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

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - HT ESTATES - Mu­niesh­wer A Sa­gar mu­niesh­wer.sa­gar@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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

SAN­JEEV KU­MAR/HT

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