Despite a slowdown in the economy, the Mumbai real estate market saw a 16% increase in property registrations in the first half of calendar year 2013 over the same period last year, data sourced from Director General of Registrations, Mumbai, showed.
There were 34,588 registrations between January and June 2013 against 29,773 done last year, signalling an uptick in property sales. Supply coming back into the market, quicker approvals for projects and developers offering discounts and freebies on bookings seem to be factors having a positive effect on the property absorptions in the metropolis, albeit at a very slow pace.
Sales in the Mumbai market have been sluggish for the last 12-18 months as a change in the development control rules, coupled with increasing liquidity pressures being faced by developers had hit the market.
However, the approvals scenario has been improving. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) highrise committee cleared 62 building proposals between January and June 2013. This was more than five times the number of proposals it had cleared between June 2012 to December 2012. The committee scrutinises building proposals based on various aspects including environmental sustainability, infrastructure and availability of the mandatory open space.
Among the premium projects that have been cleared between January to June are projects of Lodha Developers, Runwal Developers, Omkar, Nirmal Lifestyle, Orbit Corporation and Rajesh Lifespaces.
However, Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) hawkish stance on interest rates has been a dampener, say developers. "It is a fact that lot of pent up demand for real estate is getting materialised into sales, but much more push is needed from the RBI and government in terms of reducing interest rates and improving economic scenario for a real surge in the real estate sector," says Vimal Shah, president, MCHI-CREDAI (Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry-Confederation of Real Estate Developer's Associations of India). While most expected rates to ease further in 2013, the fall in the currency has forced the RBI to reverse it's stance leading to fears that rates may actually start to see an uptick in the year ahead.
In trying to push sales in a tough environment, realty players have started wooing property buyers with schemes like 20:80, which allow customers to pay 20% of the value at the time of booking and the rest on offer of possession. “Rise in registration numbers is an indicator that approvals are coming fast aiding in more project