Despite the slowdown, real estate prices remain high though slight price cuts are on offer for some projects.
A four-day property exhibition by the Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI) that began on Thursday offers several options. On day one, the response was mixed from buyers, whose main concern was affordability. Rates are a bit lower for some projects, but builders say they can’t do much to cut prices as input costs are high.
Some developers said the trend seemed positive as buyers could book flats at relatively low prices. Rates are down by Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 per square foot. Neptune Developers has priced its Bhandup property at Rs. 10,500psf as has Mantri group for its Goregaon property. The Acme group has kept its Kandivli project Oasis at Rs. 10,500 psf, the one at Andheri costs Rs. 16,000.
Some premium projects, however, show prices constant. Ajmera Aeon project at Wadala costs Rs. 18,500 psf and the minimum price of a flat is Rs. 3 crore. Kalpataru Radiance at Goregaon (W) opened at Rs. 12,771 psf. Sheth Creators has hiked rates for Vasant Oasis, Andheri to Rs. 11,000 psf from Rs. 9,550 -- the minimum cost is Rs. 1.50 crore. A 500 sq ft studio apartment at Andheri by Kumar Urban Development Ltd. costs Rs. 72 lakh.
Builders justify the costs. “There is no way we can reduce anything. Consumers have realised prices are not going to come down,” said Bandish Ajmera, director, Ajmera Group. Tejas Vyas, coordinator, MCHI (exhibitions sub Committee) said: “Sales are picking up and we are seeing good response.”
The last two years have been quite tough for the industry as rates touched exorbitant levels. Besides, banks tightened lending norms and hiked interest rates.
Experts say even banks and the government need to be proactive to push up sales. “Apart from builders reducing rates, the state needs to give incentives and banks should liberalise lending norms,” said Prakash Rohera, KKarma Realtors, a leading brokerage firm.