Monday, February 18, 2008

Pune's high-end realty market gets red hot

PUNE: “It’s plain economics,” says Pradeep Kataria, a Pune-based chartered accountant who owns a flat in the upscale Modi Baug area of the city. “There is a shortage of flats in this area, so what I and some of my neighbours bought four years ago for about Rs 45 lakh is now being quoted at more than Rs 4 crore.” Mr Kataria is talking about the price for premium flats in Pune, a city once famous as a destination for pensioners with limited incomes.

Pune’s real estate market is growing sharply. There is a shortage of flats at the higher end of the price spectrum and, yes, price is not a barrier any more. A couple of years ago, when a developer breached the Rs 1-crore mark, it was regarded as a one-off event. Now, these premium flats get sold as soon as a project is announced. In fact, even Rs 4 crore is passe in the segment; prices being quoted now are around Rs 11 crore.

This trend is in line with that seen in the premium segment in other fast-growing cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. “There is an under supply of really high-end properties in Pune, which is why we sell the moment we announce a project, before any work begins,” said Vishwajeet Jhavar of Marvel Developers.

These high-end flats come with their own swimming pools, jaccuzis, etc. The target buyer is the 25-35-year-old professional, either returning from abroad or someone who has cashed in on the stock exchange boom. “Rs 1 crore is not a big amount anymore as earning capacities have gone up and lifestyles have changed,” said R Vasudevan, managing director, Vascon Engineers.

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