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Developers in Mumbai Focus On UAE NRI Buyers
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008

Real estate developers in the metropolis plan to target NRI buyers, primarily in the UAE, in a bid to push up their sales, affected in recent times by high prices and adverse sentiment, a senior industry official said."With the Rupee depreciating via-a-vis the dollar, NRI buyers stand to gain by around 20 per cent. Prices too have begin to decline. NRIs can get a good deal now and we intend to highlight this," Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry's CEO Zubin Mehta told PTI in Mumbai.The Rupee had depreciated from the Rs 40 mark a few months ago to the Rs 50 mark against the dollar last week, a fall of over 20 per cent in the span of a few months.

The Rupee depreciation against the dollar would benefit NRI purchasers by around 20 per cent. Besides, prices have declined by 10-15 per cent in the last few days. If discounts by builders are also factored in, buyers could be advantaged to the tune of nearly 40 per cent, Mehta said."If a 2 BHK flat in a decent Mumbai suburb costs around Rs 50 lakh, it could be available to NRIs for around Rs 40 lakh. Factor in the price decline and if the builder offers a further discount or says the stamp-duty is for free, then the flat could be available for as low as Rs 35 lakh," he said.The MCHI intends to use the Rupee depreciation against the US dollar as a major selling point to NRI buyers. It would be a holding an exhibition in Dubai end-this month where major developers affiliated to the MCHI would be showcasing their properties.

"NRIs in the Gulf primarily look at ready property and these could now be easily available to them," Mehta said. Mehta said that the main reason for targeting UAE NRIs was that they were mainly working-class people who have gone to Dubai and other places in the UAE with the aim of earning a living and buying a home in India."They are not permanent residents like in the US or the UK. They primarily earn their living in the UAE and buy a home in India," Mehta said.These NRIs have the money and are the actual buyers but are holding back on purchases hoping that prices would fall."Globally sentiments are low but we hope to change this," he added.Many MCHI members have already reduced their prices by 10-15 per cent, he said. Though he did not expect any further reductions, individual developers may offer discounts such as parking facilities for free or taking care of stamp-duty among other things, he said.

On interest rates being charged by home finance companies, Mehta said that "the industry would welcome a single-digit interest rate but at this time any reduction is more than welcome. It will help spur demand." "With real estate prices declining and interest rates also showing signs of softening, I expect business to pick up January onwards," Mehta said.



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