Friday, October 24, 2008

Realty funds bear the brunt of the ball

New Delhi: Shares of real estate firms were the worst hit on Friday after concerns of a liquidity crunch in the business drove the sectoral index, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) realty index, down nearly one-fourth.

Shares of Unitech Ltd, India’s second largest developer by market value, fell by a record 51.29% to close at Rs30.10 each after intra-day trading took it down to an all-time low of Rs26.60.
Bangalore-based real estate developer Puravankara Projects Ltd, which saw its shares closing 44.32% lower, also touched a record low of Rs42.20 in day trade.

“People are concerned about cash provisions and where will real estate companies get money from,” said Sandeep Mathew, an analyst at BNP Paribas Securities in Mumbai.
An analyst with a domestic brokerage firm, who did not want his or his employer’s name to be used, said, “...people are exiting at any price because there are no buyers for realty stocks”.
There is an aversion towards real estate stocks among “investors (who) are now shifting from net asset value-based valuation to cash flows of the company”, he added.

Shares of DLF Ltd, the largest developer in the country, shed 23.96% to close at Rs203.90. Parsvnath Developers Ltd fell by 20.70% to close at Rs45.20.
BSE’s benchmark index, the Sensex, shrank 10.96% while BSE’s realty index, which consists of 14 real estate stocks, fell by 562.31 points or, 24.4%.

“Real estate stocks have been correcting mainly because developers have not reduced home prices despite a slowdown in sales,” said another analyst with a domestic brokerage firm. “In Unitech’s case, the stock has corrected because the company is heavily leveraged.”

mint reports on 30-50% drop in prices if you are willing to pay cash instead of staggered payments.

New Delhi: As the Indian economy faces a liquidity crisis, banks remain wary of lending money to the real estate sector. The developers, facing deadline pressures for delivery of projects, are forced to tap private money lending sources. Consequently, they have been forced to borrow money at steep rates.
According to Sanjay Khanna, managing director of Kailash Nath Associates, this rate could be as high as 5% per month. A rate of 5% interest per month translates to a whopping 60% per annum. It means that a developer will have to pay Rs6000 for every Rs10,000 it raises. Builders do not have the money to construct and have approaching delivery deadlines. Real estate experts fear that some builders may even default.

Santhosh Kumar, deputy CEO of property consultants and brokers Jones LaSalle Meghraj agrees with Khanna but says that players with better fundamentals may still find money at 15-20% rate of interest. “But others may have to pay upwards of 30% as well,” he says.
As demand slows, the price of residential and commercial real estate in the country has been sliding. It has fallen by 15-20% across metros over the past nine to twelve months and is expected to fall by another 30-40% over the next few months. In such a scenario, developers who went aggressive on land acquisitions, based on the presumption that prices will continue to rise, find themselves in a tight spot. They are now forced to borrow money from the market at unsustainable rates.
Ashish Mathur, Head-Business development and marketing for Mahindra World City says, that some small developers may have to exit the business all together if the market does not pick up soon.

The problem is worsened by a slowing economy and over supply of office space and it’s slow off take as reported by real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield and CB Richard Ellis among others. Expensive home loans have turned away the residential buyers as well. Almost 90% buyers use bank finance for home purchases. Santhosh Kumar says that developers are expected to cut prices by 30-50% or more to boost offtake in the coming months. He warns, there may even be distress sales by developers.

The bad news for realtors extends to the stock markets as well. The BSE realty index fell 24% on Friday on worries that the real estate sector is heavily leveraged. As the economy slows down and money gets dearer, the pain is only expected to get worse for real estate developers.

