HDFC rides small town housing boom
Q3 net up on demand for home loans; focus on first-time buyers keeps NPAs low
Jan 23, 2014
Source : The Hindu

MUMBAI: Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), India’s largest mortgage lender, posted a 12 per cent increase in its October-December net profit, helped by strong demand for home loans from non-metros.

HDFC posted a net profit of ?1,278 crore against ?1,140 crore in the year-ago period.

Total income increased 15 per cent to ?6,020 crore while the loan book grew 19 per cent to ?1,92,266 crore.

Mumbai-based HDFC caters mainly to the mid-income home buyer. Its average loan size is ?22 lakh. Apart from lending to the retail segment, HDFC also disburses credit to real estate developers.

But it was the retail segment that contributed 89 per cent of the additional loans in the first nine months of 2013-14. The retail loan book grew 24 per cent to ?1,30,916 crore during the December quarter.

Keki Mistry, Vice-Chairman and CEO of HDFC, said: “The company has seen good demand for loans from individuals across all major cities. In percentage terms, growth has come from tier-II and tier-III towns.” The outskirts of Delhi NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune primarily contributed to HDFC’s loan growth during the quarter.

There has been no behavioural change in consumers buying homes across the country, Mistry said. The average age of customers buying homes is 38 years and the loan amount they borrow is generally 65 per cent of the value of the house.

While non-performing assets (NPAs) have been an issue for most finance companies, HDFC continued to maintain good asset quality with gross NPAs at 0.77 per cent of total loans at the end of December 2013. A focus on first-time home buyers, who seldom skip instalments, has helped HDFC keep delinquencies low.

Meanwhile, bank and finance stocks took a hard knock in Wednesday’s trade on fears that the RBI may not cut rates in its policy review on January 28 after the Urjit Patel Committee’s recommendations.

“I don’t think the RBI will cut rates in the January or March policy as the US Fed tapering will weigh on its calculations,” he added. This could mean that HDFC will not lower rates.

On Wednesday, HDFC shares ended the day 0.59 per cent higher, at ?842.25, on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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