Biggest drop in housing prices in a decade

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Unlike the conventional narrative developers cut down prices to offload their unsold inventory.

The past year has been packed with uncertainty and volatility for the real-estate sector as reforms nudged developers toward being more transparent.

Das said that price correction downwards would be more pronounced in the coming months. However, the July-December sales figures of these cities in 2017 were still significantly lower than the second half of 2014 and 2015, clearly depicting an underlying declining trend, the report said. In the NCR, it dropped 11 per cent to 1,66,831 units. "A shaky employment scenario has hurt sentiments and encouraged deferment of purchase", said Kanchana Krishnan, director - Chennai, Knight Frank, releasing the report in the city on Wednesday.

In a bid to boost demand, developers in Mumbai have even offered potential homebuyers freebies like 24-month rent assurance, stamp duty waiver, no floor rise charge and waiver of other charges, along with a discount in the base price.

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Hit by a triple whammy in the form of demonetisation, the RERA Act and GST, the residential realty sector in Chennai hit a new low in 2017.

Home launches in 2017 plummeted by 78% from the peak of 2010, according to Knight Frank India Real estate report.

Das said that "in terms of sales, the Mumbai market recorded 19% uptick in H2 2017 over the demonetisation-hit same period a year ago, however overall sales volumes reflect a declining pattern".

Home launches hit an all-time low during July-December 2017 with a meagre 940 units entering the market an 84 per cent drop over the corresponding period in 2016. Across markets, level of unsold inventory dropped by 19 per cent to 5, 52,996 units.

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"Supply grew 13 per cent to 12.5 million sqft compared to 11.1 million sqft in 2016, and the report blamed the headwinds in the technology sector and supply crunch for this subdued growth".

Homebuyers have a narrow window of opportunity though, because the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Bill (HIRA) 2017, already passed by the State Assembly past year, is expected to be notified soon.

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"For the first time in this decade, the Mumbai market has experienced a drop in residential prices".

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"The pace at which developers align themselves to the new regulatory norms and launch new products in the right ticket sizes that appeal to the homebuyer's interests will determine the trajectory of the market going forward", said the report.

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