The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘worrisome’ and it may become a ‘short-term dampener’ depending on its intensity. But if there is no complete lockdown, sales may definitely touch the 2019 levels, CREDAI national president Harsh Vardhan Patodia has said.
“We are worried over the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. If logistics and supply chain support is available and migrant labour is on site, I don’t think there will be a problem. Unless there is a complete lockdown, livelihoods lost or people unable to go to work, then the sentiments may get impacted and COVID-19 may turn out to be a short-term dampener,” he told reporters at a virtual press conference.
However, if the impact is not severe like last year, “we will definitely touch the 2019 sales levels,” he added.
Boman Irani, president-elect, CREDAI National, said that there is a likelihood of a slowdown in sales in the month of April not because the buying appetite of buyers is expected to get impacted but “because people may not be able to move and register their property documents.”
The builders’ body also said that depending on how the pandemic pans out the second time, they would approach the authorities and seek extensions in project timelines. “If the situation goes beyond our control, the industry will approach the authorities,” said Patodia.
Patodia, who recently took over as CREDAI president and is the managing director of Kolkata-based Unimark group, said CREDAI will also urge the state governments to reduce stamp duty on registration of properties to boost the real estate sector.
As for last-mile funding made available to stuck project through the SWAMIH Fund, the realtors said that they hope that “a lot of private equity funds will fill up that space.”
Pankaj Goel, secretary, CREDAI National, said the association would approach the government for its pending demands such as infrastructure status for the realty sector, GST input tax credit for both housing and commercial segments, faster environment clearance and easier credit availability.
“We have requested the government to give us infrastructure status so that the credit is available at a reasonable cost and so is working capital. Unfortunately, real estate is not entitled to working capital. That leads to cashflow mismanagement and an increase in costs. Another issue that has been highlighted is the steep increase in the price of cement and steel. Like real estate industry, CREDAI has asked the government to appoint a regulator to see that increase in price of steel and cement are regulated and there is no cartelization,” he said.
Patodia also announced the setting up of CREDAI Start-up Angel Network and Incubation & Acceleration Centre, an initiative that aims to help and support tech start-ups in the real estate space and CREDAI’s own Research and Analytics Centre. The CREDAI Research and Analytics Centre will facilitate the availability of real-time and authentic data for future growth strategies.