India’s largest housing finance company, Housing Development Finance Corporation’s third quarter net profit grew 16 per cent on a standalone basis boosted by strong demand for home loans from individual customers.

In the October-December quarter, HDFC’s net profit grew to Rs 1,140 crore from Rs 981 crore, a year ago.

“The growth in profit was because of strong loan book growth in the individual category of buyers across the country,” Keki Mistry, Vice-Chairman and CEO, said.

The higher profit during the quarter indicates a growing demand for home loans in India’s tier-II and tier-III cities and higher value of each loan size. HDFC’s average loan size is Rs 21.50 lakh compared with State Bank of India’s Rs 12 lakh. SBI is the country’s largest home loan lender.

Year-on-year, HDFC’s loan book grew 22 per cent to Rs 1,60,434 crore. In the quarter ended September 2012, the housing finance major’s loan book stood at Rs 1,55,128 crore.

Total income in the period ended December 2012 grew 17 per cent to Rs 5,242 crore (Rs 4,467 crore, a year ago).

Expenditure increased 18 per cent to Rs 3,705 crore (Rs 3,144 crore, a year ago).

Gross non-performing loans in December-end narrowed to 0.75 per cent (Rs 1,224 crore) of the loan portfolio compared with 0.82 per cent in the year-ago period, the company said in a statement. In the same period, HDFC provided Rs 1,783 crore to cover bad loans, Mistry said.

INTEREST RATES

Mistry said that if the Reserve Bank of India cuts policy rates in the current quarter, then housing finance companies may pass on the interest rate cuts, at least partially, to customers.

He said there is expectation that the RBI might cut policy rates by 25 basis points in the January policy review and by another 25 basis points in the March review.

Shares of Mumbai-based HDFC, closed at Rs 814.50, down 0.95 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The benchmark Sensex ended up 0.31 per cent at 20101.82 points.

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 21, 2013)
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