Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is coming but realty market’s not yet fat Read more: Christmas is coming but realty market’s not yet fat - The Times of India http://times

Article Link

A source in a leading property fund said that while the suburbs have witnessed an average slowdown of 30%, south and central Mumbai have seen a drop in sales by 45%. "There is a fatigue factor. How long can prices keep increasing?" said a developer from south Mumbai.

For instance, in Borivli, property prices in new residential constructions have shot up from Rs 8,000 per sq ft to Rs 12,000 per sq ft a year ago. In Andheri (west), rates have jumped from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,000 per sq ft in upcoming projects.

Property developer Nayan Shah said the rates had shot up by 30% to 40% in the past year, but developers were still holding on to prices. "The cost of transfer of development rights (TDR) and construction material like sand had shot up substantially," he said, adding that the government had been slow in reforming the housing sector.

Another developer said sales had slowed down in the last two months. "What is worse is that liquidity in the market has dried up. Public sector unit banks have tightened the screws after the LIC housing scam," he said.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Repayment blues to hit realty prices

Article Link

Real estate companies, which are already under severe financial strain, have to make a bullet repayment of over Rs 14,000 crore in the next two months to banks. This will force builders to cut prices of real estate stock, especially residential units, to boost cash flows to help them repay dues.

The huge repayment burden in December and January was created when many banks restructured real estate loans for one and a half years in June 2009 under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) special dispensation. “This is falling due in the next two months,” said a senior executive of a bank, who did not want to be named.

But a senior banker from a public sector bank said, “Real estate companies will have to drop prices and sell properties so that there is a regular cash flow into their books.”

The problem started when developers began to jack up prices, stifling sales at lower rates. This hit cash flows of developers. Banks aggravated the situation by helping developers to roll over debt by recording repayment on the due date and granting a fresh loan to the same company the next day.

This helped the bank to continue the account as a standard asset while the developer got funds with no pressure to lower property rates and generate cash flows. Now, banks are watching their real estate exposure and implementing strong checks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

US warns India about possible WikiLeaks release

Another embarrasment is about to hit the Indian politicians and government officials.
This might help the 2G scam accused as the disclosures will dominate the news headlines on Sunday and the coming week. Any guesses what US diplomats think about Indian politicians and Babu's.

DNA India reports.

The US has warned India and other key governments across the world about a new potentially embarrassing release of classified documents by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks which may harm the American interests and create tension in its ties with its "friends".

"We have reached out to India to warn them about a possible release of documents," state department spokesperson PJ Crowley told Press Trust of India.

"We do not know precisely what WikiLeaks has or what it plans to do. We have made our position clear. These documents should not be released," Crowley said, ahead of the expected release by the website of millions of sensitive diplomatic cables.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Property prices could crash due to loan scam

Article Link

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee directed state-run lenders to avert the reappearance of the loans-for-bribes scandal and recommended banks to go for a critical appraisal of all real estate loans above Rs 50 crore. This, however, may curb projects and drive developers to private funds, according to industry experts. On Wednesday, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested 8 finance executives on charges of taking bribes to pass loans.

Liquidity for the sector could dry up since bankers look cautious to sanction fresh loans which in turn will force builders to reduce prices to enhance cash output. But for prospective buyers, this is good news as many have been holding on due to high prices.

DB Realty dipped to 10%, Indiabulls Real Estate lost 5.2%, DLF fell 3.8%, and Unitech declined 6%. Shortage of funds is now threatening to act as a major hitch for project execution. This is an important cause for concern as the sector is only recovering now after the economic hiatus of 2008.

Mukherjee said, “Banks and financial institutions should strengthen the NPA (non-performing assets) monitoring and management in their institutions to ensure that advance action is taken to identify incipient sickness and take appropriate action on it”

A Bank of India official said, “All big-tickets loans, particularly to builders, will come under the scanner now. Recall of loans can happen if there is a fear that the quality of loans may suffer. But as of now, there is no such worry and hence it would not prompt us to recall loans.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

2G scam, corrupt nexus between policiticans, business and the media

Full transcript of calls between politicians/lobbyists and journalists including the Ambani Gas deal, Air-India ripoff by Praful Patel and more. It appears that Prabhu Chawla had advance information of the judgement and Nira Radia is fishing for information. More juicy details by Outlook

By roping in the media the politicians and businessmen have nothing to fear. The 4th estate is as corrupt as the other three and these tapes provide damming evidence to that effect. When I said that the Indian media will never report the truth on the state of real estate because of vested interests like builders placing advertisements into the same publications I didn't realize the extent of the rot which had seeped into the system.

Forget real estate one can replace 2G scam with any other scam and the same nexus will operate with high efficiency.

There are also news articles which now put the stock market boom in recent months into question as the recycled corrupt money enters India thru Marutius and other tax havens.

Open Magazine has provided links to Barkha Dutt's conversation with Nira Radia. The media in India is the wolf in the lamb's clothing. Who will trust the messenger ?

Here are Magazine's links

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mumbai realty gives affordability the go-by

Article Link

Mr Pankaj Kapoor, Managing Director of property consultant firm Liases Foras, said the prices are so high that “no one can buy”. Of course, if one limits his options, he can move that much further into the suburbs looking for properties that match his budget, he added.

Mr Kapoor said that while the average cost of an apartment in Greater Mumbai (municipal limits) was Rs 27 lakh in January 2004, it skyrocketed to Rs 1.47 crore in November 2008, slipped marginally to Rs 1.28 crore in June 2009 (when a correction set in) only to spiral to Rs 2.03 crore in September 2010.

Now, the preferred route for PE is akin to that of home buyers.

They move in at the project conceptualisation stage and book a definite number of flats or units for about 25 per cent down-payment at a pre-agreed price.

Property registration data for Mumbai indicate that after hitting a peak in property sales in December 2009, the subsequent monthly sales continued to decline till June 2010. While about 9,000 registrations were recorded in December 2009, only about 6,000 were recorded in February 2010. Preliminary field data show that there were only 4,500 registrations in May 2010, he said.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

How can you beat this real-estate bubble?

Article Link

As property prices are showing only a few signs of abating, analysts predict that a potential real-estate bubble is looming large. So how can you achieve your long-awaited dream of owning a house? Moneylife went into a huddle with some industry analysts to give you the answers

Solution No. 1: Work hard, jump jobs, do anything to reach an annual Rs40-lakh salary.

Solution No. 2: Forget Mumbai or Delhi, there are a lot of other urban conglomerates in this vast country.

Solution No. 3:
There is strength in numbers.

Vikhyat Srivastava, former analyst with the Kotak Mahindra Group and co-founder of, a real-estate site for group-buying, told Moneylife, "As a group, you can get a discount for any service. If a developer is selling 100 houses, and a group comes to buy 20 or 30 houses together, he would lower the prices for them as he would be able to do away with one lot. As a group, one can get a discount of about 20%-30% in real estate purchases."

If statistics bore you to death, consider this. Until now, buyers trading on have been able to garner bulk discounts of Rs19.85 crore on a piece of real-estate which had a market tag of Rs93.5 crore for 88 flats. Do the math. That's a lot of money saved.

Solution No. 4:
The pre-launch phase is the best time to buy. But there is a caveat, though.

Solution No. 5: Rent, don't buy.

Solution No. 6:
Be patient, very patient.

"I expect a price correction but the focus has to come back to consumers. If the property price does not increase in the next three years, it in itself is a correction. There are chances that property prices may undergo correction by 10%. If it doesn't appreciate in the next three years, it's overall a 30 % correction."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Must see video and article on the Kargil Adarsh society scam

Mid-day has an excellent article on this topic. Simpreet Singh deserves full credit for this RTI expose. Click here for the full article.

Parade ground, Transit camp for SRA, security issues all thrown to the wind by Congress-NCP

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Prices go north as space ‘shrinks’ in Mumbai

Article Link

Developers across Mumbaihave hiked project prices by 7-43%, leaving genuine home buyers in a fix. Worse, despite the price hike, the carpet area, or the actual space the buyer receives for his use in the property, is nowhere near the usual proportion of saleable area the developers used to offer. Earlier, developers used to give as much as 70-75% as carpet area, which has now shrunk to 55-60%.

Among the bigger realty brands, Lodha Developers has hiked prices 11-30%, Ackruti City by 10-42%, Dosti group and Godrej Properties 10-18%, Kalpataru Constructions 9-24% and Runwal Group by 10-25%, to name a few. All the developers have increased prices for properties in Thane and nearby regions substantially.