Happy Diwali from the Finance Minister Mr Chidambaram

Dear Fellow Citizens,
On behalf of the Congress party, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhiji and Mr Rahul Gandhi I would like to extend my warm wishes to the citizens of India on the eve of Diwali 2008. It has been a tumultuous year for the markets and as we have seen things have been going as per plan. We had a plan for 9% growth, however we came close to it at 8% and got a bonus 12% in inflation. We also managed to bankrupt a lot of the speculators and investors, some of who were senior citizens who lost their retirement saving in the market .
When the congress came to power in May 2004, the Sensex was 5000, now after 41/2 years it is at 8500, A stellar gain of 70% over a 4.5 year period as opposed to a 40% compounded gain if you had invested in safe fixed deposits. However if you had invested exactly a year ago, the return would be a -70%, a warning to speculators that India will not tolerate short term investors.
We are also happy to report that the rupee has breached Rs 50, so now your NRI brothers and sisters are given a welcome bonus this Diwali. The Foreign investors who have dumped the rupee and fled like rats will now have a greater incentive to return back, now that they have gained 20% over a period of 1 year. As you can see we are trying hard to please all sections of society and we look forward to continue this good work in the year five years under the astute leadership of Shri Manmohan Singh and Smt Sonia Gandhi.
Having seen the turmoil with the Italian Lira, we have superb leadership at the top which understands the economic consequences of pandering to the common people. I have instructed the SEBI and the RBI to take strict action against market manipulators who have been trying to create a illusion of wealth in the Indian stock market. Thanks to their efforts the Sensex has been brought down from 21000 to 8500, a level which will hold for a few more days, before we bring it down further to 6000 so that it is affordable to the common man.
It has also been an very happy Diwali for some of our Foreign short sellers who were allowed to participate in the merry making outside the borders of the country, thanks to a recent directive by SEBI, a brilliant move by the SEBI chairman.
With reference to housing we have managed to create a spectacular bubble where land prices have soared to the heavens. Some of the property where I live is now worth Rs 50000 per sq/ft. Even developed countries like the US and UK don't have the prices we have. We have asked our banks to make sure that the citizens are working hard to pay off the EMI's on the house/car loans for their highly prized properties. These banks are creating thousands of recovery agent jobs each month to make sure borrowers don't default on their loans.
As a consequence of the soaring housing prices, the congress party and other political parties have had great success in raising funds for the upcoming elections. Unlike the US which has a lobby system, the Indian political system depends on builders to finance their political activities. We prefer black money to avoid scrutiny of the Income Tax bureaucracy and thereby reduce corruption in the system.
Some of the builders have defaulted on their payments to government authorities and banks, and as a penalty, we will be confiscating their assets and then auctioning them over to our brothers in the Gulf, some of who have nefarious designs against our great nation. By doing so we will establish an ownership society where all the prime land is owned by our enemies, so they will have no vested interest in creating turmoil, riots or exploding bombs in our cities and towns.
In closing, I wish all citizens a very happy Diwali and hope that the next five years are even more prosperous then ever before.
Mr P.C Chidambaram
Finance Minister
Government of India
New Delhi
Samvat 2050

Prestige Shantiniketan - Roof collapse.

Four injured as Prestige group’s 15-storeyed structure collapses
S. Rajendran and M.T. Shivakumar
The cement slab of the top floor collapsed first and then the rest crumbled

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K

CASCADING EFFECT: One of the structures at Shantiniketan, Whitefield, which collapsed in Bangalore on Thursday.

BANGALORE: Four persons were injured and another 100 construction workers had a providential escape when a part of a 15-storeyed concrete structure under construction of the Prestige group crashed at Whitefield here on Thursday.

The block which collapsed is part of the 20 blocks under construction by Prestige in a joint venture with Shantiniketan. The top floor slab which collapsed first was laid only a few days ago.

The police told The Hindu that the accident occurred around 5 p.m. when a small portion of the top floor collapsed resulting in the slab of the floor below it collapsing in a short while. Owing to sheer weight, the slabs of the lower floors collapsed subsequently, all in a span of 50 minutes, although the embedded steel rods prevented the slabs from falling in a heap.

The injured were identified as Srinivas (20), Dasharat (25), Mahendra Prasad (25) and Dadudar (30). Dadudar is said to be a native of Bihar and the other three residents of Kadugodi and surrounding areas in Bangalore. They sustained minor injuries when they were running out of the building, and were initially taken to Vydehi Hospital and after first aid were reportedly taken away by the site engineers for further medical attention. The workers were evacuated from the site. Complete information relating to the building collapse is yet to be made available to the police. The Prestige Shantiniketan complex comprises several towers, each of them of several storeys and located in the vicinity of the International Technology Park. There is no information on the strength of the work force at the construction site. A Malaysian construction company (IJM) was building the superstructure for the Prestige Group, which has undertaken the joint venture project with Shantiniketan (Chaitanya Properties) of D.K. Audikesavalu.

Nayeem Noor, vice-president (public relations) of the Prestige group said the collapse occurred after the top floor slab was cast. “The super structure is intact and there are no casualties.” A head count at the construction site has been conducted and it is confirmed that there is no casualty including injury suffered by any person, he added.
Enough time to escape

N.M. Nachappa, security guard at the site, told The Hindu that “the entire building crashed in 50 minutes. There was enough time for all the workers to escape.”

