Migrants from various parts of the country who settled in the city, and dealers in every society ensured that prices never come down – be it for new booking, resale or rental. The absence of basic infrastructure, security problems etc. couldn’t hinder the growth of real estate returns. But will the train finally stop now?
Going by the famous Newtonian theory ‘what goes up comes down’, is this the time when Gurgaon’s real estate starts the journey towards doom or will it live another day? As of now, it is not only the investors who are praying for the recovery but a lot of end users who aspired to have their home in New Gurgaon or around Dwarka Expressway. With folded hands, they are asking for divine intervention that can solve the city’s water problems.
With all eyes fixed on the court verdict, supposed to come on October 3, we decided to take a tour of the various ongoing projects and know the status of their construction.
Gurgaon’s premium expressway is already beyond common man’s reach. With prices soaring at INR 5000/sq ft to INR 12000/sq.ft even without a clear solution of the litigation around, the DEW proves the belief of the investors like Indiabulls, Tata, Godrej, Puri and Shobha on any construction in Gurgaon.
While the buyers in the area are more concerned about the development of the expressway more than their project since the area will anyway be inhabitable without the Northern Periphery Road coming up. With construction stalled, costs are plummeting and scaring away investors. Most of the builders seem to have wrapped themselves up in a cloak of secrecy about the construction updates. A look into any of the project will tell an obvious picture – construction has been stalled though no company person will confirm the same. Unofficially, a site manager of a reputed project who rode as a pillion on my bike said: “It’s a huge loss for the builder. There is simply not enough water to keep the construction going.”
Ask Mr. Dharmendra, a real estate broker, who sits inside a roadside makeshift shop and he replies: “There is no dearth of interest among the buyers. Projects like Mahindra are ready for possession.” So why are there no construction workers in sight? “They must have gone for lunch,” says Dharmendra who like any broker is hell bent to make us believe that “all is well”.
New Gurgaon (sector 80s and 90s) strategically surrounded by the National Highway no. 8, Dwarka Expressway, Pataudi Road, SEZ and Manesar – has all the amenities. Add to that a proposed ISBT in the vicinity, a number of industrial and commercial pockets in the area and a promise from the chief minister himself that ‘we will make New Gurgaon better than Gurgaon’. The area is thronged by both high profile established companies like DLF, MGF, Mapsko, Spaze, Bestech, Vatika, Ansals, Raheja as well as a number of comparatively newer builders like Siddharth and SARE. The prices ranges from INR 3500/sq.ft to INR 6000/sq.ft for new bookings and resale.
The area supposedly would have had its first possession in the form of 2BHK offerings from SARE Crescent Parc Phase 1 in sector 92 by the end of October, followed by Raheja Navodaya and DLF New Town Heights in the same area and then Vatika INXT and Mapsko Casabella by the end of 2013 and early 2014 respectively.
Construction on all the said projects was going on in a steady pace for the past few years with the investors and end users earning high returns. However, things seem to have stalled now. Mapsko Casabella and Maspsko Royalville (sector 82) give a deserted look. A project that was advancing to its completion now seems to have stalled. Vatika Township (sector 82), an ambitious project of the group was also moving at a fast pace till two months ago. Mr. Ravi Kant Upadhayay, the site engineer at Vatika site points out, “Yes there is a problem. But it won’t hurt the end users. They have already agreed on a price with the builder and will pay that. The builder has in turn outsourced the construction work to us. If there is an increase in price of construction due to water shortage or labour cost, we will charge the builder accordingly and builder will have to bear that.”
While Mr. Upadhyay was technically correct but he missed pointing out that most builders will play around with the overall super area of the project thereby making the end users pay for the losses.
I move further deep into DLF’s prestigious Regal Gardens. An official at the site agrees that construction has stalled for Regal Greens. Both DLF project in Sector 91 and New Town Heights in Sector 90, in advanced stage of construction don’t seem to have a different fate. The officials confirm that a tanker of water is not sufficient for construction. Hence they have just slowed down the pace till the final verdict.
The site of Ansal Heights (Sector 92) also wears a deserted look. Buyers at SPAZE Privy AT4 in sector 84 confirm that delayed start has marred the construction. SARE’s project in sector 92 called Crescent Parc seems to be nearing possession. The sales person in the office wore an unfriendly look and emphasized that things were moving as per schedule. “Where is the water coming from and why are there not many labourers present on the site?” – nobody has the answer. Rather the salesperson pushes forward the new launch in the project titled, “Petioles” priced at INR 4000+/sq.ft.A few existing flat owners at the site who were expecting a possession by month end confirm that they have seen considerable decrease in construction speed in the last two months and have received unofficial communication from the company about the slowdown due to water crisis. There is a general concern of a delay in possession hitting the end users.
While the court ruling against usage of ground water seems to find support from environmentalists who are concerned about the depleting water table of the region, there seems to a rising concern from many end users who have booked their flats in these projects.