DELHI: With high property prices and costlier borrowing hitting real estate, developers are hoping for a reversal of the slowdown in the new year and sales picking up post general elections.
Low demand for flats, subdued commercial leasing, huge unsold housing stocks, buyers' protest against delays, limited launch of projects and debt-ridden developers clocking lower revenue-net profit numbers marked the year for real estate.
Amid these negativities, there were two major government initiatives in form of new land acquisition Act and proposed real estate regulatory bill that would go a long way in making the real estate sector more transparent and accountable.
Developers, however, kept complaining that the provisions were pro-farmer and consumer-friendly, leading to further delay in development of projects and price escalation.
Cash-strapped industry, however, cheered market regulator SEBI's draft guidelines to allow Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Commerce Ministry's proposal to relax FDI norms as it felt that these steps, once implemented, will help revive the global investors interest in a sluggish property market.
The year also saw some some big-ticket deals. Mumbai- based Lodha Developers acquired iconic Macdonald House in central London for over 300 million pounds (over Rs 3,000 crore).
Realty major DLF sold its wind turbine projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in phases for about Rs 800 crore. It also exited from insurance venture by selling 74 per cent stake in the joint venture DLF Pramerica Life Insurance to DHFL for an estimated Rs 250-300 crore.
"It was one of the worst years in last two decades not only because of slowdown, but weakness of governance at all level from central to state to corporation levels," CREDAI, the apex realtors' body, Chairman Lalit Kumar Jain told PTI.
Noting that market improved during December, Jain said: "2014 would be year of revival. Revival has started, the visible change would be seen from second half".
While reviewing yearly performance, property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India said: "Over the last four years (from the trough of Q2-2009 up to Q3-2013), taking into account the period of economic slowdown, apartment prices have risen by over 50 per cent on an average across India.
"As a result, absorption remained subdued during 2013 (until Q3, 2013), falling further from the already tepid levels observed during the same period last year".
The year 2013 also saw the concept of branded homes catching up. Supertech tied up with Italian fashion brand Armani group for interior designing of 100 super luxury residences in one of its project at Noida. Lodha partnered US-based Trump Organisation to develop Trump Tower in Mumbai.
The year also saw some fund raising activities. DLF mopped up Rs 1,863 crore through issue of over 8.1 crore fresh shares to institutional investors, enabling the company to dilute promoters stake to 75 per cent in line with SEBI's minimum public shareholding norms.