Monthly Archives: October 2009

Office rentals stabilize

Office rentals, which dropped 40% from their peak in the middle of 2008, stabilized across the country in the September quarter as fresh bookings for office spaces partly reduced inventories, says a report by international property consultant CB Richard Ellis.

There was no change in office rentals in some of the major office locations in the national capital region, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata, while rentals at some others in Chennai and Pune fell by 5-6% in the quarter ended June 30. In contrast, rentals in Connaught Place in Delhi and Gurgaon in Haryana registered an increase of 5-8% in the last quarter.

“The increase in demand is largely due to improving economic conditions, positive market sentiment and growing corporate confidence. However, it will take some time for the supply-demand gap to get bridged. Thus, both rentals and capital values are expected to remain stagnant or under downward pressure in the medium term,” said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director for South Asia at CB Richard Ellis.

In Mumbai, commercial office space is seeing a slight pick up in demand but rentals continue to be competitive. The September quarter saw close to 95,000 square feet of cumulative lease transactions as compared to 83,000 square feet space being rented in June 2009 quarter, according to the report.

However, as Mumbai continues to be 15th largest office construction site in the world with about 3.5 million square feet of office space coming up in extended business districts (EBD), capital values will remain low. This has resulted in a few unexpected transactions of outright purchase. Recently, Motilal Oswal, a brokerage firm purchased 90,000 sq feet office building for Rs 156 crore. Constructed by K Raheja, the property was purchased at Rs 17,333 per square feet as against the ongoing rate of Rs 19,000-21,000 per square feet.

“Indian corporates firmly believe that current valuation of commercial property is attractive, so they are capitalising on it rather than leasing as is being opted by MNCs,” said Sanjay Dutt, CEO (business), JLLM, an independent property consultant.

Residential realty prices moving up

Residential real estate prices are going up. In the last three months, prices of affordable apartments have appreciated by around 10% across the country.

Anshuman Magazine, MD – real estate consultancy firm CB Richard Ellis – South Asia, said, “With improvement in the sentiment in the economy, transactions in the affordable range of residential real estate have gone up. This has made developers to increase prices by 5%-10% in the last three months”.

The developers had cut prices by around 30% in first two quarters of calendar 2009 to revive the demand of residential units, which plummeted to a low due to the global financial crisis. Magazine said the price cut led to some recovery in demand. Enthused by the partial recovery, he said, the developers, who had sold a substantial portion of their projects at hugely discounted prices, decided to increase them marginally in the next phase.

According to a IIFL report, in Mumbai, prices are up 25%-40% from the bottom in early 2009, while in NCR, the corresponding figure is 15-20 %. “Constrained supply and a revival in demand drove up prices in Mumbai, and NCR,” the report said.

In Mumbai, the prices of apartment in Metropolis appreciated by 38% since March to Rs 10,500 per square feet. Similarly, the project, Planet Godrej, has become 20% costlier to Rs 25,000 per sq ft in the last six months. In NCR also, many developers like DLF, Unitech, Jaypee Greens, Mahagun and Amrapali among others, have increased prices by around 10% from the launch prices in March-June.

In the premium segment also, there is revival in demand, said Vibhor Gupta, senior official of Jaypee Greens. However, the prices have not witnessed any escalation in the premium segment. Similar trend has been noticed in cities like Bangalore, Pune and Chennai.

“The current trend of price escalation can not be sustained as it will affect the demand,” said Aditi Vijayakar, ED of Cushman and Wakefiled, adding, as the demand has revived following interest rate cuts by banks, many developers have announced projects in the affordable range. This will increase the supply and will put pressure on the price rise.

At the same time, another consultant said the financial condition of the developers has not improved to a level that they can hold a project for long. They need cash flow to service the debt, which they have taken to buy lands. The source said the money from other sources like dilution of equity is still not easily available. This has forced developers to depend on the sales proceeds to service debt.

Godrej to develop Vikhroli property

Godrej Industries has entered into an agreement with Godrej & Boyce and Godrej Properties to form a special purpose vehicle for developing its property at Vikhroli, the company said in a communique to the BSE.
Without divulging details on the area to be developed, it said that the board of directors, through a circular resolution on Wednesday approved the proposal.
The Godrej group owns about 5,000 acres in Vikhroli. Though a part of the land has been used for residential and commercial purposes, the group still has huge vacant property left that can be developed before the Urban Land Ceiling Act is repealed.
The binding MoU provides for setting up a suitable SPV to execute joint development of the property as also the commercial terms for such development including the sharing of costs, revenues and profit. The Godrej Industries scrip was up 6% at Rs 201 on Wednesday.

Buyers realize homes still not their cup of tea

Property prices across the country are 10-25% lower than their peak in early 2008. Bank rates are about 4 percentage points lower. Still, the vast majority of the exploding middle class, which aspires to own a home, is not taking the plunge. Homes are still not affordable. Affordable homes are hardly homes.
The rates may have come down, but even today, the prices quoted by sellers are too high. The developers have reduced the price, but have started charging more for the parking space, which one has to compulsorily buy and that too pay black money for that.

Raheja gets 500 crores’ Delhi slum project

DDA has awarded Delhi’s first slum redevelopment project, worth Rs 500 crore, to a local builder, Raheja Developers, in a move that may see more such projects in the national capital resulting in better living conditions for urban poor and thousands of crores of businesses for builders.

DDA has awarded 5.22-hectare, or 13-acre, project at Kathputli Colony near Shadipur Depot in west Delhi to Raheja Developers for Rs 6.11 crore, a DDA spokesperson said. Under the scheme, the builder pays only Rs 6.11 crore—the bid amount—for the land, but has to build 2,800 homes, of 30 square metre size each, for existing slum dwellers of Kathputli Colony named after its majority residents of puppeteers and craftsmen.

