REAL ESTATE TITANIC & WHY IT WILL SINK TOO, UNLESS…

The Titanic was too big to fail but when it hit the iceberg, sinking process was set in motion. The disaster & loss of lives was aided by:

Lack of preparation inside – too few lifeboats!

Hostile environment outside – other ships too far off & not interested in the rescue!

Sounds like the Real Estate story playing out, doesn’t it?

Just to mention that the ones who were left to die but survived were the ones who took the matters in their own hands.

Industry as a patient on operating table!

Industry as a patient on operating table!

THE SYMPTOM,

At least 1.5 lacs buyers across NCR are stuck in various Real Estate projects across builders like Jaypee, Amrapali, ERA, MVL, Ozone, Vigneshwara, Akme among many others.

THE DISEASE,

These projects are stuck because the money collected from the buyers has been

  1. Siphoned off to purchase more land.
  2. Siphoned off to invest in other businesses.
  3. Siphoned off to buy personal “assets” which are mostly “Benami” or held in names of family & friends.

AND THE WRONG SURGERY BEING PERFORMED

  1. People are approaching Courts and Government for exerting pressure on these developers.
  2. Media is being used to highlight the plight of the buyers.
  3. Buyers are exerting pressure on the builders.

Why I say it is too little, too late

Why I say it is too little, too late

Unfortunately, these steps will not bring any tangible change. The builders simply do not have money and they have no means to raise capital as of now.

  1. The Builder’s land banks have no takers as of today.
  2. The Builder’s unsold inventory also faces a similar fate.
  3. Banks/Financial institutions are not ready to extend Loans as they do not get viable collaterals and are also unsure of the cash flows. Lot of builders have already maxed out their debt capacities.
  4. The builders are loathe to sell their land banks/Inventory at present prices and book losses.

Our glimmer of hope – becomes their long-rope

The builders continue to buy time while playing Delay Tactics by making False Promises not only to the Buyers but to the Courts&Government/Government Bodies as well. All this while no concrete measure is being taken to actually complete the projects.

A recent glaring example is the promise made by a big NOIDA based builder to its buyers to hand over the projects in next 2 years. It would be a miracle if it happens and a very high probability it won’t.

Our glimmer of hope – becomes their long-rope

When the going was good and there was still time, most builders like Amrapali, Japyee, ERA & many others chose not to complete. Now with every passing day the position of these developers continues to weaken instead of improving.

And why not?

  • Their debt burdens are not increasing, they are ballooning.
  • Liabilities they need to pay for the delays is increasing.
  • Cost of construction is increasing.

It is just a matter of time when these entities will further weaken and crumble.

Meanwhile the innocent buyers continue to get burdened due to

  • Non-productive EMIs.
  • The taxes which could have been saved due to the interest service of the EMIs continue to be lost.
  • The rentals which could accrue once these properties are completed continue to be lost.

How can we get out of this?

The solution is “Money”

The solution is “Money”. None of the parties i.e. Government, Courts, Government Bodies, Builders, Media as of today would be able to provide the required capital to complete these projects.

On the other hand, believing in the hollow promises made by the builders would also be fool hardy and ultimately result in further delays and failures.

Believing in the hollow promises

A practical approach should be like this.

  1. The buyers form an association.
  2. Then with the help of courts the Builder/Developer are divested of their rights in the project.
  3. The buyers should then complete the project by infusing extra funds.

As of today the money required for completing the projects, especially the ones nearing completion and structure ready kind of projects, would be an additional 10-15% of the total cost the buyers would have agreed to pay anyways. So, the enhancement, though painful, would be beneficial.

In any case, some of the Builders in Gurugram and Bhiwadiwould have loaded this enhancement by underhand methods of area increase etc. on to the buyers.

Should the makers of Titanic be allowed to go scot free?

Should the makers of Titanic be allowed to go scot free?

Of course not! On the contrary once the buyers have taken the projects under their control the Builders should be prosecuted without any hesitation. Following can be undertaken to bring them to the correct side of the law.

  1. A forensic audit of the money trail should be conducted to find the assets and other land banks created.
  2. The land banks,unsold inventory, personal assets (movable/immovable/jewellery/vehicles etc.) of these developers should be confiscated, attached and sold to provide compensation and recover losses of the buyers.
  3. These Developers should be tried under most stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code as they have chosen to default willfully and the present market conditions is a cause of their actions. The unscrupulous Builders are responsible for the present market conditions and not suffering because of the same.

The builder should not be allowed to delay and get away with such wrong doings. That would be travesty of justice and shake the faith of general public in the honesty and credibility of the system and governments.

 

We do not want more Titanics to sink, do we?