Saturday, November 01, 2008

Email from a disgruntled Purva apt buyer

Lets vote with our wallets and boycott these unscrupulous builders

Dear Friends,

Please forward this mail to as many people as possible.

My name is Rishi Agarwal and I am a 1996 EE graduate from IIT Kanpur. I returned to India in 2005 and purchased a flat in Puravankara Fountainsquare. Please go through the message to see the horror story.

I wanted to write this mail to all of you so that all of you can benefit from my (our) experience with Puravankara Projects Limited. I purchased a flat in their Fountainsquare project in Bangalore and this is the story of all my fellow Purva owners.

The agreement that we signed with Puravankara has the following:

1. The delay from our side is charged at 24% per year.
2. The delay from their side will make them pay at 6%.
3. They don't have to pay the penalty if we delay two payments by more than 2 days.
4. What they call as delay is also decided by them.
5. They reserve the right to cancel the agreement at any time and
they will keep 15% of your money.

Sounds scary right? but every word here is true. I can scan and send the agreement to all of you.

Why would you think I signed the dotted line? Why did any of us sign
this flawed agreement? The thing is that when you go to a premium
builder (for which you pay a premium), you expect to have a smooth
transaction. You don't expect such uneven agreement. At the least,
you'd expect that they'll not exercise it.

Puravankara is exercising it bluntly. There are 200 of us who are
already in court against it but as you know we have no legal stand.
We have signed the dotted line. Their executives have been
nightmarish and are very discourteous.

Please contact Mr. Prem at in case you want to confirm the validity of what I wrote in this mail.

Please come forward and teach the unethical business house a lesson.

Kind Regards

Friday, October 31, 2008

Loan defaulters rights

What a change of headlines in the Economic times. From buy before you get priced out, to "How do you pay the loan on the property you thought was going to double ?" . Ofcourse the black money operators don't have to worry ;)

Defaulted on home loan? Be aware of your rights

MUMBAI: Almost every home loan borrower has this niggling fear: What if I default? Higher interest rates could hit those with floating rate home loans, triggering a rise in defaults.

A loan, which could be comfortably serviced at an 8% floating interest rate could cause substantial discomfort after the rates rise to around 12%.

For some, it could even lead to a problem in repayment. This scary scenario isn’t all that rare. According to rating agency Crisil’s forecast, the share of bad loans is likely to swell to 4% of banks’ total loans in the next two years.

In case of a default, it is best to approach the lender for an amicable settlement. If all the efforts undertaken for repayment fail, the lender is likely to take over and sell the mortgaged property.

No doubt, it is very painful to let go of your prized possession, which you may have acquired with your lifetime’s savings. However, in such circumstances, borrowers need to keep an eye on their rights, which provide adequate opportunity to repay.

As regulated entities, there are certain limits that banks cannot cross. For instance, RBI guidelines do not allow a lender to repossess without proper notice.

The central bank also has norms that are taken into consideration under specific circumstances. There is a well-laid out procedure for taking possession of the security, provisions regarding a final chance to repay and a procedure for sale. These are in addition to the strict guidelines for recovery agents.

Usually, banks invoke the provisions of Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (Sarfaesi) Act for a quick recovery. This involves a 60-day notice period. But the Act states that such a notice cannot be issued until the borrower’s account is classified as a non-performing asset; that is, when it is 90 days overdue.

“If the borrower fails to repay even after the notice period, the bank can go ahead with the sale. However, in order to sell, the bank has to serve another 30-day notice mentioning the sale,” Abhay Debt Counselling Centre debt counselling head VN Kulkarni said.

Further, if your mortgaged home has to be sold, the bank has to publish a notice regarding the same in two leading newspapers specifying the reserve price. The sale has to be a private treaty sale, based on conditions mutually agreed upon by the bank and the borrower.

“If you feel the property is undervalued, you can raise an objection. However, in case the auction is done through the court, an independent valuer is appointed for carrying out the valuation,” said Poorvi Chothani, proprietor of law firm LawQuest. “You can even sell your own house in order to repay the loan.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Real estate crunch forces IIM-B to experiment with off-campus housing

Interesting to see that the builder has opted to rent out apts instead of selling them off at discounted prices . Is it a sign of the times ? If we go by the yield calculation, the builder is getting a paltry amount in rent as opposed to selling it off and getting 10% in fixed deposits.

Real estate crunch forces IIM-B to experiment with off-campus housing
Archana M Prasanna / Bangalore October 31, 2008, 0:22 IST

Faced with the prospect of escalating real estate costs and the lack of adequate finances, the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) is experimenting with “off-campus housing” to accommodate additional students from the next academic year. If the experiment works, it may set a precedent for other IIMs.

With its campus in Bannerghatta already brimming, the institute has decided to take 50 apartments (150 rooms) on lease in a nearby residential building called Ajmera Complex. The plan is to lodge students from the one-year full time Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) — to be launched in April 2009 — in the leased apartments.

