Inventories of luxury apartments in Mumbai remain high with real estate watchers counting close to 2,300 unsold apartments across the city. Each of these spacious apartments is priced at a minimum of Rs 10 crore taking the total value of the flats to an estimated Rs 23,000 crore.
According to data sourced from PropEquity, the unsold inventory in projects coming up in just the five micro markets of tony south Mumbai — Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai Central, Prabhadevi and Parel, stands at a staggering 928 apartments. Because unsold inventory is in advanced stages of construction, some of it commands a premium to the launch price. The value of unsold inventory in these five micro-markets could be in the range of R10,000 crore, if one assumes they’re between 4,000 sq ft and 7,000 sq ft, and fetch the current market price.
Ashutosh Limaye, head (research), JLL India believes sales of these top-end homes could be “just about okay” over the next three to four quarters. However, as he points out, “a good many of these have been bought by investors’. That means these may remain unoccupied for a long time.
Six to eight months back, the number of luxury homes awaiting buyers was estimated at close to 5,000. FE, however, could not independently verify data for each and every property and, consequently, the numbers could be at some variance with the latest position. But industry watchers concur that inventory levels remain uncomfortable.
Some developers are already altering strategies to push sales by reducing the sizes of the apartments to make them more affordable. Radius Developers, for instance, is building 350 sq. ft carpet area studio apartments at less than R1 crore for singles.
Across Chembur, Hughes Road and Goregaon, the company is now selling flats priced at up to R2 crore relatively affordable in a city like Mumbai. “Our priority is to clear existing inventory,” Ashish Shah, COO at Radius Developers told FE.
Sales remain tepid in central Mumbai — Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi, Prabhadevi and Parel — but are probably even more dull in South and Central Mumbai, where vacancies are higher. In these areas, apartment sizes are typically between 4,000 sq ft and 7,000 sq ft accommodating three, four and five bedrooms. At the very least, they cost Rs 10 crore or approximately Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per sq ft. For ready-to-move in-projects, the cost is, understandably, somewhat steeper and in the range of Rs 65000 per sq. ft to Rs 80,000 per sq ft.
The problem in central Mumbai is the oversupply of luxury projects; a back of the envelope calculation reveals the micro-markets of Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel and Prabhadevi, all within 20 minutes driving distance of each other, have at least 13 projects coming up. Top developers Lodha Developers, Oberoi Realty, Indiabulls, Hubtown, Sheth Developers, DB Realty, Lokhandwala Builders and Omkar Developers are all here.
Mudassir Zaidi, head (residential services), Knight Frank India says there is little uniformity in buying patterns of premium real estate; periods of brisk sales, when large numbers of apartments are sold by the developers, could be followed by periods of poor sales. Also, investors— who form a large part of the customer base—are now cautious.