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.”