Saturday, March 28, 2009

Around 300 buyers converge at DLF office seeking refund - DLF agrees !!

In what seems be a response to the denial mode of DLF, which was claiming that only few speculators were wanting to exit its Garden City project at Semmanchery (off OMR in Chennai), around 300 buyers wanting to exit the project had converged at the DLF office (located on Radhakrishnan Salai in Mylapore) on Saturday evening (28 March 2009) and refused to leave the premises until they got a written assurance that their money would be refunded.

DLF is said to have agreed to refund the money and to have assured that the refund process will start from 1st April 2009 (April Fools' day ?!!) and will be completed before 30 September 2009. The refunds will be made in the order in which DLF had received the exit letters.

As per earlier reports [], the total number of buyers seeking to exit the DLF Garden City project was 561 - out of 1800 who had booked for an apartment in the project. The total apartments in the DLF Garden City project is 3493 apartments.

Read the full article at..
DLF customers gang up, pressurise developer to commit refund [economictimes]

(This post is now part of the Discussion thread on DLF Garden City, at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DLF tries to answer a few questions via Express Buzz

DLF tries to answer a few questions on the Garden City project, via The New Indian Express..

>> 3. Club which was lifetime free at time of booking turned out to be 2 year annual payments . Ask them why?
>>  (MoneyControl) Also; clubhouse facilities, which DLF claimed were exclusively for buyers' use, is now being thrown open to outsiders as well.
On the issue of operational model of the club, Raman said that limited period membership gets linked to ownership of the apartment and was therefore beneficial to the operation of the club.
(Frankly though, I cannot comprehend how that addresses the issues raised : 2 years memberships given instead of lifetime and open for outsiders instead of being exclusive).

>> 4. A 5 acre forest land inside the complex was shown in initial brochures by DLF to be their own. Now we've discovered that it belongs to a freedom fighter whom they are trying to buy it off from. Is this legal? It is clear .. I don't want to call the number.
Last, on the question mark on the "5 acres within the site", Raman said that "parcel of land does not form part of the existing project" though the company was in the process of acquiring that piece of land.

>> 5. A short 2KM, 60 ft approach road to the project was promised. Now it seems people will have to travel another 16 km additionally each day. Clear breach of misleading and amounts to breach of contract if any.
"We are waiting for some unauthorized construction along the road to be demolished, as soon as that’s carried out by the authorities, the approach road would be broadened to 60 feet," a DLF executive at the site told The New Indian Express.

>> 8. DLF claims we are speculators/investors. We are infact end users.
>> (LiveMint) To get a clarity on the number of buyers wanting a refund, the group members have conducted a poll among the Google Group members to arrive at the total number who have actually asked for a refund - 561. DLF is said to have expected less than 100.
"The majority of the customers who had booked apartments in Gardencity are endusers and they have appreciated and benefited from the attractive price rebate that DLF announced recently." Raman said the remaining 150 or so who have sought exit would be allowed to do so in a planned manner as DLF was keen to see only end-users ending up owning homes in Gardencity DLF-OMR.

As for those who had applied to exit the project they are being phased out of the project at a certain number per week basis even as some who had applied to exit are believed to have re-applied to re-enter the project.
>> (MoneyControl) buyers want an Undivided Share of Land clause to be signed by the company.
"There are various risks attached to the undivided share sale and construction contract route. We feel it is in the overall interest of the project and customer that a consolidated conveyance of the apartment, parking rights and undivided share of land is done after receipt of the certificate for use and occupation of the buildings, as we have indicated in the application form."

(This post is now part of the
Discussion Thread on DLF Garden City at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Now Schools Offer Residential Projects !! Who will be next ?!

After mega residential projects adding prestigious schools as features to entice buyers, like L&T's Eden Park getting the 3rd PSBB school (after KK Nagar & Nungambakkam), DLF's Garden City getting a PSBB Millennium school and L&T Arun Excello's Estancia getting Vidya Mandir (Mylapore), now it is the turn of schools to offer attached residences.

Starting the trend in Chennai is Vael's Billabong High. The school is reported to have sent circulars enquiring if parents would like to buy villas to be built on/adjacent to its campus. The news report by TOI reveals that Vael's Billabong High plans to build around 100 villas in the proposed project. Vael's Billabong High has 2 campuses one at Neelankarai and another at Pon Vidhyashram Gardens at Injambakkam. (My guess is that..) The project should likely come up in Injambakkam, which seems to have a lot more adjacent space, to accommodate 100 villas.

Vael's Billabong High is part of the Vel's group of institutions.

The article also reports of similar plans by Dharmapuri based Vijay Vidyashram and Coimbatore based Monarch International School.

Who will be next ?!

And, who do you think will get into the real estate business next ?

