Indian Real Estate Market: Bubble or a Bit Trouble?

A fear of bubble comes in the mind of everyone who is looking to buy or invest in real estate now a day. But without looking at facts one should not come up with any conclusion that speculates real estate bubble in India.Indian real estate industry is growing with a CAGR of more than 30% on the back of robust economic performance of the country. After a little downturn in 2008-09, it has revived rapidly and shown tremendous growth. The market value of under construction project has increased from $70 bn at end-2006 to $102 bn by end-June 2010, which is equal to 8.2 per cent of India’s nominal GDP for 2009. Besides the Govt. initiatives- liberalization of foreign direct investment norms in real estate in 2005, introduction of the SEZ Act, and allowing private equity funds into real estate, key factors contributed to this tremendous growth were ‘lower price’ which has attracted buyers and investors not only from India but NRIs & Foreign funds have also deployed money in to Indian market. In addition to that, aggressively launching of new projects by builders had further improved this positive sentiment which paved the way for rapid growth in market last year.Now question is whether any Bubble is forming in Indian real estate market? Let’s look at the recent housing bubble in USA, Europe and middle-east. Beside economic factors, key contributing factors in those bubbles were rapid rise in price beyond affordability, home ownership mania, belief that real estate is good investment and feel good factor among which rapid price hike is a key cause of any real estate bubble.Comparing it with Indian scenario, all those factors are working in major cities of India specifically Tier-I cities. Prices has skyrocketed and crossed earlier pick of 2007 in the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gurgoan, Chandigarh & Pune. Even in some cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgoan and Noida prices have gone by 25-30% higher than the pick of the market in 2007. However during economic downturn in 2008-09, prices fell by 20-25% in these cities. Other factor is home ownership mania and belief that real estate is good investment. Need based buyers and investors were attracted by lower prices in the end of 2009 and started pouring money in real estate market. Tier-I cities Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bangaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata has shown maximum investment in real estate projects. Developers have taken the advantage of this improved sentiment and started launching new projects. This has further boosted confidence among those buyers and investors who had missed opportunity to buy or invest earlier which has further increased price unrealistically fast. And at last feel good factor which is also working since last few months. The key factor of any bubble market, whether we are talking about the stock market or the real estate market is known as ‘feel good factor’, where everyone feels good. For the last one year the Indian real estate market has risen dramatically and if you bought any property, you more than likely made money. This positive return for so many investors fueled the market higher as more people saw this and decided to invest in real estate before they ‘missed out’. This feel good factor is at the heart of any bubble and it has happened numerous times in the past including during the stock market crash of 2008, the Japanese real estate bubble of the 1980′s, and even Irish property market in 2000. The feel good factor had completely taken over the property market until recently and this can be a key contributing factor for bubble in Indian property market. Even after flow of negative news on real estate market correction and/or bubble, people are still highly positive on real estate growth in India.Looking at above factors, there is possibility of bubble formation in few cities in India but it can harm buyers and investors only if it bursts. Generally bubble form with artificial internal pressure and can stay for long time if not acted by external force. Similarly, in case of real estate market, bubble can burst if demand and price start falling suddenly and drastically. Few findings of recent research by IKON Marketing Consultants throw more light on this. According to that majority of investors from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gurgoan, Chandigarh & Pune are now not willing to invest at this level of price as not seen any rise recently. Majority of them are about to exit and book profit on their earlier investment. Other factor is demand supply gap. In city like Mumbai were around 6500 apartment with 45 million square feet space is under construction but majority of developers are worried on lack of 100% booking. Same situation is with Delhi and other major towns of India which has demonstrated higher than expected enthusiasm. Though developers giving positive outlook of market while interviewing them but their confidence level is very low which is giving negative signals of falling demand in nearest future. Third important factor is expected outflow of foreign fund. India, as an attractive investment destination a huge fund has been deployed in Indian property market by foreign institutes and NRIs. But now property market in US, Middle east and Europe has been stabilized and started growing gradually which is attracting foreign funds due to lower prices. A huge fund is expected to withdraw from India as foreign investors see greater opportunities in those countries. All these factors may act as external pressure which may lead to bubble burst.Considering above facts, IKON Marketing Consultants predict that there is a possibilities of real estate bubble in Tier-I cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gurgoan, Chandigarh & Pune. However, IKON does not see much trouble in overall market as Tier-II and Tier-III cities are growing gradually and are the backbone of Indian real estate industry. According to IKON’s research, Indian real estate industry may see some down turn in 2011. It may start from 1st quarter of 2011 and last up to 3rd quarter of 2012. However it will be not too intense as it was during recession period. It is expected that price may slash by 10-15% during this phase of correction but under certain situation it may last up to end of 2013 with price correction of 30% specifically in Tier-I cities.By its nature, a bubble is a short-term phenomenon while Indian property market has shown continuous growth, apart from periodic adjustments, in the last few years. One should not forget that there are more than 400 million Indians waiting to hit the middle class group which will require more than 75 lacs housing units by 2013. Whether bubble burst or see a bit trouble in short-term, growth story will remain intact for Indian real estate industry. However affordability is the most important factor when it comes to housing prices and middle class housing is much levels of affordability in most of the major cities in India. People, who compare India with developed European cities, forget the huge difference in affordability in both areas. Of course there is a huge demand for housing but they can only buy what they can afford.

