High interest rates crippling real estate growth: ICICI

Written by Agencies | Mumbai, June 5: | Updated: Jun 5 2008, 15:50pm hrs
Private lender ICICI Bank on Thursday said growth in the real estate sector has been impacted due to high interest rates and prices but maintained that there is no asset bubble in the sector.

"Clearly there is a slowdown in the number of deals ...interest rates have gone up from eight per cent in the past to now 12 per cent and prices too have gone up but an asset bubble is not there," ICICI Bank Joint Managing Director Chanda Kochhar said.

She said that a correction was expected as the present slowdown was in number of deals and not so much in prices.

"Since it is genuine demand in general and the salary levels are increasing, both customers and builders are playing a wait and watch game," she said.

Kochhar said that builders were able to hold prices as they were sitting on equity capital and not debt, which had to be paid off.

"Now they can afford to sit with the capital and that is the reason why prices have not corrected...the question is who will blink first," Kochhar added.

She said that in India, the speculative part in real estate had always been small and growth was largely driven by actual demand and affordability of people.