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A buyer's guide to real estate in metros

By Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai
December 18, 2006 11:57 IST
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Have money and want to buy a house? Good sense, if you are in Delhi.

"Land has become scarce in Delhi city, with very few new developments coming up. Most of the new supply in Delhi is coming up in townships such as Dwarka. So, if you are getting a premium property which is priced anywhere between Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000 a sq ft in Delhi, it is considered reasonable, compared to other cities in Asia Pacific," says Nitin Gupta, associate director, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"These properties can still give a return of 20 per cent over the next three years," adds Gupta. "Although Delhi prices are at an all-time high, they are not going to come down in the near future. In fact, whatever correction has to happen, has already happened.

Compared with the last couple of years when prices increased 40-50 per cent, this year, the rise has been a more modest 15-20 per cent. We expect this trend to continue, especially in the Rs 60 lakh (Rs 6 million) to Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) segment," says Jayant Verma, executive director - north, Knight Frank, a real estate consulting firm.

He also predicts a 10-15 per cent correction in the prices of properties priced upwards of Rs 1 crore, in the medium term. "There is too much supply coming in at this end with developers such as DLF, Parsvanath and Unitech announcing new developments. But we are doubtful about whether the market can absorb so many of these properties. By the time these properties are actually ready, we expect a slump in demand," says Verma.

And who should buy? Buy only if you are a long-term investor and are not looking at short-term gains, says Gupta.

"Only then does it make sense to put in Rs 4,000-6,000 for a sq ft. If you are looking at short-term gains, then investing in a property in Delhi may not be the best use for your money," says he.

Mumbai: Wait and watch, if you can

"Prices are at an all-time high. Although there are still some areas where you can get a price advantage, such as Thane and Kharghar, housing properties in Mumbai are not likely to see significant appreciation. So, if you are buying from an investment point of view, this may not be the best time," says Pranay Vakil, CEO of Knight Frank.

Most buyers in the city today are end-users who are looking at an incremental investment, moving from their first houses to larger second houses. Therefore, the rising price points still work  out for them as they are ploughing back money from the  sales of the earlier properties, he says.

"But if you are a first-time buyer and afford to hold out for another three to five years, then you should," says Vakil.  The reasons: a host of government initiatives that are expected to remove restrictions on developments in the city.

The state government has committed itself to repealing the Urban Land Ceiling (ULC) Act and is expected do away with the Rent Act. The repeal of the Rent Act will release a substantial chunk of the locked-up housing stock in the city, while the ULC repeal will release virgin  and for development within the city.

The Bombay High Court ruling on the Transfer of Development Rights, too, will release additional FSI in the city. The ruling has opened up older buildings for redevelopment along the LBS Marg in the central suburbs and SV Road in the western suburbs, with a doubling in existing FSI.

Vakil says these developments will also keep the price hike in check over the short term, as the supply situation begins to ease in the next two-three years.

Kolkata: Buy! Buy! Buy!

"If you have the money, buy. And buy now, before the prices shoot through the roof," says Kolkata builder Jitendra Khaitan. "Property prices in the metro are just beginning to go up. Last year, we saw some areas appreciate fast -- New Town, for example, surged 100 per cent, while Diamond Harbour and Joka shot up 60 per cent," he says.

"In the next five years, Salt Lake will be the centre of the city and values here will appreciate tremendously," adds Khaitan.

"Kolkata is on an upswing, and as long as the present government of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is in the saddle, the pace of developments is expected to continue," says Pranay Vakil.

Areas to buy? Rajarhat, EM Bypass and areas in the vicinity of Salt Lake and New Town. "With companies like TCS and Godrej showing a major interest and the upcoming developments on the Bata land and the Salim group developments, the city is coming into focus. Prices are slated to go up for the right projects," says Vakil.  Who should buy?

"If I had the money I would buy," quips Vakil. "Kolkata is a very practical market. You can buy a two-bedroom apartment in the Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) bracket or in the Rs 4 crore (Rs 40 million) bracket," says Khaitan.

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Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai
Source: source

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