensive. There are some who expect matters to improve.

Pankaj Kapoor, MD, Liases Foras also had echoed similar thoughts. “The high prices are not fault of only the builders. The hike in stamp duty was uncalled for and it is too revenue-centric and indicates a short term vision.” Read Maharashtra Stamp duty hike: “Neither can you afford to own a home, nor take it on rent”

However, as most experts say, one can buy a home any time. “You never know what will happen next. And honestly, there is little evidence to suggest that customers have waited for better home loan or price options when they have to buy a home—because it is a necessity. So if you want to own a home, there is no bad time,” said an analyst.

Chennai leads Indian Realty Sector.

In a recent report, property broking and real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle said the Indian property market is poised to attract about US$3 billion, almost double last year’s US$1.6 billion, from overseas buyers this year.

The Indian property market will see more investment from overseas this year as it still remains an attractive investment destination globally.

Of this, one-third would be from home buyers and the balance from investors. This is despite the fact that property prices in India are at an all-time high.

According to a recent National Housing Bank (NHB) survey, property prices in big Indian cities have increased by as much as 43 per cent to 166 per cent in the last four years.

NHB, wholly owned by the Reserve Bank of India, lends to home-mortgage companies. It also regulates and refinances social housing programmes. In its report, the bank said Chennai had seen the highest rise in prices at 166 per cent. Bhopal was second with a hike of 117 per cent and Mumbai was ranked third with an increase of 87 per cent.

What then brings overseas investment to Indian property, when prices are skyrocketing? The answer is simple: Despite the global turmoil because of the financial crisis, the Indian economy has remained robust, largely due to domestic-driven demand.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, India’s strong economic growth, rapid urbanisation, growing middle-class population, demographic advantage and increased thrust on infrastructure has worked in its favour. Buying property is especially popular among Indians living abroad, who all seem to want a piece of the homeland. That is why Indian property shows are burgeoning around the globe.

Dubai-based Sumansa Exhibitions has been holding Indian property shows across five countries. And every year the number of developers taking part in the shows and the attendees has grown rapidly.

Sumansa Exhibitions’ chief executive officer Sunil Jaiswal says: “We have held shows in the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore. They have been very well received by both exhibitors and visitors alike.”

This year Sumansa will hold the Indian Property Show in Singapore on April 14 and 15. It will be held at the Suntec Exhibition Centre’s hall 401 and nearly 40 developers from across India will be part of the show.

More than 200 properties will be showcased during the two-day exhibition. Sumansa expects the number of footfalls at the event to be much larger than the 4,000 that turned up at its last year’s event.

Banks prefer Private Developers for lending.

As per the latest data available from the Reserve Bank of India, the outstanding for commercial real estate is Rs 1187.1 billion as of January 2012, a growth of 12.2 per cent over the year-ago period. Although this rate is lower than the growth figure of 19.9 per cent in the same period the previous year, the double-digit growth stands in sharp contrast to the claims from public-listed realty firms who say bank lending has shrunk considerably.

Central to the theme of continued lending to real estate development are the low-lying, unlisted property developers of the country – a crop of realtors who have always been on the side-lines of the big Indian realty story but who are slowly yet surely climbing up the ladder for a larger share of bank loans.

According to a research report by IDFC’s Institutional Securities team last December, bank and NBFC loans to developers have increased 15 per cent to Rs 1.8 trillion for the 12 months ended September 11 in spite of higher interest rates and the RBI’s efforts to curb lending to the sector. Of this, loans to unlisted developers accounted for more than 72 per cent of the total.

One reason for such a shift could be the hard targets that listed realty firms chase due to the pressure of being listed, with compulsory quarterly disclosures. Add to it the size of the firm and pressure points will become clearer. A listed firm usually places bigger bets with larger projects and when the market faces turbulence, project execution becomes a problem. This reverberates with pending projects and drying up of bank credit.

Even as most unlisted private developers are small realtors, there are some large private groups in different regions of the country. Given the huge set of private developers, even private equity developers have been betting on projects sponsored by such realtors.

RBI Changes Norms Regarding ECBs

contact: rajkamal.aich@gmail.com
P
In a recent development the Reserve Bank of India along with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion are working to streamline and regulate the access and use of Real Estate Firms regarding the External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs). This will be done through a monitoring mechanism which will ensure stricter norms from now on.

RBI took this step in lieu of Real Estate Companies planning to raise ECBs worth Rs.4000 cr in the future and using this money for activities that cannot be funded through ECBs which will eventually adversely affect our economy.

Presently, Real Estate Companies that are only into developing integrated townships of various sizes are allowed to make use of these ECBs provided it is being used only for activities that are related to the construction of the townships. Now even this window will not be available by the end of this year.

RBI Restricts UCB’s

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday clamped restrictions on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) to exposure on realty sector up to 15% of their total deposits.

Gift House Loans
Photo by jeremy screen name
Specified in the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India , it said the total exposure of UCBs to realty sector, including individual housing loans and commercial real estate, should be restricted to 15% of total deposit resources of any bank.

It further mentioned that the loans granted against the security of any immovable property should be classified as Real Estate Loans. The source of repayment will determine whether the exposure is against commercial real estate. Moreover, the ceiling of 15% is to be reckoned on total deposits of a bank based on the audited balance sheet as on March 31 of the fiscal year 2009-10.

RBI’s latest move will benefit the real estate sector or not is only to be told by time.

The RBI’s Realty Indices For Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad happens to be one of the 11 countries for which the reserve bank of India would prepare one index for commercial and one for residential properties. This is done to curtail speculations and expected realty bubble burst in the coming years. The RBI report on asset price monitoring system (ASMS) advised to formulate these indices two months back.

Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata
Photo by seaview99

Many different countries such as Canada, France, us refer to these indices for realty prices.

The report says, RBI should start compiling a realty index and update it every quarter. To begin with, the report has proposed Mumbai and Delhi where property prices have skyrocketed to record levels. After these cities RBI would add 10 other cities which include Greater Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore and Bhopal.

The real estate price index once devised would become the primary index that could be perused by investors to gauge the performance of companies that are listed in the realty sector. The index can also help the investor analyze how real estate is performed in comparison to stocks and bonds. It can also provide information on the risk involved in a particular investment and returns that can be achieved from it.

The ASMS report has defined the deficiencies this indices would help overcome.

RBI Might Compel Banks to Increase Loan Rates

April 15, 2010

The builders might now suffer with costlier scrounging since Reserve Bank of India (RBI) plans to ask banks to set apart more funds for loans to commercial realty projects. This in turn will force banks to aggrandize the interest rates on such loans.

According to senior bankers RBI can take either of the two options. First, increase normal provisioning or second, risk weight on bank loans to realty firms in the forthcoming policy on 20th of April. This will be intended at shielding banks’ contact with properties in the midst of mounting prices.

According to the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Overseas Bank, SA Bhat, the outcome of RBI not raising the cash reserve ratio (CRR) and keep signaling rates like reverse-repo rate and repo rate untouched will be that the prudential norms will get tighten. “An increase in risk weight, especially on realty loans, is not ruled out”, he added.

As per the latest available figures, in November 2009, banks exposure to commercial realty was Rs. 88,581 crores.

The capital which is set apart to estimate capital sufficiency ratio is the risk weight which is now 9 percent for all banks. Less capital is to be kept for borrowers with increased credit rating. The risk weight is 20 percent for triple A clients, which indicates that a reserve of Rs. 1.80 of its own capital for every Rs. 100 loan is to be needed within banks for such borrowers.