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Lost hopes: Over 1 lakh buyers await dream houses in Gurugram

It is estimated that across Gurugram, flats of over 1 lakh buyers are delayed, by three to five years.

 

Despite having paid Rs70 lakh for his three-bedroom apartment in 2010, there is no assurance that 32-year Itender Singh and around 500 other homebuyers in the project would get their houses any time soon.

 

The construction work at Universal Aura project in Sector 82 has been stalled for the last three years despite complaints at all forums, including the police.

 

Eight years after Singh signed up to live in Gurugram, his apartment is not delivered and infrastructure in new sectors is yet to be set up.

 

The administration has not been able to provide water pipelines, construct internal roads or provide adequate power infrastructure, allege residents, who have got possession so far.

 

It is estimated that across Gurugram, flats of over 1 lakh buyers are delayed, by three to five years. “I have lost hope of getting the apartment despite pursuing the matter with authorities, police and in the court. There is no solution as the developer admittedly has no money, ” said Singh.

 

According to the government’s Gurgaon-Manesar masterplan, development of the area was planned for 2031. Buyers question why licences were issued to developers for delivery in 2015 and why the plan has been revised thrice.

 

The only consolation for buyers like Singh is that the developer is still in business and has promised to find a solution. However, for homebuyers and investors who bought projects sold by Unitech, Adel/Landmark, Pal Infrastructure, Earth Infrastructure and several such developers, the hope of getting relief is little as promoters are either facing criminal charges or projects are mired in court cases.

 

“I paid Rs 35 lakh in 2013-14 to buy an apartment in a project launched by Adel in Sector 103 but no work has taken place. The company forced us to pay money and several people paid with their retirement benefits and savings, money for their daughter’s wedding and to educate their kids. I don’t think I will be alive to see the delivery of my flat,” said 70-year-old Vedpal Bakshi.

 

The predicament of buyers, who have approached all forums to seek justice, is also shared by market players and consultants, who admit delivery is the key to bring life back to the city’s real estate.

 

Data released by Anarock real estate consultant reveals that developers in Gurugram were not able to deliver around 19,400 units in 2017 and the delivery of these units was postponed. Of 27,300 units that were to be delivered in 2017, only 29% were handed over to buyers and around 14,400 units (53%) are to be delivered by 2018-end. Altogether, developers in NCR are expected to deliver around 1.66 lakh units (3.9 times the units delivered in 2017) by the year-end.

 

“What about the units that were to be delivered in 2018? The entire industry has been caught in a web of its own making. Buyers have been duped, investors stuck and there is no escape route, ” said Sanjay Sharma, a real estate consultant.

An analysis of data made available on the department of town and country planning website reveals that of 172 projects along the Dwarka Expressway, more than 120 are delayed. Of the 70 on the Southern Peripheral Road (SPR) and Golf Course Extension Road, almost half are in various stages of construction, but the situation is slightly better in terms of delivery.

 

“The apartments, the expressway and internal infrastructure all are delayed. In fact, the state has failed the people, who have nowhere to go. Even residents who have got flats find it difficult to survive without amenities,” said Prakhar Sahai, an executive member of the Dwarka Expressway Welfare Association.

 

The situation has worsened to such an extent that the officials of the Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HRERA) were mobbed twice in the last five months by disgruntled buyers to seek justice. They also forced the authority, for the first time, to set up an emergency court that promised to help, but the pace is slow and the process is tedious, say buyers.

 

What went wrong

 

Real estate experts, property dealers and regulators said the primary reason for the delay is a diversion of funds for other projects and investments, tweaking of norms to bypass regulatory clearances and environment rules, which was accentuated by the government’s tedious licensing policy and lax monitoring.

 

“Consumer sentiment was severely shaken by these delays and finally brought the sector to a standstill. Developers’ profits took a massive hit and their negative cash flows made the delays longer,” wrote Prashant Thakur, research head, Anarock real estate consultants.

 

Ramesh Menon, CEO, Certes Realty, blames the then government and developers equally for the mess. The roots of this prolonged slowdown go way back to 2006, when the Gurugram masterplan was released, and projects were launched in 2007.

 

“The entire plan was real estate driven, with maximum focus on licensing the farmland so that projects could be sold. Anyone who had land or money was allowed to enter the real estate sector, irrespective of the capacity or experience and the result is there for all to see, ” said Menon.

 

Another major folly during boom years was that real estate projects were marketed as financial products with the promise of endless speculation and quarter on quarter growth, say experts. “There is no liquidity in the market; new projects are not selling and there is no exit option for buyers and investors,” said Pankaj Tomar, a property dealer.

 

To facilitate unregulated urbanisation, the government also revised the Gurugram-Manesar masterplan thrice from 2006 to 2014 with the sole purpose of delivering more land to developers.

 

Source: Hindustan Times
Dated: 6th July 2018