According to an eyewitness, around 4.50 p.m., the slabs of the building started to collapse. Then there were around 120 people, including women and children. “Immediately after the incident, the workers at the construction site had left. Very soon they were sent to isolated places in a few trucks.”

“A Few officers, perhaps from the contractors side, had shifted all the workers to some other location immediately. They instructed the security guard and other workers at the construction site not to answer the media or the police,” he said.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has taken a serious note of the accident. Directions have been issued to stop construction pending an inquiry.

Several superstructures are under construction in the vicinity of the ITPL.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dark Diwali: Pink slips, pay cuts await realty staff

Here is the post following up on your comment about the reality layoffs. Some of your other comments have some good advice which I will collate and post as a new article.
For Anil and other realty touts, this is the writing on the wall. Your jobs are no more secure then the IT/ITES folks, so better tighten your purse strings.
Also regarding the comment regarding the plot which Anil bought for Rs 150 in Pune and then later sold for Rs 5800 is pure BS. Baner-Pashan apts were at Rs 1800 3 years ago and now they are Rs 3300. So cut the crap and try selling the Taj Mahal to somebody else.
NEW DELHI: It’s not going to be a happy Diwali for people working in the real estate industry. Even as sales failed to pick up this festive season, most realty firms including DLF, Unitech, Omaxe, Parsvnath and BPTP, now plan to lay off staff in significant numbers soon after Diwali.
While spokespersons of all these companies denied there were plans to cut jobs or salaries, executives in these companies told ET that job cuts were in the offing and salaries have been delayed in some of these companies.

“All real estate players, including us, will have to reduce manpower cost significantly if we are to survive in the current hostile market conditions,” says a top executive at a Delhi-based listed mid-size realty firm, which plans to reduce manpower by almost 20%. The job cuts will start happening soon after Diwali.

Executives at many other real estate firms also confirmed companies plan to offload people and a list of staff was being prepared, who would be asked to leave soon after the festive season was over. Developers are waiting for Diwali as they didn’t want to dampen sentiments further.
“Job cuts at Jet Airways became a big issue also because it was done before Diwali. Developers are wary of raking up any political controversy,” explained a senior executive.
Also, realty firms needed large number of sales staff for the festive season. But now that their price discounts or other freebies have failed to stimulate the home market, developers feel they can cut back on staff. The developers have already started easing off some staff. Many developers, including DLF, had already asked around a few hundred employees to leave.
And sources say more job cuts are in the offing at DLF, as construction pace slows and expansion plans are put on hold. Unitech, Omaxe, Parsvnath and BPTP too prepare to issue pink slips.
Salaries have been delayed at many mid-size and small realty firms, even as management is asking employees to take salary cut. Even though he denies salaries are being delayed or cut at his company, Parsvnath chairman Pradeep Jain supports the idea of salary cut.
“Employees’ salaries have risen so much in the past few years that I see no harm in reducing it a bit,” says Mr Jain.
“Salaries at the top management level have already started to come down. A number of real estate players are already renegotiating salaries with staff so that overall wage bill comes down and not many jobs are lost. Companies are preferring to retain the jobs of those capable of multi-tasking,” said Executive Access MD Ronesh Puri.
Employees at most real estate firms are in a state of panic as job loss fears mount. Too many resumes have been floating around in the market. “Earlier it was extremely difficult for a smaller developer like us to hire talent. Now we are flooded with CVs. Surely, people are being fired somewhere else,” says Ambience group chairman Raj Singh Gehlot.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crisis of the mind

IBN live reports on a suicide/murder by a stock broker who is unable to make good of his losses and take care of his family and buy a flat. As we have discussed, investors have huge losses where they are losing all their capital which they have built up over the past 3 years, plus many have taken loans against the stocks/margin which the banks are asking them to pay back. Added to that they have EmI's on houses. The whole bubble was created on a house of cards and the deck has collapsed.

One of the readers mentioned about an apt which he had purchased for 30L which is now 1.2 crores in 3 years. This is a fantastic investment if he is able to liquidate it at 1.2 Cr. If he does he has found a sucker and more power to him. If he does'nt then I guess he is the sucker, since he wont see 1.2Cr for a very long time. Just as the Sensex has retraced all the 100% return over the 3 year period and stocks are down 70%,80%. so will the housing market retrace to lower levels. No bubble exists in a vaccum and this is no exception.

