If one can’t afford a home, then they should not buy one!

Journalists are misleading the home buyers, said the savvy second-generation developer, reclining on the deck of his corporate yacht, anchored off the Gateway of India, sounding truly concerned about the fate of middle-class Mumbaikars. With all sincerity, he explained how the prices of land have gone through the roof, how the cost of material has shot up and how even the labour cost has nearly doubled. Of course, he didn’t talk about increasing profit margins. “When all input costs are going up, how can the price of real estate go down? By writing reports that realty rates could go down, you are only delaying their decision. And finally, they will have to pay an even higher price for the delay,” the young turk clad in designer suit said, adding as an afterthought, “Do they have a choice?”

I think they do. The choice of not buying a home at all; the choice of renting it out! What does rising input cost and galloping interest rate mean to someone who opts out of the realty acquisition spree? Like this friend, who owns a 1BHK apartment in Seawoods, New Mumbai, and has for long been planning to move into a bigger home. A 2BHK apartment in the nearby Seawoods Estate costs upward of Rs1.4 crore and even after selling the existing flat, he would have to take a loan of Rs1 crore to move into his dream house — with a monthly instalment of at least Rs1 lakh dangling on top of his head like a sword. The monthly rent for the same apartment is just Rs20, 000 — a saving of Rs80, 000 every month, not to mention the pressure of servicing a gigantic loan. It would be a pity to buy your dream home, and lose your sleep over it.

In these days of fluctuating fortunes and unstable jobs, locking into a lofty home loan may not be the best idea and living on rent may well be a smart move. Leave aside complicated calculations and the conventional wisdom that realty prices only go up, and living on rent makes better economic sense too. Imagine paying a fat instalment for five years, and finding that the price of your flat has remained the same, or even worse, gone down by 30%. Live on rent and not only do you get to keep all that money which would largely make the interest component of your home loan, but you also have the flexibility of moving to a new address, or a new city.
Not that we are new to the concept of living on rent. A good percentage of the population in the west lives on rent, as did a good percentage of Mumbaikars too, till just 25 years ago. Very few people had the resources to buy a house, and one’s own home was a result of a lifetime of hard work. The rest rented it out, and home loan companies did not even exist.
Should every Mumbaikar make the choice of living on rent, the young Turk on the yacht has a lot to worry about  not only about repaying his creditors, but also the fat installment for that anchored yacht!

 

SBI May Give Reason to Cheer

Bank to every Indian
Photo by RamN
March 25, 2010

After the budget 2010, SBI brings a gleam of hope for home loan borrowers as it plans an extension in the home loan relief plan.

SBI, the State Bank of India, one of the largest lenders in India, has indicated that although there would be slight changes, but it may still consider continuing its much-talked-about 8 % home loan scheme. One of the top officials of SBI said that even though they bring modifications in their products, which tune with their liquidity position normally they don’t kill any product. However, the banking major have not yet formally announced the extension of the bid whose tenure gets over on March 31.

The corporations like ICICI Bank and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation which are the major competitors of SBI also copied this scheme of SBI but later withdrew them because the RBI disapproved such products and drying liquidity.

But according to the officials it is one of the best home-loan plans in the market since it assisted other sectors to grow like cement and steel. It is a very successful offer. It also tremendously contributed to the overall economic growth.

However, the ‘teaser’ schemes were not liked by the Reserve Bank since it was related with the ability of customers to pay the rates of interest when it got back to the usual level after the period of this scheme expires.

RBI Deputy Governors, Usha Thorat and K C Chakrabarty, had openly expressed their concerns about the scheme. “Teaser rates…

Checklist for NRIs Willing To Invest In Real Estate

1. Doing a bit of research on the track record of builder can help.

2. For any real estate purchase it is preferable to make visits to the sites before buying them. This exercise is worth it not only because we are committing a large amount of money but also because reversing the decision proves costly as well. If the NRI is not able to make it, he can request a trusted friend or relative to opt for the site visit.

3. Going for a home loan through a bank will ensure that the money is released in stages only. This keeps the money safe during the construction. Also, all the banks at their local branches have their list of shortlisted builders for whose constructions loans are pre-approved. It is better to buy only these constructions, as the banks are quite stringent in their norms for pre-approval and shortlist only those builders who have a proven track record and those project, which comply to all legal norms.

4. Post the construction, the management of the asset is one of the major issues faced by NRIs. There is no easy solution for this. There are some society associations which support the owners of the buildings with services like maintenance and rent collection. There are again the “friendly neighborhood real estate agents” who may some times double up as the maintenance manager too. Many times though the “friendly” turn into “greedy” after some time. There are a few professional real estate management firms in most metros, which are now expanding into the Tier-II cities too.

5. Some of the other checks for any real estate purchase are:

i. Whether the construction rate quoted is for Built-up area or Carpet area? Construction is generally quoted for built-up area and rental is quoted only for the carpet area. There can be a difference of 15 % to 20% between the two based on the type of construction. Today in apartments there is the concept of super built-up area which apart from the built-up area includes stair case, common passages, fire escape passage, etc. The super built-up area can be bloated by as much as 50% of the carpet area.

ii. Robert Allen, the Real Estate Mogul suggests the 100 – 20 – 10 – 1 rule for any real estate purchase. The idea is to check out 100 properties in person; shortlist 20 of them for a deeper scrutiny; enter into negotiation with sellers for 10 of the properties and finally buy the ONE that is best suited.

iii. Technically there should be a check for all the statutory approvals – town planning, water supply and sewage disposal, safety approval from the local fire department, etc. It is always better to ask for the encumbrance certificate and the title deed from the builder to get a legal opinion from a lawyer.

6. Don’t hesitate to ask. This is probably the most important point. Many times, for avoiding being thought of as less intelligent, we question less. For any investing and particularly for real estate the more the questions asked the better the investment. The genuineness of the promoter can be gauged by the patience, the promptness and depth of the answers. Answers like, “Don’t worry about that, we will manage”, without going into the specifics are danger signs.

7. Take time. Do not restrain yourself by limiting the time for checking the properties and decision making to the time that you are present in India. A 2-4 week holiday cannot be hoped to be converted into a real estate investment period. Start the process before you come here. In case you cannot decide before you leave, it is OK. A Power of Attorney to a parent or a relative can be used to decide on the actual purchase even after you leave the shores of India.

Real estate- the best investment destination

The economic slump had a major impact on real estate. The price has come down over the last few months. People with a huge disposable income can explore investing in real estate for diversification of their assets. Reduced home loan interest rates and lower property prices makes it an opportunity hard to resist.
Some investments are considered safe in times of recession like precious metals and foreign currencies. In this list of investments that are popular during times of financial insecurity, real estate can be included.
Real estate is considered a hedge against forces of inflation. Inflation has led to the rupee value depreciating and property prices travelling upwards. Property investments are usually held over a long term.

Residential property becomes cheaper

Home Loan
Photo by thisperthlife
Residential property prices are expected to fall by about 10% this year. Residential property rates declined by 18% to 20% in this March. Despite this drop, buyers are watching market scenario with ‘wait and watch’ policy. This trend is likely to continue through 2009. Mr. Sudhir Nair, Head, CRISIL Research says, “Demand in the commercial and retail segment is likely to remain under stress for the next two years owing to excess supply and weak off take.”

It is believed that lower home loan interest rates would help to revive demand in the residential segment. Hence, capital values are likely to stabilise in the first half of 2010, and increase during the second half of the year.