Saturday, May 26, 2007

Native Goans priced out of Goa

CNN IBN reports on Paradise lost in Goa.
Panaji (Goa): Simon Hayward quit his job in New Zealand and flew to Goa for a holiday. Today, he's quite at home in the little villa he bought and now runs as an exclusive hotel.

A beautiful Portuguese villa, a beach nearby and it seems like Simon is living the dream of every tourist who visits Goa and falls in love. But it's also the nightmare of every Goan who finds his land being taken over by outsiders.

Take Dr Gary Cardozo for example. He just got married and wants to start his own household. But looking at the way thing are, he might just have to postpone his plans.

“When you are earning Rs 30,000 and a two-bedroom flat costs you Rs 28,000 I can't see where from you will get an EMI to pay that and manage your house,” says Cardazo.

So what's drawing people from the rest of India and from around the world to invest in Goa? Most says it’s the quality of life.

“Most of the people who are retiring want a home out here. When they retire the pension is not enough to live in the UK,” says a builder Joe Colaso.

Which is why new constructions now dot the Goan landscape and plots are often sold even without being seen. The Goans who feel discriminated against because they are unwilling to pay the newly inflated rates are now complaining of a far more dangerous fall out.

“People of all denominations specially from countries like Russians and Israelites having made little townships of their own where even locals fear to go,” says Managing Director of Alcon (Victor) Constructions Victor Albuquerque.

With their backing to every shady land deal in the state, it's no surprise that all politicians are tiptoeing around the issue. However, voters seem to be mindful of the fact this election.

Realty show indicates boom in Mysore

Times Of India reports

The real estate fair My Realty 2007 held in Mysore last week drew a good many visitors looking at buying property in Mysore. The exhibition was organised by the Builder's Association of India (BAI), Mysore Chapter and Times Property.

BAI, Mysore Chapter Secretary M B Nagakumar said that a whopping 22 lakh square feet of housing is expected to be created by the more than 100 new apartment projects which were on display at the show. Visitors from other places evinced keen interest in the show. Darshan Prabhu, a realty investor from Mumbai, who was at the show, said that since Mysore is a growing city the realty segment is in for a boom.

Exhibitors said they got many enquiries and were quite happy with the response. The show was used by some builders to launch their new projects in the city. Some Bangalore and Dubai-based builders, who chose this platform to showcase their projects in the city, were happy with the leverage the show gave them.
Mysore's Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of Mysore Urban Development Authority, S Selva Kumar who inaugurated the show noted that the city has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last three years, and this calls for a lot of thinking from administrators and builders. "We need to focus on satellite towns and vertical growth to meet the requirements of the future and decongest the core city area", he said.

B R Badarinath, Chairman, BAI, said that the BAI's focus has always been on developing Mysore gracefully. Over 40 developers put up their stalls at the fully air-conditioned venue, showcasing their projects in the city. Financial institutions too were at the exhibition, to provide immediate approvals for home loans. A Ravindra, Chairman, My Realty 07 said more than 14,000 people visited the show, out of which 30 percent consisted of the IT workforce from Bangalore. According to K Sriram, State Chairman, BAI, this year will see a lot of developments happening in the realty sector. "Many foreign realty firms were found to be showing interest in the city's growth and they are quite bullish about Mysore's real estate trajectory", he said.

Rebates in slowing housing market

CNN-IBN reports

Mumbai: For the first time in years, there are signs that real estate market may finally be levelling off with property developers actually offering discounts.

Booming economy and high disposable income coupled with low interest rates had fueled the real estate boom in the last few years.

But the recent spurt in home loan rates is forcing potential home buyers to postpone their purchases and as a result builders are finding it difficult to find buyers.

"The volumes are nowhere near, what volume should be in this two months period. Because this is the best two-month period of the year when residential plots are sold in primary market. And that is where the demand has slackened to an extent, where even counting a percentage becomes very difficult," said Knight Frank Chairman Pranay Vakil.

Developers refuse to admit to a slowdown. And while no one is promising an outright discount, the buyer just needs to push hard as numerous freebies come tumbling out of the builder's treasure chest.

Hoardings in Mumbai offering various schemes are now becoming common in Mumbai and Thane. Developers are tying up with banks to offer lower interest rates.

So you might get a portion of your loan at just 8 per cent fixed and the rest at the market rate or save on stamp duty, which adds upto 5 per cent of the cost.

Builders say that confusion on whether to go for a fixed or floating rate loan is what is slowing consumer decision.

"They are happy with our offers but there is a confusion regarding interest rates. If they take fixed and if it moves down or if they take floating and interest rates move up, they will be in soup. So lack of stability in interest rates is preventing customers from taking final decision," said Swastik Group Chairman Raju Khetwani.

