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Mumbai property show trips on price front

Financial Express - 4 March, 2015

If the value of unsold under-construction real estate inventory in Mumbai is anything to go by — R53,400 crore for a clutch of listed firms — consumer confidence isn’t exactly soaring.

If the value of unsold under-construction real estate inventory in Mumbai is anything to go by  — R53,400 crore for a clutch of listed firms — consumer confidence isn’t exactly soaring. What’s worse, with an additional R36,800 crore of launches across 20.4 million sq ft expected — half of it in the south central part of the city — it is possible prices will be under pressure.

An analysis by Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE), from which the numbers have been taken, says land buying has dropped and prices are not going up as only four or five developers have the capacity to buy land worth more than $200 million.

Pricing still remains high in certain markets but is not increasing anymore,” the report notes.

Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder of Hiranandani Developers, believes price points are now crucial since only relatively affordable projects are able to find takers. “The high-end properties in the central and southern parts of the metropolis aren’t seeing interest,” Hiranandani confirmed to FE.

Ghulam Zia, executive director, Knight Frank India, observed that first-time home buyers continued to sit on the fence. “In the absence of any incentives for home buyers in the Budget, the market will get revitalised only once the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) begins to cut interest rates,” Hiranandani observed.

KIE’s analysis shows HDIL, DB Realty, Oberoi Realty, Godrej Properties, Peninsula Land, Sunteck Realty and Indiabulls Real Estate are among those property developers that are sitting on high inventories, most of which is inthe  south and central pockets of Mumbai — Lower Parel, Worli and Prabhadevi.

Ambar Maheshwari, CEO, alternate investment funds, Indiabulls Group, also believes  there’s a glut at the premium and high ends of the market. “A recovery is unlikely in areas like Prabhadevi and Lower Parel unless developers build smaller apartments that result in  some kind of rationalisation in prices,” Maheshwari said.

Oberoi Realty has targeted selling its unsold inventory in the next 12 months by March 2016 but KIE expects the company will only be able to sell R8,500 crore worth of residences in the next 30 months. According to the latest data issued by the director general, registrations, Mumbai, in the first 11 months of 2014, property registrations fell 2.4%.

The report says developers are giving discounts after definitive interest from buyers. Channel checks suggest a large number of units are being sold in the 20:80 schemes (without a bank debt burden) and trip abroad for designing apartments. Discounts are becoming more evident as developers are also offering absolute discounts to buyers now, the report adds.

However, such measures are clearly failing to impress buyers. In certain markets developers are selling 20-30 units a month while in others they could be selling two to six a month, it stated. Amit Bhagat, CEO & MD, ASK Property, pointed out that demand was tepid in the luxury space so any developer who was leveraged might be under pressure.

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