“Unless we experiment, we wouldn’t know if this is the way ahead,” reasoned Pankaj Chandra, Director of IIM-B, on the initiative.

IIM-B may also accommodate some students from the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) and doctoral programme at off-campus locations. The institute is planning a bus service from its premises to the off-campus housing to make it convenient for students to travel.

In its recent report, the IIM Review Committee — led by Maruti Suzuki India Chairman RC Bhargava — suggested that IIM faculty and administrative staff residences could be moved to off-campus sites, and accommodation bought/rented there so that “the existing infrastructure could be more intensively used”.

Chandra said the institute had received Rs 29 crore from the human resources development (HRD) ministry for the OBC quota expansion, but the overall expenses of accommodating new faculty and students is expected to be much higher than that. Subsequently, the institute is keenly looking at financial support from corporate houses and alumni.

Unlike IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Lucknow, which have two campuses, IIM-B hasn’t had any major construction activity in the last 10 years. Chandra added that the institute has taken up the off-campus option despite plans to commission some construction from this December. The institute has hired an architect for a new hostel facility, 10 classrooms and 24 faculty homes.

The institute has over 950 students from various programmes on its campus at present. From the academic year of 2009-10, the number of students in the PGP and doctoral programme is expected to go up from 640 to 690, the Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy and Management (PGPPM) will have an increased intake of 63 from 33, and the one-year EPGP is expected to have 75 seats, making it an intake of 150 new seats at the campus.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mumbai's super bubble

Here is an advt for an apt in Mumbai which sent my head spinning. At 55000 Rs a sq/ft it is the highest I've seen advertised. A 4 crore price tag will buy you 875 sq/ft of super builtup area. The seller is kind enough to remind you that newer apts in the locality come in larger sizes at 1500 sq/ft which would make it unaffordable to a normal resident. Also maintainence is higher in other apts, so the buyer better worry about paying Rs 10k extra a month. Once the buyer buys this 4crore apt, he has the option to commute using the conveniece of the local train and rub shoulder, noses and oily hair with thousands of other local residents by paying 10 Rs for a ticket. This is the peak of a massive bubble in Mumbai which is destined to collapse under its own weight.
NR39500000 Racecourse View From All Rooms-2BHK. (Mahalaxmi)
Centrally located 2 BHK, 875 sq feet(a size which is not available nowadays in 2bhk,since most new constructions are over 1500 sq feet and above charging about 55000 per sq feet in the same area, making the flat not affordable for many buyers), one bedroom with attached bathroom, and one with a bathroom outside,large living room with dining area,ready with high quality flooring as well as well painted walls and with 24 hours water supply,electricity backup,children's garden,and a garden to walk in as well,with 1 parking space which will be sold separately. The flat is located on the 9th floor in the B wing,Flat no 902, Is Vastu Compliant and has sea view from all rooms and also a full race course view,It is located in such a way that no construction will ever be coming up in front of it to obstruct the view. The flat is a 2 min walk from Mahalaxmi Station,15 min drive to Vt station via J.J Flyover,15 mins to churchgate by train,10 min drive to phoenix mills,10 min drive to worli seaface which will be helpful to travel to the suburbs in the next year via the sea link.Besides all of this the property is in an area which is suitable to any sort of occupants even the ones who travel to thane and lonavala and pune since it is a 2 min drive to dadar from where the western express highway begins. Also it is 5 mins away from the newly built five star Four Seasons, and also 10 mins away from ITC GRAND MARATHA Sheraton at dadar. Basically its an all gain flat which has to be sold due to the occupants moving to another country and there are no other properties up for sale in the same building or in the neighbouring buildings except for in Planet Godrej which has high maintainance as well as larger flats which are sold at prices which dont lie in anyones budget.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Real estate presses panic button in Mysore

MYSORE: When Bangalore sneezes, Mysore catches a cold, says a veteran developer borrowing a popular cliché.

He is referring to the sudden fall in property demand in Mysore. After Bangalore, Mysore has been the most attractive real estate investment venue for the moneyed Mumbaikars and Bangaloreans.

Despite claims to the contrary, Mysore realtors suddenly find themselves in an unenviable situation. The value of the sites and apartments, according to reliable sources within the industry, has come down by 15 - 20 per cent in just about three weeks.

Mysore has, in the recent past, been drawing investors in droves from within and outside the states after property prices of Bangalore had hit the roof. Even the "neo-rich" IT personnel found Bangalore property scalding. There then took place a race for prime plots in the nearest "Heritage City." In terms of 'quality of life' such as greenery, good roads and less crowd, Mysore beat Bangalore and the big players like Sobha Developers, Brigade Group and Leo Builders made Mysore their home.

Sources with Mysore Chapter of Builders' Association of India (BAI) told DNA the enquiries for apartments and luxury villas have gone down by 30 per cent since October second week. This has left them wondering what was happening. Have they made a miscalculation or is it a temporary slump, nobody really know.

