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DLF, Unitech may slash prices by 30%

By BS Reporter in Mumbai
December 11, 2008 11:29 IST
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DLF, Unitech and other real estate developers may lower prices up to 30 per cent by mid-2009 to nudge buyers out of their "wait and watch" stance, according to experts.

The price cut, if implemented by the country's builders, will also push sales higher, especially of the affordable category, property consultants said.

"Many developers will come down on their asking rates after being saddled with unsold stock beyond their ability to hold on," added Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj (JLLM)

Property prices in key cities have more than doubled in the past few years, helped by a boom in the stock market and a spurt in salaries of home buyers. The subsequent measures of the Reserve Bank of India to cool the overheated economy and a subprime crisis coupled with the credit crunch, has tempered growth prospects in the country hurting sales of property developers.

The benchmarket Sensitive index has dropped more than 60 per cent from the beginning of the year, eroding much of the investors' wealth and RBI has increased repo rates by 150 basis points till September this year to curb inflation.

"If you take same time next year, there will be better volumes at lower prices than what they are today. Buyers will be tired of waiting and all the developers realise that price cuts are necessary across the board,'' said Pranay Vakil, chairman of property consultancy Knight Frank India.

To boost sales, property developers have been forced to cut prices of real estate but buyers are still adopting a "wait and watch" stance as many feel that even the lower rates continue to be unaffordable.

Property prices in Gurgaon, Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR) have fallen by 25-30 per cent while Mumbai's distant suburbs have seen a 15-20 per cent drop in prices. Now property consultants foresee a further price correction of 25-30 per cent in 2009.

"By the middle of 2009, developers will lose holding power and cut prices sharply. Cuts will follow big time after elections," said Ambar Maheshwari, director of DTZ, an investment advisory.

Experts say that developers are likely to focus on sub-Rs 20 lakh flats due to the huge demand for such flats and the government's stimulus package for Rs 20 lakh home loans.

"Earlier, developers thought that there is a latent demand for premium homes, but in the current slowdown, that perception has changed. Rs 5 lakh-Rs 15 lakh (Rs 1.5 million) homes are always in demand and developers will look towards that," Maheshwari said.

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BS Reporter in Mumbai
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