Repo rate cut: How real estate industry leaders react on RBI’s decision

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NEW DELHI:The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy has cut the repo rate by 25 bps  for the fifth time in the year as it aims to boost demand and private consumption amid an economic slowdown.

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI governor Shaktikanta Das.

The repo rate, the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI, is now at its lowest level in nine years.

The lower repo rate has raised hopes of bringing down EMIs for the millions of borrowers as well cut capital raising costs for corporates, with banks expected to pass on the reduced rates by slashing lending rates for its customers.

While the RBI committee had slashed repo rate by 35 bps in the August policy meeting, it has reduced the key lending rate by an additional 25 bps after its latest bi-monthly review meeting.

The repo rate or the rate at which RBI lends to banks has been revised to 5.15 per cent from 5.40 per cent. Likewise, the reverse repo rate has been adjusted to 4.90 per cent.

All the members of RBI’s MPC voted unanimously to reduce repo rate and maintain an accommodative stance with regards to monetary policy.

All members of the MPC voted to reduce the policy repo rate and to continue with the accommodative stance of monetary policy. One MPC committee member, Ravindra H. Dholakia, had voted to reduce the repo rate by 40 basis points.

This is how the industry reacted to the RBI’s final bi-monthly monetary policy review 

Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, NAREDCO 

India’s Monetary Policy Committee’s continues its ‘Accommodative’ stance for the fifth consecutive time in this year by reducing the repo rate by 0.25 bps which now stands at 5.15%. The paring of repo rate is a move inclined to revive economic growth, ensuring inflation remains muted and spur up the consumption and investment.

With the short term liquidity squeeze prevailing in the economy, even positive net worth companies across the industries are turning into the negative balance sheet. The current economic scenario makes it the right time for RBI to announce its one time roll over scheme similar to that was rolled out during the Lehman crisis in 2009 under the global slowdown scenario, which shall act as remedy to the ailing companies.

Manoj Gaur, MD, Gaurs Group and Chairman, Affordable Housing Committee, CREDAI

We welcome the RBI decision to reduce repo rates by 25 basis points to 5.15%. With most of the banks now linking their retail loans including the homes loan rates to repo or some other external benchmark as advised by apex bank, the home buyers stand to benefit from any rate cut. This also augurs well for the real estate sector during the current festive season and we expect better consumer appetite for both residential as well as commercial properties. As such, the fifth consecutive reduction in policy rates has provided real estate sector something to cheer

Amit Modi, Director ABA Corp and President (Elect) CREDAI western UP

With today’s rate cut RBI has lowered its repo rate for the fifth consecutive time this calendar year and in total reduced the repo rate by 110 basis points or 1.1 percentage point. We had been asking for the banks to pass on the benefits of rate cut to end consumers for a very long time, and it is now with the recent decision of FM of repo-linked lending rates that the end consumer will be able to avail immediate benefits. Hence once this reaches the consumer and home buyers on ground in the form of cheaper home loans and EMIs , it will be a huge relief and a much awaited one as well. We wholeheartedly appreciate the move.

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Elara Technologies, which owns, / 

The RBI decision to further reduce the repo rate by 25 basis points to bring it to 5.15% gives the real estate sector a reason to cheer at a time when it expects sales to improve in the ongoing festive season. A reduction in interest rates means more cost-effective home loans for buyers when India’s key property markets already offer them great ready-to-move-in options to pick from, on affordable rates. In the Budget, the government has also increased the tax deduction limit on home loan interest component to Rs 3.50 lakh on properties worth Rs 45 lakh or less. For a buyer targeting affordability, the RBI just made this festive season more auspicious to invest.

Pradeep Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chairman, Signature Global and Chairman – ASSOCHAM National Council on Real Estate, Housing and Urban Development

Seekers of Affordable housing get a lot of benefits and now with this rate cut they will be able to cut down on EMIs. This is a positive step for the affordable housing industry, which has the maximum demand. Affordable housing projects were already getting good response but now with the latest rate cut, the buyers will get more benefit. It is always heartening to see the EMI burden coming down as we want our buyers to enjoy their dream home with relaxed mind. We welcome the rate cut by the RBI, which is a fifth one this year, and shows the positive intention of the premier body to work towards the solution.

Uddhav Poddar, MD & CEO, Bhumika Group

We welcome the reduction of repo rate by RBI. This is the fifth such reduction of rate this year by the RBI and is in line with policy of improving the liquidity in the market. Cost of capital is one of the main reasons why Indian industries are uncompetitive as compared to global peers, and this will address this issue to some extent. However it is important that all banks should link their lending rate to repo rate and EMIs come down for the loan seekers. It is now important that the government resolves the NBFC crisis so that lending to small customers resumes like earlier, which is what will spur the economy

Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz

The step will benefit the industry as it will lower the cost of capital. However, it will bear fruit only when banks pass on the benefits. As of now only a few banks have linked their lending rates to repo rate but all the major banking institutions should do that. To achieve the goals of housing it is important that the buyers should be encouraged to buy and developers should get capital at lower rates.