Businesses with large land banks may well take the plunge. With Sathyam (and Matyas) out of the way, top on my list of probables is Infosys.

With Infosys declaring officially that it's IT services business is slowing down, and with a huge land bank (prompting people to question why it requires 2000 acres in Karnataka, when Wipro requires just 50 acres), and with its experience of building Infosys Residence (serviced apartments for its employees) and having been fined for wanting to treat them as residences instead of commercial entities, it may well want to build and sell them off as residences to its long serving employees. 

These residential projects will again add schools and other features such that the employee will not have the excuse about traffic jams or dropping/picking up their children at school. With the campus becoming a township, spouses have a better probability to get a job within the campus.

Also, late night travel (more so for BPO employees) and related risks can also be avoided. 

So, very soon offer letters will include an offer to buy (or lease from a transfered employee) an apartment/villa, capturing them within the company campus - and no, that is not what is usually called a "captive development center".

Friday, March 20, 2009

Unitech plans to offer apartments for Rs.5-10 lakhs

Following Neel Kamal project by Real Value [] - which offers apartments for as low as Rs.13.2 lakhs and Provident Housing's CosmoCity [] offering apartments for Rs.16.90 lakhs and above, it is now the turn of Unitech to plunge into low-cost housing. For its proposed projects in Chennai (and in other places like Gurgaon, Kolkata), to be launched within a couple of months, Unitech plans to offer apartments in the range of Rs.5-10 lakhs. (via Business Standard [])

inflation getting to a 14-year low of 0.44% and with possibility of interest rates going down further, this probably might be the right time to buy a home.

The next step in this quest to offer low cost housing will probably be to take the
Laurie Baker [] route.

Wikipedia :

Laurence Wilfred "Laurie" Baker (March 2, 1917 - April 1, 2007) was an award-winning British-born Indian architect, renowned for his initiatives in cost-effective energy-efficient architecture and for his unique space utilisation and simple but beautful aesthetic sensibility.

A few photos from 
Official Website of Architect Laurie Baker ..

I had first read about Laurie Baker during my school days (pre 1996) in what was yet another essay in the Manaroma Year Book 199x. Was impressed with how he was able to build wonderful structures, including those with multiple floors, with just local materials and in effect coming up with utlra-affordable homes.

May be builders (and their architects) can work to come up with some eco-friendly township of independent villas, using such techniques.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DLF starts refunds ; 561 of 1800 in queue, say buyers

LiveMint reports that DLF has started to issue refund to buyers who have wanted to exit the Garden City project at Semmancheri, off OMR in Chennai. The refunds are reportedly made via cheques routed through direct selling agents of DLF. One such buyer quotes to have received his full payment of Rs.5.21 lakhs via a cheque from Dream Castle, which is a direct selling agent of DLF. 

To get a clarity on the number of buyers wanting a refund, the group members have conducted a poll among the Google Group members to arrive at the total number who have actually asked for a refund - 561. DLF is said to have expected less than 100. 

DLF has denied that it is refunding to all the buyers who have submitted exit letters. 

LiveMint :

"We are not refunding as such but are just swapping existing sales with new bookings," a DLF spokesperson said. 

"We see the genuineness of the customers and then consider this option. Some people have lost their jobs and some people have got pay cuts. We verify with their employers and then consider it, if we find it true," said DLF's spokesperson. He said that bookings of five-six people have been swapped with those of new buyers. 

When asked if this option would be given to all the people who have sent exit letters, he said, "This is not a current account that you put in the money and withdraw whenever you want to. There is nothing general or in-principle about this move. Being a big company, we emphasize on customer relationship and on humanitarian grounds, we consider their (buyers') requests."

Read the full article at LiveMint []. 

From the face of whatever DLF is saying, it seems it is going to refund to only very few buyers, and that too on a case by case basis. Buyers need to be careful and study the project well before deciding to invest into projects, so as to avoid having to hear.. 
DLF Spokesperson :

"This is not a current account that you put in the money and withdraw whenever you want to."

Related : 
BSCPL launches mega township near DLF Garden City at 2500/sqft []

(This post is now part of the DLF Garden City discussion thread at

BSCPL launches Bollineni Hillside, a mega township near DLF Garden City at 2500/sqft

Hyderabad's BSCPL is planning to construct 4500 residential units in its Bollineni Hillside project off OMR and behind Sathyabama University (view the location map of Bollineni Hillside). 

The project is very near to another mega project in the city - DLF's Garden City

The scale of the project makes it one of the largest integrated residential township projects to come up in the city, again drawing comparisons with the 3500 units DLF project.  Bollineni Hillside will comprise of apartments and independent villas spread over 92 acres.

