Impact of demonetisation on the Indian real estate industry

The real estate industry in India, including its residential and commercial properties, has for long, benefitted from the influx of black money from investors, wanting to blend their white money investments with illegal money. Additionally, most builders and developers have accepted the payment of black money, thus benefitting from reduced stamp duty payments from property sales, and taxes to the government.

The demonetisation of Indian currency, with the ban on the older 500/- and 1000/- rupee note, has impacted not just real estate developers, but also home buyers and other parties.

  • Impact on developers and builders

The sudden ban of 500/- and 1000/- rupee notes has translated into a severe lack of cash in the market for real estate developers. Financial transactions, involving mostly cash, have been severely impacted, resulting in cash liquidity issues for real estate companies. Share prices of major real estate developers including DLF, India Bulls, and Lodha developers, have plunged following the demonetisation move. Additionally, the fall in housing demand due to limited cash flow, has meant a fall in the sale prices of residential and commercial properties, resulting in higher unsold inventory and reduced profit for the real estate developers.

  • Impact on real estate buyers

Real estate buyers, who rely on cash to purchase property, have also been adversely affected due to limited flow of high value currency bills. Middle-class home buyers, who have invested in under-construction properties, could see a delay in their project completion, due to the financial troubles of their property developers. On the positive side, potential home buyers are likely to benefit due to the slump in property prices, along with likely drop in home loan interest rates from banks and financial institutions.

  • Impact on the overall real estate industry

While the affordable housing sector is unlikely to be impacted due to its limited dependence on cash, the premium housing sector and properties in major metros will witness a fall in housing demand and sale transactions. This will benefit the rental housing market, which could see a rise in residential and commercial rents. Alternate forms of payment including card payments and E-wallets can see an upward rise in financial transactions in the real estate industry. Overall, experts in the Indian real estate industry emphasize that currency demonetisation is likely to benefit the industry in the long run, due to reduced dependence on black money, higher transparency, and reduced corruption.

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