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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Real estate in India - 1

I've been a keen follower of the state of real estate in India for a long time and its always appalling to see the horrible state of affairs. Buts its even more appalling to see how most of us moneyed IT people in this town seem least bothered about this sorry state of affairs, as long as our greed is satisfied, we will continue investing in this asset class, come what may.

For most people who own 1 house to live in, I sympathize with you. Knowing fully well the problems you have still purchased an apartment with some margin money and felt like a paper millionaire. Did your dream apartment take longer than was planned? Did the plans suddenly change at the last moment? Did the promised XYZ amenity not materialize finally? Did the common area end up as another unplanned block? Did the superb lake view turn out to be a view of the hyacinth filled nalla? Did the myriad builder promises turn out to be lies, did the advertisement turn out to be fake? Did the super-built-up (SBA) area mysteriously increase between pre-launch and possession while the built-up area decrease? Did the encroached storm water drain one day belch out dirty run off water all over the apartment complex? Did you double pay for the car park after already paying for the common area? Did your developer screw you by not transferring the funds collected to the association?

But hey, you've rolled with all the punches, you've somehow come on top, you are a champ. "No problem, what else can we expect. At least we have a roof on your heads, at least we got 70% of what was promised. We can compromise." No matter that you've paid through your nose for 100% of the promises.

Certainly you must have been fooled in one way or the other by the developer/builder. You've not been fooled you say? Ah, my friend, you are wiser than me, you have reached nirvana, ignorance is bliss, yada yada. Enjoy your existence as a chump. Sheep to the slaughter. (Some people who have already purchased apartments ask me what is built-up area and super-built up area. I can only bow my head when in the presence of divinity.)

For others, who have the money and invest in multiple apartments, houses, plots, who are in that perennial mode of keeping track of which is the next soft-launch / pre-launch that one can jump on knowing that after 10 sales, the price will be forcefully increased by 10% and so on, who are always trying to find the next area in Bangalore that will see a boom, who will buy land early in the hope that sooner or later some major road, IT company, software tech park will be built close by and their investment will appreciate: what do I say to you?

Do you not see how you are destroying the soul of this city with your everlasting greed? Do you not see how you are artificially inflating prices with your speculative demand? Do you not see how you are adding to the systemic corruption of this country? Overpaid IT folks are the scourge of this city. Can you invest in something else other than real estate? Can you invest in equity and debt? Can you invest your hard earned (hah) savings in productive assets? Can you give to charity? Can you do anything except invest in real estate.

"Investment in real estate" I fucking hate those words.

Me? I have no real estate holdings, investment or otherwise: I don't particularly understand this asset class, there is no transparency, its controlled by an unholy nexus of real estate developers and politicians (=mafia), free market dynamics don't apply, etc, and thus I refuse to add to the filth by playing the crooked games.

PS: Promotional comments are removed. Dont bother to write one.

PS2: A great article here on CitizenMatters.