“Across all the major micro-markets, prices have risen by 10-30% since April 2010. This is after the 20-40% increases between October 2009 and April 2010. For example, prices in Borivli, are quoting Rs8,000-11,000 per sq ft, up from last year’s Rs6,000-8,000p sq ft.”

An analyst from a domestic brokerage, who spent the whole day trying to gauge sale conversions, said, “We waited the whole day, but hardly saw any inquiry translating into a sale.” An analyst from an international brokerage had this reaction to offer, “if you don’t work in the financial services sector, you can’t buy these properties; they are unreasonable.”

Will this Analyst Firm give their honest opinion to Media, I guess not....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pay 10% of the flat value now and remaining 90% on possession

Unreal estate…Manic buying before a likely panic collapse

The 10:90 schemes have got such a good response. Buyers of such real estate projects have now become investors or rather traders. They are paying 10% upfront and buying a call option. If prices collapse, they will have to simply write-off the 10% they invested. We have heard enough that derivatives are weapons of mass destruction. These weapons appear to have entered the real estate now. Is it a prelude to a crash?

From the builder’s perspective, the scheme works because he gets potential buyers into the system. The supply which is coming in central Mumbai is huge, just look around the Parel landscape and you will get an idea of the number of buildings that will come up in the coming years. Kamala Mills, where our office is located, is in the epicenter; the world’s tallest tower is coming up on one side and world’s greenest tower launched by DLF is on the other. There will be about 13,000 apartments which could cost anything upwards of Rs4 crore each coming up in the central Mumbai area. To put it in perspective, in the last five years less than 6,000 apartments of somewhat similar quality have been sold. So we are talking about 21 pricey flats being sold a week over the next four years, which I think is too ambitious. Informed people tracking the real estate market say property prices overall will have to cool from these levels.

If at all prices remain high it would be due to failure by some builders to deliver their projects on time, which would reduce the supply in these areas. If all the supply materializes, then some builders will be forced to cut down their amenities and luxuries and make the prices more affordable to sell their flats.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Real estate prices hit the fast track in New Delhi, Mumbai

Is real estate becoming an asset bubble?

DNA invited some leading real-estate players to help readers understand the trends in the industry in Mumbai.

Prakash Shah: Mid-town means areas like Lower Parel. I don't see a price correction happening in distant suburbs like Thane where the price is about Rs8,000. That is affordable middle-class housing. That’s a place where land availability is still possible. Enquires and business are going on. There is reasonable demand and supply. Not at the same levels as in 2008, buta reasonable demand-supply position is there. And Rs7,000-8,000 is an affordable rate in Mumbai. Maybe in other cities I understand Rs3,000-4,000 is an affordable rate, but Mumbai has a peculiar way of thinking. Compare the prices of Central suburbs, which are around Rs8,000 a sq ft, with those of Western suburbs like Borivli-Kandivli where prices are around Rs10,000-11,000 sq ft. These differences will remain.

Anand Narayanan: In Delhi, you can just keep expanding. Manesar or Gurgaon. The Delhi model is to give the first investor all flats, who then sells them to a second investor and then to the third. In Mumbai, because land is scarce, the builder (except for the small part he has sold to original investors) normally wants to sell to the real user. It also ensures that the market does not get too speculative, and prices don’t fall. The flats may sell very slowly, but the builder can afford to wait because he does not have a million square feet to sell, with the knowledge that he can develop another million square feet tomorrow. That is why, in Mumbai, when I go and buy a product in Hiranandani or any of the good developers. there is a lock-in period. If I put in money today I may not be able to sell for a period of time which is a reasonable period of time. It could be as high as one year to three years. Then there is a high exit cost.There is a transfer charge which is designed to stop investors from flipping it and which can go as high as 15% of your sale value. These exit costs could be in the region of Rs50-100 per sq ft.

Article Link

when we talk of the possibility of a bubble, we’re actually only talking of property in Mumbai and Delhi right now.

The real estate market in Delhi led the correction, and Mumbai fell in line next. Both bounced back after the introduction of stimulus packages and the government’s actions in restructuring debt. During the revival phase, a large amount of capital sitting on the fences immediately saw an opportunity. This was first seen in the equity markets, and then later in the real estate and gold commodity markets - all three classes bounced back convincingly.

There is, therefore, a concern that these two markets have demonstrated higher-than- expected enthusiasm, especially in the central parts in the case of Mumbai, and Gurgaon and Noida for Delhi. A lot of investors have plugged in considerable amounts of capital in these regions, and the values, on an average, have now gone 30% higher than the last peak. Some of the residential developments in central Mumbai in 2008 had peaked at `30,000/sq ft. Today, they stand at 38,000/sq ft.

The kind of volumes that we have witnessed in the first half of 2010 has come down dramatically but the liquidity situation in the market has not dropped, and neither has the appetite for investment. In fact, the same enthusiasm, which had been previously contracted by the central parts of Mumbai, is now spreading towards the other parts of the city.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Mumbai property rises above slums

Article on

A real estate boom in Mumbai is fuelling the building of elite high-rise apartment blocks, such as the 117-storey World One.

Their high-priced exclusiveness as they tower over the city’s slums, which house two-thirds of its population, highlight the growing gap between haves and have-nots in what is already one of the world’s most unequal societies.

“With the new buildings, there is much more segregation than in the Bombay I grew up in [during the 70s],” says Suketu Mehta, the author of Maximum City, the novel about Mumbai whose title has become a synonym for India’s financial capital.

Mumbai’s property market, Asia’s third most expensive, has staged a dramatic recovery from the global financial crisis in line with the country’s economy – expected to grow 8.5 per cent in the current fiscal year.

But the difference between this and previous real estate booms is the size and increasingly elite nature of the new buildings.

With no hope in sight of an increase in mass housing for lower income earners, the new buildings will only serve to underline social inequality in Mumbai, known as India’s “City of Dreams” for its Bollywood movie industry and powerful tycoons.

“Most of the people I know in Bombay ‘high’ have no interaction with Bombay ‘low’, except that they look down upon them from a great height, like barons in medieval fortresses,” says Maximum City’s Mr Mehta.

Monday, October 04, 2010

ET interview with Pranab Mukerjee

Essentially the Finance Minister says that they will not curb FII investment in the near term, RBI will intervene whenever the rupee tries to rise quickly and higher prices are here to stay forever. To quote him "Prices do not go down. In fact they never go down". I foresee the following happening over the period of the next year.

1. Sensex hits an all time high however retail investor participation remains very weak. The common man has not forgotten what has happened in 2008-2009 and is going to stay on sidelines for atleast few more years before his memory begins to fail.
2. RBI raises interest rates as stock markets hit record highs. Interest rates begin to pinch the common man who has taken loans for his own house, education, home improvement, credit cards etc. Buyers keep buying houses in all cities except Mumbai where without 1crore of black money nothing moves
3. Prices of goods keep going up as speculators hoard commodities and producers reduce supply to maximize margins.
4. Companies try to be efficient to keep up with rising costs. Wages remain stagnant. No Pink slips yet.

Net effect

Stagnant wages, Higher loan payments, higher monthly expenses , lower savings, say bye bye to financial independence.

Welcome to the Matrix. If you take the blue pill, you get to see how deep the rabbit hole goes

Here is the finance ministers interview

In an interview with ET Now, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee says it’s not a time to put any restriction on the inflow of FII and that the regulators are closely watching the market. Excerpts:

What do you think are the primary reasons for the market rally we are experiencing currently?

Always the fear of having some sort of bubble would remain. I do not think this is a time to put any restriction on the inflow of FII. Certain market sentiments are there. Prospective investors are looking into the market, and naturally, India as an emerging economy, along with China and some other Asian economies, is considered a safe destination for investment. One of this upswing is that robust recovery which was expected in North America and Europe has not yet taken place and the IMF forecast has also been revised. We shall have to watch the situation. We reached more than 20,000 in January 2008. So, the stock market fluctuation always takes place, but we shall have to see that it does not have that adverse impact just like a bubble effect.

Is it safe to presume here that you are in touch with the market regular and keeping a close eye on how the market has really moved today?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At Rs 1.91 cr, average cost of flat in Mumbai now at all-time high

Even if prices drop 50% they are not affordable to 95% of the Mumbaikars. Other cities like Chennai, Bangalore,Pune, Hyderabad are still affordable to most of their residents. If only I could move I would do so in a heartbeat. Unless someone has pots of money, white or black it makes no sense to buy in Mumbai. However if someone has to sell, this couldn't be a better time.

