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Planning to Buy House? Just wait

Makes sense to wait as prices will fall further; desperate builders are not finding many buyers.
Housing Loans : Interest rates expected to come down, so wait a while; good time to pre-pay part of the loan if it is not tax-efficient. [Source : Outlook]

Future economic historians may remember the month that just ended as Black September. Lehman Brothers collapsed; the Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch; AIG was nationalised; banks such as Washington Mutual and Wachovia were wiped out. As credit and finance markets around the world tumbled like ninepins, so did stock markets in India, with the Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index (Sensex) falling 3.35% or 469 points on September 15. The worst affected was the realty index which dropped 7.6% on the same day. Since then, while stocks prices in India have seen massive swings, shares of real estate firms have remained depressed, falling a total of 20% as of October 1.

In addition to housing stocks, home prices are taking a beating. By some estimates, prices have dropped by 25% in certain urban markets. While in the US -- and also in Britain -- the subprime mortgage mess has seen home prices fall dramatically, in India, such slowdowns have been rare -- at least in the past. Prices may soften, sales activity may slow and occasionally a distress sale occurs, but there has not been an overall fall in home prices. [Source : Sify]

Lenders force builders to start selling :

MUMBAI:Financiers have started talking tough with Indian property firms in trying to salvage the money they had lent. “Sell-before-it’s-too-late” is a point that some of the big lenders are driving home, while a few overseas funds which had committed equity investments in tranches have gone into arbitration to wriggle out of the promise.

Most builders were prompt with interest payments till September 30. But lenders now fear that many would default in the December quarter or may be even earlier. A large builder has already failed to pay interest to a foreign fund, which had purchased the structured securities at the peak of the property boom.

Banks and institutions have lent over Rs 75,000 crore to Indian builders. This does not include around Rs 25,000 crore worth of bonds and debt papers which mutual funds had bought. While the total value of land and properties held as collateral is more than the outstanding loan, it’s still cold comfort. If builders start defaulting in a big way, the lenders will be left holding huge tracts of land amid crashing property prices.

The lenders said that in some cases, loans coming up for repayment in October and November will not be rolled over — a threat they feel could push some builders to sell properties at a lower price and service the loan interest.

Some of the loans are on a rental discounting model, which means the builder pays the loan interest every month out of the rental income from commercial properties. For construction finance, the loan is cleared in equal quarterly installments, where the amount — like individual home loans — consists of interest and part-principal. A trickier situation is where properties are lying half-built or have been nearly completed, but potential tenants like brokers and finance firms have backed out with the downturn in the market.

But lenders know that they can’t push too hard. “We are targeting to meet the borrowers separately to assess their respective cash flow positions. We have to take a case-by-case approach,” said a banker. What’s worrying them is the huge leverage in the real estate sector, with most builders bringing in relatively little money as their own capital to borrow big-time against land banks. [Source : India Investment Property]

Indian real estate sector in recession mode :

Presently, the impact of recession in US economy has caused mammoth impact on Indian real estate market as well, as it is witnessing the recession. Till now, the real estate industry was a booming industry, which were in pace with information technology (IT) industry. Accordingly, the demand for IT space and commercial spaces has been grown. Also, the high net worth of individual investors has created a very fast pace of demand in Indian real estate sector, which has a very high impact image of investing in India.

As the money was coming in terms on investment in from non-resident Indians as well as private equity funds, the well-known developers and real estate players have grown their portfolio as well many small sized players have also created in Indian market. It has provided a very high supply of real estate segments either in residential or in commercial or in office space. Special economic zone (SEZ) has also creates a very good opportunities for investors as well as corporate to invest and get benefited from Indian real estate market. So, the booming market has created a niche as modern living and created a very mass employment in Indian segment.

The recent changes, which happened in American market such as bankruptcy of Lehman Brother (one of the oldest financial firms of American market) and sell process of PE firm Merryl Lynch by the largest US bank, Bank of America, has created a very fast drops/recession in financial industry and created a crisis in all over US economy. Both of these firms were invested their more part of funds into real estate sector without having the proper analysing or effect.
They also have given the funds for mortgage industry of US, which is currently facing the hurdle of sub prime lending and have affected many players to bankruptcy.

All of these changes in the US economy have affected Indian economy as well as real estate segment as most of the Indian players have their liquidity funded by both of these firms. The IT segment, which was mainly funded by the PE firms or have their export to US markets have noticed very sharp drop of net worth of their firms. This recession also affected the Sensex, which is bullish and brings down the net worth of the leader of Indian real estate player very low. The impact can be shown in share price of DLF, Unitech, GMR group, Reliance Group, Wipro, Satyam etc groups. All of these sudden changes in Indian and US market created a point of thinking to investors and individuals that where it will go and what will be the best option in real estate investment. The market rates in India are also dropped by 10 to 30 per cent in most of prominent as well as upcoming cities and the trend appears to be still continuing, till it recovers from the ill effects of financial crisis. [Source : Meri News]

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