Lodha Group buys 88 acre land parcel in Thane for Rs 1154 cr

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Apr 16 2014, 00:17am hrs
Mumbai-based real estate developer Lodha Group has acquired an 88 acre land parcel in Thane for Rs 1,154 crore from Clariant India, company said in a statement on Tuesday.

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

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

Lodha has been on property buying spree both in India and overseas in the 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 Rs 2,725 crore from DLF Ltd in 2012, making it the highest valued property deal of that year. The same year it bought Washington House from the US consulate for Rs 341.82 crore, located 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 Rs 3,000 crore, and in February 2014, the company bought second property in central London called New Court for around Rs 935 crore.

The sale of Clariant's Thane land makes it the third significant land deal that has been witnessed in the financial capital in the 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 Ltd recently emerged as the successful bidder for a coveted 25 acre land parcel of Tata Steel located in Borivali, to the north of Mumbai, for Rs 1,155 crore.

KEC International Ltd entered into an agreement for sale of its freehold land in Thane of more than 7.3 acres for around Rs 214 crore to Ardent Properties Pvt Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of Tata Housing Development Company Limited.

Both Oberoi and Tata Housing have said that 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 that are expected with a new government at the Centre soon. The last three deals that we have seen, the valuations are right, nothing expensive or cheap. These are all corporate deals, which shows that more companies are now open to monetise their defunct real estate assets and derive value from them," says Ambar Maheshwari, managing director (corporate finance), Jones Lang LaSalle India.

Also, with the 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, says Maheshwari.

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

However, during the last one year (Q4 2012 to Q4 2013) the index was up by a marginal 2.8% on account of a residential market slump, which stunted price growth. "Notwithstanding the muted growth in end product price, land suitable for prime residential development witnesses 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.