Unreal estate of Mumbai

Yesterday, this paper ran an interview with State Housing Minister Sachin Ahir. In a sit-up-and-take-notice statement, Ahir said he himself would not be able to afford a home at current rates in Worli, where he stays. While cynics may scoff at this, it’s important to note that the minister is acknowledging that prices are way beyond realistic here.

Mumbai has some of the highest real estate prices in the world and for most Mumbaikars homes are moving from the realm of possible to impossible as rates shoot ridiculously high.

Sporadically, there is a buzz in the market that the bubble will burst and rates will plummet but Mumbaikars continue to live in hope and despair.

What came through in the conversation, though, is that very little is being done to implement rules and policies that could make it easier to buy a home. A prime example is that builders continue to sell on the basis of super built-up to desperate homebuyers instead of carpet area. Asked to comment, Ahir lobbed the ball in the buyers’ court, saying they needed to complain more often. This implies that the problem is going to continue.

The minister also spoke of a slew of proposals and rules to bring builders to task. And while they are all about cracking the whip on errant builders, rules remains on paper and do not translate into reality.

Ahir agreed that there is a need for a drastic correction in prices as the supply has exceeded demand. However, people are not seeing this happen in reality. From lakhs, residential properties are now valued in crores even in far-flung suburbs.

While an honest acknowledgement is commendable, it is better if it is followed by concrete action for the buyer. 

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