Mumbai: Chennai and Bengaluru accounted for nearly half of all houses sold in India in the first six months of the year, with Bengaluru seeing the maximum number of new housing project launches, a report said.

According to the CBRE India Residential Market View, home sales in top cities fell during the period, but at a slower pace than in the previous six-month period.

The report said Chennai and Bengaluru made up over 45% of all home sales across leading cities. Sales in the national capital region (NCR) fell sharply, while Mumbai and Hyderabad saw a slight drop in sales.

Home sales during the period were 2% less than in the second half of 2014 due to cautious buyer sentiment, high mortgage rates and significant unsold inventory in primary as well as secondary markets, the report said.

New project launches during the period were 3% fewer than in the second half of last year.

“The overall market outlook remains optimistic as the government continues to focus on rejuvenating infrastructure to support large-scale affordable housing development. These are crucial steps that can revive sentiments in the housing sector," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CBRE, South Asia Pvt. Ltd.

He said the housing for all initiative along with the revival of major urban infrastructure projects and removal of impediments to land acquisition will have a positive impact on the real estate sector in the long term.

However, Knight Frank India Pvt. Ltd, another property consultant, warned that demand for residential properties is not likely to recover in the remaining six months as unsold inventories have hit a record high in top cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

According to CBRE, Bengaluru is the most “preferred residential market, accounting for almost 27% share of the entire supply of new housing projects, while Delhi NCR and Mumbai garnered a share of about 20% each during the period".

Chennai and Hyderabad saw a rise in new project launches, while NCR and Mumbai saw a dip in new launches due to already existing housing inventory and project delays, it added.

“Although the central bank did implement monetary easing during the first half of the year, the actual impact on mortgage rates has been far less. Going forward, further measures of monetary easing and reduction in mortgage rates can have a positive impact on housing sales across the country," said A.S. Sivaramakrishnan, head – residential services India, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd.

As per the report, home prices remained stable in both the premium, high and mid-end segments of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata during the first half of 2015.

While Bengaluru saw a price rise due to a marginal increase in housing demand, some micromarkets in NCR saw prices falling 5-6% due to excess supply, it added