Sunday, Sep 21, 2014

In taxing times, realtors discover ‘fringe’ benefits

People don’t mind distance if they get to own a house at a price they can bear to pay. People don’t mind distance if they get to own a house at a price they can bear to pay.
Written by Shalini Nair | Mumbai | Posted: February 19, 2014 8:02 am | Updated: February 19, 2014 9:17 am

It took a dramatic pile-up of inventory of plush residential units in city for developers to finally realise that only affordability will sell. People don’t mind distance if they get to own a house at a price they can bear to pay, says Shalini Nair.

Barring empty shells of under-construction buildings, there is little or no human habitation in Shahpur, some 90 km from Nariman Point, where a massive township project is coming up. The nearest railway station is Asangaon, about 8 kms from the project site. The only means of connectivity are buses provided by the developer himself for ferrying prospective home buyers. But the absence of critical mass has not deterred Dharmesh Maru, who has recently booked a one-room kitchen apartment there.

If the modest price tag of Rs 10 lakh per apartment isn’t tantalising enough for the average home buyer, the developer has further sweetened the deal this month by giving away a double-door fridge, washing machine, two-wheeler, modular kitchen and 20 gms of gold to every buyer. All these are on offer for a booking price of Re 1 with the remaining amount to be paid only on possession of the apartment while the stamp duty and registration fee will be taken care of by the developer himself.

Needless to say, about 150 buyers have made a beeline over the last fortnight itself for booking a flat in the Karrm Residency project coming up in this mofussil town on the outskirts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The developer has been forced to pull out all the stops as another project, Royale City, which is much closer to the railway station, is luring buyers with one room and one bedroom-kitchen apartments.

Eight railway stops to the south is Dombivali station, a four-km ride from where is Kalyan Shilphata road, an obscure uninhabited location until a few years ago. Here, Lodha’s Pallava City project in the price range of Rs 35 lakh upward has sold a couple of thousand units within days of launching its second phase last month.

Compare this to hi-end residential projects in the heart of Mumbai that are still awaiting buyers despite being launched as far back as 2009-10 and the demands of the housing market in Mumbai cannot get more crystal clear. Several big-ticket projects offering 1,800-sq ft to 4,000-sq ft plush apartments priced at upward of Rs 2 crore by major developers in Mumbai still have huge unsold stock. These include Lodha Florenza and Oberoi Exquisite in Goregaon, Lokhandwala’s Minerva in Mahalaxmi, India Bulls Bleu and Sky Suites in Lower Parel, DB realty’s Orchid Crown in Prabhadevi and Orchid Heights in Mahalaxmi, RNA Address in Santacruz east, Indiabulls and Lodha’s World Towers in Worli.

And yet, inventory data across continued…

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