Real estate price corrections in Hyderabad being prevented by extensive market inefficiencies, cartels and unscrupulous business practices.
In a free market economy, demand and supply create a check on unrealistic prices – at least that is what theory says. So when demand is less, then prices should fall. This is not happening in Hyderabad, though the real estate market has been down for over a year. The correction in pricing has been minimal compared to the unrealistic growth in prices earlier (for several years). Plus, it has not factored in and reduced prices because of the new reality – the reduced number of buyers today and the buying power of the current buyers.
If we look at the US real estate market nationwide statistics, the prices are already down 24% from peak prices. Economists are expecting another 10% downward price revision from peak price in 2009. The peak was reached in 2005. During peak, the price in Hitech city was 4000/- This means, by US standards it should have been around 3000/- now and go down to 2600/- next year. I don’t think apartments in My Home Navadeepa (Next to Cyber Towers, Madhapur) are being sold for 3,000/sft.
I am not saying that because US had a correction of 34%, the same price percentage should come off from price of apartments in Madhapur. My point rather is that I have not seen any meaningful correction in real estate pricing in Hyderabad.
Even after the global recession, there is no lay-off in Hyderabad and there is no correction in the sticker price (the sarcasm intentional!). However, I have seen ICICI close down the entire Home Loan origination office in Begumpet and made everyone pay including those of branch managers into commission basis. A good friend of mine who is head of Sales in another mid-size real estate firm has also converted been into commission pay. However, there is no change in sticker price of real estate.
The reason for this honestly is that – cartels and unscrupulous business practices prevent realistic price correction. Greed and fear also are preventing businesses from adjusting prices downwards. Real Estate Business people are unwilling to accept anything less than exorbitant profits from their business.
The best explanation of market inefficiency can be drawn from my personal experience with the stock market. The day there are good prices in stock market my online stock trading system does not work as well. The prices are not refreshed as quickly, I place orders with older data and obviously I don’t get to fully grab the opportunities. Frustrating but true. When systems don’t work during the times that favor price corrections – it reduces price correction.
However, when prices have been increasing, media acts as a force multiplier (for the small price of a Journalist colony in that area). Every new area – Madhapur, Gachibowli etc has a Journalist colony. I wish there was a footnote after a very glowing article in the newspapers about an area saying, this journalist is being considered for a plot in the Journalist colony coming up in the same area.
Cartels work in a different way, I was in a Gold shop the day prices fell. Another shopper said Gold prices are lower the last few days, to which the shop owner said – “Yes, papers are quoting lower prices but there is no supply. If you find anyone who has supply tell me, I want to buy a few kgs of gold too!’ Cutting off supply ensures the transaction cannot be made. So price benefit does not reach the customer.
I recently spoke to someone in Bangalore and they said the price of a apartment in Bangalore is around Rs.2,800/- with decent local builders in Whitefield.
I know for a fact the apartment prices in Madhapur or Gachibowli, which are equivalent locations in Hyderabad, are definitely higher. Is there anything that makes the market value of Hyderabad better that Bangalore. I don’t believe so. The fact remains that Bangalore is still the IT capital of India. The only top5 IT firm headquartered in Hyderabad is today in doldrums.
The only reason that the prices are higher are probably because of the greed of builders, the absence of smaller builders and the immaturity of the buyers.
As we all know, there are two sets of people who get jobs in Hyderabad. People from outside AP – mostly Madhya Pradesh, Chatisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, UP etc. Or non-hyderabadis from rural and small towns. A vast majority of both these segments are new to Hyderabad and have no idea of the real estate price history in Hyderabad. They are isolated and easily fooled by the realtors. Non-Andhra people compare prices with Mumbai and Delhi and get fooled.
While, the problem with Andhra people are that they have a long and very established history of being extremely speculative plus having a little bit ‘unrealistic and exaggerated sense of their own’ capability – mostly derived from seeing too many movies of their favorite Tollywood hero. Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. But there is nothing wrong at taking a good hard look at our attitudes and expectations. Wisemen, say when you ‘Know Yourselves’ you have less chance of making mistakes!
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