Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stanchart Pays Rs 720 Crore in Bombastic BKC Deal

In a deal that seems to be one-off, albeit bright spark, in an industry gasping for cash, Standard Chartered paid Rs 720 crore for 2.2 lakh sq ft in an under-construction building called Crescendo. The sellers were Parinee Developers.

The rate works out to Rs 32,000 per sq ft, which is between 30-40 percent lower than the Rs 45,000 shelled out in 2007 by Wadhwa Builders.

The deal is being shouted down a one-off by brokers, many of whom say that Standard Chartered paid more than it should have. A Stanchart spokesperson said they were planning to set up their corporate headquarters at the new premises which will also have the wholesale and retail banking operations.

Commercial lease in suburban Mumbai is also slumping. Grade-A properties are now leasing at Rs 325 per sq ft as opposed to Rs 400-450 a few months ago. Office space has also fallen to Rs 300-350 as compared to a few months ago. However, even at these rates, there are no lessees available, said industry sources.

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Unitech Forced to Sell New Delhi Head Office

The morass that Indian real estate companies have sunk in to is now becoming glaringly evident. The nation's second-largest property company, Unitech, is now forced to sell its New Delhi office of over 2 lakh sq ft, to raise cash and meet demands from lenders.

Unitech had borrowed an undisclosed sum from HDFC, using the Saket head office as collateral, while HDFC sources claim this number to be Rs 30 crore.

Unitech sources said that HDFC has agreed to purchase this property for Rs 450-500 crore, and that formal agreement is expected to be signed end of this month. Unitech had itself purchased this land for over Rs 127 crore.

HDFC clearly refused to comment on this.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Realty Cos Likely to Default on Payments

Citigroup, in a note to clients, has warned that Indian real estate companies face a higher risk of payment default as access to cash becomes restricted.

The same note states that DLF, the nation's biggest property developer, Parsvnath Developers and Omaxe have shown a decline in Q2 income, as a slowing economy and tighter lending norms by banks cut out the oxygen supply.

Citigroup analysts categorically stated that they do not expect a recovery in the near term.

In another development, Goldman Sachs too said, in a separate note, that the earnings of realty companies reflect a slowdown.

New Delhi-based DLF Q2 profit fell 4 percent, while Unitech's Q2 declined 12 percent respectively.

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SBI Chairman Sees 50 Percent Correction

OP Bhatt, chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest bank, expects 50 a percent correction in the housing sector prices in the country.

“In India we may witness up to 50 percent correction in pricing in the mortgage markets. If that happens, it’s good news for the Indian banking system as NPAs would reduce and new business would fall-in,’’ he said at the concluding session of Ficci-IBA Conference on Global Banking: Paradigm Shift, in Mumbai on Saturday.

Bandra-Kurla Land Fetches Mere Rs 92 Crore

News that did not make it to the headlines: Land at Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla Complex was sold 50 percent lower than March 2008. Thus comes hardcore evidence of the Mumbai real estate market having slid in to a cold freeze, despite the bravado of developers. On thing is now certain: real estate companies are going to die a slow death over the next year.

The said plot of land was picked for Rs 92 core at Rs 1.55 lakh per square metre—half the price from the previous auction in March. Ahmedabad-based Talim Research Foundation, a venture of Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group of Industries, was the sole bidder, paid just Rs 2 crore over the minimum sale price. This in face of the deal five months ago, when Jet Airways (India) Ltd picked up a plot in the same area at Rs 3.52 lakh per sq metre.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, or MMRDA, had no choice but to award the 5,900 sq. m to the lone bidder in Talim. The plot would be used for an educational facility by the nine-year old foundation which does social science research with a focus on health, communication, micro-economics, social audit and poll studies.
In March, only three out of five plots were sold in a land auction by MMRDA when Jet Airways picked up a plot and Starlite Systems bought two residential plots at the same price. Land sales have been down since this year’s beginning compared to 2007, when city-based Wadhwa Group had bought a commercial plot in the complex at a staggering Rs 5.04 lakh per sq metre for a 16,500 sq metre plot.

Even Starlite and Jet Airways that bid for the plots in March have requested MMRDA to give them an extension of six months to pay the premium. “Developers are not willing to pay astronomical prices for a piece of land and are waiting and watching for some correction to happen,” he said. “Many developers are also under a liquidity crunch which is why they are staying away from land purchase.”

Developers are not interested in purchasing land according to Hemant Shah, chairman of city-based builder Akruti City. The general view is that those who have purchased land last year are unable to launch projects, due to the slowdown, but land owners are not willing to lower the rates, leading to a crunch.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Parvsnath's Retail Plans Shelved

Parsvnath Developers has put its retail foray in to cold storage, citing adverse market conditions as the reason.

Parsvnath had plans for 5-10 front-end stores by this fiscal, backed by an international retail partner for logistics. The plan had included hypermarkets, food joints, and very large retail stores of about 2.5-3 lakh sq ft. Initially, the plans were to roll out stores in Delhi and Mumbai, followed by other cities. Parsvnath even formed a subsidiary, Parsvnath Retail Ltd., for its retail business and had acquired 5.5 million sq ft. of space across the country.

However, now due to the adverse market conditions caused by the global financial crisis and the resultant economic slowdown, these plans have been postponed indefinitely, and could be resurrected when market conditions improve.

Read the story here




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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