Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jai Maharashtra! Lets Rebuild Mantralaya

Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Now even Maharashtra's politicians do not want to be left out of the realty grab, and have come up with a scheme to extract their pound of flesh.

The public works department (PWD) has devised a plan to redevelop the State's assembly house, Mantralaya, located at Nariman Point, in Mumbai. This is the same area where the NCPA Building is located, in which Citibank sold an apartment last year for Rs 34 crore, which worked out to Rs 97,842 per sq ft last year.

So, while farmers commit suicide, rice and wheat cost twice as much, steel and cement double up in price, infrastructure trudges along, garbage lies everywhere, and people defecate along the tracks, the public works department will spend Rs 1000 crore of taxpayers money, to unnecessarily redevelop Mantralaya.

This is how it will work: The PWD will offer a triangular plot near Mantralaya to a developer, which would demolish the ministerial bungalows located here, and in its place develop 6 new towers of 31 stories each. In return for this, the builder will redevelop Mantralaya.

PWD is careful to emphasize that no change would be made to the basic structure of Mantralaya, which is a landmark, like the Sydney Opera House. An extra 100,000 sq ft created, which includes an extra floor for the CM and the deputy CM.

So, now, who will be the lucky builder for this dream project? And will the Maharashtra government be passing off the profits from this venture to the taxpayers of Mumbai?

The one other similar incident I had heard about was when Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned.

Read the TOI story here

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What is a Housing Bubble?

A real estate bubble is a type of economic bubble that occurs periodically in local or global real estate markets.A housing bubble is characterized by rapid increases in the valuations of real property such as housing until unsustainable levels are reached relative to incomes, price-to-rent ratios, and other economic indicators of affordability. This in turn is followed by a market correction in which decreases in home prices can result in many owners holding negative equity, a mortgage debt higher than the value of the property.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Subprime Fallout: Slums in the United States

Denial is the first reaction to any crisis. When someone tells you that a dear relative has died, what is your first reaction? When you are told the stock market has collapsed, what is your first reaction? Watch this video - because if you are told that the subprime market has created slums in the US, your first reaction would be denial. In 2006, was this even visualized? In 2008 it has become a reality. Why then, are we so reluctant to admit that this can happen in India?




Consider how the crisis has unfolded over the past eighteen months. The proximate cause is to be found in the housing bubble or more exactly in the excesses of the subprime mortgage market. The longer a double-digit rise in house prices lasted, the more lax the lending practices became. In the end, people could borrow 100 percent of inflated house prices with no money down. Insiders referred to subprime loans as ninja loans—no income, no job, no questions asked. - George Soros in latest book

everything’s going up, there’s a feelgood factor and people tell each other how much their houses are going up at dinner parties,” says Professor Mark Stephens of York University’s Centre for Housing Policy. “Then the music stops, as it always does.”

year, Japan was a more attractive market to put money in. If you look at the US, we can now get an internal rate of return of 25% there, so why would anyone want to come to India?” - a senior executive at an international financial services group, who did not wish to be named.

people told us house prices never go down on a national level, and that there had never been a default of an investment-grade-rated mortgage bond, "Mortgage experts were too caught up." - John Paulson, trader, who bet against subprime market and made $15 billion.

most puzzling are the real-estate projects of Parsvnath. Just have a look at the Pride Asia project near Chandigarh. They are asking almost US $300K-$350 K dollars for 2 bed room apartments. They have Villas in this project that costs more than US $1.5 million dollars. It is true that some people in India have that kind of money in India. However most of their wealth is black money and that can not be used to buy these properties. Obviously, these projects have been launched keeping NRIs in mind. - Sanjeev, comment from another site

Desai, aka Bani, the star of Balalji Telefilms's soap, Kasam Se, has been house hunting for over a year. She had almost closed a 2-BHK deal last year for Rs 1.5 crore in a Oberoi Constructions' building located at Andheri, Mumbai, but when she went back to confirm it, she was asked to cough up Rs 2.61 crore. Since then, she is still house hunting. - Mumbai Mirror


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