Of the 4500 units, 1300 units are planned for Phase I - which includes around 1000 apartments and 300 independent villas. The residential units are to come up in 64 blocks for Phase I. 

The units are available in 650 to 2800 SQFT size, with 1 to 5 bedrooms in each unit. The rate per SQFT is Rs.2500 (+ additional charges). The total cost for a residential unit will be around 16.9 lakhs to 19 lakhs. Phase I of the project is expected to be completed by mid of 2010.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Builders : No Price Cuts Planned !!

Builders invariably will be subjected to pressure from buyers, if buyers are more organized via a Google Groups / Orkut Community, etc., as was the case in the DLF scenario. So they need to come up with convincing answers on why they cannot do so or should give in to the pressure and reduce the prices. 

In response to a question about DLF cutting prices for its projects in Chennai and Bangalore, and if other builders are likely to follow suit, Mr.Abhisheck Lodha, of the Lodha Group, says.. 
The Hindu Business Line : 

"We have to learn from this story. Overall it creates a negative impression with the existing buyers. It is important to get the value equation right. The customer is not willing to buy unless he sees value in a product. The pricing has to be spot on for buyers to walk in. We have managed to sell 1,000 units of our CASA brand of affordable- luxury homes in Thane near Mumbai between December 15 and February 2."
Read the full interview here [] 

Mr.Abhisheck Lodha's point is the initial pricing needs to be right and hence will not require correction. 

Hiranandani has also put out an advertisement in today's Property Plus (Supplement to The Hindu), highlighting the fact that it does not plan to reduce costs. 
Hiranandani Upscale Ad :

Whatever the market trends; the name remains synonymous with faith, trust and value that extends far beyond price. 
Hiranandani Upscale. When you don't want to settle for less.

DLF had quoted reasons like the changing economic scenario, reducing costs of construction and lowering interest rates had enabled it to pass on the benefits to customers, when DLF announced the price cut

Does that mean the same reasons have no effect on other projects ?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sathyam Cinemas at Arun Excello Estancia, Maraimalai Nagar

Sathyam Cinemas, which had been working with Arun Excello in the design and planning of the township's entertainment section consisting of malls, food courts and multiplexes may well take the plunge in renting it out too. 

While the bid is open for all and with players Inox and PVR in the fray, at rental rates around Rs.50/sqft, Sathyam is said to be in the final stages of inking the deal, as per Economic Times 

Economic Times :

“Sathyam is all set to develop and operate six screens in the 45,000 sq. ft. multiplex space within the township, though the agreements have not been signed yet,” a source in L&T Arun Excello, the developer and promoter of Estancia, told ET.
The possible seating capacity and potential audience turnout for the multiplex is obviously a concern for Sathyam, due to the location of the project (at Maraimalai Nagar, in the outskirts of Chennai). Sathyam may be using this point as a negotiating tool in the process leading to finalizing the rental rates. 

Construction work for the multiplex space is expected to be will be over by mid 2010, while the cinemas are expected to be operation by March 2011. 

Apart from this, MPEG4 compatible DTH wiring is to be being provided to all apartments.. 
Economic Times

...The resident will only have to purchase the set top boxes, which are dependent on the DTH service provider. The developer expects these service providers will not have a problem with using common wiring.
Good to know that the wiring will remain compatible with other service providers. 

It seems that L&T Arun Excello is not going to let the slow down get in its way, firing away PR after PR of exclusive facilities coming up at its project. Good show guys !! Hope you turn the market attention into sales. 

(This post is part of the Discussion on Arun Excello Estancia at

Friday, March 6, 2009

Affordable Options : Provident Housing CosmoCity, near Siruseri

Provident Housing Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Puravankara Projects Ltd. 

Its project Provident Cosmo City in Pudupakkam near Siruseri IT park has got DTCP approved plan and construction is to commence in April 2009.

A total of 2174 apartments are to be constructed in 31 acres, of which 518 are supposed to be built in the first phase. The apartments are to come up in 983 to 1062 sqft size and at a rate of Rs.1780/sqft. The total cost is around 16.90 lakhs to 18.90 lakhs.

For more Details of Provident CosmoCity and for the Location Map of Provident CosmoCity, kindly visit

Monday, March 2, 2009

What is Guideline Value of Land and How is it related to Market Value ?

When registering a property transaction, the stamp duty and registration charges are subject to the Guideline Value of the property, which may usually be lower from the Market Value of the property. 

Registering a property at a value higher than the Guideline Value does not automatically raise the Guideline Value, though it can act as a trigger to the process.

Similarly, if the Guideline Value is perceived to be higher than the Market Value, that can also be corrected by proper procedures.

For more details refer to..

*The information provided here at, is not verified by the builder, to be devoid of factual and/or typo errors. Also read this disclaimer.