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Posted at: Dec 30, 2017, 1:43 AM; last updated: Dec 30, 2017, 1:43 AM (IST)REGION ROUND-UP

Lull in the Land of Five Rivers

Lull in the Land of Five Rivers

Deepkamal Kaur

It was a year of complete lull for the realty market in Punjab with the developers and investors blaming it all on demonetisation and implementation of GST by the Centre.

Even though the realtors had been expecting some improvement with the change of government in the state and bringing in of some new policies like cut in stamp duty and reduction of collector rates, the iron grip of slowdown did not loosen in 2017 and the new year too seem to be starting on a dismal note. For several developers in Punjab the clouds of gloom overcasting the real estate landscape are not likely to lift from the state in 2018 too.

Deepak Batra of Batra Estates in Ludhiana says, “Centre government’s  policies have led to a complete collapse of our business. We had built flats in Dugri and Haibowal area but there were no buyers or investors interested in these in 2017. Thee  end users too are not on the scene as availability of cash remains a problem even now.”

“To compound our problems, the move of the government to digitise land registration and link it with Aadhar card is also keeping the investors at bay. The investors now apprehend that all their financial deals will come under scanner, so they are not investing in property and are rather looking for other investment options”.

Launch of new projects, be it residential or retail, too, remained low in 2017. In Jalandhar, though the Reliance group is set to open its mall on Garha Road soon and there are flat-complexes coming on 66-feet road. However, no new hotel or plaza is in the offing here. Work on some ongoing projects diid not pick up pace all through the year.

Colonisers all over the state are also sore over regularisation policy not coming again for clearing NOCs for illegal colonies. Anil Chopra, Chairman of the Punjab chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), said, “It was a bad year for us. We deliberately kept the pace of our ongoing works in Ludhiana and Jalandhar slow as we knew that it would not serve any purpose. We have shops coming near Jyoti Chowk Jalandhar, apartments coming up in Nakodar and a mall on 120-feet road. All of these projects are two year old.”

Chopra adds, “In Doaba, most realtors were banking on NRIs, who used to come around this time of year and make some investments. But I guess that era is over. Now, if at all they come and make a property deal, it is to sell off their existing properties.”

 In Amritsar too, the builders especially those who ventured into flat system,  painted a gloomy picture.  Sanjay Joshi, manager with an Amritsar-based builder, said, “There are not many takers for flats here owing to which many companies have stopped their ongoing projects. Plots are getting sold but the short-term gains which used to be there with investors in the field, are no longer there now. Consumer market, too, is slow as there is a huge gap between the income of middle class and the rates of plots and the construction cost.”

The state government, however, boasts of having managed to earn Rs 418.7 crore with the sale of 53 residential and commercial sites across the state through e-auction conducted by PUDA last month. While the GMADA earned the maximum revenue of Rs 380.27 crore, the Bathinda Development Authority fetched Rs 15.42 crore, Patiala Rs 12.03 crore, Jalandhar Rs 6.92 crore, Amritsar Rs 2.88 crore and Ludhiana Rs 1.18 crore. Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and Housing, Vini Mahajan, said, “There are many factors responsible for a slow realty market but all I can say is that our e-auction has been a success”. Interestingly, in spite of this claim base prices of properties to be auctioned were reduced in Jalandhar to get results. 

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