Luxury real estate, that remained muted in the first half of 2012, picked up demand third quarter on, according to consultants and analysts.
The industry describes projects priced beyond Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) in Delhi and the National Capital Region region as luxury, but the benchmark is Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for Mumbai.
Data from Propequity, a real estate advisory and consulting firm, shows a 68 per cent decline in the absorption of the luxury units in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same quarter in 2011.
In the second quarter, the rate of decline was 22 per cent, and was down to just three per cent in the third quarter.
This is reflected in the muted price appreciation of the high-end units in Mumbai, which ranged from three-seven per cent, according to Cushman and Wakefield, a global consultancy.
However, North and North East Mumbai areas, such as Powai, Bandra and Juhu, were an exception, with a 21-29 per cent appreciation in 2012.
For units priced at over Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) in Mumbai, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 57 per cent decline in residential absorption, Q2 saw a 33 per cent decline and, in Q3, the rate of decline eased to 15 per cent.
"The pick in Q3 can be explained by the fact the buyers generally gave up waiting for the prices to come down," said Sanjay Sharma, managing director, Qubrex, a real estate advisory.
Also, the increase in the absorption could be partly explained by the festive season fervour that started in September.
A similar trend was visible in the Noida market, next to Delhi.
There was a 76 per cent decline in the number of units absorbed in the first quarter, priced over Rs 5 crore.
In the second quarter, there was a 11 per cent increase in demand (indicated by the absorption figures) and a turnround in Q3, which showed a 115 per cent increase in absorption.
This is due to the new launches in the second quarter, which got absorbed in the third quarter.
There were 140 units of over Rs 5 crore, launched in the first quarter, 100 units in the second quarter and 87 units in the third quarter.
Looking at the projects priced over Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million), the absorption peaked in the third quarter, on a year-on-year basis.
There was a 160 per cent increase in absorption in the third quarter, against 58 per cent increase in the second quarter and a decline of three per cent in the first.
This could also be explained by the base effect, as construction had stalled in Greater Noida in July 2011 on the Allahabad High Court order.
This impacted sales all over Noida.
According to estimates, there are at least 3,000 units with a price of Rs 5 crore or more in Gurgaon.
Gurgaon's luxury market behaved in a contrasting manner, as there was a 30 per cent increase in absorption in the first quarter, a 22 per cent increase in the second and 29 per cent in the third.
"Gurgaon market does not get impacted by the slowdown much, especially the luxury and super-luxury segment, as according to estimates, every month Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) enters the Gurgaon market, all off-books, keeping real estate prices escalated", said an analyst.
The Cushman and Wakefield data suggested that the high-end and luxury projects in Gurgaon saw a 35-42 per cent price appreciation in 2012.