Real Estate Agents – What Sellers and Buyers Should Know About Them

For most buyers and sellers the prospect of dealing with a real estate agent brings forth unknown fears. While some agents are genuine and reputable and consider their clients best interest as their top priority, there is no dearth of unscrupulous individuals either who are just trying to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. As a buyer or sellers of a property, it is your responsibility to choose a estate agent prudently. So, here is a look at what you should know about real estate agents before you approach one.What does a real estate agent do?Depending on which side he is working for (the buyers or the sellers), the realtor acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller and helps to complete the sale of a property. For his services, he is offered a commission from his client (seller, buyer or both). When working on behalf of the seller, the agent is responsible for putting the details of a property in the multiple listing services of the area and undertaking other efforts such as home staging to market the property.In case of a residential property, a real estate agent may start off by putting up the details of the property on his personal or company website depending on whether he is a part of a realtor firm or works on his own. The next step would be to market the property through postcards and advertisements in real estate magazines offline as well as online.Besides marketing the property, the agent who lists your home is also responsible for following up with other agents who might have clients that may have expressed interest in the property. An agent is also supposed to help you negotiate the best deal possible. He/She is with you every step of the way till the home is sold; advising you on all matters including procuring the services of a lawyer.The agent does not charge the client/home seller for his marketing efforts; however, you will have to incur any legal cost involved in the selling processWhen working from the seller’s side, a realtor is responsible for rummaging through the property listings of an area that his client is interested in. He coordinates with the real estate agent handling the property on behalf of the seller and arranges to show the premises to his clients. A real estate agent from the buyer’s side also helps to negotiate the best deal for his client and is with the buyer through out the purchasing process. He is also responsible for approaching a professional to get a property evaluation done. Some real estate agents may also offer other services such as advice and help for procuring home loans.Real estate agents not only earn commission from the sale and purchase of homes but also when a property is leased. Usually the commission is paid to the real estate agent at the final settlement of the deal.Who should you choose to be your estate agent?Real estate agent can don three mantles that of an intermediary on behalf of the seller, the buyer or a dual agent. When buying a house, it would be best to hire the services of an agent who can work on your side, the same holds true when selling a home as well; you would be better of approaching a real estate agent who works for sellers.Although real estate agents who work from the sellers or the buyer’s side do not have different credentials, some agents choose to play on a single turf while double agents may work for both the seller and the buyer simultaneously earning commissions from both.The Sellers Real Estate Agent: An agent working on behalf of the seller will have his loyalties towards his client an he/she will try his hardest to convince the seller to give his client the lowest deal. So, as a buyer if you were to ask the seller’s agent if his client would accept a higher deal, he will be obligated to not divulge this information to you.The Buyers Real Estate Agent: Similarly agents who work on behalf of the seller owe their responsibility to their clients and will try to get their clients the highest deal possible. So, they will not be willing to offer information on how low their client will go in terms of the price.A dual agent: A dual agent is obligated to keep the honest picture in front of both parties; since he is entitled to a commission from both parties, he owes his loyalties to both the buyer and the seller.Most real estate agents have a list of buyers as well as sellers so it is not unusual for an agent to work on behalf of both parties or at least get another agent from his real estate firm to negotiate on behalf of the seller or the buyer.The problem with real estate agentsWhile real estate agents are in the business of marketing properties, it is not uncommon for them to play up their credentials; after all, it is a dog eat dog world and there is certainly no dearth of realtors in the market. While this is acceptable, some individuals resort to lying blatantly about their accomplishments and often their customers end up paying for their tall claims.So, make sure that you check all the claims that are being made by a potential estate agent. Do not hesitate to ask for references. If he has not mentioned his experience in the brochure, make it a point to ask him about it. Also, inquire about other properties that he may have sold which were similar to the one that you want to sell/buy; this would include properties in the sane area, of the same size and price range.Finding a good and reliable agent can save you a lot of trouble while hanging out with the wrong guy can quickly turn into a nightmare so take your time when picking an agent to buy/sell your home.