Lodha Group buys 88 acre in Thane for Rs 1,154 crore

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Apr 16 2014, 10:48am hrs
Mumbai-based real estate developer Lodha Group has acquired an 88-acre land parcel in Thane for R1,154 crore from Clariant India, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The group plans to develop residential projects on the parcel and expects all permissions in 12 to 18 months.

Abhinandan Lodha, deputy managing director, Lodha Group, said: Thane is a rapidly developing part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and we see a strong and sustained demand for quality homes in the region.

Lodha has been on a property-buying spree in India and abroad in last two years, closing in on some of the prime assets. It bought a 17-acre land parcel in central Mumbai in Lower Parel for R2,725 crore from DLF in 2012, making it the highest-valued property deal of the year. The same year, it bought Washington House from the US consulate for R341.82 crore at one of the costliest addresses in Mumbai Altamont Road.

In November 2013, Lodha bought Macdonald House, a seven-storied property in the heart of London for R3,000 crore and in February 2014, the company bought second property in central London called New Court for around R935 crore.

The sale of Clariants Thane land makes it the third significant land deal in Mumbai in last three weeks. After a long lull in land purchases, the momentum in land purchases seems to be on the rise.

Another Mumbai-based developer Oberoi Realty recently emerged as the successful bidder for a coveted 25-acre land parcel of Tata Steel in Borivali, north of Mumbai, for R1,155 crore.

KEC International entered into an agreement for sale of its freehold land in Thane of more than 7.3 acre for around R214 crore to Ardent Properties, a 100% subsidiary of Tata Housing Development Company.

Both Oberoi and Tata Housing have said they plan to develop premium housing projects on the land purchased.

The buoyancy in the land market is returning and this is more to do with the socio-political changes expected with a new government at the Centre, soon. In the last three deals that we have seen, the valuations are right with nothing expensive or cheap. These are all corporate deals, which shows more companies are now open to monetise their defunct real estate assets and derive value from them, says Ambar Maheshwari, the managing director (corporate finance), Jones Lang LaSalle India.

Also, with a rise in demand for community living, these large land parcels give space to developers to construct a lot more for a long time and develop more townships rather than standalone buildings that Mumbai currently has, said Maheshwari.

A recent land index 'Prime Asia Development Land Index, April 2014' by global real estate consultant, Knight Frank, shows that in last two years, the Mumbai's land index has witnessed an appreciation of 35.2%.

However, in last one year (Q4 2012 to Q4 2013), the index was up by a mere 2.8% on account of a residential market slump, which stunted price growth. The muted growth in end product price notwithstanding, land suitable for prime residential development witnessed unabated interest. Real estate developers with a reputation for luxury residential projects offering apartments priced over $2 million (over Rs 12 crore) are the foremost contenders," says Knight Frank.