Experts say that if sales do not pick up by June, more discounts may be on their way. But a smart home buyer can get a good deal even now through some tough bargaining.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Unscruplous Builders in Bangalore

Adarsh Builders, one of the premier builders in Bangalore seem to have made it to this infamous list. Few years ago they started selling plots and villa's in their Adarsh Palm retreat complex for upto 1.1crs per Villa. Little did customers know that they layout was unsanctioned and Adarsh would cancel their bookings after 2 years. The rates all over Banglaore have gone through the roof and the customers are holding the bag for the lost opportunity cost. Some customers have paid upto 70lakhs and they are being returned the money with no accured interest. Next time you buy from Adarsh keep this in mind.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Airport for Chennai near Sriperumbudur

Chennai: After Bangalore and Hyderabad it's Chennai's turn to get two new spanking world-class airports. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister gave a final “go ahead” to the Rs 2000 crore plan at the All Party meet on Tuesday. The expansion plan and renovation of the existing airports has given Chennai passengers a reason to smile.

"We are ready to invest Rs 2,000 crore for both the airports. Its time we go in for some expansion and world class development in Chennai,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said.

Chief Minister announced two new airports—one an expanded and renovated version of the existing airport and brand new airport called the Greenfield in Tiruvallur district.

The ambitious expansion though is facing some bottlenecks. The local residents are protesting the project since it will mean razing trees and the slum clusters form the area. Also some quarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Alliance are opposing the mammoth investment. The All-Party meet held Tuesday however managed to assuage the ruling coalition, leaving only the opposition AIADMK discontent.

Karunanidhi promises that suburbs like Pozhichalur will not be affected by the modernization plan. Instead 1,000 acres will be acquired in areas like Girugambakkam, Manappakkam and Thuraippakkam. And the Greenfield airport will come up on 4,200 acres of land near Sriperumbudur.

Residents of areas like Pozhichalur who had protested vehemently against the airport expansion can now breathe easy. And Chennai's residents too have reason to smile. Although a trip to the new airport will mean a longer drive, it will offer much better facilities than the existing one.

Mumbai world's 7th most costly place

Mumbai: As India witnesses a rise in property prices, its financial capital Mumbai has been ranked as one of the world's top 10 expensive locations in terms of accommodation cost.

Mumbai, which is ranked seventh, is followed by Shanghai, on whose lines the government is planning to develop the Indian financial hub.

The list comprises of Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Moscow, Seoul, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Caracas (Venezuela) and Paris, according to a study by International Human Resource organisation ECA International.

"High rentals in Tokyo, New York, Seoul, Moscow, London and Paris largely reflect high living costs in these locations, while Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing suffer from a shortage of modern and well-equipped properties, pushing prices up for those properties that do," ECA International Hong Kong General Manager Lee Quane said.

However, Caracas, capital of Venezuela, makes to the list of top 10 expensive cities for renting a three bedroom apartment as people have to spend huge amounts on security, Quane said.

In April, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government will shortly set up a committee to lay a roadmap to make the city the heart of international financial activities.

Mumbai is the prime choice for many multinational firms for establishing their base as they expand operations here, which is on the way to be transformed into international financial hub, Quane said.

Though five of the top 10 expensive locations are in Asia, the list of world's cheapest locations to rent a three-bedroom apartment does not include any Asian city.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Goons, forgery rule Maha Mumbai SEZ

Ibnlive reports.

Raigad (Maharashtra): All his life, a farmer in Raigad district in Maharashtra, Naga Bhoir, has been tilling paddy on a patch of land till he got a summon from District Place to collect some cheques.

To his surprise, he was told there that his land had been sold off but this was the bigger shock: all the sale documents had his name and signature.

"They have forged the documents. I have no clue how they did this? They told me to collect the cheque but I refused. I don’t want to sell off my land at any cost,” said Bhoir.

Bhoir is only one among the 1000 other farmers in the area; all of them in constant fear that they too will be cheated of their land because it falls in the area demarcated for the Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) because this is how easy it is to forge the documents of a land sale.

For instance, there are two copies of Elections Commission's voter identity card: one showing Naga Bhoir and the other an unknown person. In a copy of Bhoirs ration card, the names are all correct, but the copy has different ages. Even the Land Aquisition Ddepartment Notice is forged. This all indicates that such fraud could only have been carried out with the help of government officials.

“The CM is saying that no forceful aquisitions will be done. The PM is saying no irrigated land will be acquired. Then what is this happening? Infact, the revenue department is working to help out the company,” said a member of the SEZ Virodhi Sangharsha Sameeti, Vaishali Patil.

Four such cases of forgery has been registered with the police but activists have 73 such incidences across the three Talukas.

CNN IBN had earlier reported how the district collector had assured the protesting farmers that irrigated land would not be acquired for the SEZ.

But clearly, on the ground the situation seems to be different.