New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) As the real estate sector receives yet another jolt with the coronavirus crisis, a report by Anarock Property Consultants says that housing sales across seven major cities in the country is likely to decline 25-35 per cent in 2020.

Residential sales in 2019 stood at around 2.61 lakh units across the top seven cities and may now fall between 1.70-1.96 lakh units.

“Current estimates reveal a substantial drop in demand and supply across various real estate segments in 2020. Housing sales could witness a 25-35 per cent yearly drop in 2020 against the preceding year,” it said.

Likewise, new launches may also witness a 25-30 per cent decline during the same period, from 2.37 lakh units in 2019 to anywhere between 1.66-1.78 lakh units.

As per the report, unsold inventory in 2020 will largely remain stable, with single-digit annual decline of around 1-3 per cent.

The nationwide lockdown has completely halted construction activity and project delays could run into several months for well-funded projects, and a couple of years for others, it said.

Nearly 4.66 lakh units across the top seven cities earlier slated for completion in 2020 now face a high risk of delays.

The affordable housing segment, which gained significant traction over the last few years, may also take a hit by COVID-19. The outbreak will significantly affect affordable housing’s target audience, it noted.

With limited income and unemployment fears, buyers of affordable housing may defer purchase decisions, leading to an estimated 1-2 per cent rise in unsold stock within this segment in 2020, said the Anarock report.

Similarly, both supply and demand is likely to drop in commercial realty. The report noted that current estimates indicate office space supply will remain around 33-40 million square feet in 2020 as against nearly 47 million square feet in 2019, a reduction of 15-30 per cent.

Net office absorption in 2020 is expected to drop 13-30 per cent to 28-35 million square feet from the previous years’ 40 million square feet.

Anuj Puri, Chairman, Anarock Property Consultants said: “Besides demand-supply decline in 2020, significant new trends will emerge across segments of Indian real estate. COVID-19 has derailed the office segment’s growth trajectory of last three years. New business models will be tried, making players more reliant on technology for ensuring business continuity. Besides revisiting office requirements, corporates will keep employee health and hygiene of assets as the topmost priority.”

–IANS

rrb/vd