Friday, July 24, 2009

Return of NRI interest in Indian real estate

"The right sized product, at the right price will surely be a sell-out," says Sukhraj Nahar, chairman of the Nahar Group. At the MCHI's India Realty Expo, 2009, in Dubai, the Nahar Group offered NRIs homes in a new segment - a two BHK flat that cost INR 55 lakh onwards, which received good response. "The NRI customer needs the security of being able to walk up to the chairman of the company and ask just about any question related to the project," says Nahar, on the product's success.
MCHI CEO, Zubin Mehta, substantiates the return of NRIs' interest in Indian realty with figures from the exhibition: a turnout of 1,096 NRI families; 106 flats worth Rs 65.33 crore ($13 million) booked and around 86 flats worth Rs 80.18 crore ($16 million) in the pipeline; site visits fixed for July-August, when the NRIs come to India on their annual vacation.
"We tweaked the format and offered products that were nearing completion, with a budget limit of INR 75 lakh, mostly in the suburban areas and these were perceived by the NRIs as having scope for further value appreciation," he says. "The softening of real estate prices and home loan interest rates in India, were the key factors for attracting a large number of NRIs," says Mehta.
HDFC's branch manager (Dubai), Vikram Goel, reveals that innovative schemes, like the '20:80' home finance scheme offered by HDFC and the Nahar Group, play a big part when it comes to garnering bookings. "The average NRI is worried about the economic challenges, across the next year or so. Hence, they find schemes like these, which provide for 20 per cent payment at the time of booking and the remaining 80 per cent at possession, attractive," he added.
"NRIs are facing a unique situation," says JS Augustine of Everest Developers. "There is a certain amount of job uncertainty, due to the global economic situation. At the same time, Indian real estate offers lower entry-level prices, with potential for good returns on investment (ROI). So, NRIs who are sure of their job for the next few years, are buying Indian real estate. The INR/USD rate differential also makes it more attractive for NRIs to buy now," he says, adding that it is necessary for Indian developers to meet NRIs more often, to create confidence and give them more comfort.
What works for the NRI buyer? It has to be innovation and a different product, from what has been on offer so far and at a price level that seems attractive to the NRI buyer who has the global property market to choose from, concludes Rajnish Oswal, MD of Dubai-based real estate firm, Home Back Home.

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