COVID-19 lockdown: Experts say affordable housing staring at major trouble

NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani said a reduction in property prices cannot raise the demand

Written by April 17, 2020 17:00

New Delhi: Affordable housing will be one of the most affected sectors due to the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, according to a cross-section of industry experts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 24 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. On Tuesday, he announced its extension till May 3.

Khushru Jijina, Managing Director of Piramal Capital and Housing Finance, said blue-collar workers will be the most impacted section.

“Only if all of us (developers) survive and our projects are completed, then only we will be able to do business,” he said while addressing a webinar organised by the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).

Jijina said developers must plan how to honour their commitments. “Price reduction is unknown to us, but people should understand that now this is the bottom. We say there is no better industry than real estate for long-term returns,” he said.

Sanjay Dutt, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tata Realty and Infrastructure, said developers have been absorbing rising labour costs, interest costs and raw material costs.

“There is no doubt that developers are under huge strain. Investors gone away will come back and only real estate will give them good return in future,” he said.

NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani said a reduction in property prices cannot raise the demand. “The demand for residential properties will take some time, but it will be strong in commercial segments. If we can bring the capital at cheaper rates, it will help the real estate sector a lot.”

Deepak Parekh, Chairman of mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), on Tuesday said estate prices in the country will correct by up to 20 per cent in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and the resultant nationwide lockdown.

“The price of real estate has to come down, and will come down,” said Parekh in his address at the webinar. “I believe NAREDCO’s estimate is around 10 to 15 per cent. One must be prepared for even 20 per cent,” he added. (ANI)