Mumbai: Flats buyers hesitant after Forest Land Fiasco

After forest ruling, builders go extra mile to lure flat buyers

 Viju B I TNN

      Mumbai: “Not on forest land, title deed clear’’—screams an advertisement for flats in the newly-built Jaydeep Park Housing Complex, located at the Majiwada junction, Thane. A random check of advertisements for real estate in and around Thane and the northern suburbs reveals that developers are using such catch-phrases to assure and lure customers. 

     Such new assurances are being given by developers who have several projects lined up adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, where around 1.75 lakh flats were recently declared illegal by the Bombay high court, ruling that the buildings stood on forest land.

      Now, developers are going the extra mile to tell prospective buyers that their title deeds are clear and the property will be free from litigation. Real estate agents and builders admit that, following the court order, there has been a lull in the sale and registration of flats, including those that are adjoining the park but not on forest land.

        “The number of enquiries has gone down and there is uncertainty in the market,’’ said Anil Gurnani, who runs Ayappa Real Estate Agency in Thane. He pointed out that till a few months ago, investors barely had a couple of days to decide whether to buy a flat or not after seeing it. “If they did not decide fast enough, the flats would be sold to others or the rates would be jacked up,’’ said Gurnani. 

      Not anymore. “With thousands of flats lying vacant adjacent to the national park in both the eastern and western suburbs, it’s the buyers who now have the edge in this regard,’’ said Mohan Shah, a real estate consultant based in Malad.

      Freebies—such as free pick-up for prospective buyers from the nearest railway station to the site—are also being provided by builders. “Earlier, the developers never bothered to return calls as they were inundated with enquiries. But things have changed now and they are in constant touch with us,’’ Shah said. 

     Real estate consultants say that over 50% of the buildings that have come up on Ghodbunder Road are on forest land. “There are absolutely no flat sales in this area. There is a general lull in the market,’’ said Hitesh Shah of Spaces and Places, Pokhran Road, Thane.

      In Thakur Village, Kandivli, 85% of the buildings are on forest land. “There is a 5-15% correction in rates. It is advisable for buyers to wait a few more months for the rates to come down by at least 20%,’’ said Harold D’Sa of Bhoomi Real Estate Consultants, Kandivli.






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