Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. organised the National Housing Summit on August 26, 2020, with an aim to see eminent speakers from the government as well from the industry will brainstorm on measures to uplift the sector, especially after the COVID crisis. The discussions addressed how RERA Act had been a noteworthy move from the Centre that aims to make the real estate sector more transparent and efficient and measures being taken to overcome COVID crisis.
Addressing measures taken by MahaRERA during the lockdown, Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, Member, MahaRERA, Maharashtra, said, “When the lockdown was imposed nationwide, we extended the validity period of the ongoing projects by six months. Also, we provided moratorium of six months for the repayment of the funds and the interest. Similarly, the statutory compliances could also be paid when the period was over.”
Addressing the projects being carried, “A total of 26,171 projects have been registered of which 5,817 was completed and 7,166 projects are around 80 per cent complete. We are carrying out a survey of these projects which are near completion and we are regularly monitoring these to ensure their timely delivery.” Further, complaints have been registered for only 3000 projects and 75 per cent of those have been disposed of, he added.
Adding on complaint redressal he said, “At MahaRERA, we found that we could dispose of complaints even quickly through video conferencing. Also, we amended our SOPs accordingly and upgraded our online complaint registration system to enable the complainants to upload the required documents online. Hence, now we are operating paperless.” This has resulted in further improving the transparency of the system and upscaling the efficiency, he added.
Talking on the impact of COVID pandemic on the real estate sector, Dr Singh said, “During the lockdown, we all witnessed the reverse migration of the workers and this led to a shortage of manpower in the construction industry. Also, there was the disruption of supply chains that led to a shortage of constriction material. Therefore, work on many projects got stalled that pushed the timelines further.” On the demand side also, people were reluctant to invest money in the new projects. Hence, the number of projects saw a downward slope from March 2020 to June 2020, he added.
Further, he said, “The worst is over and the economic activities have started again. But, in Maharashtra, we see many projects outside Mumbai may be because of the availability of labour, however, in the city, not many projects can be seen as those labourers who left the city find it difficult to return due to non-availability of transport services. Secondly, on the demand side, we have seen that people are preferring tier 2 and tier 3 cities as they can get bigger houses and at a lower price.”
Mentioning some of his observations about the commercial spaces, Dr Singh pointed out that work from home has become a new trend post-pandemic. This has caused underutilisation of the commercial spaces and might result in a drop in rental rates of commercial spaces.