Affordable Housing - The New Investment Plan
Real estate is one of the top contributors to the growth and development of the nation's economy. But, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is undergoing a high degree of unpredictability regarding the outlook of the market amidst this pandemic and its fast-changing scenario. While the recovery from the current situation seems uncertain for the industry, the position of the affordable housing segment is set to remain strong in the coming times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has extended throughout the aspect of real estate including the residential market. The situation is worsening day-to-day making it difficult to outline the true effect of the pandemic, but even in such a situation, the affordable housing segment is to offer a bright spot. This is because the segment has remained favorable and consistent, and hence it is predicted that the segment will sail through this tedious time. Regardless to say, the schemes introduced by the government including the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Goods and Service Tax (GST), and various tax benefits for buyers in the segment, have helped in injecting demand in the segment in recent times. For the past two years, the demand for both affordable, as well as the mid-income housing segment, has been phenomenal, which has motivated several high bid players to stay in the market. Additionally, the announcement of banks switching to reduced home loan rates and a reduction of stamp duty has given a further boost to the segment.
“The pandemic has made people realize that real estate is the only real asset in times of distress. Having a home provides the masses with all the necessary facilities, including the facility to work from home in the times of crisis. The buyers are now afraid of investing in mutual funds and other asset classes. Therefore, real estate, and especially affordable housing, could be the best bet for them. Post lockdown, people would invest in affordable houses as a medium of a smart investment. Affordable housing is the game-changer for real estate, and it will take the center stage post lockdown due to its value proposition. Also, various measures, such as free registration are being implemented to infuse demand in the sector.” said Rohit Poddar, the Managing Director of Poddar Housing and Development Limited.
Affordable housing - a stable investment
According to the previous year's data, affordable housing has performed considerably well in times of uncertainty as well as economic growth. While the stock market shows volatility in the present times, it is more likely for investors to opt for a defensive approach and go for stable investment options like affordable housing.
This step of investors will help in driving more capital into the sector. And, as standard-market-rate apartments take a slam due to high unemployment figures, more people are to look for affordable houses to meet their housing needs. According to a report, more than 40% of the Indian population is expected to live in urban Indian by the end of 2030 against the current figure of 34%. This sudden surge is to create a demand for 25 million additional affordable housing units in the coming years.
Affordable housing to be boosted by government inputs
While delivering the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered one of the biggest impetus to the affordable housing segment. To appraise, the Government, in the Budget 2020, extended the benefit of availing deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh for interest paid on loans for affordable houses by an additional one year, i.e. March 2021. In addition to it, a year's tax benefit has been provided to the developers in the segment which will help in boosting the supply of affordable housing in times to come. And, the announcements related to affordable rented accommodations for urban and migrant workers will help revive the real estate segment by providing an immense opportunity for the development of rental housing complexes and reinstate the faith of the masses during the current crisis. It had also been pledged by the government to capitalize on NBFCs, alongside earmarking Rs 10,000 crore for National Housing Bank which will help in ensuring the smooth flow of capital of HFCs and extend credit support to this segment's developers.
With the playout of pandemic and economic aftermath on the residential market, affordable housing stands out as a perennial rising star. Furthermore, this segment is likely to witness demand from millennials and first-time homebuyers who believe in buying rather than renting. Since it has also become difficult for the working class to pay rent in these difficult times, they are probably to prefer a home that fits right into their budget.