In an indication that activity in India’s real estate sector may see some revival in the times to come, the inquiry volumes for home loans in the country during July-August 2020 were back to levels seen during the corresponding period of 2019.
According to credit information company TransUnion CIBIL, home loan inquiry volumes in the three-month period have exceeded the level seen in the same quarter last year – inquiry volumes were at 112% of July-August 2019 levels. They are, however, lower than the level seen during January and February 2020. Inquiry volumes were at 90% of July-August 2019 levels in the loan against property segment, too.
While not all inquiries result in loan disbursements, they are an indicator of the existing demand that may realise in the near future. Among other factors, inquiry volumes could have risen, because of the reduction in interest rates by several public lenders, prompting borrowers to seek home loan transfer benefits.
Almost all leading banks in India are currently offering housing loans at a below 7% level. Union Bank of India, for instance, is currently the most cost-effective housing loan provider. The public lender is currently offering housing loans at 6.7% annually.
The increase in inquiry volumes could also be attributed to the pent-up demand during the preceding months, when the government had imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus in the country, says the credit rating agency. Owing to the phased lockdowns that lasted from March-end to May 2020, operations at bank branches came to a halt, severely impacting the processing of loan demands. Buyer must recall here that each time a borrower makes an inquiry, the same gets registered with credit bureaus, which in turn share this information with lenders.
According to CIBIL, state-run lenders saw better improvement in inquiry levels during the period, ‘most likely because they were early in recommencing operations than their private and finance counterparts’. While stating that growth in real estate will remain sluggish, the credit information company said it would be important to observe how the demand for home and auto loans shapes up in the near future.