Pradeep, a real estate dealer who has been in the business for the last two decades says, "Mysore never saw the kind of demand it witnessed in the last few years. Sites were sold before they hit the advertising board, just five years ago.
Plot after plot, even in suburbs, was blocked by potential builders who wanted to cash in on the growth. But the fall in demand taking place in the past few weeks is alarming."

Sub-registrar's office which otherwise used to be doing brisk business with 8 to10 registrations a day, now has just one or two," he said. This, he points out is despite this being a festive season when people planned major investments.

"Last year this time, registrations touched an all time high with an average 30 a day." said a lady clerk working at sub-registrar's office.

According to BAI sources, the situation was aggravated by many factors, besides the psychological slump. Nagesh, who has been working closely with BAI says, "When land was earmarked for SEZ near Mysore, industries rejoiced. But, the power scarcity proved a big blow. Slow progress of infrastructure development and political instability added to the woes. It was thought, Mysore, which had earned a major chunk of funds up to Rs 1,800 Cr under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) would wean away many big real estate players from metros. An airport was also thrown in to woo investments. But, nothing seems working.

Now, Mysore has turned into an investor's nightmare with sharp decline in prices at the peak of the season. Apartments or luxury villas find no takers," Nagesh adds.

The nearby Hassan district, which too witnessed a similar growth as Mysore in the recent years has also witnessed a fall in demand and consequent prices.

Developers seem indeed perplexed at the situation. Apart from announcing lollipops and hoping that situation would improve, they are devoid of any fresh ideas.

"We have announced attractive plans and packages with great returns. We just hope the markets will get better," Nagesh says.

The upshot of it all is that realtors are unwilling to climb down, and investors are equally vehement. The result is stalemate.

Experts speak : All is not lost

A 90% drop in real estate stock market values is now a reality. has list of current stock price and its annual performance. All we need now is a price reduction in selling prices, not gimmcks like free car, free flat or free plots. We are not stupid guys. How long will it take for you to realize this ?
Expertspeak: All's not lost
27 Oct, 2008, 0000 hrs IST, ET Bureau
Every cloud has a silver lining if seen from the perspective of equity analysts. Forget the fact that the Sensex has dropped 70% and many stocks dropped 90%, the experts are trying to reason and assure the investors that all is not lost. Ofcourse all is not lost. A 10L portfolio is still worth 2L even today, but as the Unitech chariman said on CNBC, they have not reduced housing prices, inspite of borrowing at 2.5 per month from legal sources. Many builders are borrowing at 3-5% per month. How can they recoup their losses when the buyers have vanished from their 1cr+ properties. The end is near as far as the housing bubble is concerned. Stock prices are a leading indicator of the days ahead. The housing companies used absurd metrics to value their property and investors lapped onto their lofty projections, some due to greed others due to ignorance.

MUMBAI: Chin up when the chips are down. The climbing fear index (43 during the 1929 Great Depression and 75 in October 2008), is more disturbing
than the slipping Sensitive Index. It took a good two-and-a-half hours and four of the country’s best stock market analysts to reassure an 800-strong audience of Mumbai investors on Thursday that all’s not lost. Every dip brings in a new buying opportunity was the message.

The Economic Times, Gujarati, last week kicked off its latest initiative “Managing Financial Turbulence” by bringing the fourth edition of “Sensex Ni Sangathe” (In Tune With Sensex), a popular series of investor camps, to Mumbai. Eminent stock market experts Nilesh Shah, joint MD, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, Nipun Mehta, ED of Society General India Private Banking, CS Nanda, CCM, financial market investors protection committee, ICAI and Madhusudan Kela, head of equity investments, Reliance Capital Asset Management, reaffirmed their faith in the India growth story. The meet was jointly organised by ET (Gujarati) and ICAI, Western India Regional Council, at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle on October 23.

What they said...

Forced liquidation is happening in the market. Fear (among investors) is at the highest level. This is the worst situation in the past 100 years and so an overnight recovery is not on the cards. While the Indian economy is growing at 6.5-7.5%, the world is already talking of a negative growth rate of 0.5% and 1.5%.

Madhusudan Kela
Head of equity investments, Reliance Capital Asset Management

There are some good developments which the market has ignored. This year, we had an average monsoon, Indo-US nuclear deal is now a reality, we received FDI worth $10 billion during the past two quarters, crude oil prices have fallen and inflation is expected to ease out in the coming days. It is just a matter of time when FIIs will be forced to back the winning horse (India).

Nilesh Shah
Joint MD, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund

Prices are indeed attractive. It’s like the latest McDonald ad campaign ‘Aap ke Jamaane mein, baap ke jamaane ke daam’. Lot of Indian global acquisitions happened at peak prices, and now fund raising has become difficult for these companies. Still, impact on the Indian economy will be limited. Investors need to have a longer time-horizon and take a fresh look at their portfolio holdings.