Major housing demand is coming from first-time buyers – HDFCRutuja Chavan
Update on Indian Equity Market:
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Excerpts of an interview with Mr. Keki Mistry, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of HDFC Ltd (HDFC) with CNBC TV18 on 27th September 2021:
- Between 2017-2020, demand for housing was largely coming from Tier 2, Tier3 towns or outskirts of big cities but not that much in the center of big cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru.
- In the last year, people in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru are buying houses because housing has become very affordable compared to what it has been in the last 20 years.
- From 2017-20, prices in the center of big cities have remained the same or may have marginally come down. This was complemented by rising income levels of individuals. An average income level of 6-7% a year if compounded on a 3-year basis, gives an approximate increase of 25% against a 0% (virtual) increase in property prices.
- So, the cost of a house as a multiple of the annual income of a typical customer has become a lot lesser.
- Mistry believes that structural demand for housing will always remain strong since it is a very under-penetrated market. The factor that points towards a sustained growth of housing in the Indian market apart from increased affordability is a Mortgage-GDP ratio of less than 11%. This ratio ranges between 40-60% in Western countries.
- Unlike people in the West, Indians prefer buying houses in their late 30s. From a demographic standpoint, two-thirds of India’s population falls in the under-35 age category which will eventually need to buy houses in the next 1-10 years. The average of a first-time buyer in Mumbai is between 37-39 years.
- The pressure that this sector faced, particularly in big cities like Mumbai, has been quashed because bigger developers took over incomplete projects of smaller developers. But this process takes time because approvals from various authorities need to be obtained.
- Demand in the industry is muted. Only the reputed developers are seeing traction because customers prefer buying an under-construction property from reputed developers rather than buying the same from a less reputed developer. That is because the risk of a project not getting completed is very little in the case of the former.
- Collection numbers, from a retail standpoint, are back to pre-covid levels but, the distress that people encountered from April to June might not have gone away completely.
- These problems are temporary as far as individual NPAs are concerned. He does not believe that the housing finance sector will see any severe loan losses because the security cover is huge and the average loan amount is a small component of the value of the property at origination.
- The loan to value ratio (loan as a percent of the value of the property) for most lenders is less than 70% which means from day one the individual has a 30% equity in the property upfront.
- Since all loans are paid equally in monthly installments, this ratio will keep declining every passing month as the installments get paid. Therefore, an individual’s equity in the property keeps rising, and the losses on a housing portfolio of any lender, as long as there is prudent lending, would be almost non-existent to very negligible.
Asset Multiplier Comments
- The demand from homebuyers is picking up due to subdued interest rates and the government’s push towards the affordable housing segment.
- Due to a higher focus on individual loans vs non-individual, and a greater share of lending to salaried individuals, HDFC’s loan portfolio did not suffer any major setbacks in terms of asset quality. Moreover, HDFC has a provision buffer in place which is higher than the regulatory requirement.
- Due to increased demand and low interest rates, rising competition among housing finance companies could exert pressure on interest rates.
Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener and tikr.com websites)
- The closing price of HDFC was ₹ 2,802 /- as of 27-Sept-2021. It traded at 5x/4x/4x the consensus BVPS estimate of ₹ 651/703/769 for FY22E/FY23E/FY24E respectively.
- The consensus target price of ₹ 3,016/- implies a P/BV multiple of 4x on FY24E BVPS of ₹ 769/-
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