March 4, 2024

(From left) Shobhit Agarwal, MD & CEO, ANAROCK Capital Advisors; Sandeep Menon, MD & CEO, Vastu Housing Finance; Vipul Roongta, MD & CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors; Stuart Take, Board Member, IMGC Global Mortgages Business Leader; and Abhinandan Lodha, C


In a panel discussion on building a resilient housing finance ecosystem, Vipul Roongta, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO), HDFC Capital Advisors, said at the Business Standard-IMGC India Mortgage Leadership Conclave, “Financiers need to play a role that goes beyond just providing capital. It has to be strategic in nature, product-specific and has to focus on how to scale up. That results in a delta for the fund. It is what value addition is being done.”


At the conclave, top industry players also echoed the change in the demand profile from affordable housing to the mid-market segment after the pandemic. However, they also called for a review of the definition of affordable housing.


“After the pandemic, everyone wants a little more space, more elbow room. However, the houses are shrinking. The Rs 45 lakh limit for the affordable segment is falling off the definition. Instead, the unit size for good quality housing could be looked at,” said Shobhit Agarwal, MD and CEO, Anarock Capital Advisors.


In another panel discussion on affordable housing, T Adhikari, MD and CEO, LIC Housing Finance, reiterated the need for a change in the affordable category definition. He said, “If the government needs to relook at it, they should define the size of the element; rates can be higher in Mumbai and lower in cities like Lucknow. It would make it more equitable and fair.”


To ensure housing for all, the chiefs of housing financiers pinned their hopes on the reintroduction of a scheme similar to the credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS), which ended in December 2023.


Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy, MD, Sundaram Home Finance, said, “There is a scheme 2.0 in the offing. It needs to drive people back into affordable housing financing fundamentally rather than giving a Rs 2.5 lakh monetary incentive that will set a wrong behaviour both from financing and customer side to buy affordable homes.”


Meanwhile, Ravi Subramanian, MD and CEO, Shriram Housing Finance, also cautioned against the misuse of such provisions. He said that people who did not necessarily belong to the economically weaker section or lower-income groups took advantage of the scheme with the help of some ‘rogue housing finance companies’. “They need to plug that gap. Half of the money going to the ‘haves’ doesn’t make sense at all. 

 


They need to make it simpler to claim and administer. 


You need to come hard upon them (housing finance companies and banks misusing the scheme),” he said.


Shantanu Rege, MD and CEO, Mahindra Rural Housing Finance, said, “A couple of enablers need to be discussed like simplification and harmonisation of the definition of affordable, making liquidity and cheaper capital available. For customers who are in the affordable and smaller ticket home loan segment, their cash flows are not the same as those of urban. Some dispensation may be given towards provisioning and non-performing assets.” To match the supply of housing units to the demand, the industry backed a supportive ecosystem for housing finance companies to scale up.


“There is a need to create a liability structure which is supported by government agencies in some ways that allow affordable housing finance companies to provide truly affordable housing,” said Jairam Sridharan, MD at Piramal Capital & Housing Finance. As part of the first panel, Sandeep Menon, MD and CEO, Vastu Housing Finance, said, “A large part of India is into self-construction and individual houses, rural houses. That is the single biggest opportunity. There is a genuine market beyond the apartment business. Self-employed people in India build their individual houses.” Industry players called for establishing a robust securitisation market. Stuart Take, board member, IMGC, said, “The establishment of a well-regulated government-sponsored securitisation market would significantly boost funds into the system and attract international attention. While India maintains strong underwriting norms, veering towards more exotic products without adhering to these guidelines would not be advisable. The inclusion of mortgage guarantee mechanisms instils confidence, both in borrowers and lenders, making advancements in this area crucial for overall development.”

 Abhinandan Lodha, chairman of Lodha Ventures, said, “As Tier-II India evolves into Tier-I, the current Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act regulations provide an opportunity for high-quality developers to establish a presence. This transition is poised to instil a substantial boost in consumer confidence, laying the foundation for the coming generation.”

finance, housing finance(From left) Rajinder Singh, IMGC Board Director; T Adhikari, MD & CEO, LIC Housing Finance; Jairam Sridharan, MD, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance; Ravi Subramanian, MD & CEO, Shriram Housing Finance;  Shantanu Rege, MD & CEO, Mahindra Rural Housing Finance;  Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy, MD, Sundaram Home Finance    Photos: Kamlesh Pednekar

First Published: Feb 07 2024 | 11:59 PM IST