MUMBAI: The looming uncertainty over the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai has unnerved real estate developers who launched new projects with gusto in anticipation of the airport but are now struck with plummeting sales and rising inventory.
There are no buyers for 30% of the ready-to-move-in apartments in 150-odd housing complexes that were built to cash-in on the perceived real estate boom that would have accompanied the airport, local brokers say. According to property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, the inventory in Navi Mumbai rose to 27,216 units in 2013 from 16,300 in 2011.
With the airport facing delays, infrastructure development in the town has come to a standstill, said Mohanjeet Singh, president of Navi Mumbai Association of Realtors.
"Ulwe (a node in Navi Mumbai) does not have even the basic infrastructure," Singh said. "There is no sewage system, drainage or water channels." Lack of connectivity is another reason that is keeping prospective buyers away from Navi Mumbai properties.
"The roads in the area are not developed. Moreover, there are no auto rickshaws or buses plying in the town, which will a big issue for those who choose to live in the area now," said Ketan Tanna, owner of broking firm Twin City Realtors.
Agrees Vinod More, a real estate agent based in Navi Mumbai. "Connectivity will improve only after two or three years when the airport sees the light of the day," he said.
City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra, the nodal agency for carrying out the airport project, says the first phase of the airport is now projected to go operational by 2017. The initial deadline for completion of the first phase was 2014.
With no sign of the airport coming up for at least three years, builders are offering discounts of up to 10% on unsold flats. Satyendra Kumar of Shree Laxmi Property Counseling said even investors who bought flats in Navi Mumbai projects are trying to exit by selling at a discount to the market rate.
While there are no buyers for ready apartments, under construction properties are a huge draw with buyers who expect the town's infrastructure to be in place by the time their homes are ready. "Some of the under construction properties have been sold out, with just one or two flats left," said Tanna.
Kumar of Shree Laxmi Property said buyers' preference for under construction properties over completed projects has pushed up their prices by as much as 10%. "There is no point spending premium on ready-to-move apartments when there is no infrastructure," said Devang Trivedi, secretary, Builders Association of Navi Mumbai.