Indian Express reports

In Mumbai, the average cost of a roof over one’s head is now at an all-time high of Rs 1.91 cr.

Raghav N. Bhatnagar

With property prices soaring to dizzying heights in the country's financial capital, aspiring home-buyers have to be much more than a crorepati to buy a flat in Mumbai, where the average cost of a roof over one’s head is now at an all-time high of Rs 1.91 crore.

According to figures put together by the real estate research agency Liases Foras, the weighted average cost of a flat in Mumbai at 1.91 crore has leapt by 49 percent over the last one year. The weighted average cost is the total capital value of all flats divided by the total inventory in each city. In comparison, five other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and the National Capital Region (NCR) have witnessed either a drop in rates or a negligible increase. An average flat in these places is relatively affordable at Rs 35 to Rs 50 lakh.

Monday, September 27, 2010

India Just Broke Its Record For Most Foreign Investment In A Single Year

I'm predicting a short term correction followed by a gigantic rally and then a big thud. All this short term mania has to end up in the dumpsters. The greater fool theory is in the works now. Its a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost. Be very careful for we all know Bulls make money, bears make money, Pigs gets slaughtered. Somebody has to lose in this game, just make sure you are not the last man standing. Comparing the S&P 500 with the Sensex is really poor journalism. The Sensex is only 30 stocks compared to the blue chip 500 in the S&P. The current sensex rally is driven by few chosen stocks. Even bellweather Reliance has not participated in the rally. State Bank of India is up 50%. Anytime a big gorilla like SBI rallys 50% there is a clear indication of the greater fool theory. Only here the FII's are playing the game hoping the Indian retail investor will participate thru the Mutual funds who they can then dump on. Last time this ended badly the Japanese investors were the last ones to enter and they must have been left holding the bag. Not to mention other Sovereign wealth funds which must have been beaten down to the core.

Business Insider reports

India just broke its single year record for foreign investment and it's only the end of September.

The mark, set today, is $17.89 billion, according to the Business Standard. That beats 2009's total of $17.86 billion. The specific class of investment is foreign institutional investment, which includes equity funds.
The pace appears to be picking up too, with $300 million invested in the country for the week ending September 22.

The question then is whether or not the Indian economy, and its Sensex exchange, is in a bubble.
Currently, the P/E ratio of the Sensex is 19.1, which doesn't seem ridiculous. The U.S. S&P 500 is trading just above that right now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Forget Mumbai, the real bubble is in Ahmedabad

It looks like Gujju investors are returning to their homeland and sparking a buying frenzy in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is now resembling Mumbai when you compare prices. Ahmedabad has no known industry which draws thousands of job seekers like Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore.
Ahmedabad can be a good city to live in if one has good job prospects or if one is running a good business. Same goes to Nagpur, Coimbatore and Mysore. However as of now I know noone in my current set of friends who would like to relocate to these cities. Maybe times will be different in a few years

DNA reports

About a year and a half ago, recession in the city realty market had builders and buyers alike, worried. However, about a year since the first signs of recovery in June 2009, realty in Ahmedabad is back and booming. In fact, property prices in the city have inched up by nearly 35%.

The high economic growth and rate of urbanisation, along with the improvement in infrastructure in the state, have been catalysts in the growth of the real estate market. And the boom is not restricted to the western side of the city alone - properties across the city, irrespective of location, have witnessed a steep rise in prices.

However, Ahmedabad had been anything but spared by the global meltdown. The property market in the city had been considerably hit by the recent economic slowdown. But property prices started moving northwards in June 2009.

"If you compare the pre-slowdown prices with the present ones, there has been an increase of about 22-25%. However, if you consider the cumulative rise in prices since the worst phase of the downturn, the increase has been almost 35%," said Suresh Patel, GIHED president.
He said that the property prices in the city went down by around 12-15% due to the recession, and it took around four-five months for the prices to get back to the pre-slowdown level. "After that, they have increased by around 22-25%," said Patel.

Online real estate service provider company's property index shows that realty prices in Ahmedabad have grown by 36.8%, compared to the national average of around 18.6%, between June 2009 and June 2010.

Jaxay Shah, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) - Gujarat, also acknowledged the same and said that the higher GDP rate in the state and the infrastructure available have lent a boost to the market. There still remains a lot of scope for the real estate industry in Ahmedabad, he said.

Realtors believe that better living conditions could be making Ahmedabad a viable alternative to Mumbai.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bad realty loans threaten to nibble at banks’ pre-tax profit

Article Link

Home prices have shot up as developers keen to cash-in on the booming economy have bid land prices to new highs in land-scarce cities like Mumbai. For instance, last month, city-based Neepa Real Estate paid Rs 830 crore for an 18-acre plot in Andheri, Mumbai. Earlier, Indiabulls Real Estate successfully bid over Rs 1,900 crore for two NTC mill plots — the 2.39-acre Poddar Mills and the 8.37-acre Bharat Textile Mills property.

Sanjay Dutt of Jones Lang LaSalle, in his blog, has raised the prospects of a real estate bubble in pockets like Mumbai, pointing out that some properties in central Mumbai peaked at Rs 30,000/sq.ft in 2008 and today stand at 38,000/sq.ft. “There is yet another reason for the concern over a bubble building on the market. All developers who had ventured to buy land overseas or across India are now buying only in their primary cities. In other words, Mumbai developers are concentrating on acquiring land solely in Mumbai, and the same is happening in Gurgaon. Investments are now chasing these Tier-I markets, and if this continues, there is certainly the probability of a bubble in residential property by the end of the year,” he said.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

RBI hikes interest rates to tame inflation

Article Link

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank today raised its key short-term lending rate by 25 basis points and borrowing rate by 50 basis points to check rising prices.

" Inflation remains the dominant concern in macroeconomic management", RBI said while raising the repo (lending) and reverse repo (borrowing) rates to 6 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

The new rates, which comes into effect immediately, were announced as part of the first scheduled mid-quarterly review of the monetary policy.

The hike in rates will lead to a rise in cost of funds for the banks and eventually makes loans expensive, which will reduce consumption.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Builders resorting to distress sale?

Article Link

Hiral Shah, who has been scouting new residential projects in Kandivali to buy a house, got two rude shocks. “No one is quoting less than Rs 1.2 crore for a 1,000 sq ft house in Kandivali! And surprisingly, I also discovered that almost half the flats I saw in the two new projects were vacant,” said Shah.

Even as developers maintain that sales are brisk, crevices are beginning to show up, and one indication of this is that some developers are resorting to distress sales – disposing of homes by offering as much as 40-50 per cent discount. Zen Towers in Tardeo is a case study. Set to complete in December this year, you can buy space for Rs 15,000 per sq feet as opposed to the market rate of Rs 25,000.

But here’s the catch: you must make a bulk buy of at least 10,000 square feet.

“The market is over-heated, and with a price correction being anticipated, investments are drying up. Though big builders can hold on, it is the small players who have started to feel the pinch, and are creating distressed assets even as market sentiment is positive,” said Atul Khekade, partner, Netz Realty, a property consultancy firm that has sensed opportunity here.

A builder, who is selling bulk stock at 40 per cent discount, said on condition of anonymity, “As big builders go on increasing rates for their projects, the average market rate is pushed up. They get funding through FDIs or big private equity firms. But when rates reach a brink, even investors who fund small projects like mine become wary. One Gujarati investor group that had promised to pump some money into my project backed out. Now I am desperate.”

Real estate analysts speculate the cracks could widen. Pankaj Kapoor, Managing Director, Liases Foras said, “Creation of distressed assets is an indication that the residential market will undergo a correction, which could be to the tune of 25 per cent in the short term. This is not just because property prices are unrealistic, but also because a chunk of flats are being traded by investors instead of being bought by actual users.”

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If you have to buy, buy from an investor

We've seen some excellent articles posted by fellow bloggers in the comments section along with some great arguments for the rise/fall in prices. I wish to thank everyone for that.

Here is my anecdotal evidence based on my interactions with brokers in Mumbai and other parts of the country.

