IN MUMBAI, the largest residential real estate market in India, 8,576 houses were sold in October, the highest for that month in a decade. November, it seems, is going to be as good—1,441 properties were registered in the first week of the month, according to the real estate consultancy Knight Frank India.
The past six years had been rough for the residential real estate sector. Demonetisation, disruptions caused by the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act and the goods and services tax and a liquidity crisis had driven down demand for houses. The pandemic was the final blow. Inventories piled up and developers hit the brakes on new launches.
The hard times, however, seem to be over now, with buyers returning to the market. As the prices are steady, it continues to be an excellent market for buyers. The biggest draw, however, is the all-time low interest rates. During the pandemic, central banks around the world slashed interest rates and pumped money into the system. The Reserve Bank of India cut the repo rate (the benchmark rate at which it lends to banks) to just 4 per cent. Banks, in turn, slashed their rates. Some banks offer home loans at 6.40 per cent interest now.
“A healthy environment fostered by low home loan interest rates is set to continue as the RBI has kept key policy rates unchanged for the eighth consecutive time in early October,” said Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director of Knight Frank India.
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