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Can't buy a home in Mumbai? Blame the NRIs

Can't buy a home in Mumbai? Blame the NRIs
Mumbai If you're wondering why the property rates in Mumbai aren't going down, blame it on Non Residential Indians (NRIs). With the rupee falling against the dollar every day, Indians living abroad have increased their investment in the country and especially in Mumbai, meaning that the expected fall in property rates following the recent dry period in the real estate market has not materialised.

According to a real estate source, the real estate prices in Mumbai for a person staying in the Middle East are 25-30 per cent less than what an Indian would pay. Prakash Rohera of Khar-based Kkarma realtors said, "I know about clients from the Middle East and other western countries who were earlier ready to shell out Rs 1 crore but have now hiked it to Rs 1.30 crore. Some don't even mind going as high as up to Rs 1.60 crore. NRIs are investing heavily in Mumbai."

"Just a few months ago, builders were chasing clients to buy property, and everyone was expecting the property prices to come down, but the uncontrollable inflation means that most builders are now getting calls from NRIs who want to invest. Why will builders reduce the prices when they are making their share of money anyway?" explained a broker, on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, a property exhibition that's being organised in Dubai later this week is already flooded with calls from Indian builders as well as NRIs. A spokesperson for the exhibition said, "The number of builders from Mumbai participating in the exhibition is 15 per cent higher than in earlier years. For NRIs, this is like a sale. The property price has fallen by nearly 25 per cent due to the devaluation of the rupee. We're expecting good business this time."

Manohar Shroff, secretary, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, Navi Mumbai, also claims the falling rupee is helping to boost the sale of properties in Mumbai. "The increased investment by NRIs has increased sales," he said.

Realty expert Ajay Chaturvedi opines, "There's a slowdown in many western countries, but their currency is still stronger than ours. The falling rupee is making it easy for NRIs to invest here. They all plan to return to India someday, so why not invest in Indian properties," he said.

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