Market has gone up rapidly in the past 7 months. They do not expect prices to rise much more beyond this. Investors are selling their properties however they are asking for almost 50% black. Some investors cannot exit with a high white component. Such properties are 20% lower the other all white deals sold by the builders. Like they say cash is king. In this case if you have cash you can negotiate any price. One of my friends put his house on the market. An offer was made within a day for 10% lower then the quoted price. For sellers the best thing is to decide the lowest price you are willing to take and then mark it up by 20%. People always like discounts so a 10% discount on a 120% marked price is better then a 5% on the 100% price. For buyers it makes sense to cut prices by atleast 20%. Give reasons like loan is not available for that amount. Funds are available but deployed elsewhere. This gives a sense of relief to the seller that even though you may not buy the flat, atleast you are capable of making funds available at some point in time and he is not dealing with a someone with an empty wallet.

Another person I met put his house on the market and got a quote right away, again at 10% below. This made me smart and I tried to do the same. I put my parents house and priced it 25% up and told this to the broker. The broker is like 'bahut jyaada quote kar rahe ho'. I know then that the rate I've quoted is what I should not be paying to buy the apartment from the broker.

In today's market in Mumbai it makes no sense to buy directly from the builder. The builder has already sold many properties to investors who keep rolling their money with him so the price is already higher then when the first flat got sold. In fact by buying the property you are decreasing the already reduced inventory and causing the price rise for the next buyer.
Secondly there are a plethora of taxes imposed by the government, BMC and other departments. This is true for all cities where I've looked. Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai are all the same when it comes to government fees, all these fees are up some even by 40-50%.

There is Service tax due which can be almost be 3% of the total agreement value. There is VAT, impact fee, premium housing fee all which add to the underlying house price. The government sees this as a quick way to make money since they expect most of these prices to get passed down to the housing loans of the buyers

Its best for somebody else like the investor to pick up the taxes and you get what you pay for. The investor is happy to exit at the agreeable price so even though he makes money, he saves you money since the newer fees from the builders are much higher. Investors are also happy to negotiate a discount to the builder so your final price is also lower then what a builder will charge you.

In Chennai the first sale is registered at the UDS (undivided share of land) value, a fraction close to 10-15% of the full apartment value. If you buy an apartment from an investor before registration you can easily save the 9% registration cost of the full price plus you get an almost ready apartment if you buy an apartment nearing construction

Everywhere I've seen investor flats seem to be the best bet for any underlying house purchase.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No one’s buying a house in and around Mumbai

Article Link

A staggering 96.3 million square feet of residential space — or about 80,000 homes — is lying unsold in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the highest-ever inventory pile-up for the area. Sales are down 38% over last year.

Data compiled by real estate research firm Liases Foras show that at the end of June 2010, the unsold residential space in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Mira-Bhayander and Thane was nearly twice the 58.9 million sq ft that was available in the MMR in June 2008. Liases Foras CEO Pankaj Kapoor said if flats that are currently lying with investors, which will eventually return to the market are taken into account, another 50 million sq ft will be added to the unsold space.

Analysts see in the glut a throwback to the circumstances that led to the realty slowdown of 2008-09. Builders are again looking to raise money through IPOs, and the pricing of flats is valuation- rather than sales-driven.

The average price of residential property in the MMR works out to Rs 7,747 per sq ft; in Mumbai itself it is an eye-popping Rs 13,798 per sq ft. A 1,000-sq ft carpet area flat in Kandivli, which cost Rs 70 lakh 15 months ago today costs Rs 1.6 crore, Kapoor said.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Observations On China's Bubble, Or The "Lose-Lose" Reality Of A Financial Cocaine Addiction

Not from India, but we are not very far behind in speculation....

Jim Quinn's has penned a good post on the "mother of all bubbles" in which he analyzes the impact of cheap credit and surging money supply on Chinese real estate, hot on the heels of recent Zero Hedge disclosure that nearly 65 million homes in China lie vacant. Using data from The Casey Report depicting the explosion in monetary aggregates, it is rather easy to see just where all the "excess" credit and easy money has gone. In many, if not all ways, the experience China is about to undergo with respect to its real estate bubble is comparable to that of the US, and simply the lack of an overlap of bubble peaks in 2007/8 is what helped China experience an all out economic rout, which due to how its socio-political structure is intertwined, may have well led to a domestic revolution and/or civil war. Yet the longer China avoids looking in the mirror, and continues to "feed the monkey" the worse off it will be when no amount of incremental cheap money can forestall the collapse. Which in itself is a very comparable predicament faced by our own administration and central bank. But before we present the Quinn article, we will take a brief detour into Michael Pettis' recent observations on the pitfalls association with a monetary heroin addiction.

Article Link

Monday, August 02, 2010

In Mumbai, flat sales drop 30-50% in 4 mths due to inflated rates

Times of India has this article. Looks like they have to tell the truth after all. Buyers have to be wary of the high builtup area which seems to be heading to 50% from the usual 25-30%. Also now a days there is no water supply graned to new buildings until end of 2011. I think by the time 2011 comes, they will move it another few years. Best to buy something ready construction with no water issues.

MUMBAI: Mumbai’s builders seem to have priced themselves out of the market. Sales of apartments, on an average, have dropped between 30% to 50% over the past four months as end-users, discouraged by the high rates, are staying away or postponing their decision to buy their dream house.

But developers are not perturbed. Except in 2008, at the height of the global economic meltdown, they have been riding high on the real estate boom that started seven years ago.

According to sources, most builders have a good staying capacity and can afford to hold on to their prices despite the drop in sales.

A property expert said sales in the suburbs had fallen by more than 40%. "Investors from certain financially rich communities have formed a cartel and are driving up prices. They are trading in real estate by buying flats in bulk and selling in retail. On the other hand, the genuine purchasers are not buying flats at these inflated rates."

It is learned that many developers artificially jack up their rates by, say, more than Rs 1,000 a sq ft, and then play out the charade of giving a discount of Rs 1,000 a sq ft to a potential buyer. Moreover, in many residential projects, the difference between the built-up area and the carpet area is now almost 50%.

More here

Monday, July 26, 2010

India Lands in a Mess

Article Link

A proposed property-rights bill could have far-reaching, positive implications for the economy.

Today, the labyrinth of bureaucracy makes it hard to realize property values, condemning landowners to poverty and making land artificially scarce. According to a national survey in 2006, about 40% of Indian farmers would like to sell their land and move out to more lucrative occupations, but can't find buyers because of archaic laws. A survey this year found that about 40% of people in urban areas live in slums, also because of restricted land supply.

Another law has recently been proposed by the government to help give the people clearly defined land titles. The Ministry of Rural Development has recently drafted the "Land Titling Bill 2010" to encourage states to adapt similar legislation at the provincial level. The draft is open for public comment until August 31, and it is well worth reading.

The deliberations over the coming months could determine whether this legislation will transform India or merely remain a piece of paper that scores high on intention, but fails in practice.

The draft Land Titling Bill 2010

Comments/opinions/suggestions on the draft Bill from all stakeholders are invited and may kindly be sent to e-mail ID

Friday, July 23, 2010

After the engineered price boom, it’s raining discounts in real-estate

Article Link

"Property prices have started showing correction as sales are not happening. After the first quarter of the current fiscal, property sales are down by around 15% in Mumbai. End-users have disappeared from the market," said Pankaj Kapoor, founder, Liases Foras, a real-estate research agency.

Mumbai is expected to report lesser volume of real-estate transactions over the next six months, according to industry experts. "We are going to see lower volumes of transactions in the next six months compared to the past six months, if prices do not come down," said Pranay Vakil, chairman, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd.

If the current trend of discounts by developers is any sign of things to come, a much-belated correction in property prices in Mumbai might finally happen. Prices of various real-estate properties - both residential and commercial - had shot up by 30% in a few pockets of Mumbai over the past six months.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skywalks/Malls threaten commercial shops values on busy streets

Mumbaikar's have seen skywalks mushroom all over the city and as with every other thing some have been a success whereas others have not.

I regularly pass thru the Bandra (e) skywalk and notice that there are very few people on it, however I recently made a trip to Santacruz(w) and lo behold the skywalk was packed with people going in both directions. I looked at the stores below and not surprisingly they were empty. More and more people are shopping in malls and skipping small niche shopping locations like Santacruz(w) and now with these skywalks any foot traffic which could venture into these shops is now eliminated.

I was real surprised to see most shopkeepers whiling their time looking at the traffic and wonder how they must feel about this contraption over their heads which is eating into their livelihood and property values.

