Offerings big and small
Even though property developers bore the brunt of economic slowdown last year with falling sales and declining profits, they did not shy away from announcing projects with huge investments.
Among the big-ticket announcements made during the year, Parsvnath said it would invest Rs. 60,000 crore in the next five years in diversified areas such as SEZs, airports, expressways and retail business.
Ansal API made public its intention to pump in Rs. 13,000 crore to develop a huge township spread over 2,500 acres adjoining Greater Noida.
Facing the heat, the major developers, including DLF and Unitech, which till last year were focusing on luxury housing, diversified their product portfolio to affordable housing. DLF announced its intention to invest Rs. 15,000 crore to develop 40,000 units.
Unitech said it would build 10,000 apartments with an investment of Rs. 2,500 crore over the next few years. They would offer these housing units in the range of Rs. 15-50 lakh.
Omaxe announced a mammoth investment of Rs. 80,000 crore in the next five years to build 10 lakh housing units, which the developer has planned to offer at Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh.
Tightening the belt
But the developers also sacked some employees and cut salaries to deal with the financial crisis.
DLF had reportedly fired 600 employees, while Unitech laid off 10 per cent of its total 1,700 staff.
Parsvnath and Omaxe cut salaries of their staff up to 20 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Omaxe also downsized its staff strength by 70.
Not being able to generate funds, the developers also had to put on hold projects involving big investments or slow down the construction work.
The government came to the rescue of the industry and asked the public sector banks to announce cheaper home loans up to Rs. 20 lakh. The four per cent cut in CENVAT also gave a sigh of relief as it would lead to lowering of input costs.
However, realty consultants are of the view that the recent measures taken by the government would bear fruit in the sector only they are complemented with lowered property prices and further injection of liquidity. The sector can only hope for the best.— PTI
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