Home sales crashing: Property registrations dip after demonetisation
With the government scrapping 86 per cent of available currency notes, registration of flats, plots and shops in Delhi has gone down by almost 30 per cent while in Gurgaon, the dip is nearly 25 per cent.
The Centre's demonetisation move has come as a reality check for the realty market in the national capital region with registration of properties dipping by almost 30 per cent while kindling hopes of cheaper flats among prospective buyers.
Transactions in the sector usually involve a significant amount of cash exchange aimed at avoiding tax by under-reporting the value of the deal. But with such hidden money moving out of the market, prices are starting to tumble. With the government scrapping 86 per cent of available currency notes, registration of flats, plots and shops in Delhi has gone down by almost 30 per cent while in Gurgaon, the dip is nearly 25 per cent.
Real estate data and analytics platform PropEquity predicted last month that the cash squeeze will wipe out over Rs 8 lakh crore worth market value of residential properties sold and unsold by developers since 2008 across 42 Indian cities.
According to Delhi government's revenue department, a total of 7,028 properties were registered in the Capital in October, but the number came down to 4,417 in November. In Gurgaon, the registries - of both commercial and residential real estate - has dropped from nearly 4,000 a month to less than 3,000, an official said. "The revenue from registration of properties in Gurgaon was nearly Rs 20 lakh a day before November 8 but since then the collection has declined to Rs 10-12 lakh per day. This is mainly because such transactions are made in cash," he said.
A senior official from Delhi's revenue department said there was a noticeable difference between the months of October and November. "It is certainly due to demonetisation, but that cannot be the only thing. To some extent, there might be general downslide in real estate," he said. Experts said this would bring down housing prices in NCR. Anoop Khari, a builder and real estate holder from Mehrauli, said, "Almost a third of transactions in real estate is made through black money. With the big currency notes banned, the market has taken a hit. The legal financing channels accounted for only a small part of all transactions in this space as Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as transactions in this segment involved lots of cash payments."
Khari added that demonetisation will make it very difficult for any purchaser to pay in cash and for the seller to accept the old currency. "If the seller is not accepting old money or through legal channels, this will automatically bring down sale and purchase of properties."
Anshuman Magazine, chairman of Commercial Real Estate Services, struck a different note. "While it may cause some worry in the near future, it looks positive in the long term," he said. "It will certainly help the real estate industry move towards transparency. Several steps taken by the Government in recent times - from the Real Estate Regulation Act and GST, to Real Estate Investment Trust - combined with this announcement, will further improve transparency and increase investor confidence in the real estate market in the long run." With the Modi government also making its intentions clear of acting against benami properties, experts feel prices may cool further in the coming months.
A real estate consultant said the only hope now is that once the demonetisation drive stabilises, banks will extend more housing loans. Industry insiders said the currency ban is expected to give a sales push as banks would be willing to lend more at attractive rates to those keen to buy flats and properties. This, however, will take at least four to six months, they said.
"We all know that large numbers of transactions are made in cash in the real estate sector," said property dealer Ravi Kumar from south Delhi's Jasola area. "At present, there is a shortage of cash and sellers are not accepting old currency. So, there would be a decline in the sale and purchase of property."
Hemant Sharma, a real estate dealer from south Delhi, said: "If a 3BHK flat costs Rs 2 crore and the buyer wants to take it with new currency notes, he can easily get the apartment for Rs 1.70 crore, with a discount of 15 per cent. But if the buyer is paying in old currency, there is hardly a drop in price."