In fact I think the only thing keeping these commercial prices high is the redevelopment syndrome which seems to be prevalent in all older neighboorhoods. I believe builders will have an upper hand when they negotiate as the shop keepers would rather cash out then endure the rapid decay in their profits.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yelahanka is the new Gurgaon

Back in 2001 I visited a farmhouse of on the outskirts of Bangalore in a god-forsake place called Yelahanka. The ORR was new laid out and devoid of traffic and any construction on either side of the road. Rewind forward to 2010 and a completely new Bangalore has taken shape. Already land prices in Devanhalli have reached meteoric proportions and Yelahanka has zoomed along with it.

The real estate hype masters tout Infosys and Wipro everywhere they want land prices to jump. Infosys is touted in Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Mohali, Sarjapur road (bangalore) and now Devanhalli. I guess we will see an Infy campus before 2020 however by then Infosys would be 500k strong so the 12000 people would make no sense :)

Another point of note which the author failed to notice is that Infosys is proposing to spend 710 crores to house 12,000 people however Wipro will spend 477 crores for 15,000 people. It looks as if Infosys comes out to be dumber then Wipro specially when it comes to calculating ratios, or it appears that the writer is a complete moron, and this time from Indian Express.

>> Indian Express reports
Where the six-lane highway from Bangalore city to the international airport in Devanahalli branches off to the left into Doddaballapur Road, a hoarding proclaims: “Yelahanka is the new Gurgaon”.

Put up by a residential builder, it is a defining marker in the growth curve of Yelahanka, a suburb 15 km north of the city that was envisaged as a satellite town but is now under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Proximity to the new airport — 20 km away — has given wings to aspirations in the once sleepy town that has seen a property boom in the last five-six years.

With the Karnataka Assembly passing a Bill last Thursday to set up a 10,000-acre Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) north of Devanahalli, analysts say real estate in Yelahanka is all set to rain returns in a few years.

V Madhu, Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Development Department of Karnataka, says the entire Hebbal-Yelahanka-Devanahalli stretch will see “substantial development” in the coming years, fuelled by a mega project around the airport encompassing an aerospace park, a financial district and the IT park, where, among others, Infosys has proposed to invest Rs 710 crore in a 12,000-seat software development centre and Wipro is set to develop a Rs 477-crore centre employing 15,000.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Property price surge across metros

Article Link

Property prices across the metros are soaring. In key markets, residential property prices are well past the 2007 peaks. Even land deal valuations have skyrocketed, report CNBC-TV18’s Vivek Law and Shubhro Sen.

Prices here have soared more than 40% since 2009. The national capital region is not far behind, with the price increase well over 30%. Bangalore too has seen a price rise of 10-15% in the first half of FY11.

That's not all, land prices have spooked analysts who have begun indicating that a property bubble is gradually building in cities like Mumbai and NCR. In what is being touted as the largest auction, Mumbai based Lodha Developers bagged a Rs 5700 crore deal recently. Several auctions by national textile corporation are being rescheduled as the company is re-considering an increase in reserve prices

Pranay Vakil, Chairman, Knight Frank India said, “People are buying land for the price of finished product, which surprises all of us and no amount of calculation can justify the price that some of them are paying.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

South Mumbai bungalow to go for Rs500 cr

The party is on. Keep playing the music as everyone is in a drunken stupor.

Just by the numbers.

Mumbai's population : 2,00,000,00 people
Next year ** projections ** of sale of luxury apartments : 7,000 flats
Ratio 7000/2,00,000,00 = 0.035%
Looks like someone has a vested interest in reporting local news affecting 0.035% of the population.

DNA India reports

Orbit, which owns 50% stake in the property — 25% purchased on its own and 25% through Om Builders — is negotiating for the balance 50% stake with the other family members (about 70-80 signatories) of the well-known philanthropic Kilachand family. Spread across 9,000 sq mt, the spacious bungalow is expected to cost Orbit roughly Rs500 crore.

The Mumbai developer, known for its upscale residential projects, is in the final lap of raising Rs350 crore from a private equity fund for the project. Acknowledging the move, Pujit Aggarwal, managing director of Orbit Corporation, said the bungalow is strategically located on Napeansea Road where flat prices are over Rs40,000-Rs50,000 a sq ft.

According to Aggarwal, his company is also in talks to purchase three other plots on Napean Sea Road for its first block redevelopment project in the tony neighbourhood. The three sea-facing plots will be consolidated for a luxury housing project, generating 300,000 sq ft of saleable area.

Acquiring dilapidated properties and redeveloping them is the only way to build new projects in areas such as south and central Mumbai, due to a paucity of open land there.

According to Knight Frank, a global property advisory, while there is a potential problem of supply overhang of luxury projects in central Mumbai areas such as Lower Parel, there is huge demand for such high-end residential developments in south Mumbai because supply is restricted. Incidentally, consultants have estimated that around 7,000 luxury apartments will be sold within a year in Mumbai, with each unit priced at more than Rs4.7 crore.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bharat Bandh, super high inflation and housing prices

It must have become apparent to everyone by now including the Congress government that the Bharat Bandh, called by the opposition has been a stupendous success. The majority of the common people who have meagre earnings have seen essential commodities skyrocket beyond their own mean. Citizens employed by certain private sectors and government sectors which were affected by the sixth pay commission could still manage to buy dal at 120 rs a kg. However the vast majority of the country have rebelled against the policies of the government.

Sonia Gandhi and Mehangai Manmohan Singh have completely lost track of the common man and see the country thru eyes of the G-20 and the IMF , courtesy Montek and Mani Iyer. However off late I see that Mani Shankar Iyer has been distancing himself from the view of the congress government.

If an election were to be held today, there is no doubt that Congress would've been voted out of power just one year after their second term.

Corruption levels are highest in this regime and personally I have been asked to pay exorbiant amounts for measly government procedures regarding my own parent's property.

Over 2004-2010 India has definitely witnessed growth however the price rise and inflation has eaten into the purchasing power of everyone. When I made my first post on this blog I had warned of this where rapid growth will lead to uncontrolled inflation thereby making majority of the people more poor then they were before the growth commenced.

The only people to benefit from this high GDP growth of 2004-2010 is the rich upper class, bureaucrats and politicians all enjoying gains thru corrupt means. Everyone else is just a loser.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Few flats under Rs 50 lakh...

Skyrocketing property prices over the last few months have taken housing beyond the reach of the salaried class, with barely six per cent of the total new housing stock in Mumbai priced under Rs 50 lakh. On the other hand, a staggering 46 per cent of these flats cost over Rs 1 crore.

Figures compiled by real estate research agency Liases Foras show that of the 8,000-odd flats that make up the unsold housing stock, hardly 500 are priced below Rs 50 lakh.

Article Link

Analysts say these rates are the result not only of increasing prices and sizes of new flats but also of the heavy loading by developers. Most new flats come with frills such as flowerbeds, viewing decks and amenities like clubhouses and swimming pools that are included while calculating the super-built-up area on which flats are sold. This notional loading is as high as 50 to 80 per cent of actual carpet area.

“In case of one-bedroom flats, builders can’t justify a loading of 80 per cent on a flat with a carpet area of 300 sq ft to a buyer who is already hard-pressed for money. It is easier to cover up the discrepancy between actual size and loading in larger flats which is the reason why most developers today are constructing only two to four bedroom flats,” said Sandeep Sadh, CEO of Mumbai Property The trend is catching on outside Mumbai, too, with developers like Lodha launching Rs 1-crore-plus flats in Dombivli.

Monday, June 21, 2010

1 bed room flat - 4 crores in Khar(w) Mumbai

Crazy days are here again. Thumbs up :). Good for the residents of this building who can make merry at the expense of the black money of the builders and politicians. However these folks have no other choice but to buy another apt in Mumbai from another building at an exorbitant price. These folks will now drive prices of the neighboring buildings assuming they like to stay in the same area. The music is playing on so keep on dancing :)

MUMBAI: In a bonanza for residents of a Khar housing society, a builder has been buying off their mid-sized flats, paying each family between Rs 4 crore and Rs 5.5 crore.

Mumbai-based Parinee Developers claims to have shelled out between Rs 4 crore to Rs 4.5 crore for a one-BHK flat and Rs 5 crore to Rs 5.5 crore for a twoand-a-half-BHK in the three-decade-old Bharatiya Bhavan Cooperative Housing Society, which is located at the corner of 17th Road in Khar (west). Parinee plans to demolish the buildings and set up a high-end residential tower.

