The net debt of top eight realty firms fell 43 per cent to ₹23,000 crore last fiscal, from around ₹40,000 crore in 2019-20, as their cash flow improved on strong housing sales, according to Anarock.
Real estate consultant Anarock noted that the unfettered demand for housing across the country has enabled the country's leading large and listed developers to reduce their debt.
Anarock analysed financial performances of the top eight developers engaged in the development of residential real estate. It includes: DLF, Macrotech Developers (Lodha brand), Godrej Properties,Prestige Estates Projects, Sobha, Brigade Enterprises, Puravankara and Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd.
Net debt of top eight listed developers has reduced from ₹40,500 crore in FY20 to over ₹23,000 crore in FY23.
The average cost of debt for these eight players fell to 9 per cent in FY23 from 10.3 per cent in FY20. In 2020-21, the interest cost was 9.05 per cent, while the cost of debt was 7.96 per cent in 2021-22.
Commenting on the findings, Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said, "This decline in net debt is essentially because of boosted sales and revenues." These developers' sales volumes have surpassed pre-pandemic levels and are headed for a new peak, he added.
"With improved cash flows over the last few years, their debt has reduced significantly. Interestingly, the widening gap between the gross and the net debt also indicates a comfortable financial position for these players," Puri said.
For instance, the difference between the gross and net debt of the developers was about ₹7,400 crore in FY20, which has widened to almost ₹15,200 crore in FY23.
Anarock pointed out that the periodic interest rate hikes since April 2022 have led to a marginal rise in the cost of debt, though it remains lower than the pre-pandemic levels of FY20.
This, however, will not impact large and listed players' execution capabilities, it added.
"The findings once again vouchsafe the increasing confidence of most homebuyers in projects by these developers, who have entered the new fiscal with stronger and healthier books and values," said Puri.
While the top eight listed developers are on solid financial ground, large unlisted players are also displaying a similar trend, he said.
The market share of large developers, both listed and unlisted, has nearly doubled — from 17 per cent in FY17 to 36 per cent in FY23.
Overall, as per Anarock Research, the last fiscal (April 2022 to March 2023) recorded sales of approx. 3.65 lakh units across the top seven cities - the highest in the last five years.
The first quarter of the current fiscal (April to June 2023) saw approx. 1.14 lakh units sold in these cities — the highest-ever quarterly sales recorded.
“The eight listed players considered for this analysis are those which have consistently reported their cost of debt in investor presentations,” Anarock said.