There is a surge in real estate activity in the temple town and more and more people consider it safer to invest in houses
“Be a proud owner of a plot just at the rate of a cent of land.” “Flats with all facilities are for sale. Only a few are left. What are you waiting for? Hurry up.” Posters and billboards scream from various vantage points in Madurai, desperately trying to catch the attention of people.
Clearly, the spiralling cost of construction and rising interest rates on housing loans seem to have had little impact on the mushrooming property developers and land promoters in the city. Experts say this should not be taken for a boom in the real-estate sector, but there is certainly a surge in buying and selling of land or flats.
“The market is volatile. It is difficult to predict. The increase in prices of building material beyond expected lines and labour costs make life difficult for the property developers. They cannot plan. Each month there is a 3-4 percent increase in costs,” says A. Chandramouli, vice-president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI), Madurai Chapter.
With banks hiking housing loan interest rates, customers are already feeling the pinch as it has brought down their eligibility for a loan. Still, one can find crowds waiting for hours at registration offices to get their properties registered, which only indicates that real estate has evolved as a prospective investment option.
“No doubt it turns out to be the best form of investment at present. With gold prices escalating and stock markets crashing, investing in land or a house seems to be a prudent option,” says Arun Vijaay Malli, one of the directors of Sathyasree Developers Private Limited.
“The concept of group housing is also gaining momentum with land prices on the upward swing. Investing in apartments is seen as a safe option. Compared to other tier-II cities there is not much business activity here, but the city has a huge potential,” he adds.
“Once, people dreamt of owning a house. But now they have gone beyond that. With well-employed children earning in lakhs, many parents think investing in flats is a better proposition for the future of the younger generations,” feels G. Selvakumar, a businessman.
There are also people showing keen interest in vacant plots which has tremendous potential for development. Cashing in on the enthusiasm, land promoters are trying their level best to woo the new crop of customers by making attractive offers. Most land promoters arrange for a free visit to their site which is always a few kilometres away from the city. They cite the distance from the city as an opportunity to live in a peaceful, unpolluted environment – away from the din and bustle.
“Buyers need to be more careful while looking at the documents, as there is every chance of them being forged. The land has to be encumbrance free and has to be a clear title. It is better to get a legal opinion before buying a plot,” says Ambigai Ramesh, a land promoter.
Experts in the field also feel that State Government's string of initiatives like cracking down on land grabbers, increasing the fees for registering power of attorney and trying to bridge the gap between guideline and market values will bring in a lot of trustworthiness in land dealing.
“To bring more credibility to the business, we at CREDAI try to solve the problems between property developers and buyers. We try to redress the genuine grievances of the buyers through an arbitration panel,” says Chandramouli.
There is no denying the potential that Madurai holds for property developers. With large corporate houses all set to enter the construction business in the city, one can expect the skyline of the temple town to change drastically in the coming years.