So far, not so good
It is advantage home buyer in Bathinda’s apartment segment, which is reeling with problem of low demand and stagnation
In Punjab, the apartment culture lags behind the plotted segment. The plotted segment includes the built-up houses like independent floors. In all major cities of the state, including Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar, plots are the first preference of the local buyers.
Apartments have gained in popularity over the years, yet, these lag behind in terms of demand and supply. In Bathinda, the buyer response has been, at best, mix. Unlike cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar, where a number of builders are active in the segment, in Bathinda there is only a couple of active players, both in the private and public sectors.
Similarly, while in other cities, within the segment there is a wide variety in terms of prices, locations and amenities, in Bathinda, the supply is mainly concentrated in the budget and affordable segments.
Apartment prices in the city are stable. For some, it is a case of overall slowdown in the realty market, for others, additionally, the segment is still to become the most preferred option for the local home buyer.
“In the last ten years, there were attempts by both private and public sector developers to create apartment culture and projects in the segment were launched. While the private sector has registered reasonable success in the segment, but the buyer response for the public sector has been dismal. The vacancy rates are also very high in the public sector apartment projects; in fact, most are lying unoccupied,” says Sameer Arora, 40, a city-based real estate consultant.
Local potential buyers blame the poor construction quality coupled with failure to stick to possession deadlines for the poor performance of projects in the public sector.
“The buyer lost faith in these projects because the quality of the projects was very poor. In some cases even the basic amenities were not available. Even after completion of these projects, no buyer is interested to risk his hard money in these projects,” says Maninder Singh, 42, a local businessman dealing in farm goods.
PLOTTED PROPERTY REMAINS A PREFERENCE
The traditional preference for the plotted property is one of the reasons why not many builders, local and national, have entered the apartment segment. Also, say local realty experts, the prices of apartments and the plotted built-up properties are comparable, so, it is tough to attract buyers for the apartment projects.
“The supply of apartments is limited in the city as not many builders have found the segment lucrative enough to enter it. The land is relatively cheap in the city and its periphery. A 1,400 sq ft built-up house on a 200 sq yard plot is available for around ₹26 lakh. So, it is understandable that not many builders want to offer apartments and compete with the plotted segment. People also find land cheaper enough to construct a house on their own. Also, unlike cities like Chandigarh where a sizeable part of the population lives in rented accommodation, in the city ownership to tenant ratio is vastly in the favour of the owned house segment. If the local industry gets a boost then we can see more population settling from outside here and needing houses. In that scenario, the demand and supply in the apartment segment will surely increase,” says, Vijay Yadav, 62, a local real estate consultant.
Not all realty stakeholders consider the segment lagging behind other residential segments. Rajinder Mittal, 56, a city-based builder, is optimistic about the future of the segment in the city, “There is space for all the residential segments in the city, be it apartments or plots or built-up plotted devel- opments. The apartment segment has steadily caught the attention of the home buyers. People are realising the advantages of living in an apartment. Affordability, security and compactness are some of the merits of apartments. Also, for a nuclear family settled in the city from outside the state, apartments are the preferred option. The stagnant price and low demand situation is not peculiar to the apartment segment but is endemic to the sector itself. When the market revives, the apartment segment will gain the most ’’
PRICES AND THE BUYER’S EDGE
The apartment prices, currently, are stable.
“The stability in apartment prices is mainly on account of the low trading volumes in the segment. The absence of the buyer from the market means that price negotiations are neither for increasing nor for cutting prices. The net result is price stability,” says Arora. Prices for apartment generally vary between ₹15 lakh to ₹40 lakh, depending on the size, project, builder and location. “The average prices in the segment vary between ₹2,000 per sq ft and ₹2,500 per sq ft,” says Mittal.
Local realty experts suggest that it is a good time for the buyer to enter the apartment segment. “It is a buyer’s market. He can dictate terms to the seller, particularly, in the secondary market. So, if the buyer makes a move now, he can buy property of his choice at a price he wants,” says Mittal. But not many buyers are keen to enter now, expecting price corrections in the segment and the realty sector as a whole, says, Maninder Singh
In the last 10 years, there have been attempts by both private and public sector developers to create apartment culture. SAMEER ARORA, a city-based real estate consultant The buyer lost faith in these projects because the quality was poor. In some cases even basic amenities were not available. MANINDER SINGH, a local businessman WHILE IN OTHER CITIES, WITHIN THE SEGMENT THERE IS A WIDE VARIETY IN TERMS OF PRICES, LOCATIONS AND AMENITIES, IN BATHINDA, THE SUPPLY IS MAINLY CONCENTRATED IN THE BUDGET AND AFFORDABLE SEGMENTS
Improvement Trust flats in Transport Nagar opposite NFL in Bathinda