However, there is a word of caution from real estate experts. They warn these huge amounts may send wrong signals in the redevelopment market, unnecessarily create hype and raise expectations of other housing societies in the area. However, Parinee said it is paying this astronomical price only because the society has utilised barely 40% of its floor space index (FSI).

The developer has already bought out 20 of the 37 flats in the society and said it is negotiating with the remaining flat owners. “We are finalising the purchase of the remaining 17 flats. Our acquisition cost for all the flats is around Rs 200 crore,’’ said a spokesperson for the developer.

The society comprising six buildings, each ground plus two floors, is spread over an area of 5,570 square yards (over an acre) with ample open spaces and car parking. The one-BHKs have a carpet area of between 580 to 625 sq ft while the two BHKs are between 800 to 900 sq ft in size.

Tip from expert: Don’t be greedy

The Bharatiya Bhavan CGHS in Khar (West) has been on the block for the past four years. In 2007, TOI was the first to report that the society had invited sealed bids from various developers and that a Navi Mumbai-based builder, APA, had offered Rs 180 crore to the society. There were several other leading builders in the fray, including Tata Housing, Wadhwa Group, Naman Developers and Acme.

However, the builder subsequently withdrew the offer due to recession and also because of infighting between two groups of flat owners. Some residents thought that APA’s offer was not enough. The fight culminated in a legal battle — Parinee Developer now claims it has helped resolve the issue between the two groups.

In 2006-07 , a slew of housing societies in the suburbs had received phenomenal offers from developers if they agreed to redevelop their properties. While some builders wanted flat owners to move out permanently by paying them off handsomely, others agreed to rehouse them in new and larger flats in the redeveloped property.

However, many of these deals failed to take off because either residents became too greedy and kept on demanding more from the developers or the builders themselves backtracked when the property market slowed down two years ago. Sprawling housing colonies like Nutan Nagar near the Bandra (W) station and Khira Nagar in Santa Cruz got stuck after getting offers running into hundreds of crores. In 2007, Khira Nagar housing society entered into agreement with the Pune-based Kumar Developers for a reported Rs 900 crore for the 640 flats in 16 buildings. But the project never took off.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where the rich live ?

Soft marketing article by the WSJ to pump up real estate in India. Mostly sponsored by the builders. The question to ask is where do the rich get the money , and how much tax do they pay and have paid over the past few years. I dare WSJ to carry out an article on this topic.

Super-luxury apartments are back in vogue and they are bigger and better than ever before.

As India's economy has gained momentum over the past several months, super-wealthy corporate professionals and businessmen are once again ready to pay $1 million or more for their dream homes. That can buy apartments with five bedrooms or more spread over 5,000 to 10,000 square feet and with amenities like personal lap pools and jogging parks in the sky.

From gold tiled bathtubs to sky-high verandas, luxury living is back. Following a market lull in 2008, India's wealthy class is again dishing out top dollar for luxury apartments. WSJ's Shefali Anand reports.

Home builders are rushing to meet this demand. At least a dozen super-luxury apartment complexes are being built across India right now, mostly in the major metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

The recent flurry of activity is a sharp reversal from early 2009, when the luxury housing segment was all but abandoned as the Indian economy's growth slowed. Developers had to slash apartment prices by 30% to 40% in February and March 2009, in order to find buyers, says Sanjay Dutt, chief executive officer for business at Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, a real-estate services firm. Developers are trying to outdo each other in breaking fresh ground in luxury.

Some market experts are now getting worried about prices, which they say have reached near peak-2007 levels. Given that, and the huge upcoming supply, there could be downward price pressure on these apartments over the next few months, says Poonam Mahtani, national director of Colliers International (India) Property Services Pvt. Ltd., a real-estate-services firm.

In south Mumbai's Lower Parel neighborhood, for instance, around 10 million square feet of area is likely to be freed up for building high-end apartment buildings, according to an estimate by Religare Capital Markets Ltd. To create enough demand for these apartments, prices need to drop by 20% to 25%, says Suhas Harinarayan, managing director and co-head of research at Religare Capital Markets.

S.D. Corporation Pvt. Ltd.

While real-estate prices are tough to predict, buyers might benefit by waiting for a few more months. When many of these apartments come to market at the same time, they can get better prices, say consultants.

Buyers who don't want to wait are still getting a better deal than they were before the downturn, because developers are providing more value for the same price.

"Up till now, we didn't have properties which were fully fitted out in terms of closets and woodwork," says Shveta Jain, director, residential services, Cushman & Wakefield India Pvt. Now, however, these fittings are commonplace.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pune : More registrations, less permissions

Pune mirror has an article which is bullish on Pune real estate. 21,000 registrations in 2010. It appears the the trend is strong and barring an unforeseen event of great magnitude, volumes will continue to be healthy. Once inventory vanishes I think prices will start rising. I was just checking with some builders and they are not negotiating. In the past they used to say get the checkbook and they will discount the price, now it appears they are not in a mood to bring their price down. Other buyers, end-users or sellers can post their experiences in this thread.

In the past I have always show my bullish stance for Pune vis-a-vis Mumbai and I think in terms of volume we will see more growth. The other number we need from banks is the NPA (non-performing assets) or loans in default. That could pressurize the market if the trend in that number is rising.

Flat sales show good healt- Link

Here is a win-win situation for the government and builders. After the recession-related slump in property deals, figures at the government registration office here show that, compared to last year, more people are purchasing flats in the city. In fact, the registration department has doubled its revenue as compared to the first quarter of 2009.

In Q1 of 2009, the registration office collected Rs 113.9 crore against registration of 13,033 flats in the city, whereas in 2010, revenue shot up to Rs 294.04 crore - more than double. March is the one of busiest months in the registration office.

This year, 8,900 flats were registered in March. Last year, in the same month, the number was 3,553, which translates into a 2.5 per cent increase. When we spoke to V D Dhansheety, joint district registration officer, he said, “In March, there are a lot of festivals.

On the auspicious day of festivals as well as towards the end of the financial year, people are more eager to buy flats. Therefore, in this month, more registrations happened. In mid-2008, the recession started. After that, the number of flats registered came down considerably.”

Dhansheety added that though banks reduced their home loan interest rates, no one came forward to invest in flats. “In 2009, due to improvement in the market, people started purchasing flats. The number is not a satisfactory one. But, in Q1 of 2010, there was an increase in registration of flats.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

High court quashes FSI increase in Mumbai

Buillders are anguished at this order since now they will have no other option but to raise rates by 10-15%.

The best thing is to move out of Mumbai into Pune, Bangalore, Hyderbad or Chennai .There is absolutely no point in paying 1.5 crores to live in 2 bed apt when your salary is a fraction of the loan.

The only people who can buy are those with black money or those whose Mumbai projects are going into redevelopment. Every building over 30 years in age is going for redevelopment and all these residents are getting a good package from the builders.

From what I hear the builders offer

18 months of rent
A lumpsum amount
20-25% extra carpet in the new building.

Many times some owners sell the flat to the builder and move into a different location.

I've seen some projects in my area getting sold out in no time and those flats are sold to mostly investors with deep pockets. End users rarely get a chance to participate in this process.

so the best thing for anyone who can, is to move out and get out of this mess. Ive also noticed a tendency of some of the owners to move to Pune. Today's Times of India - Mumbai edition has a 4 page supplement on Pune real estate. That should speak volumes that Pune builders are courting the Mumbai population with the terms 'affordable' in every other sentence. 3000-5000 per sq/ft seems to be a steal when compared to 10,000 per sq ft in the Mumbai suburbs.

Hindustan times article is below.

Buying a flat in the suburbs will now get even more expensive, after the Bombay High Court on Thursday struck down the state’s decision to increase the Floor Space Index (FSI) for suburban constructions to 1.33 from 1.

The FSI determines the maximum amount of construction that’s allowed on a plot of land. An FSI of 1 means that on a 1,000 sq ft plot, construction cannot be more than 1,000 sq ft.

All new projects have to adhere to the ruling, which came after the April 2008 Government Resolution (GR) was challenged by resident Amit Maru.

This means builders will now have to buy more FSI through Transfer of Developmental Rights (TDR) from the open market. The maximum permissible FSI for suburbs is 2 of which 1 is permitted by default, and builders can acquire the additional 1 through TDR.

