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Hit by slowdown, realtors look abroad for help

Last updated on: June 13, 2011 12:53 IST

Hit by slowdown, realtors look abroad for help

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Ranju Sarkar in New Delhi

Top fifty firms together schedule property exhibitions for NRIs; banks, financiers expect good business, too.

Hit by sluggish sales at home, realtors are wooing non-resident Indians (NRIs). A slew of property exhibitions have been lined up at Dubai, Singapore, London, Durban and New York over the next three-four months.

"There's a renewal of interest from NRIs, after demand fell in 2009-10. NRIs from Australia, Canada, UK are already buying,'' says Sanjay Sachdeva, president of Advance India Projects, which has sold 30 per cent of its project in Amritsar to NRIs. For most developers, NRIs constitute 20-25 per cent of a project's sales.

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Fifty of the country's top developers are participating in the Indian Property Show in Dubai from Thursday to Saturday, where they will showcase 250 housing and commercial projects worth $2.23 billion.

Similar shows are scheduled at London (June 24-26), Singapore (August 12-14), Doha (October 13-15) and Durban. The Dubai show, an annual affair, has been made biannual from this year.

"NRIs buy homes in India for the emotional connect, as well as for investment ," says Rajesh Brahmbhatt of Ahmedabad-based Saffal Constructions, who sells properties from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore. Most NRIs come between October and December.

"Amritsar, for instance, has a huge emotional connect with NRI  Sikh families. About 79,000 people visit Amritsar's Golden Temple every day, many of whom are NRIs. Many of them want to have a piece of land here," said Sachdeva of Advance India. This makes for a third of the buyers. For most, investment is the key driver.

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"The NRI customer is well-informed and wants to go for known brands. They have connections back home and they do a lot of due-diligence. Most of them are looking for properties in the range of Rs 50-80 lakh and like to go for a time-tested brand," said Kunal Banerji, president, M3M India.

"Only a handful wants to buy properties worth Rs 1-3 crore. Most are happy with a 15-20 per cent appreciation in prices."

The three-day event in Dubai will be attended by leading Indian real estate and construction companies, including Unitech Ltd, Vatika Group, Godrej Properties, Hiranandani, Ansal Housing, India Bulls, Jaypee Greens, Lokhandwala, Ireo and Arihant Superstructure, among others.

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Photographs: Reuters
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About 70 per cent of the projects on display are residential; 30 per cent offer commercial and retail space. Some of the cities in focus are Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Noida and Kochi.

A recent survey in Dubai revealed 62 per cent of Indians in the UAE plan to buy home in India. A third of the 15,000 polled said they plan to buy in less than a month, while 87 per cent would need to raise finances from banks to buy property back home.

Developers say the global meltdown, unrest in some parts and job uncertainty may have prompted the NRIs in UAE to buy property in India. Banks and financial institutions like HDFC which are participating in the show are also hoping for good business.


Photographs: Reuters
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