Kolkata: The pandemic is set to trigger a record decline in Kolkata’s housing inventory with bookings outstripping supply in the first half of this year, developers and realtors in the city said on Monday. In January-June 2020, the number of units sold is nearly three times the units that have been launched.
According to developers’ body Credai, inquiries, site visits and bookings have recovered to 60-70% of pre-Covid figures in June, up from 40-50% during the lockdown.
“In April, sales was down 50%. In May, uptake increased to 60% and in June, 65%. The market should be back to pre-Covid level by September-October,” said Credai executive committee member Pawan Kr Agarwal.
The lockdown that forced people to stay at home also made people realise the importance of the place they stay in and shortcomings that they had been ignoring in the past. “There is a psychological shift in perception of home,” said Credai advisory committee member Harshvardhan Neotia.
With real estate prices in Kolkata unchanged since 2015, interest on home loans at an all-time low and the Centre announcing an extension of the PMAY scheme, Credai Bengal president Nandu Belani felt buyers would seize the opportunity.
The choice though could get constricted later in the year with only a handful of new projects being launched. According to regulator WBHIRA data, while 47 projects with 5,433 units were launched in April-May 2019, 18 projects with only 413 units have been announced this April-May. “Launches will pick up after monsoon. But I don’t expect more than 6,000 units to be launched this year,” said Credai West Bengal president Sushil Mohta. Kolkata usually adds 15,000-16,000 units annually but launches have nosedived since 2019. According to real estate consultant Knight Frank, 53% reduction in launches led to a 15% declined by inventory. The latest Anarock report showed 3,170 units had been sold in the first half against launch of only 1,140 units.