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Housing prices to see price correction soon: NHB

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There is scope for "some" correction in the country's housing prices owing to the pile-up of unsold units, and the apex housing finance institution -- the National Housing Bank (NHB) -- could partly incentivise the process through reduced refinance rates, according to the NHB CMD R V Verma.
Citing over-supply, Verma said the construction industry can take a project-specific or builder-specific approach to see how they can correct prices.
"Projects that are unsold due to the high price perception may see some price correction partly in the light of current downward revision in the housing loans," he told reporters here while announcing NHB's annual results for the financial year ended June 30, 2012. However, he did not give any specific timeline for such a correction.
"There is a psychology of over supply which will play out during the year in the form of price correction and becoming more market oriented," he added.
He said the NHB will plug the supply side gap by looking at reducing refinance rates, especially for those projects that promote innovative proctices in the design of the building, land management, usage of low-cost but durable material and the latest technologies.
Incidentally, banks including SBI, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, and Vijaya Bank have brought down home loan rates. NHB recently reduced its refiancne rates for housing loans up to Rs 2 lakh from 10% to 9%, and for loans of Rs 2-5 lakh from 10% to to 9.25%.
Referring to reports of inventory pile-up, he said measures are being taken by the NHB, the Department of Financial Services, Indian Banks' Association (a representative body of the banking sector), the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (the apex body for private real estate developers) to assess the extent of incomplete projects, whether the reasons for them not being sold are genuine such as the lack of credit flow. He said it is learnt that many buyers are not making purchases due to the increase in prices and that the inventory was not being sold as prices are being maintained at such high levels. In the financial year ended June 30, 2012, Verma said, NHB, which is in its 25th year, posted net profit of Rs 387 crore (up from Rs 279 crore in the previous fiscal) and gross loans and advances of Rs 28490 crore.
The Bank’s total loan disbursements during the year were Rs 14454 crore (up 20% from Rs 12,035 in the previous fiscal), out of which the share of rural housing was nearly 39%, aggregating Rs 5610 crore. Of the Bank's total loans and advances of Rs 28490 crore as on June 30, 2012, more than 41% were for rural housing. The sanctions jumped 64% to Rs 23,460, while interest income rose 27.9% to Rs 2,478 crore. Its net interest margin went up to 2.18% at the end of June 2012 from 1.79% at the end of June 2011.
Verma said the NHB residential price index -- NHB RESIDEX capturing price movements in residential properties -- which has been extended to 20 cities so far, will see five more cities (including Meerut, Coimbatore, Nagpur) being added during January- March 2013, thereby bringing the total coverage of NHB RESIDEX to 25 cities.
Its Central Registry CERSAI -- established as a registry of mortgage transactions with the objective of preventing frauds through multiple lendings from different banks against the same property -- has seen over 69 lakh transactions being registered till September 2012. By this December-end, it is targeting 75 lakh registrations, Verma said.
Source: Financial Express

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