Diwali brings light of hope to Noida's ghost towers as buyers come back

About six years back, Diwali was celebrated with much alacrity in and around Noida Expressway, Noida Extension, and Greater Noida. 

Large billboards advertising the latest residential projects, amenities being promised by few of the biggest developers in the country such as Unitech, Amrapali, Jaypee, as well as hundreds of smaller developers would be visible for miles.

Marketing teams of these developers would put up huge tents, sometimes as big as a mid-sized convention hall, almost every 2 km. These would be filled with thousands of prospective home buyers having intense negotiations with property advisors trying their best to close deals.

But, that was then. Now, the whole area is filled with hundreds of unfinished ghost projects. 

These have quashed the dreams of as many as 72,000 home buyers who have no idea when they get the keys to their flats. 

The trust deficit created by major developers such as Amrapali, Unitech, and Jaypee not only affected the Delhi-NCR real estate market but the whole country.

A likely U-turn

Experts say things may be starting to look up this Diwali, two years since the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, or RERA, that weeded out of developers who have not fulfilled their commitments.

According to property consultancy firm ANAROCK, its consumer sentiment survey for the second half of this year shows a positive tick among homebuyers.  

Real estate continues to be the first preference for buyers and investors alike, with nearly 53 per cent respondents preferring to invest in it. Genuine requirement for homes coupled with discounted prices of properties are once again attracting buyers,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

But, it is still early to comment as the festive season’s sales have not concluded yet, said ANAROCK. The firm said trends in recent years suggest the entire fourth quarter of a year was an auspicious time during which housing sales increase.

“Considering quarter-on-quarter trends in 2018, sales have increased across the major cities. For instance, in Q32018 it increased by 9 per cent over the preceding quarter. In comparison to Q32017, the sales went up 15 per cent in a year across the top seven cities. If we go by these numbers and look at the current scenario, we can expect sales to go up by 12 per cent in Q42018 against the preceding quarter,” Puri added.

However, the ongoing liquidity crisis in the real estate sector could, to some extent, play spoilsport for developers this festive season. 

Buyers eager for ready homes

According to industry experts, more than 49 per cent of the property buyers are opting for those flats that are ready to  move in.

“The situation seems better than last year. People are buying ready-to-move-in properties. Enquiries for under-construction properties are low. Also, a lot of ready-to-move-in inventory is also available and prices are under control. Buyers are, in fact, a little confused about what to buy,” said Parveen Jain, chairman and managing director, Tulip Infratech.

Earlier this year, the country’s biggest real estate player DLF said it would only sell apartments when it gets occupancy certificate after completing the project as part of its new business model. The policy has already started reaping benefits as DLF’s sales bookings in 2018-19 may go higher than Rs 22.5 billion, according to a guidance provided by the company at beginning of this fiscal year. Sales bookings are likely to jump over twofold this fiscal year as the company had sold flats worth just Rs 10 billion during 2017-18 because of a six-month suspension of sales to comply with RERA.

“At the current sales momentum, it looks like new sales bookings may cross our sales guidance of Rs 20-22.5 billion for this fiscal year,” DLF Group Chief Financial Officer Saurabh Chawla told analysts during a conference call last week.

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