Will Slowdown Stop The Journey Of Realty?

Today, there is talk of a slowdown as buyers are taking just a little longer to decide if they want to go ahead and take that decision now. Pranay Vakil, chairman, Knight Frank said, “Without a doubt, interest rates have made a difference. After all, the monthly outgo will increase”.

Taking a closer look at what’s going on in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), it is observed that transactional volumes for residential projects have witnessed a drop of 20-25% over the past six months. Among these are the upscale projects like Emaar MGF’s Palm Street project in Gurgaon, the Uppal Group’s Plumeria housing project in Greater Noida, Unitech’s project on Taj Express highway and BPTP’s Parklands project in Faridabad.

Developers themselves are not too kicked about the state of affairs. While maintaining that inflation and interest rates have been the key factors, they are not too optimistic about the way forward. Vipin Aggarwal, executive director, Omaxe said, “There is a slowdown and this will continue for at least a year and half. Besides, the real estate sector is itself facing a cash crunch. There are many companies that are focusing on completing the project at hand instead of increasing the size of their land-banks”.

By contrast, Mumbai story has been quite different and this has been led by the fact that demand far exceeds supply. According to Dharmesh Jain, chairman, Nirmal Group of Companies, that is a point that cannot be ignored. He pointed, “Supply is meager and that is a huge problem”. This demand-supply disequilibrium has helped the process of making Mumbai among the most expensive property locations globally.

Property prices in up-market areas like Malabar Hill in South Mumbai have moved up from around Rs 12,000 per square foot in 2003 to twice that figure this year. More importantly, there was a deal struck at Rs 60,000 per square feet earlier this year.

Across the country, there have been up-market projects coming up at a frenetic pace. Not surprisingly, a large player like DLF is playing down the slowdown story. “Our properties are developed according to the current market needs. In order to stimulate demand, we are also coming out with affordable housing and, therefore, we have not witnessed much of an impact on account of a slowdown,” says a DLF spokesperson.

India’s IT capital, Bangalore has also been witnessing a drop in sales volumes. According to J C Sharma, managing director, Sobha Developers, home sales have dropped this year compared to 2007. Further he said, “Like any other industry, real estate is going through a cycle”.