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Slowdown in real estate: Time for home buyers to go bargain hunting but exercise due diligence before buying

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A slowdown in the real estate sector can spell opportunity for the prepared. Delhi-based publishers, Umraopati Ray, 30, and his wife PriyankaSaxena, also 30, own an apartment at PaschimVihar. As the slowdown in the National Capital Region (NCR) intensified, the young couple went hunting for good deals. Recently, their efforts were rewarded when they managed to buy a flat at VasantVihar at a price 15% lower than the peak rate witnessed in the area in the past.
Pan-India slowdown Real estate markets across the country are currently witnessing a downturn. In Mumbai, it has lasted for about a year now. Down south, it began about six months ago. The Delhi/NCR market was the last to be impacted by the slowdown, but here, too, the signs have been apparent over the past three months. While developers have not slashed their prices overtly, the slowdown is visible in the drastic fall in the number of transactions. According to a Gurgaon-based broker, this figure has dwindled to 30% of last year's level. The speculators who had booked a large number of properties in the hope of exiting profitably in a rising market are now jettisoning surplus holdings, often at a discount. In the primary market (where you buy from a developer), the slowdown is evident in the large number of subvention schemes and discounts (ranging from 5-20%) being offered by cash-strapped developers. Another marker signalling a downturn is the widening gap between prices in the primary and the secondary markets (where you purchase from another buyer). The downturn is most pronounced in the markets where speculation over the past couple of years had driven the prices high, though the infrastructure is not yet in place. The Dwarka Expressway area in the NCR, where the highway providing connectivity to the region has not seen much progress over the last year or so, is a prime example. Prices are also correcting more steeply in projects where barely 20-30% payment has been made and possession is a couple of years away. Says Rajan Ahuja, executive director, Realty & Verticals, a Gurgaon-based real estate consultancy: "In such projects, buyers have begun to feel the pinch. If these get delayed amid the slowdown, there could be a lot of exits and prices could see a further correction."
Source: Economic Times

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