After dream run,realty in Navi Mumbai loses sheen

Touted as a real estate destination not long ago,Navi Mumbai is attracting fewer home buyers than ever,thanks to key infrastructure projects having suffered setbacks recently and developers reluctant to drop prices.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Mumbai | Published: August 14, 2013 1:37 am

Touted as a real estate destination not long ago,Navi Mumbai is attracting fewer home buyers than ever,thanks to key infrastructure projects having suffered setbacks recently and developers reluctant to drop prices.

There is a major inventory pile-up in various areas of Navi Mumbai,with unsold houses likely to take at least 18 months to be cleared at the current pace of absorption,according to Jones Lang LaSalle,a real estate consultancy firm.

Mayur Panghal,a broker in Navi Mumbai,says,“I can’t even remember when was the last sale deal I did. About 2-3 years ago,the market was so vibrant that I close at least one sale deal a month.”

Experts say the prime reason is the uncertainty surrounding major infrastructure projects like the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport and the Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link,which were hailed as catalysts for the region’s growth. The airport,to be spread over 2,072 hectares near Ulwe,is struggling to acquire 291 hectares of private land in the face of stiff opposition from locals. The harbour link,which will reduce the commute time to south Mumbai significantly,recently failed to attract bidders even in the third attempt.

According to experts,areas such as New Panvel,Ulwe,Dronagiri,Kamothe,Kalamboli and so on have been hyped as affordable markets having great potential for future infrastructure growth and ample scope for price appreciation. The prices here are at least 20 per cent higher than what they should be.

“Properties around Ulwe,Panvel are oversold in terms of perception. There is no infrastructure,no transport,schools and social amenities. There is no visibility of infrastructure growth in Navi Mumbai in the future,so buyers are deferring their decision. In the past,price was a major driver for the Navi Mumbai real estate market,but now these properties are almost as expensive as other suburbs of Mumbai,” said Subhankar Mitra,head of strategic consulting at Jones Lang LaSalle.

As per research firm Liases Foras,there are 15,402 unsold flats in areas such as Ulwe,Karanjade,Kalamboli,Taloja,Kamothe,Airoli,Dronagiri,Sanpada,Seawoods and so on. Besides,there are about 11,000 unsold flats in Panvel.

“There are corrections beginning in some places due to the lack of demand and availability of land. It is a time when you need to have patience to wait for the right value and then jump into it. Properties are currently 20 to 25 per cent overvalued,” said Pankaj Kapoor,founder and managing director of Liases Foras.

However,despite the dwindling sales,developers are unwilling to slash prices.

“The rates are still affordable in Navi Mumbai. It hardly matters right now that infrastructure projects are getting delayed because once they get all clearances,the prices will jump by at least 15 to 20 per cent. Right now,developers are absorbing the high input and construction costs,which we will then pass on to the consumer,” said Arvind Goel,president of the Navi Mumbai unit of MCHI-CREDAI,an umbrella organization of developers.

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