Planning to buying a house in Mumbai? Now is the right time


It looks like the Finance Minister's appeal to bring down home prices hasn't completely fallen to deaf ears.
Mumbai, where property prices have galloped over the last three years, is the first to act in accordance.
Some big developers in the financial capital of the country are slashing per square foot project rates by as much as Rs 5,000.
RNA Corp was selling two-three bedroom flats at its Exotica project in Goregaon at Rs 11,750 per square feet, but now the prices have been slashed to Rs 9,950 per square feet.
Similarly, prices at Naman Midtown, Elphinstone, today range between Rs 20,750 and Rs 22,500 per square feet, which used to be sold for between Rs 22,750 and Rs 27,000.
"In a few projects the rates have been slashed by 2-5 per cent," said Sunil Mantri, chairman, Sunil Mantri Developers.
Meanwhile, some other realty players have introduced flexible pricing with a single project and are also offering irresistible rates to pocket some bucks at pre-launch.
Lodha Group is offering discounts of up to Rs 5,000 per square feet to those who book their apartments between January 18 and 28 at their high-profile Worli project - Codename Blue Moon.
At a time when properties in Worli are being pegged at Rs 29,000 per square feet, Lodha is offering two, three and four bedroom apartments in two towers at Rs 23,991 per square feet with its new IPO-like pre-launch scheme.
"South Mumbai today is selling on large floor plates and that's driving up the property rates in excess of Rs 8-9 crore; and that's caused most buying population to stop looking at South Mumbai. We wanted to get that corporate audience and the buying audience back here. So, we are selling at Rs 23,000 at pre-launch, which comes up to Rs 3-3.5 crore," R Karthik, chief marketing officer, Lodha Group, explains.
It's clear that expensive homes are not selling anymore even in a city known for its high-net individuals. Several developers are now willing to negotiate with buyers discreetly as they are faced with a liquidity crunch and rising cost of capital.
Stocks of Mumbai-based realty companies, too, underperformed the National Stock Exchange's Nifty index in January so far on concerns over liquidity crunch. Several of them have been forced to sell stocks to bridge the funding gap, with Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) being the recent example that sold shares to fund land acquisition.
While HDIL has shed 26 per cent, Orbit fell 20.23 per cent for the said period.
DB Realty also lost over 8 per cent.
In contrast, the 50-share Nifty index gained 2.8 per cent.
However, the moves seem to have paid off as developers are seeing better response from customers.
"We got a good response and good bookings happened wherever we have given slight discount," says Mr Mantri.
"January to March is a good time for investors and actual users, as these developers are going to be starved for funds; they have to pay back the leverage they have taken, service the loans, pay back interest to the banks. This is an opportune time one can sniff around to buy a house," says Ravi Ahuja, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield India.
With developers looking to cash in on their products, this might be the time for buyers to make the most of it. However, it remains to be seen if this is the beginning of the much awaited price correction or just a temporary blip.


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