Also having lived in Bangalore and mumbai with mumbai being my hometown, I can say that Bangalore has many more opportunities for higher paying jobs then mumbai. Housing is also way too cheap as compared to mumbai and with newer societies with all amenities which have sprung up over the past 5 years, things are better in Bangalore then before. The locals complain of the spike in traffic but then mumbai has equally bad traffic so to a mumbaikar there is no difference, but the housing cost and the pay packet, both which work in his favor.

There will be some people who will argue the black money aspect of housing and I can only say that the house of cards was created on EmI availability which generated more black money for the builders. Now that the generator fuse has been shorted, so will the output.

One last point I'd like to make is the psycology of builders who want to keep raising prices even if they can make a handsome profit by selling 10% below their current prices. It achieves the following purposes

1. Creates an illusion that prices are rising prepetually for the buyer who is seeking appreciation.
2. Provides mental comfort to existing owners that they are in the money and they dont need to sell
3. Traps NRI's and other high net worth people who has disposable income and/or black money
4. Enforces the notion that real estate is a growth asset as opposed to an income generating asset. If you looks at the P/E it is abysmal in mumbai
5. Sells the mantra of moving up the chain as real estate always builds equity.

All these things work in the long run if you have a good entry point. In a bubble economy, all bets are off and the last man standing will face the music.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't buy unfinished homes

The news is coming thick and fast. DNAIndia is finally doing some realistic reporting. The game is simple. Its a buyers market and the buyer can demand a 40% reduction of a completed property. A deal will only happen if both parties agree and today there are no deals since there is a disconnect. Greed is good but only for a limited time. Now it is the buyers time to get greedy. As the article rightly points out, going for an under construction property is a disaster waiting to happen. There are thousands of new projects which are launched in 2008 and most of them will be delayed by 2-3 years beyond their projected dates. Already Raj Thackrey's campaign is having an effect on mumbai's and Pune's construction market where builders are attributing him to delays. They are also invoking the Force majeure clause which allows them to disown responsibility for building delays. and have thousands of properties for sale and half of them are ready to occupy. It is a buyers market like never before. So if you have cash, you are king.

Liquidity crunch delaying projects, only 30% price cut can help: Experts

MUMBAI: Want to buy a home this festive season? Then don’t go for a one that is still under construction, warn experts in the realty sector. The global slowdown and crash of financial markets has left builders with little money and they are struggling to wrap up even the half-finished projects, let alone going for new ones, according to industry analysts. Experts warn that the financial strain on realtors is causing indefinite delays in the completion of many projects.

“Those who intend to buy property should go for only completed flats. It’ll be too risky to buy properties under construction,” said an analyst with a foreign brokerage who did not wish to be named.

Real estate is an end-user sector where the money mainly comes from home buyers and development happens in phases.

“But developers across the board raked in money from initial public offerings and invested them in buying land parcels paying huge premiums. Now, banks have stopped lending, money from private equity is very costly and unorganised lenders are charging interest rates as high as 30%. So how can developers complete projects profitably,” asked the analyst.

He cited the example of a Mumbai-based realtor whose high-end residential project in Lower Parel, one of the city’s commercial hubs, was to be completed in 2006 but has now been delayed till 2009. Uncertainty looms large over whether even this deadline will be met, he said.

An official of the realtor in question had earlier told DNA that the project would be rolled out before Diwali this year. An email sent seeking clarification on the new deadline remains unanswered.

This isn’t an isolated case. Analysts say delays of three to four years are likely in under-construction projects.

Despite the headwinds, developers have stubbornly stuck to their pricing. This could be one of the reasons why sales have failed to pick up, even though builders are offering freebies such as free stamp duty registration and parking space, modular kitchens and interiors, and interest-free EMIs till the buyer gets possession of the flat.

“A price correction of a minimum of 30% is required for sales to pick up. If this correction does not come in six months then some listed developers will end up being negative cash companies. Even if buyers are desperately looking for houses, they should wait for a minimum of three months before taking the plunge. Also, they should look only for properties that are ready and available for possession,” said an analyst of a domestic brokerage.

Vikas Oberoi, managing director of Mumbai-based developer Oberoi Constructions, agrees. “Buyers should be wary of under-construction projects because developers who are overleveraged will not be able to complete their projects. So a buyer should look at a developer’s past projects. At these times, it’s all the more important for people to be careful about where they invest,” he said.

And though the slump is pinching, consolidation in the industry is not seen coming. An analyst said, “Even if a developer gets land at a discount of 35-45%, he will not buy it to save money for construction. Those who haven’t seen free cash flows in the last 6-8 months will halt their launches and sit tight till the tides turn in next 18-24 months.”

