Friday, October 16, 2009

Demand for larger homes picking up

Mohammed Aslam, Head – Pune, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj:

Pune’s real estate market is pulling itself out of the doldrums brought about by the slowdown. Over the last three months, buyers have begun populating the residential market again and are beating a path to various developers’ sites in search of good deals. Apart from a resurgence in positive sentiments, this renewed demand can also be attributed to the fact that HFI has brought down home loan interest rates to 8-8.5% on fixed interest loans for three years, which stands in marked contrast to the 10-11% that prevailed just six months ago.

While Pune’s real estate market was in the deepest throes of the downturn, the 1BHK and studio apartments were practically the only moving products. Today, general buyers preferences have once again evolved to 2-3BHK flats. The most popular price tags currently fall within the range of Rs. 25-35 lakh.

The slowdown has brought about residential space affordability and availability in areas that were previously out of reach for middle-income buyers. Due to reduction in pricing, residential property buyers now have a choice of attractive deals in preferred areas like Baner, Wakad, Kondhwa, NIBM Road and Aundh. There is also a high level of interest in projects along Nagar Road, which now falls in the new IT/ITES growth zone and represents considerable future appreciation potential.

Projects that were put on indefinite hold during the financial crunch are now seeing the light of day, with construction once again on a war footing across the city. Projects that are due to be launched within the next six months are being advertised heavily. For projects to be launched within the festive season, developers are not offering freebies and esoteric incentives but are focusing on price discounts for limited periods. Some of the most significant launches will include those by Pharande Spaces, Gera and Panchsheel.

On the downside, we have been seeing the first stirrings of price escalations in Pune. Based on the fact that the demand revival is still in its infancy, this represents a worrisome scenario which seems to indicate that the slowdown did not deliver a sufficiently convincing message. Owing to the price-conscious buyer profile that generally defines Pune, demand for residential spaces will only continue to grow as long as rates remain rational.

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