Thursday, February 16, 2012

Smart money is moving out of realty; so why should you buy?

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If you are a home buyer waiting for property prices to fall before buying, here’s a counter-thought: the big investors are actually moving out of real estate.

One signal came last week when Deutsche Bank asked the Mumbai-based Lodha Group to return its money with a clean profit. The group forked out Rs 2,542 crore to the bank to enable it to exit its investment.

According to a Business Standard report, apart from Deutsche Bank, there are at least six other private equity and property funds that have exited. Among them: HDFC Property Ventures (two investments of Rs 715 crore), Kotak India Real Estate Fund I (Rs 575 crore), Indiareit Fund (Rs 500 crore), India Advantage Fund Series I (Rs 305 crore) and Trinity Capital plc (Rs 120 crore).

That’s a cool Rs 4,700 crore-and-odd opting out of real estate . The problem is fly-by-night “investors” are realty’s big mafia – keeping prices unreasonably high and preventing actual users from buying. This is also one reason why the Deutsche Bank’s are running away.