Time reports on the Indian realty meltdown

I guess to all the ostriches, this article is one more nail in the coffin. Drop prices 30-40% or go bankrupt, seems to the mantra come Janurary. The only hope is the centuries old tradition of praying to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. In the Indian secnario, the developers who are leveraged to the hilt are the sub-prime of India.

Mirroring the US, India's Real Estate Sector Melts Down
By Madhur Singh / New Delhi Monday, Oct. 20, 2008
The new moon of the lunar month of Kartika marks Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, when Hindus across the country worship the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. But divinities know full well the laws that govern finance and Lakshmi may not be a little tight-fisted about circulating her riches amid the ongoing global credit crunch.
Indian tradition decrees that it is auspicious to make purchases during the days leading up to Diwali — which falls in October or November. With faith meshing so effortlessly with commerce, the season sees sellers, advertisers and marketers urging the devout to spend money with a religious fervor, hawking everything from chocolates and consumer durables to gold and houses. Buying a home is considered especially propitious. What better way to welcome the goddess of wealth into one's life than by inviting Lakshmi into one's new abode? So much so that the period from just before Diwali through March is usually a bonanza for the real estate industry: usually 70% of the annual business is conducted at this time.
Not this year. With just about a week to go until Diwali, the mood is decidedly downbeat. The demon of impending economic doom refuses to die, and as tightened liquidity makes people put off larger purchases, the real estate sector is facing the worst attack. "This time last year, I was selling 10 to 12 properties every day," says Alok Gupta, who runs Advanced Real Estate in the New Delhi suburb of Noida. "This time, I haven't sold a single property all month!"
Considered the barometer of economic growth, the real estate sector in India has grown 30% to 35% during the last five years, reflecting the rapidly-increasing demand for office, commercial and industrial space, as well as bigger homes now considered within the range of India's prospering working classes. But the economic juggernaut has been slowing since earlier this year due to double-digit inflation, a severe liquidity crunch as a fallout of the U.S. sub-prime crisis, and now, the possibility of economic activity shrinking as part of a global slowdown. The country's growth estimates of 9% at the beginning of the year have been revised to well below 7%, and the effect is directly visible on the realty sector. "No one's buying any more," says Ashwani Shukla of New Delhi-based Triveni Associates, "Two years ago, 25-year-olds earning fat pay packets from [multinational corporations] were buying high-end apartments. Now, there are no takers for flats selling at 20% markdowns. Estate agents are finding it difficult to even meet daily overheads."
Shukla himself has branched out of real estate and started selling insurance six months back, "to pay the bills." According to various estimates, sales in cities like Mumbai and Chennai are down 30% to 40%. Hoping to induce buyers at Diwali, realtors are advertising cash discounts of 5% to 10% for down payments, and as much as 25% discounts if buyers are willing to wait two to three years before taking possession of the property. "But there is no liquidity with the end user," says Arvind Nandan, director of consultancy at real-estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield India, "Home-loan rates have hit the roof, and people's investments have lost value at the stock market. No one has the money to buy."
Shukla says if the situation does not improve, there could be distress sales within the next six months. The realty sector was heading for a cyclical slowdown even before the current economic slump. Over the last few years, increasing demand had pushed up prices, with speculators jumping in to further inflate the market. Eventually inventory piled up when buyers refused to pay unrealistically high prices. "So many transactions were taking place between speculators and investors that no one bothered to find out what the end-user, the family who would eventually live in the house, would be willing and able to pay," Shukla says. And those prospective home owners are the biggest target of India's real estate industry: almost 80% of real estate developed in the country is residential space.
This all comes at the worst possible time. Even as buyers refused to bite, inflation passed into double digits in June this year, raising prices of construction material. Realtors overran their budgets and projects stalled, leaving skeletal structures dotting the landscape across big and small cities all over the country. Then came the liquidity squeeze as the government sponged away cash from the system to control inflation. Home loan rates went from about 7% to over 12%. People who bought struggled to pay, and potential buyers kept away.
Realtors like Shukla and Gupta may have little reason to light firecrackers this Diwali, but their prayers to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, will definitely be more fervent, especially as experts predict things will get worse before they get any better. "This was a much-needed correction," says Nandan of Cushman & Wakefield India, "And it isn't complete yet. I expect the market to go down further, and it's hard to say when the recovery will begin."
Yet, no one is entirely pessimistic. Experts and industry insiders believe once the storm blows over, demand is bound to rise back up for the same reasons it did last time — a large, young workforce; gradual but consistent liberalization reforms; and a high rate of consumer and private sector savings. "The silver lining is that once this phase ends, land and property prices will be corrected to rational levels, speculators will be out, and the sector will have stronger fundamentals," says Shukla. If everyone's prayers go right, the goddess will eventually be propitiated and her blessings will issue forth once more.

