A stamp duty cut by the Maharashtra government, low interest rates, discounts offered by developers and the Covid-19 induced price correction saw the Mumbai registrar’s coffers swell as homebuyers made the most of the opportunity and came forward to buy property.
In December 2020, properties worth Rs 34,000 crore were sold in Mumbai alone, many of them in the luxury segment.
Bankers, stock brokers and even industrialists came forward to close big-ticket real estate deals.
The big deals
Several high-end residential transactions were concluded in December 2020 on account of the 2 percent stamp duty cut deadline expiring on December 31. These included two sea-facing apartments that were bought by Bharat Serum & Vaccines’ Gautam Daftary on South Mumbai’s Carmichael Road on the 20th floor for Rs 101 crore. The total area of the apartments is 6,366 sq ft. The registration took place on December 24, 2020.
In another deal, the Motilal Oswal Family Trust bought two duplex apartments of size 6,800 sq ft for Rs 101 crore in South Mumbai in a project called 33 South. These were registered on December 22, 2020, according to data available on Zapkey.com
Another luxury unit in the Oberoi 360 West project, located in Worli, was bought for Rs 52.5 crore by Abhay Ventures Private Ltd from Oasis Realty. The size of the unit is 699.56 sq m. This was registered on December 30.
One more property in Oberoi 360 West was bought for Rs 62.75 crore by Abhay Ventures Private Ltd from Oasis Realty and registered on December 30. This was bought by Chetan Jain and Heena Chetan Jain. The unit number was 4501.
A third unit located on the 41st floor was bought from Oasis Realty by Shailesh Kumar Popatlal Lukhi and Nandesh Popatbhai Lukhi for Rs 35 crore. This deal was also registered on December 30.
Two luxury flats on the 34th and 35th floor of Oberoi West project in Worli were bought by Harpreet Singh Minhas of Harman Finochem Limited for Rs 83.16 crore. The seller was Oasis Realty, according to data shared by Zapkey.com. The deal was closed on December 26.
According to a study by Propstack, properties worth Rs 34,000 crore were sold in Mumbai in December 2020. The number stood at Rs 10,846 crore in December 2019.
The sale registration volume grew by 3X in December 2020 versus the same period in 2019. The number stood at Rs 6,433 crore in December 2019 and was at Rs 19,584 crore in December 2020.
Cut in stamp duty drives surge
Stamp duty collections were higher year-on-year despite the 2 percent stamp duty cut, the study said. Collections in December 2019 stood at Rs 542 crore and in December 2020 it was Rs 681 crore.
The study also noted that luxury property registrations led to the higher average ticket size. If the average ticket size in December 2019 was Rs 1.69 crore, it was Rs 1.74 crore in December 2020.
According to Sandeep Reddy, co-founder at Propstack, the December volumes are not likely to sustain as a lot of people registered properties in December as stamp duty would increase to 3 percent.
“Volumes will be lower now but will continue to be healthy. We can expect one more spurt in volumes in March 2021 when stamp duty will increase from 3 percent to 5 percent,” he said.
On August 26, the Maharashtra government decided to temporarily reduce stamp duty on housing units from 5 percent to 2 percent until December 31, 2020 to boost the stagnant real estate market, which had been hit hard by Covid-19. Stamp duty from January 1, 2021 until March 31, 2021 will be 3 percent.
Registrations more than double
Another report by Knight Frank India has said that the registration of residential properties in Mumbai jumped over two-fold in December to 18,854 units compared with November on account of the reduction in stamp duty by the Maharashtra government.
In November, total registration stood at 9,301 units. The registration in December 2019 stood at 6,433 units, the consultant said.
"Mumbai recorded a historic surge in home sales registrations in the month of December 2020. Total sales registered till December 30, 2020 for the month of December is recorded at 18,854 units," Knight Frank said in a statement.
Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India, said: “The reduction in stamp duty has led to a significant surge in sales of homes in Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai, comforting the long-beleaguered real estate sector of this region.”
A combination of the lowest home-loan rates and reduced prices along with rebates and offers by developers, as well as increased household saving rates have provided the right growth environment for the residential segment, he said.
Total revenue earned by the state exchequer in 2020 from home registration has been estimated at Rs 3,107 crore, of which nearly 43 per cent (Rs 1,350 crore) is for the period between September 1 to December 30, 2020.
“Since the announcement of the reduction of 300 basis points (BPS) starting September 01, 2020, homes sales have continuously risen month on month,” Knight Frank said.
Between September 1 and December 30, 2020, Mumbai recorded registration of 41,681 units with numbers growing incrementally month on month.
While 2019 saw total registration of 67,863 units, registrations in 2020 (till December 30) have come comfortably close to last year's level.
Total registration from January 1–December 30, 2020 stood at 64,906 units, despite the fact that April 2020 saw no sales registrations and May 2020 recorded registration of just about 200 units.