Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There’s a cloud over middle-class dreams of affordable homes

Reaching The Roof

Unaffordable Housing?
Around 15% price escalation in last six months hitting demand for affordable housing projects
Low appetite for risk, commute distance or drawbacks in infrastructure is holding back buyers
Perceptions of affordable housing differs across cities and income groups
Price is a starting point, but most consumers are also seeking quality and infrastructure

Similarly, PropEquity’s report till early November 2009 indicates that there has been better offtake in the sub-Rs 15 lakh category, particularly at locations closer to large cities. Overall, of the 90,000 units available in the ‘affordable’ category, only 40,000 had been bought. Describing 40 per cent absorption as not bad by industry standards, Jasuja adds that with market sentiments improving sales have since inched up.

Developers point out that land cost is a big decider in the final price tag. That’s why many projects are coming up further away from big cities. Where transportation and other facilities compensate, there is no lack of takers. Falcon Realty Services has got good response for its 2,500 units priced at Rs 5.9 lakh-Rs 28 lakh at Global Eco City, a 45-minute drive from Delhi international airport. Good facilities, including transportation, is proving the clincher.

As Rajiv Mehrotra of Noida-based Sunshine Enterprises puts it, “Demand is there, but there are hardly any houses below Rs 20 lakh available.” Already staring at rising inflation, people’s euphoria over affordable housing looks likely to fade—unless the government lends a helping hand.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Buy a house, get mesothelmia free

This land deal proves the absolute callous disregard of the BMC to heath and the environment of its citizens. Asbestos is well documented to cause lung cancer and there are thousands of lawsuits filed in the US against companies which flouted asbestos health regulations. Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest types of cancer caused by asbestos here we have BMC approving the building plan of 1100 apartments on contaminated land. I'm assuming that these 18 acres housed a factory which made chemical products including asbestos. It is indeed a shameful day in Mumbai today.

Here is the wikipedia entry for Asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart,[1] the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos can put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma.[2] Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers.[3] Compensation via asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).

and here is the entire DNA article.

Ghatkopar land sold to Wadhwa for Rs571 crore

In a major land deal in the city, asbestos products maker Hindustan Composites announced, on Monday, that it would sell its 18-acre property on LBS Marg, Ghatkopar to the Mumbai-based Wadhwa Group for Rs571 crore. Including the stamp duty, the value of the land is expected to go up to Rs600 crore with the land rate roughly working out to be Rs4,000 per square feet.

Vijay Wadhwa, chairman, Wadhwa Group said that they have taken a loan of approximately Rs300 crore from IndiaBulls Financial Services Ltd and raised the balance Rs271 crore by way of sales and discounting a few of properties they had leased.

Realty experts said the deal would provide Wadhwa with the much needed confidence. Coupled with global slowdown, the group had over-stretched itself after it had successfully bid Rs831 crore for a plot at Bandra Kurla Complex in 2007.

Many funds like Morgan Stanley had refused to back Wadhwa in the Composites land deal as they did not agree to the costing and profits projected by the developer.

“I always knew that the project cost will go over Rs7,000 per square feet as the plot is strategically located and also with the kind of development we have planned,” Wadhwa said. “In fact I have already sold 2.5 lakh square feet at Rs8,500 per square feet.”

The developer has plans to set up at least 15 residential buildings with over 1,100 apartments on land, which has a development potential of about 15 lakh square feet. Also, this development potential could go up substantially if Wadhwa takes advantage of the government’s parking FSI of 4.