Time to buy home? Real estate becomes more lucrative as affordability improves across India

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Published: February 19, 2019 8:26:35 PM

Very low affordability index, along with the prospect of home loans becoming further cheap and significant role that structural reforms are playing, investments in real estate look very lucrative.

real estate, dream home, Knight Frank proprietary Affordability Index, Knight Frank study, property prices, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, home loan rates, Reserve Bank of India, RBI rate cut, housing policy reforms, RERA, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, PMAYIn addition to reducing prices, there is a decline in average size of residential units at launch as well.

With the property prices going below the benchmark level compared to the average annual household income in most of the cities in India, this may be a lifetime opportunity for you to own that dream home.

Ideal affordability is identified at 4.5 times the average annual household income in a city and according to a new Knight Frank’s proprietary Affordability Index, except for Mumbai, NCR and Hyderabad, the index in all other markets are even below the ideal affordability benchmark.

According to the Knight Frank study, Mumbai is still most expensive with affordability index of approximately 7 times the annual household income, NCR and Hyderabad are also above the benchmark affordability with scores of 5 each. While Bengaluru and Chennai have a comfortable affordability index of 4, properties in cities like Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune become even cheaper with prices stand at just 3 times of their average household incomes.

Although, Mumbai remains most expensive housing market with affordability index of 7, but it has seen the affordability of homes significantly increased from 11 times the annual household income in 2010. Similarly, this ratio has come down to 5 times for the NCR and Hyderabad against 6 times in 2010.

While the affordability index in Bengaluru improved to 4 in 2018 from 6 in 2010, that of Chennai also becomes 4, improving from 5 over the period. Similar improvement in affordability index has also witnessed in other cities including Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Source: Knight Frank Research

Explaining marginal improvement in sales figures last year, Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India, said, “A decline in average ticket size and focus on affordable housing have improved home affordability across the country to a large extent. The fact that affordability statistics have moved dramatically since 2010 explains why sales have finally improved in 2018.”

However, in addition to reducing prices, the report also notes that there is a decline in average size of residential units at launch in the period of study which has contributed to the growing affordability in the market. While housing units in markets like Mumbai (-25%), Pune (-24%) and Bengaluru (-18%) have seen sharp reduction average size of homes since 2010, Hyderabad (+4%) and Ahmedabad (+7%) are the only two markets that are offering larger homes.

Source: Knight Frank Research

With annual sales reducing across all major markets, the shift towards making homes more affordable is visible.

“With a focus on creating housing for all by 2022 and to bring back the real demand for housing in the market, improving affordability will be imperative. We can expect a further strengthening of affordability in the near future as more affordable and mid ranged projects are undertaken by development companies.” said Baijal.

Moreover, the Reserve Bank of India has cut the benchmark interest rate to 6.25 per cent from 6.50 per cent earlier with expectations of inflation staying within the target range, which may cut the borrowing cost for the home buyers.

Also Read: Home loans to get cheaper with rate cut: From SBI to HDFC Bank, check out your best options

With the prospect of home loans becoming further cheap following RBI rate cut and structural reforms such as – Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 and demonetisation of high value currencies, along with Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), 2016 and Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – also playing a significant role, investments in real estate look very lucrative.

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