KOCHI: Non-resident Keralites (NRK) are fuelling Kochi house prices by 30%, said P S N Rao, chairman of National Association of Realtors-India (NAR-India), the national federation of associations of real estate agents in 25 cities of the country.
Rao based his observation on the data collected through the network of Kerala Realtors Association (KRA) members in the city.
"By and large, Kerala is an NRK-driven market and most properties are bought by non-resident Malayalis. I find the real estate prices of Kochi as high as that of National Capital Region. Solely because of NRKs, the prices here are up by 30%, whereas, it should have been as low as that of Nagpur, Coimbatore, Bhopal or Jabalpur. Average price of residential properties in these towns is Rs 3,000 per sq ft, while the prices here range from Rs 4,500 per sq ft (Kakkanad) and Rs 12,000 sq ft (Marine Drive)," he said.
KRA had opened its offices in Kochi one-and-a-half years ago. NAR will soon launch a house price index, based on the template developed by the National Housing Bank, the regulator for housing finance in the country.
"Realtors here are unique as they focus mainly on NRKs. We are the only people in the country targeting this group. All the pre-launch functions of Kochi-based projects are done in the Middle East, whereas builders or realtors in other parts of the country prefer local events," said Abjo Joy, president of KRA. Real estate agents face two challenges in Kochi. "Brokers in Kochi need IT tools as they are dealing mainly with Middle East-based clients. Also, after the purchase, these clients won't live here and hence the agent should also have skills in property management. The owners will ultimately settle here," he said.
Over the past two years, real estate market in major cities had been stagnant or had low single digit growth, he said.
"Chennai was the exception where prices grew by 5%. On the other hand, in Delhi and Hyderabad, the prices remained stagnant. Mumbai and Bangalore recorded 3% to 4% increase over the last two years," he said.