In the bargain, the builder gets for commercial exploitation 10% of the total space slated for 2800 homes and also close to a hectare for high-end residential development. Therefore, the cost incurred in building 2800 homes for slum-dwellers will be offset by the sale of commercial space and high-end houses in the project, while land would come dirt cheap at Rs 6 crore.

DLF has recently sold 1250 apartments in its Capital Greens project, just 3-4 kilometres from Shadipur Depot at a rate of Rs 5677 a square feet. Raheja Developers will have to create temporary accommodation for the slum dwellers at a piece of land close to the project site that will be given by the DDA in a month or two.

Sahara Prime City to use Rs 2860 crore from IPO

Sahara Prime City, which aims to raise Rs 3,450 crore from an IPO, will utilize Rs 2,668 crore in the next 3 years to part-fund development of about nineteen thousand housing units across the country.

At present, Sahara Prime City is developing nine integrated townships and one residential complex in cities such as Lucknow, Indore, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Solapur and Cochin. The group’s ambitious Ambey Valley project is not a part of Sahara Prime City.

Sahara Prime City plans to develop 16 more integrated townships and would pump in another Rs 1426.83 crore from the proceeds of the IPO.

The DRHP said it would develop 13.41 million square feet of residential space in the upcoming projects across the country, including Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jabalpur, Jodhpur, Porbandar, Haridwar and Pune.

Happy days are back into realty

Realty industry is all set to be lift up this Diwali. At least 12 public offerings, a slew of new projects and the return of private equity funds that had turned away proposals due to the global slowdown last year.

‘After weathering the worst funds crisis for one and half year, the realty sector has now started seeing inflow of capital and funds,’ said Anuj Puri, the country head of leading global realty brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle-Meghraj.

Mr. Puri further said, ‘Sales are improving and private equity funds are coming back. With market sentiments getting bullish, prospects of fund-raising are even brighter. You can now see how every company is taking the QIP route to raise funds,’.

QIP is a tool to raise capital whereby a listed company issues equity shares, fully or partly convertible debentures or securities, instead of warrants, to institutional buyers.

After losing almost 75% of its stock valuation last year, India’s realty sector has raised about $15 billion (Rs.750 billion/Rs.75,000 crore) through routes like QIP in the past six months.

Among the developers who have started mopping up funds over the past few months are the largest player in the industry, DLF Ltd, with $780 million, Unitech with $325 million and Indiabulls Real Estate with $550 million.

BuildMat likely to become an annual event

The biennial exhibition BuildMat, sponsored by three major associations connected with the construction sector in Coimbatore, is likely to become an annual event after 2015.
To provide exposure to the latest products, the organizers have decided to invite manufacturers to directly participate in the 2011 BuildMat show.
Speaking to newspersons, Mr Praveen Chandra Prasad, Chairman, BuildMat 2011 Construction Fair, Coimbatore, said the sponsors of the exhibition, the Coimbatore Centres of Builders’ Association of India, the Indian Institute of Architects and Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India) have started taking in bookings for stalls nearly 18 months in advance with a view to making it “as close to international standards as possible”.
Apart from domestic companies, participants from China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Far East are also expected to showcase their products at the fair that will run from February 3-6, 2011.
The sponsors are hopeful of making the fair an annual show after 2015.

Duet India Hotels eyes expansion

UK-based investment group Duet’s Indian hospitality arm Duet India Hotels is looking for more land to expand its portfolio and add more than thirteen hundred rooms by the end of this financial year.

The group plans to develop 20- 30 mid- scale and upper middle segment hotels with around five thousand rooms in the next 2-3 years. The company has recently signed a franchise agreement with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide to open the Four Points hotels by Sheraton.

The company, which opened its first property on 1st October in Jaipur, a 115- room four- star hotel, is developing four such properties in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Indore and Pune.

Dilip Puri, CEO, Duet India Hotels, said, “The five properties including Jaipur is worth around Rs 500 crore. In these, we would have around 882 rooms. We plan to reach to fifteen hundred rooms by the end of this fiscal.” “For this kind of expansion, we are looking for more land. As soon as we acquire land, we can start building. We have already acquired land in Hyderabad for developing a property similar to our Jaipur property. We are also looking at other Tier- II cities such as Lucknow, Nasik, Bangalore and Nagpur.

Bangalore would be more of a brownfield development. Among the metros, Chennai is also our target.”

Landscape expo in Hyderabad

Mr K Rosaiah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, inaugurated the fourth International Landscape and Gardening Expo 2009. About hundred exhibitors from fifteen countries, including the US and Australia, are taking part in the event. A conference, `Plants, Places and People’, would be held at `Visvesvaraya Bhavan’ on 3rd October. It would focus on improving quality of life of the people by preserving the environment. Ms Savita Punde, President of Indian Society of Landscape Architects, would take part in the conference.

Property gifts taxable from today

Property received as gifts from non-relatives on or after October 1 will attract income-tax in the hands of the donee. This new regime for taxation of gifts of property (immovable property or any other property) will come into force from Thursday. Any person who receives a property as gift on or after October 1 must pay the income-tax due on the value of the gift and disclose the taxable value of such property in the return of income for assessment year 2010-11 and subsequent years, the Central Board of Direct Taxes said in a statement here today. The tax incidence will arise only when the value of the property exceeded Rs 50,000. However, gifts received from a person who is a relative, on the occasion of marriage of the individual, under a will or by way of inheritance, in contemplation of death of the donor or from any trust or institution registered with the income tax authority will not be subject to income-tax, the release added.