"It's a buyer's market right now"

Written by Garima Pant | Updated: Nov 9 2008, 09:01am hrs
Uncertainty looms in the real estate sector as it tries to come to terms with the global economic crisis and its impact. These are trying times as developers are trying to stay afloat in the market while the buyers are a confused lot. Kumar Gera, Chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developer's Associations of India (CREDAI) suggests to Garima Pant that it is the best time to buy for an actual user. Excerpts:

Seeing the current market scenario, what strategy should an investor follow at the moment Is it the right time to go for real estate as an investment option

Its a buyers market right now. This is the right time buy if the person buying is an actual user and not a speculator or an investor. Real estate as an asset is not a short-term investment. But it should be looked at in a cycle of 10 years. Appreciation is always positive on a 10-year cycle. My suggestion to investors is that shop well. Look for projects by dependable builders that are in their advanced stages. Avoid putting money in schemes that have been announced recently. It is the right time to invest considering the fact that no further reduction in prices is likely to happen as the input cost is rising.

Where do see the real estate market heading

The real estate industry is a huge industry with around 10 million workers, skilled and unskilled, working in this sector. The direction that the market takes will depend entirely on the availability of liquidity created by the government. If there is a further downfall recorded, there will be serious issues of unemployment.

What other implications do you foresee due to the current global crisis

There will be stressful times ahead if no immediate measures are taken by the government. A terrible impact on the 170 odd other industries associated with the real-estate sector is also on the cards. Thetaxes and excise duties collected by the government from this sector are also likely to be affected. The developers will also come under stress, which will further impact their future projects. And the worst affected will be the home buyer as the buyer will return to the stage when homes used to be bought after retirement. Past few years had seen a younger lot of the home buyers. But if this segment of buyers is not able to get loans on decent rates, it will be difficult for them to procure a house.

How and when can the real estate market emerge from this financial tsunami

Its difficult to predict when we will see a change. I dont want to get into speculation as there is uncertainty ruling the market. The entire industry is hoping that the much-needed liquidity will be brought in by the government soon, things can get back to normal. And as long as the fundamental growth story continues, one can expect good times ahead. Else, the boom which the real estate sector saw in the past few years will be a forgotten dream.