Monday, October 20, 2008

State of Denial

Mint has a couple of good articles on the denial of the Indian builders to accept the reality of a slowdown. The Sensex has crashed 50%, midcaps 60%, small caps 70% but India real estate developers think that the word correction applies to everyone but them. Like Marie Antonette said "If you don't have bread, eat cake" the Raheja's are pricing villas for 6crores. God save the ostriches. The articles are below
Mumbai: Bhav gira kya (Has the price fallen)?” the prospective buyer asked.
“Bhav chada hi nahin girne ke liye (It needs to rise before it can fall),” came the stoic response from across the counter from the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd, or HDIL, representative.
That exchange more or less sums up the current dynamic between discount-seeking buyers and reduction-resistant sellers in India’s real estate market, a chasm that was apparent at Property 2008, the 13th real estate and housing finance exhibition, a four-day event held last fortnight at the Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai.
A dozen signboards outside the site of the expo screamed, “Take the right decision. Buy now”, but buyers seemed indifferent to that message, even though they flocked to the exhibition in droves on Saturday.
Even as analysts caution that the days to come will be critical for developers as their inventory of unsold houses increases, real estate firms put on their bravest faces at the exhibition and said they wouldn’t consider reducing prices.
Under pressure: Real estate development in the country, including housing projects such as this one in Ghaziabad, is heavily dependent on population migration due to rapid urban growth. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
Everyone has got it wrong, they insist. “Make up your mind, this is the right time. The economic cycle is maturing and, by January next year, apartment prices will go up,” said Vinod Manwani, marketing head at the Nahar group, which is developing more than 100 acres in the heart of Mumbai, near Powai lake.
Analysts say real estate firms aren’t helping themselves with this attitude.
“The current slowdown in demand for realty, coupled with declining internal accruals and reduced funding options, exposes them (real estate firms) to the downside of this aggressive strategy; there are large amounts of debt already on their balance sheets and, (with) external funds increasingly hard to come by, we foresee delays on their many ongoing and planned real estate projects, thereby leading to the possibility of sale of projects or even enterprises,” said Akash Deep Jyoti, head of corporate and government ratings at Crisil Ltd, a Standard and Poor’s company.
A report in Monday’s The Economic Times said banks and finance companies have begun pushing developers to sell cheap.
To make matters worse, many companies have borrowed from outside the banking system at much higher rates.
The best way out is for them to sell assets and offload completed projects, said Jyoti.
Builders also need to get realistic on pricing, as a significant correction is yet to happen, added Jyoti.
Bangalore: Real estate entrepreneur Vijay Raheja has lined up a raft of projects in Mumbai and Bangalore for the next six months to a year—braving a slump in the property market after splitting the family business with his brother in July—and started with a development targeted at the rich. His company, V Raheja Design Construction launched its first project post the split on Dussehra—the Verena luxury villas spread over five acres in east Bangalore’s Whitefield neighbourhood where each unit has been priced at Rs6 crore. Exclusive: V Raheja Design took over construction of the new JW Marriott hotel at UB City in Bangalore in July. Hemant Mishra / Mint“There are 40 villas, and all will be sold by invitation. Other residential and commercial projects will be launched gradually,” said a senior official at the company who manages the Bangalore operations, but did not want to be identified. Raheja is working on projects including an IT park, Gigaplex, a residential project, Buena Vista, and a commercial property, Raheja Chambers, in the city. In Mumbai, an information technology park is under construction. Raheja and his younger brother, Deepak, split the 56-year-old B Raheja Builders between themselves and founded their own companies, ‘Mint’ reported on 7 July. The properties and projects of B Raheja Builders were divided between the brothers, with V Raheja Design taking over the construction of the new JW Marriott hotel at UB City in Bangalore. “A Rs6 crore villa is overpriced where builders are unable to sell Rs3 crore houses in the same area,” Naresh Dandapat, regional director (south) at property consultancy Knight Frank India, said of the Verena villa project. But the official defended the pricing, saying, “They are exclusive and contemporary, and have been priced accordingly.” Analysts say builders need to get realistic about pricing, sell assets and offload finished projects