India’s super rich like KM Birla, Cyrus Poonawalla, Godrej strike realty deals in sluggish property market

MUMBAI: India’s super rich are spotting an opportunity in an otherwise sluggish property market, and leveraging on it to buy luxury pads for themselves. In the past one week, two large South Mumbai bungalow deals have been clinched by the biggest names of the corporate world, while at least one more iconic property , Hindustan Unilever’s guest house Alhambra on Carmichael Road, is generating good interest. Last week, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla emerged as the highest bidder for the sea-facing, 30,000-sq-ft, Jatia House in Malabar Hill. The Aditya Birla Group chairman is paying Rs 425 crore for the property, making it the most expensive bungalow deal ever in India, surpassing the 2012, Rs 400 crore, Maheshwari House transaction. In the latest, Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Poonawalla Group, is buying US consulate’s Lincoln House at Breach Candy for Rs 750 crore. The property, spread over 2.06 acres, is much larger than Jatia House. Last year, the Godrej family acquired Mehrangir, the house of Homi Bhabha, father of India’s nuclear programme, in Malabar Hill for Rs 372 crore. Birla, Poonawalla, Godrej and others paying stratospheric prices for these iconic properties are buying them for private use, and market experts expect some more deals like these, as the appetite seems to be growing for such private residences for which money isn’t a limiting factor. “These deals may not be an indication of prevailing market rate, as drivers for such transactions are not technical and commercial valuations,” said Shashank Jain, partner -transaction services at PwC India. “Given the large size of such deals, primarily for personal use, not everyone is in race to buy and money is not a constraint for the ones who are in fray,” Jain said. He expects a few more such properties coming out in the market.
Source of The Economic Times 15 Sep 2015