M3M Golf Estate

“markets are a voting machine in the short run and weighing machine in the long run” - M3M Golf Estate proved this and how.

BACKGROUND:

One of the largest and most reputed (I would prefer the word ‘known’) developer, DLF, changed the perception and positioning of Apartments to ‘luxury residential living’ with its projects ‘Aralias’ and ‘Magnolias’ along the Golf Course Road in Gurugram. It is also to DLF’s credit that they developed a world-class Golf Course at the location.

Riding high on their success came an imitator, a hitherto unknown M3M and launched its project M3M Golf Estate. The project’s launch party was the talk of town with flowing single malts and gyrating belly dancers (especially flown in from the Middle East). It is a good product – as a stand-alone project – provided its development is as promised. However, a comparison with DLF Golf Links (a term used for the area encompassing Aralias, Magnolias and the Golf Course) would be odious.

The year was 2010 and the Real Estate market was in a frenzy. The term ‘New Launch’ from the most pedestrian of Real Estate Investment Developers (a most abused term) would make the rich and mighty open their coffers. The morning after the grand launch party, the project was unloaded to willing buyers at INR 5,500 (give or take INR 200/300) per sq ft, with exorbitant ‘Preferential Location Charges’ and additional charges towards miscellaneous amenities. The initial apartments on offer were mopped up in no time, much like the first-day-first-show tickets of a ‘Khan’ blockbuster.

What ensued put paid to any sane thought. The builder increased the price overnight by INR 1,000 per sq ft – a nearly 20% increase. The sales increased and so did the number of buyers and brokers. Yet another round of price increase saw similar results. The secondary market was bustling with M3M transactions and extraordinary speculative gains for people – over 100% returns on initial investment in mere 2 months or close to 600% annual returns.

By the year 2013, the developer had taken the price to INR 11,500 per sq ft plus additional charges for PL and other amenities. The all-inclusive price was riding close to INR 14,000 per sq ft. The management was busy back slapping each other on their ‘success’ and were holding off launch of further inventory in the hopes of selling it at even higher rate of INR 25,000 per sq ft.

No one was taking note of or questioning the ‘project execution capabilities’ of a first-time developer. No one seemed bothered about the cash position of the company or the impact of a sales slowdown. There were no “What ifs” in anyone’s mind.

Ben Graham, over 70 years ago, had warned “markets are a voting machine in the short run and weighing machine in the long run”. It did not take long for the weighing balance to come down hard on the M3M Golf Estate and reflect its true price levels.

CURRENT POSITION

Prices of the available inventory in the project have been on a consistent decline since 2013. They have not seen any support beyond INR 8,000 per sq ft (all inclusive). The builder has delayed delivery and still claims to be selling at INR 11,000 per sq ft + additional charges. Although the builder is putting up a brave face, a close scrutiny of the market dynamics viz. a viz. this project tell an entirely different story.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The project is easily available in secondary market at close to INR 7,000 per sq ft (all inclusive). This is at a time when the project’s first phase will soon become available for occupying. Although a deeper dive into the project would yield better results, the project is worth considering at these prices for any prospective investor. This is a project where bargains can be, and should be, found. A dwelling unit at less than INR 6,500 per sq ft (all inclusive) in the phases which are in the process of completion and hand-over, is a definite shortlist in “M3M Golf Estate”.