KOLKATA: Realtors from Jaipur, who are in the city to woo the thriving Rajasthani community settled here for generations, have realized that they have become distinctly different from Rajasthanis living elsewhere in India. For, unlike Rajasthanis in Mumbai or Chennai who still retain the strong roots with 'homeland' and yearn to return in a not-so-distant future, Rajasthanis in Kolkata have made Kolkata their second home and look at Rajasthan as an investment opportunity and a holiday destination.
Speaking to TOI at the Rajasthan Property Expo 2014 organized in Kolkata by Times Property, developers from Jaipur said they were surprised to find the high satisfaction index of Rajasthanis residing in Kolkata.
"We have come here and pitched the sentiment 'Padharo Mhare Des' that loosely translates to 'Your homeland beckons' as we expected to touch a chord and help fulfil their desire to return to their homeland. While the response to the fair is good, most of the enquiries are for investment opportunities in Rajasthan. They are evaluating the business potential of Jaipur and the rate of return that a property will fetch rather than make a purchase to move into in future," said Anukampa Group managing director Prashant Gupta, who is also joint secretary of Credai-Rajasthan.
Father-son duo VK and KK Agarwal, who were at the fair that showcases properties by Anukampa Group, ARG Group, Coral Group, Dhanuka, Mahima Group, Manglam, SNG Group, Shankra Residency, Shivgyan Developer, Shree Ram Group and Unique Builders in the Rs 13 lakh to Rs 3 crore price range, elaborated on why they were at the fair despite not wanting to shift base to Rajasthan.
"My father migrated to Kolkata in search of business opportunities before I was born. Kolkata has been the hub of business for centuries and Rajasthanis have been migrating here for nearly 300 years. But few have returned to Rajasthan lock, stock and barrel because Kolkata became their home. Unlike Mumbai or Chennai where migrants feel they are outsiders, Rajasthanis have always felt at home in Kolkata. So even though the business opportunities have declined and work culture has changed, we do not want to return to Rajasthan. Instead, we are looking for business opportunities there," said KK.
Shree Ram Group director Ashish Agarwal said the fair had just the right products to address the investment needs of Rajasthanis living in Kolkata. "Some of them had or still own land in a village in Rajasthan but have got used to metro life. They want to either simply invest in a flat in a place like Jaipur with modern amenities where appreciation is good or buy it to have a property in the place they belong," said Agarwal, adding that last year, real estate sector had grown a whopping 67% last year.
Unique Builders managing director Vibhishek Pal Singh said the response on the first day of the two-day event had been good and expected a bigger crowd on Sunday. "In Kolkata, investment opportunities in real estate is becoming limited due to the average project size that is small. In Rajasthan, an average project is 2-3 lakh sq ft. Also unlike Kolkata were houses are built primarily for end-users, builders in Jaipur are well aware of the investor demand as 50% of buyers are investors," he said.
In contrast, only 10-15% of a property is purchased for investment in Kolkata. Five years ago, this figure was even lower in Kolkata at 5-7% against an even bigger 70% in Jaipur. However, 62-year-old Manmohar Vasudeva, who walked into the fair on Saturday afternoon, didn't want to purchase a flat for investment. He was looking for a post-retirement option. "My inlaws live in Jaipur and I find the city clean and pretty. So I am considering moving there now that I have retired," he added.