DELHI: After several quarters of tepid growth, home sales bounced back in the three months to December with a 22 per cent rise in top six cities, according to property research firm Liases Foras.
Bangalore posted the biggest gain with home sales growing 58 per cent over a year ago between October and December while the National Capital Region (NCR) registered the smallest gain of 4 per cent among the top six cities.
Home sales in Pune rose 48 per cent while those in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) were up 26 per cent. MMR had had seen sales sliding in the last two quarters. Property prices, however, grew an average 1 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the top six cities, continuing a trend of marginal growth that has been on for six quarters now.
Prices rose only 1 per cent in MMR and 2 per cent in NCR. In 2010-11, both these markets had seen prices rise 8-10 per cent every quarter. "Sales have improved wherever developers have offered discounts," said Pankaj Kapoor, managing director at Liases Foras. According to the data, new launches saw a 14 per cent decline in the quarter, despite it being a festive season.
Home sales have been slow in the last few quarters as the sentiment across the country has been weak. The economic slowdown along with the uncertainty due to the upcoming elections have pushed sales down, especially in the mid and luxury home segments.
To remedy the situation and perk up home sales, developers started offering discounts—waiver of stamp duty and registration fees, broker or agent's bills, foreign trip, car, freebies like air conditioners, furnishings and modular kitchens— worth lakhs of rupee.
According to the National Housing Bank's Residex, the July-September quarter saw prices drop in 10 cities while 12 cities registered a marginal rise in prices. NCR saw prices drop by around 4.5 per cent while prices in Bangalore fell 1 per cent.
"While sales are still down, there was a certain improvement this festive season. Bangalore, anyway, has done well compared to others in this tough market," said JC Sharma, managing director at Sobha Developers.
Kapoor said property prices have not grown in the last four to five quarters, which was a period of high inflation. "For a buyer, this is an indirect discount," he said.
Santhosh Kumar, CEO, operations at property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle India said sales have improved in recent months because of launches in the affordable segment as well as the fact that developers were willing to reduce prices. "In NCR, developers did not drop prices much because of which home sales, even in the festive season, were lukewarm," said Kumar.