Realty Plus Interview with Ravindra Rao, CEO, Grihashakti, Fullerton India Home Finance Company Limited
1. Could you brief us about Grihashakti and your business in the housing sector?
Grihashakti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fullerton India Credit Company Limited and offers loans to salaried and self-employed individuals. It operates across 41 locations across 9 states. The products that we offer include Home Purchase Loans (for both new homes and resale properties), Home Improvement Loans, Home Construction Loans, Commercial Property Loans and Loan against Property. We plan to expand our footprint in Tier 2 and 3 locations of South and West India to begin with, with a focus on affordable housing.
2. What are your business plans post Union budget announcements for real estate?
We had firmed up our business plan for FY18 long before the Union Budget was announced. However we do see the developments in the Union Budget coupled with RERA act benefitting the consumers thereby giving an overall impetus to our business plans.
3. What is the sluggish real estate market impact on the home loan business?
We do not envisage any impact on affordable housing space at present.
4. Are HFC’s facing competition from NBFCs and banks because of their lower interest rate?
The market is huge and there is an enormous demand for low-cost housing finance. So there is scope for everyone. At Fullerton India, our strength lies in strong underwriting framework which accurately assesses the credit worthiness of all borrowers and we are very quick in taking sanction decisions. We also deliver an enhanced customer experience though our superior technology tool.
5. Will the trend of lowering of home loan interest rates continue?
The interest rates have already been reducing considerably. This is the right time to buy a home. There are also a lot of incentives for home loan buyers like the reduction in stamp duty and tax rebate on affordable housing.
6. Will ‘Housing for all’ prove to be a boost for the home loan business?
With the rise in nuclear families, there is huge opportunity for affordable housing. This coupled with the government’s initiatives to propel low-cost housing will further boost demand in Tier 2-4 cities. The increased focus on infrastructure development at the periphery of cities, including construction of roads and other amenities will attract more buyers in affordable housing segment. The introduction of interest subvention under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme is also a step to ramp up the demand in affordable housing sector.