The business of building homes for families in Goa is without doubt a very important part of the Goan economy. Now that mining has reduced dramatically and the international prices have slumped that sector no longer drives the economy. It could be safely said that fact could remain reality for some more time to come.
The realty sector has been hit following the ban on mining and was in a slump for two years. The number of unsold units was growing in the market and the future looked bleak. However this year has seen a change in fortunes. There is a perceptible change in the sentiment and builders are now talking of business picking up. Chinmoy Borkar of Akar Reality admitted to business being slow for two years but tempo having increased over the past five months with more people now stepping into the market to purchase reality. He said “We focus on various segments depending on the market we intend to focus on. We have properties in the high end as well as the mid level. Recently we launched a villa project which is in the mid and luxury segment. It is priced reasonably anywhere between Rs. 75lacs and Rs. 90 lacs anything above Rs. 1 crore is way too much for the Goa market. Our project is in the outskirts of Margao”. Another project was priced under Rs. 50 lakhs and some of the apartments were still available, though according to Chinmoy there was strong interest from the market. This project which is located in south Goa is expected to sell out soon.
The Goa market he said was not superficial with buyers, especially Goans very focussed on what it was they wanted. The fundamentals, Chinmoy said had to be strong with the location as always being very important. Some people he said were keen on staying in the city and hence chose such locations while others wanted to stay on the outskirts and have some greenery. The quality of the construction and the reputation of the builder were very important and finally the lifestyle amenities available were also considered. With regards to hurdles, he felt there were none though the infrastructure tax was a liability which was being passed to the consumer. The government he said was collecting the money and not providing infrastructure which was not on. Road, water and electricity he said had to be provided and he hoped the government would start doing it at the earliest.
Asked when the market would really move, he felt it would take another year and a half. He expected the world, Indian and the Goan market to have turned the corner by then.
The President of Credai, Goa chapter Desh Prabhudessai admitted that in the past two months the market had picked up. He said “It is not appreciable and should be much more but it will be much more obvious if the government helps us in this budget”. The prices were stable he said and this was the right time to buy considering that prices had stabled and he said what builders had admitted but were not willing to admit publicly, that discounts could be worked out on an individual basis. He said “It happens with discounts varying anywhere between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lacs at times. It happens”. It is difficult to get a 2 bedroom house under Rs. 40 lacs now in Goa with the cost of land being what is was he said. He also said that now builders were taking steps to stay competitive. Many builders he said were reworking sizes and in fact reducing the size of flats to fit into budgets.
Desh Prabhudessai as President of Credai gave a pre budget memorandum to the CM and requested the government that the infrastructure Tax paid to the Town & Country Planning Department at the time of Approvals may be discontinued and the taxes may be collected by the concerned department where varied approvals are required. (like Town & Country Planning, Electricity, P.W.D Water, Sewerage etc. In addition he requested single window and online clearances will remove human interference and will expedite approvals and eliminate any scam. With regards to the regional plan, Credai hoped the Government would expedite the process and come out with a plan that would be acceptable to a larger majority at the earliest. It would be in the interest of faster economic development that RP 2021 is finalized. This will also help in releasing land for housing, housing projects could come up which in turn would bring down the price of land and apartments in Goa.
The Government should establish and ensure the fact that the planning of RP 2021 is participatory, transparent and accountable and safe-guarding the interest of the people of Goa. The market may be moving towards sunnier times and perhaps all it now needs is a push from the government.