Rajat Goel, Joint Managing Director, MRG World

The fifth consecutive repo rate cut from the RBI is in lines with the expectations. The apex bank’s decision to cut repo rates further is in sync with the government’s recent measures, including a reduction in the corporate tax, to promote credit off take to boost economic activity during the festive season amid the ongoing slowdown.

Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group

The move by the RBI is welcoming enough and we hope that this will solve the liquidity problem and help reducing EMI burden of people. The recent rate cuts thus moving parallel to the festive offers ensures to boost the entire real estate sector. We expect, the repo rate cut along with recent government decisions will help grow the housing demand grow manifolds.”

Dhiraj Jain, Director, Mahagun Group

As the demand in affordable housing is maximum as compared to other segments, the steps that can lead to reduction in EMIs are always welcome. We hope that banks who do not have repo rate linked lending will start doing it so that the benefits can be passed on to the maximum number of people.

Ashok Gupta, CMD, Ajnara India

It is good but many more steps are needed to streamline the sector and provide boost. We have been demanding single window clearance for quite some time as it will mean that projects are completed at a faster rate. If projects get stuck then the whole solution of lower EMIs will fall flat, so the need of the hour is to come up with steps that can help in completing projects.

Ashish Bhutani, CEO, Bhutani Infra

With the fifth consecutive repo rate cut of the year, the benefits of the rate cut can finally be passed down from the banks to the end consumers.The total 1.1 percentage point reduction in the repo rate and the recent linkage of repo rate with lending rates will allow consumers to immediate avail benefits in the form of cheaper loans and EMI’s. The benefit will finally be passed down to our consumers which is great news for us.

Gaurav Gupta, Director, SG Estates and President, CREDAI Ghaziabad

Today’s rate cut in nothing short of a festive gift from RBI and it is likely to lighten the season for consumers and realty sector is certain to benefit from it. With the latest reduction, the apex bank has now reduced policy rates by 135 basis points in 2019 and it has played it parts. Government on its parts too has announced several measures including reduction in corporate tax, stress fund of Rs 20,000 crore for projects which are 60% completed and upfront recapitalisation of banks along with merger of several PSBs. All these measures are likely to augment the demand for housing more so in the current festive season. With current reduction we hope that home loan rates of some of leading banks may fall below 8%, which will go a long way in augmenting the demand for housing.

Raman Singla, Vice President and Business Head, SBP Group

In its 4th bimonthly monetary policy of FY 19-20, the central bank has further reduced the repo rate by 25 bps. This deduction was much needed especially at this time of the year. This move by the central bank will surely give boost to the housing segment as people will have to pay lower EMIs. The home loan borrowers will now be able to avail maximum benefits and we are sure that the people who have been waiting to buy their own house will be encouraged to realize that dream.

Amit Raheja, CMD, Wealth Clinic

The repo rate cut by 25 basis points to 5.15 percent is a constructive move for the real estate sector. With the fifth consecutive rate cut, we expect the demand for housing to rise marginally. The rate cut is during the festive season was expected and we are hopeful that this announcement will further bring down interest rates on home and auto loans. This rate cut will definitely boost sentiments of the buyers during festive season. It will also help boost credit growth in the banking system.

Yash Miglani, MD, Migsun Group

This is indeed a welcome decision, even though it is on the expected lines. With the latest reduction, the policy rates is now close to its historical low and with retail loans including home loan rates now linked mostly to repo rates, home buyers stand to benefit on immediate basis. The move is likely to result in higher traction for properties in particularly the affordable housing both in this festive season and in the future.

Pankaj Jain, Managing Director, Realistic Realtors

The real estate sector is looking optimistic after this the newly announced fifth rate cut not only for real estate developers, but also for the homebuyers. The lower repo rate provides the sector with an added sense of purpose and direction to deal with ongoing liquidity deficit in the economy. This move will also lead to reduction in interest rates— as they are linked to the repo rate— which will drive up the demand for real estate.

Prateek Mittal, Executive Director, Sushma Group

With fifth consecutive rate cut by the central bank the new repo rate now stands at 5.15 percent. The decision has come at the most appropriate time as the festive season is going on and according to Indian calendar this is the most auspicious time to invest in new assets. The reduced repo rate of 25 basis point along with the newly formed government policies the sector will witness the growth it has been waiting for a long time.

Vikas Bhasin, CMD, Saya Homes

The fifth consecutive rate cut is good news especially for home loan borrowers with the RBI bringing down the key policy rate,signalling lower interest rates. It is now that the banks will pass on the benefit of this rate cut to the respective borrowers of home loan. The decision will eventually witness the increase of demand for homes in real estate sector.

Anupam Gupta, Director, Sales & Marketing, GBP Group

Since the government has been taking various measures to boost the economy of the country, this move was much expected. The further deduction of 25 basis point in the repo rate will set a positive sentiment in the industry and will definitely boost sales in the sector. With loan available at a lower interest rates in the festive season along with FM’s decision of repo-linked lending rates, people will be motivated to finally take a step to fulfill their dream of owning a house.