In the 2008-09 Budget, the state had decided to offer an additional 0.33 FSI on payment of premium, which reduced the amount of FSI builders had to acquire from private parties. This had, to some extent, reined in TDR prices.

Under the GR, the premium to be paid for the additional FSI ranged from Rs 7,000 per sq ft in areas such as Manori to Rs 23,000 in Bandra.

“We have to pay extra money to buy TDR from the open market and will pass this burden to consumers,” said Sunil Mantri, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry and owner of a construction firm.

The court struck down the GR saying it’s against the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, as it does not have a provision for levying a premium.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Mumbai setup for redevelopment.

Its about time the old run-down structures are torn down and replaced with new developments. Needless to say here the big winners are the troika of builders, politicians and state government babus. Its hard to fathom the amount of black money which will be generated by 20,000 projects.

With the IPL scandal it has been apparent to everyone that Pawar had a big stake in the development of Amanora Town in Hadapsar, Pune and also he was involved in the Blue Ridge Hinjewadi project.. Every project has the backing of a big politician so now it remains to be seen if those projects are affected if he has to step down.

With DC rules clarified, Mumbai is set for a flurry of redevelopment

Mumbai: Greater clarity in rules and the pressing need for more houses in land-starved cities like Mumbai have builders eyeing opportunities for redevelopment after a two-year market slump and recession.

"Now we have the opportunity to do large redevelopment projects, as the policy on redevelopment has been clarified," Godrej group chairman Adi Godrej said last Friday. "We are hopeful that within the next six months, we will announce a few large redevelopment projects.

"Another reason [for redevelopment] is the scarcity of land for development in Mumbai," Godrej said, adding that some of the buildings in the island city are "very old, built during the British era".

Besides Godrej's realty unit, Godrej Properties, Housing Development and Infrastructure, DB Realty, Ackruti City and the unlisted Shapoorji Pallonji & Co and Kumar Urban Developers are among the big builders chasingre development contracts.

More here

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Will Property Prices Fall

Moneylife article

Housing prices are again reaching for the skies; demand is stagnating. How much should prices fall for the market to be reasonably valued? When can that come about? Moneylife reporters and analysts offer some answers.

If the current trend continues, it is likely that Mumbai will soon see stagnation in property sales; so will Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR and other metros. Teaser home-loan rates notwithstanding, buyers are showing no eagerness towards committing to their cherished new homes. If prices continue to spiral northwards, will buyers be eventually priced out of the market? Will we witness the bursting of yet another bubble or would that be just a temporary phenomenon?

Pankaj Kapoor believes that the government is actively fuelling a property price bubble in Mumbai. “The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in its own plans, says that increasing the valuation of the land sold is one of the key objectives. It is the government which is creating the bubble,” he asserts.

This is where the problem lies. Inflation is now touching almost 10%, prompting the government to gradually roll back the earlier monetary stimulus measures. Interest rates are expected to go up further. It is worth noting that every 0.5% increase in interest rate reduces home loan eligibility by approximately 7% (by making home loans costlier and also by reducing the eligibility of the lower-income segment).

In this scenario, what should home-seekers be doing? Many of you would be looking out for that cherished new home that you have wanted for so long. Does it make sense to take a plunge at these prices? Not if you are smart. Many buyers have postponed their home purchase decisions in view of the steep appreciation in property rates. Wait a bit for prices to cool down and then make a move for that dream house.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Decoupling, local demand driven economy, green shoots

Here we have the Sensex down another 300 points and it gets blamed on the Euro Zone problems.
Indian stock market brokers have taken the Indian investor for a long ride and articles like this in the Economic Times only vindicate my position that the media in India is very biased and will not report the full truth. They will hype up the good news and play down the bad stories.

There is no independent reporting anymore and everyone including the TV channels are biased. The media knows that if the market sentiment is not propped up, they will lose viewers/readers and hence their sources of advertising revenue.

Investors have to tread very treacherous waters in India so they better be very skeptical of these bozo's in the media.

Every article is written with the intent of enticing investors into the market. This is the Ekam-Sat (Ultimate Truth) of Indian markets. Be very careful with your hard earned money and if you have to invest go with diversified low cost mutual funds with minimal expense ratios. I hate to see people lose sleep and their life's savings and hand them over to these sharks

Economic times reports

MUMBAI: The Indian markets fell on Tuesday, halting its four-day rally as concerns about the European economies turned investors jittery again. During the day, the BSE sensex fell 373 points, or 2.2%, to close at 16,572 while on the NSE, nifty closed at 4,970, down 116 points or 2.3%.

The day's selling was again led by foreign funds while buying by domestic funds cushioned the fall to some extent. BSE data showed FIIs were net sellers at Rs 527 crore while DIIs were net buyers at Rs 211 crore. Dealers said other than global concerns, speculation that the RBI could soon hike interest rates to stem inflation also prompted Dalal Street investors to book profit. The day's slide left investors poorer by Rs 90,000 crore with BSE's market capitalisation now at Rs 59.7 lakh crore.

During the day, most global markets also ended in the red as euro slipped to a four-year low level against the US dollar. Reports on slow growth of Chinese manufacturing sector, and its after effects on the eurozone and the global economy in general, also made the investors jittery.

In the the Asian region, Shanghai fell by nearly 1%, while Nikkei in Japan was down 0.6% and Hang Seng in Hong-Kong closed 0.4% off. In Europe, FTSE in London recovered much of its earlier losses and ended 0.6% down, while in Germany, DAX ended marginally higher and CAC in France ended marginally lower. In early trade, Dow Jones was flat, having recovered most of its earlier losses of nearly 1%.

Monday, May 31, 2010

New Chennai beckons buyers

Maraimalai Nagar on GST is finally realizing its true potential is providing a higher quality of living for Chennai residents. Land is cheap for now in this area which extends upto Mahindra World City and should provide early bird buyers a good entry point for the foreseeable future. Connectivity is good via the GST road and Southern Railways. If I were to place a bet on any semi-urban suburb in India, this would be it. All the development in this area reminds of me Aundh in Pune in the late 90's, or some areas of Bannerghatta road in Bangalore in the early 2000's. A 2400 sq ft plot can be bought for under 15L. Adding another 10L for construction one can construct a very good quality independent house. Just as the development by big bulilders in Bangalore propped up the infrastructure in semi-developed areas, one can easily expect the same to happen in Chennai.

Hindu has an article on Maraimalai Nagar and when the media starts picking up stories like this, it appears that the time has come for this area to become one of the most talked up places in Chennai. Investors and end-users should closely evaluate this destination if they have a time horizon of 3-5 years and beyond. In my opinion plot prices could easily double in the next 5 years.

Here is the Hindu article

Sunday, May 30, 2010

India’s Economy Grows 8.6%, Adding Pressure on Rates

As the economy grew by 8.6%, can the FM please mention the growth of black money, a primary cause of the housing bubble. It should be apparent to everybody that growth of the economy should translate to higher profits for all stakeholders including those in the government who are involved in the approval process. All this underhand money props the value of land and apartments thereby pricing out the common man. India is entering an era which the Japanese became very familiar with in the 90's. India is prosperous but Indian's are not. India has 8.6% growth but Maoists are blowing up trains and killing their own countrymen. It just appears that the Maoists don't think they belong to an country called India, and why would they. They have been neglected all thru the 60 years of independence and now the mining mafia is out uproot them of their own land. There couldn't be a better movie then Avatar to illustrate the plight of the Maoists indigenous people and most probably the Maoists wouldn't even know that someone made a few billion dollars of their cause.

Interestingly we now have Jones Meghraj and others from the real estate business who are saying that the Lodha's deal in Wadala is unsustainable. A case of the pot calling the kettle black. Nobody likes their territory infringed upon and it appears that Lodha's have entered Wadala causing grief to the existing projects., some of which could belong to their clients.

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- India’s economic growth accelerated, adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates even as Europe’s sovereign-debt crunch threatens the global recovery.

Gross domestic product rose 8.6 percent in the three months ended March 31 from a year earlier after a revised 6.5 percent gain in the previous quarter, the statistics office said in a statement in New Delhi today. That matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 economists.

India and China, the world’s fastest-growing major economies, are weighing the risk of Europe’s debt crisis reducing demand in the market that accounts for a fifth of their exports. For India, the room to pause on monetary tightening is limited because its benchmark inflation rate is more than three times that in China.

