While the prevailing liquidity crunch, subdued demand conditions and inventory overhang, has kept the overall performance of the residential real estate segment muted, sales of units with ticket sizes under Rs 1 crore have witnessed momentum so much so that developers are reconfiguring new launches with a focus on lower unit prices, as per a report by ICRA.
Buyers are also preferring reputed developers with timely deliveries,the report said.
While the sales value of the area booked increased to Rs 5,980 crore in Q3 FY2020 from Rs 5,492 crore over the same period a year ago, average ticket sizes witnessed a downtrend, it said.
Recent launches have largely been concentrated in the 1,200-1,500 square feet (sq. ft) per unit range, with an average price of around Rs 7,000 per sq. ft, keeping ticket sizes within the Rs. 1 crore bracket.
Overall weighted average prices have also witnessed a de-growth over time, reducing by almost 11 percent over the past three years, standing at Rs 6,952 per sq. ft in 9M FY2020, as against Rs. 7,823 per sq. ft during FY2016, the report said.
Given the changing demographic profile of cities on the back of increasing urbanisation and inward migration, housing demand has largely been concentrated in this lower ticket-size segment, and an increasing number of developers are acknowledging this trend.
In response, existing phases/new launches are being reconfigured/designed with a focus on lower unit prices. Large realty players have been better positioned to carry out this strategic realignment, given the higher level of balance sheet strength along with operational and financial flexibility available to them, the report noted.
"This right-sizing and right-pricing has further strengthened the already ongoing market consolidation, which has been attributable to home-buyer preferences for products from established developers with a track record of delivery; as well as the industry-level structural changes that have taken place in the form of RERA, GST and IBC. Consequently, the larger listed players have witnessed robustness in sales levels, followed by a corresponding a reduction in unsold inventory," said Mahi Agarwal, Assistant Vice-President and Associate Head at ICRA.
The area sold during Q3FY2020 by the companies in ICRA’s sample set, comprising ten large listed entities, stood at a healthy 8.57 million square feet (mn sq. ft). The sales in the past few quarters have remained steady at an average of 7.5-8.5 mn sq. ft. which reflects steady buyer preference for reputed developers with timely deliveries.
The pace of launches was particularly high in the last two quarters of FY2019. Post that however, there has been some stabilization in launch velocity, with the same having moderated to 3-4 million sq ft per quarter. This, combined with steady sales levels has led to a decline in inventory holding.
The Quarters-to-sell (QTS) has also seen a declining trend over the past five quarters, moving to 7.6 quarter in Q3 FY2020 from 9.4 quarter in Q3 FY2019, the ICRA report said.
While overall homebuyer sentiment and demand is expected to remain muted, established and reputed developers with good quality completed inventory at affordable ticket sizes are expected to continue to witness positive sales momentum. Government initiatives focused on lower priced housing have provided further impetus to these market dynamics.
"On the supply side, the creation of the Rs 25,000 crore last mile fund and recent RBI announcements with regards to extension in DCCO are expected to boost project deliveries. On the demand side as well, the reduction in requirement to maintain cash reserve ratio by the banks, is expected to provide a boost to the home loan availability and might impact the demand positively," she said.