Sagar Saxena, Project Head, Spectrum Metro

Improving consumer sentiment is a must especially when the festival season is coming. This cut in repo rate will do that exactly as many banks have repo rate linked lending rates. The moment EMIs come down, the buyers will come out in large numbers to lap up the real estate opportunities. With this step we are sure that the sector will get around 10 to 15 per cent more queries, which will translate in more number of sales.

Dhiraj Bora, Head Corporate Communication, Paramount Group

The recent decision of reducing the repo rate by 25 basis points is constructive move for the real estate sector. Accompanied with recent move of repo-linked ending rates, we expect it to have a positive impact on the realty market, thus maximizing the demand of housing marginally. It will also help boost credit growth in the banking system.

L.C Mittal, Director, Motia Group

With RBI reducing the repo rate 5 times in a row, shows a softer stand towards lending. This will benefit the economy as a whole as well as the entire real estate industry. One of the major concern had been the passing of benefits of the rate cut to end users by the bank and with the decision of Finance Minister of repo-linked lending rates it has been resolved. With further reduction of repo rate that too in the festive season we are believing that people will be motivated to invest with their maximum capabilities in the sector.

Avneesh Sood, Director Eros Group

With the fifth consecutive repo rate cuts, this year is a positive outcome for the economy, especially in light of the sluggish economy. Recently the government has responded to the weakness in the growth momentum with various measures, including the lowering of the corporate tax rate and now the rate cut of 25 basis points to 5.15 percent taking the cumulative cuts to 135 basis points is a constructive move for the real estate sector and is expected to provide a substantial and broad-based boost to business sentiment in the immediate term, and is a long-term structural positive, although it would increase fiscal stress in the short-term. This will also encourage the customers to buy properties due to reduced interest on home loans, hence increasing the purchasing power of the common man.

Satish Magar,President ,CREDAI National

The cut in repo rate by RBI to 5.15% is along expected lines. It will lower the interest burden on home buyers inducing higher demand. On the other hand, the downward revision of GDP growth to 6.1% from 6.9% earlier is an ominous sign. Improved tax incentives for home buying offer a quick fix which Government may like to consider immediately.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO, India, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE

The Repo rate cut of 25 basis points, is the fifth in a row rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India and takes the overall reduction of interest rates to 135 bps. The rate cut is expected to complement other fiscal measures such as the corporate tax rate cut that was announced last month to propel GDP growth. The timing of the cut is crucial as it is expected to spur real estate demand and consumption ahead of the festive season as it is an important period for investment/ consumption across sectors. While the RBI has done its bit, it is now critical that banks facilitate a faster transmission of these rate cuts to ensure that the measures reap results.

Ajit Panda, Founder & CEO, Spaciya Advisors

After the decision to reduce the corporate tax, another good news by our FM to cut the repo rate by 25 BPS is a gift during the festive season. It will result in more borrowings, more buyings, eventually improving the economy. People who have been on a look out for buying a property will now invest, which is a ray of revival to the diminishing sector. Not only real estate but the manufacturing, FMCG, education, auto sector will be benefited with this decision.

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

In the April-June 2019 quarter, India’s GDP grew only by 5% – the slowest pace in over six years. Consumers are spending less on everything from FMCG to automobiles – and, of course, real estate. Naturally, the sector eyes RBI’s monetary policy for cuts in the key lending rates to support the various measures taken by the government to boost consumption sentiment.

The repo rate cut of 25 bps to 5.15% announced today is in line with expectations. Considering that the Aug 2019 CPI came in at 3.21% – well below the medium-term target of 4% – RBI had room for such a rate cut. It can probably go some way in improving consumer sentiments ahead of the festive season, which is a crucial quarter for the real estate sales.

However, much depends on how efficiently banks transmit the benefits to their homebuying borrowers. An efficient transmission will lower the cost of capital not only for consumers but also for developers, making room for price revisions and further discounts. Some banks have agreed to link their lending rates to the Repo rates, but all major lending institutions need to follow suit.

Importantly, this rate cut comes close on the heels of the recent announcement of setting up a stress fund of INR 20,000 crore to provide last-mile funding to projects stalled due to lack of capital. This fund needs to get into action soon and demonstrate meaningful results to improve the sentiments of industry stakeholders like FIs, PEs, developers – and most importantly, homebuyers. An announcement regarding the real-time deployment of the stress fund during the festive season can dovetail well with this rate cut and yield a positive consumer response.

There’s still a dire need to do more for affordable-to-mid housing (units priced less than INR 80 Lakh) as nearly 68% of unsold inventory lies in this segment. This is where the ‘real’ end-user demand is and affordable housing definitely needs additional measures such as extending the moratorium period on home loans, subsidies, additional tax benefits, and a revision of the definition of affordable housing.

On a macro level, the overall stress that Indian real estate is in cannot be remedied merely by reduced lending rates – the sector has been reeling under subdued demand for many years. Even if we ignore the euphoric pre-2010 era, new housing project launches in 2018 across top 7 cities were 64% below the previous peak of 2014. Likewise, sales were down by 28%.

The sector is currently still saddled with 6.56 lakh unsold housing units (as of Q3 2019) across the top 7 cities, and developers are struggling to raise funds to complete projects and launch new ones.