“The biggest threat in India is from inflation and the risk that the economy overheats,” Kevin Grice, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said before the report. “This, in the end, would force the Reserve Bank of India to aggressively hike policy rates, which would inevitably bring far lower growth later on.”

India’s central bank said May 19 that it will raise rates only cautiously even though they are “out of line” with the key wholesale-price inflation rate, running at 9.59 percent. In comparison, China’s $4.3 trillion economy expanded 11.9 percent in the first quarter and consumer prices rose 2.8 percent in April from a year earlier

More here

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Investors end up holding the bag in high-end apartments

Mint has an article on how the builders get their initial funding from select investors who are given apartments at a discount to the market price. The investors then sell off the flats to the end-users at the going market rate once the project nears completion.

While this seems to be a legitimate way for businesses to raise funds, these investors who buying the highly priced apartments will stuck with these prohibitively expensive properties as the only buyers who could afford these apartments would the investors themselves. US/UK based NRI's cannot afford buying anything in Mumbai. The Dubai investor is reeling under the crisis in the Gulf leaving nobody but the investors themselves as the only folks with black money and the affordability. Bank's these days are very careful doling out loans and any loan over 50L attracts a lot of scrutiny.

Now imagine the investment decision made by a smart businessman in Mumbai with 2 crores of discretionary investment cash. Will he directly contact the builder and buy in it as a investor or will he be so stupid enough to buy from another investor by paying an extra 30% ?

Property prices heading north on pre-sales to investors
Investors have bought at least 80% of the project, fetching Unitech around Rs315 crore that it can use for construction and other needs

Bangalore: Unitech Ltd’s intense pre-sales pitch in October to investors for a part of its residential project in upscale Worli, Mumbai, is paying off in more ways than one—the company has been able to collect a tidy sum while the price benchmark has been pushed higher.

Investors have bought at least 80% of the project, fetching Unitech around Rs315 crore that it can use for construction and other needs. Around one-fifth of them have already resold their purchases at a profit, pushing up prices from Rs12,000-12,500 a sq. ft during the pre-sales to Rs19,000-20,000 a sq ft., the likely price tag for actual home buyers when Unitech opens the rest of the project for them later this year.

A similarly brisk rally is pushing up prices in several other projects in Mumbai and Delhi—a trend last seen in 2005-07, just before the bubble burst as liquidity dried up amid the financial crisis.

More here

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mumbai, Delhi realty rates on way down

Real estate prices for new bookings in Mumbai and NCR Delhi are expected to be 10 to 20 per cent lower than prevailing market rates feel analysts as developers are still bogged down by unsold inventory in projects in these areas.

In Virar prices for new launches are likely to come down to Rs 2,200 from the existing Rs 2,800, in Panvel from Rs 5,000 a sq ft to Rs 4,000 for new launches and Andheri West to Rs 7,500 per sq ft from Rs 11,000 in existing project — perhaps the sharpest cut — according to the Religare report.

Developers say that there is nothing unusual about price cuts for new projects.

“As a company policy we sell the first 20 per cent of the apartments at cheaper rates and as we go on constructing prices go up,” said Hemant Shah, CMD, Akruti City, a Mumbai-based realty company. “Otherwise we may have to pay out heavy interests to banks for borrowed funds.”

Article Link

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beijing resident throws shoe at a property developer

Beijing resident throws a shoe at a property developer in his protest against unrealistic housing prices in China. It won't be too long before many Indian's start doing this at property exhibitions. The Iraqi jouranlist who threw the first shoe on George Bush was followed by another journalist who threw a shoe at the finance minister P. Chidambaram. The Chinese protestor received applause from the crowd so the common pain point is felt by a lot of people in the audience

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Nariman point soon to be deserted

As financial institutions head for the exits South Mumbai is fast losing its allure as the premier business district of Mumbai. Ofcourse we won't see such articles in the various editions of the toilet paper of India. We get this news thru Bloomberg. Just as we hear this news there is other news that Edielwess securities moving into the BKC area. J.P Morgan moved to the Malad(w) area. Why overpay for realestate in Nariman point when employees commute from far flung suburbs.

JPMorgan Quit India’s Manhattan as Buildings Rot (Update2)

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are leading an exodus of finance companies from Mumbai’s Nariman Point financial district as they balk at paying double midtown- Manhattan rents for crumbling four-decade-old buildings.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, moved to a new complex on the site of a drive-in cinema about nine miles north. JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. lender, shifted to an adjacent suburb, while private-equity firm KKR & Co. went about three miles north of Nariman Point. Local lender Axis Bank Ltd. and broker Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. are moving in the next year.

They are departing a district reclaimed from the Arabian Sea in 1940 that is marred by traffic jams and poor sanitation, and constrained by a 46-year-old law that limits building height. The city’s shortcomings and fragmentation may hinder Mumbai, with the fourth-most-expensive office space in the world, from establishing a financial center to rival Shanghai and Dubai.

“Transforming Mumbai into a world class financial center is very distant,” said Sunil Saberwal, chief executive officer of Bombay First, an organization modeled on London First to work towards the regeneration of Mumbai. “We are at least 15 to 20 years away from something like that. Even then, Mumbai will not be as beautiful as Dubai, but it will be functional.”

If Mumbai doesn’t get its act together by 2030 by improving transportation, housing and water systems, and reducing costs, the city may lose out to places such as Dubai as Western companies seek a base in the time zone, Saberwal said.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The foul play in super-built up constructions

Article Link

Developers have drastically raised the super built-up area of the new properties. From 50% super built-up area, it has almost reached 100%,” said Pankaj Kapoor, founder, Liases Foras.

However, with the increase in super-built up area, the cost of properties has also doubled over a period of time. Consumers are getting lesser space at a higher cost. For example, if an apartment of 1,000 sq ft carpet area had a saleable area of 1,400 sq ft in Kandivali (a Mumbai suburb) in 2005, at that time, the apartment was priced at Rs2,500 per sq ft. The total cost came to Rs25 lakh. But now, an apartment of 1,000 sq ft is quoted as 2,000 sq ft saleable area. Taking the current cost into consideration, it is priced around Rs8,000 per sq ft. The total cost of the apartment has jumped to Rs1.60 crore.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mint asks a very pertinent question. Have Mumbai prices risen to fast ?

Far flung suburbs are quoting at 10,000 per sq ft. I'm not taking about Andheri but Kandivili and Borivili. 95% of Mumbaikars cannot afford these prices. What is the point of living in such a city ? Ofcourse we won't see such questions asked in the Toilet paper of India which is keep spreading all bogus news about real estate developments which have no consequence on the Mumbaikar. The city has gone to the dogs but nobody is willing to bell the cat. All these meaningless statistical analysis by the RBI economists ignores the biggest factor of black money in Mumbai real estate. Builders quote 50% in black money. The RBI is like the Roman emperor Nero who played the fiddle when Rome burned. All these bogus facts about the island city are meaningless when we have sprawls all the way upto Panvel and Virar. I believe the builders are keeping apartment prices high to keep their stock prices high. They can then sell the stock to gullible investors by planting stories in the news media. Also they can sell their apts to gullible NRIs just like what happened in Dubai.

The stock response to a question on housing prices in Mumbai is that they have become unaffordable. The general feeling is that they have risen too far, too fast. Fingers are pointed to the vast number of unsold apartments and everybody wonders how builders can afford to keep these flats vacant for months. But have real estate prices in Mumbai really gone up so dramatically? Mint reports

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) report on macroeconomic and monetary developments has, in its chapter on financial markets, a chart on the house price index in Mumbai. The chart gives the index weighted by the value of transactions and the number of transactions. It shows that the Mumbai house price index reached a peak of around 230 or so in the second quarter of 2008 before starting to plunge. The index then fell to a low of slightly above 150 in the fourth quarter of 2008 before starting to climb again. By the second quarter of 2009, it had exceeded its pre-crisis highs and by the fourth quarter of 2009, it had gone a bit higher than 250. The chart has data from the second quarter of 2003, when the value of the index was 100. Putting it another way, if RBI’s index for Mumbai is right, then it means property prices in the city have, on average, gone up by a bit more than 2.5 times between 2003 and the end of 2009. But the gross domestic product (GDP) at factor cost at current prices has, between 2003-04 and 2009-10, gone up 2.3 times. And if India’s GDP has gone up by 2.3 times over the period, GDP of Mumbai city must have increased by a far larger factor. Add to that Mumbai’s island location, which makes expansion difficult and the rise in real estate prices does not seem too steep.