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Genuine buyers give a push to real estate sector

SHYAMA RAJAGOPAL
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People with housing needs are shopping for property, giving a push to the real estate sector.

These genuine buyers are creating a movement in the market.

New projects are being launched, though not at the same rate as it was four years ago. Villas, with their high prices, are not the favourite housing idea, either with the builder or the buyer. High-rise buildings will be norm in the housing sector in the future, it seems.

With the recession fresh in their memory, the buyers, however, are a cautious lot. Sani Francis, vice-president of the Kerala Builders' Association, says people are generally showing a lack of confidence in builders, whether branded or otherwise. Since the recession had shaken the ground of some strong pillars across the world, the confidence is yet to return fully.

Firm prices

What is interesting is that prices have remained firm, Mr. Francis says. People have been waiting for a drop, but have found the prices holding to the levels three years ago. This is because construction costs have increased over the years.

The prices of land, cement, bricks, sand, steel and labour have not shown any serious drop at any time over these difficult times for the market. There have been ups and downs, of course. However, people find it more comfortable to go for completed projects or those nearing completion, Mr. Francis says.

People look for products at the right location and at the right price, says Najeeb Zakaria, president of the Kochi branch of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association in India. Infrastructure continues to be a major problem area in the city and the surrounding suburbs. People are sensitive to their needs when buying a property, Dr. Zakaria says.

The government has to provide support in making infrastructure a pivot point of the housing sector, as rules and clauses and sub-clauses in then overlap with one another, leaving very little room for the builders to work on. Kochi contributes about 65 per cent of the revenue to the State in overall terms; hence, building infrastructure should be given priority in the city, he says.

SHYAMA RAJAGOPAL

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