Saturday, January 29, 2011

Owed Rs6,000 crore, banks cut off funds to Mumbai builders

Article Link

MUMBAI: Money has suddenly stopped flowing into Mumbai's real estate sector with banks and financial institutions tightening the screws on builders. In the past two months, cash-strapped developers have flocked to private money lenders who provide short-term loans at exorbitant interest rates of between 24% and 30% a year. Banks charge builders between 13% and 15% interest a year.

Market sources said leading banks now lend to only credible builders for select projects, but have turned off the tap for most others in the construction sector. "They are busy mopping up what is due to them. By March 2011, Mumbai builders alone are scheduled to return roughly Rs 6,000 crore to banks," said the CEO of a leading property fund. Market sources said some leading developers in Mumbai have loan exposures of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore each.

Mumbai-based developer Wadhwa Group's Vijay Wadhwa said banks have stopped disbursement to second-rung builders.

"Banks are flush with funds, but they want to give it to the right people. They are now more concerned about whom they give it to,'' he said. Wadhwa added that financial institutions became cautious following the LIC Housing scam.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Can we call it a peak now?

As we read about Spain's woes (this is Spain we are talking about, not Ireland or Greece), one realizes it was primarily caused the foreign investment that poured into Spanish real estate boom through the Cajas (local co-operative banks). The Government is actively "announcing" cleanups and merging Cajas. Yes, a once mighty economy can be brought to its knees by such foolishness.

The story in India is eerily similar.

Indian real estate attracted $2.8b in FDI last year.

As per industry experts, overseas property sales account for 30 per cent of Indian real estate sector’s total global sales, of which, 40 per cent are accounted by the UAE-based Indians.

Ooh - is that because Indian real estate will never go down? Unlike the Dubai real estate? :) /s.

Of course FDI will fee as quickly as it comes in as well. In January, in 12 trading sessions, foreign investors have pulled a massive 1 billion dollars out of the Indian market.

There's been a significant selloff since the start of 2011, as investors flee over inflation fears.

With food inflation at more than 18%, it is just a matter of time before the Reserve Bank does the one thing it does which is to push the interest rates high - very high.

So it is safe to call peak now?