KOLKATA: Fresh home mortgages surged in India over the past two months, in line with the phased unshackling of the economy, indicating that demand remains robust despite the Covid-induced disruptions and income shrinkages.Leading home loan providers, such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Housing Development Finance Corporation said that demand for home loans surged. All these lenders have witnessed double-digit growth in home loan advances, despite a lull between April and August.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that home loans from banks expanded 0.8% between April and August, indicating the possibility of pent-up demand driving loan growth in September and October. For example, Mumbai alone recorded sales of 7,929 housing units in October, 42% higher than the previous month, boosted by stamp duty cuts in Maharashtra and the festive period of Navratri and Dussehra, according to property consultant Knight Frank.ICICI Bank, which has more than half its retail loans in mortgages, witnessed all-time monthly record in loan disbursements in October – mostly in the second- and third-tier cities. ICICI’s home loan portfolio grew 11% year on year to Rs 2.11 lakh crore at the end of September. SBI said its home loan grew 10.34% year on year to Rs 4.68 lakh crore, compared to HDFC’s 10% annual growth to Rs 5.4 lakh crore.LIC Housing Finance on Wednesday said its loan disbursement in October was 38% higher than October last year.”Anticipating rapid growth in demand in upcoming cities for real estate, especially in the affordable segment, we have expanded our footprint far and wide,” ICICI’s executive director Anup Bagchi said. The bank is present in 1,100 locations, including tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and fast-growing outskirts of metro cities.Bagchi said the growth is on account of new loans while loans acquired through balance transfer from other lenders were not significant.The Indian real estate industry attracted private equity investments of $2.3 billion between January and September. Of the total PE investments in real estate, the office segment attracted the largest share of $1.87 billion, accounting for 81% share, followed by warehousing at 10% and residential 9%, Knight Frank said in a recent report.Ravi Narayanan, ICICI’s head for secured assets, said that October witnessed the highest ever mortgage disbursement for the bank. “We see consumers, who want to buy homes for their own consumption, are back in the market since the past few months. We believe that this is a good time for an individual to buy a home, considering the prevailing low home loan interest rates, reduced stamp duty on property registrations in some states like Maharashtra and attractive offers from developers for buying homes,” Narayanan said.