Coronavirus lockdown to delay realty projects, affect sales, says Anarock

Buyers will have to brace for another wave of delayed project deliveries.
The pace of construction at property projects due to the ongoing lockdown will mean delays and also affect sales during the coming festivities, says Anarock Property Consultants.

It reckons 1.562 million units (launched between 2013 and 2019) are under construction in the top seven cities. Of this, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and National Capital Region together comprise 57 per cent or 890,000.

“Both these regions already have a backlog of lakhs of delayed/stalled units. With construction activity almost coming to a standstill, home buyers will have to brace for another wave of delayed project deliveries,” said Prashant Thakur, director and research head at Anarock.

Developers tend, he said, to schedule project launches during the festivals considered auspicious for the purpose, such as Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Akshaya Tritiya or Navratri. “The strict advisories for complete lockdown across cities will impact housing sales during the upcoming festivals, usually considered auspicious by several to buy homes,” he said.

Kamal Khetan, chairman at Mumbai-based Sunteck Realty, agrees on the delay due to stoppage. "We have shut the sites to protect the health and lives of workers. We have asked the contractors to provide them wages and food," he said. Before the lockdown, work was on at 10-odd of Sunteck’s projects in Mumbai.

Boman Irani, chairman at Rustomjee Group, said: “Projects will be delayed but it is not the time to talk about that. We have to survive this pandemic and focus on health and safety of the people.”

Vikas Oberoi, chairman of Oberoi Realty, says their projects will not get delayed. “We are running ahead of schedule in almost all our projects. So, we have enough margin,”he said. “Let’s all really hope and pray this gets resolved soon.”

India Ratings and Research said on Wednesday that the lockdown imposed by state governments would hit infrastructure construction in the big cities. "This would impact the revenue growth of construction companies in the near term. Typically, 4Q (the January-March quarter) accounts for 30-35 per cent of the annual revenue of construction companies, of which a month’s lockdown can erode 8-10 per cent," it said.

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