A huge impetus to the real estate sector could help arrest the present slowdown in the economy to a projected growth rate of around 6% in 2012-13 as against 6.5% in 2011-12 and 8.4% in 2010-11 , real estate experts say.
In 2008-9 also, when India's growth had slowed down to 6.7%, from 9.3% in the previous year, the revival of the real estate sector due to launch of houses in the affordable segments led to a turnaround in the economy , which saw a growth rate of 8.4% in 2009-10 .
Lalit Kumar Jain, president of real estate developers ' body Credai, says that a revival in the real estate sector will have a positive impact on 250 industries. Jain, who is demanding that real estate sector not be meted stepmotherly treatment by the government, says that if the sector is given what it deserves, it will help revive the economic growth in the country.
As the home loans given by banks to homebuyers are backed by solid collaterals, the chances of default by borrowers are very low.
But still, as the banks are discouraged by the RBI in giving home loans, they charge high interest rates, in the region of around 10%. Jain says that whatever non-performing assets have been created in the homeloan sector, it is mainly due to delay in the payment of instalments. But, overall, there are hardly any cases where banks could not recover their money in the housing sector. Jain says that, therefore, banks should charge an interest rate of 7% on home loan. In fact, as the net loss due to non-performing assets in the home-loan segment is almost nil, banks should lend at the rate equivalent to cost of funds including the administrative charge. If home loan is brought to 7%, there will be a spurt in demand in the housing sector, which will help revive the economy. In fact, if interest rate on home loan is brought down to 7% from the present level of around 10%, an individual's borrowing capacity will go up.
If the interest rates fall by around 3 percentage points, an individual's borrowing capacity will go up by almost by 25%. That means, with the same EMI, he can borrow almost 25% more at 7% interest rate than he could have borrowed at 10% rate of interest.
Getamber Anand, officiating president of Credai, NCR, says: "An interest rate cut will trigger a boom in the real estate market and is sorely needed to support this sector. This has the potential to kick-start nearly 300 affiliate industries, which can contribute to the IIP. To aggressively kick-start this sector and uplift the sentiments of the retail customer, this rate needs to be brought down to a single-digit figure."