INDORE: Rentals for commercial property in Indore, a leading business centre of the state, have fallen by around 15 per cent as compared to pre-Covid-19 time due to a plunge in demand and shrinking requirement of office spaces in pandemic.
In the commercial real estate sector, office spaces have suffered the most declines in demand and rentals due to work from home policy adopted by many companies as a result of coronavirus induced lockdown.
As per realtors, at least 20 per cent commercial property, mostly office spaces, are labelled as vacant in pandemic, while retail commercial spaces including showrooms and shops are locked in negotiations with owners over rent waiver for the lockdown period.
A realtor dealing in commercial spaces Bhoopendra Joshi said, “Rentals for commercial property have dropped by at least 15 per cent in pandemic because demand is very limited. There are negligible fresh customers in the market in rental segment. Offices are winding up sprawling spaces and have put expansions on hold.”
According to brokers, average rentals in retail segment in Indore is in the range of Rs 150-Rs 200 per sq ft on carpet area, while office spaces are offered at Rs 45-Rs 60 per sq ft on carpet area.
Indore Realtors Welfare Association president Arvind Gupta said, “Around 25 per cent people have vacated rental property due to Coronavirus enforced lockdown. Owners are ready to offer property at lower rates because bank liabilities are intact on them. But customers are in a wait and watch mode worried about an uncertain lockdown that can be imposed anytime.”
In Indore, most sought after locations for commercial property are AB Road, MG Road and Sapna Sangeeta, said real estate agents.
Property brokers said several showrooms and shops have defaulted on rents in pandemic and new agreements are having an additional condition to either waive off rent for the lockdown period or 50 per cent rent for the impact period.
Real estate agent Vinod Verma said, “Most new agreements signed these days are having an additional condition for the lockdown period as agreed upon by both the parties to avoid defaults.”
GHAZIABAD: The RWA of a housing society in Indirapuram sent an SOS to the UP government on Tuesday, saying over 300 families living there were affected by Covid-19 and it needed urgent assistance to contain the spread of the virus that has ravaged the condominium of 1,002 flats since mid-April.
The RWA also claimed there have been nine deaths in the last 30 days and residents were running from pillar to post for oxygen and hospital beds.
TOI could not independently verify the exact number of active cases or deaths in the society — Amrapali Village, off Delhi-Meerut Expressway, located in a densely populated part of Indirapuram. Officials in the health department said they would “look into” the numbers the RWA had shared.
Strangely, the society was sealed by the Ghaziabad administration only a day before the SOS, on Monday. No emergency measures to check the spread of the virus have been initiated. There are no ambulances or medical teams deputed there either. According to the RWA, there are five critical patients in the society who need oxygen and hospitalisation.
Senior district officials this correspondent spoke to were not aware of the problems the society was facing.
The RWA said there were around 20 Covid cases in the society on April 10. Within no time, the condominium was in the grip of an outbreak. By April 21, 120 people had tested positive, claimed the RWA, adding the number of infected people on May 4 was around 350.
RWA president Deepak Kumar said they had apprised the administration through Amrapali Village’s official Twitter handle on April 21, but no measures were taken. “The society was sealed by the district authorities some two weeks after that tweet. However, the sealing order issued on May 3 mentions April 25 as the starting date of sealing,” Kumar told TOI.
“The situation is so bad that a resident called me many times on Monday to find a hospital bed for her husband, who is critical. We have eight oxygen cylinders with us and are providing them to families of critical patients. But getting them refilled is a huge challenge. At present, all cylinders are empty. We have sent a person to Aligarh with the cylinders and keeping our fingers crossed,” Kumar said.
Dinesh Kalra, an Amrapali Village resident, said his 34-year-old son’s oxygen levels had fallen to 83 and he was not able to get an oxygen cylinder. “My son and I had tested positive on April 25. His condition suddenly started deteriorating on Monday. At one point, he was not able to sit up. As going out was not possible, we sought online consultation with private doctors and gave him medicines. His condition has improved now, and we are just hoping that he does not require hospitalisation.”
Even after the tweet to the state government seeking help, the RWA said the local administration had not contacted it. Officiating district magistrate Krishna Karunesh and officiating chief medical officer Dr Sunil Tyagi said they would look into the issues. Both the DM and the CMO are indisposed.
Additional city magistrate and incident commander Vinay Kumar Singh said he would try and get beds for critical patients in Covid hospitals.
DEHRADUN: Replicating their self-isolation model followed during the coronavirus-induced lockdown last year, the residential associations in Dehradun have yet again banned the entry of outsiders, including domestic workers, in the society premises.
“We have asked the people to grant leaves to their domestic workers but not cut their salaries. This way they won’t be affected financially. Also, this reduces the risk of transmission of the virus,” said Mahesh Bhandari, president, DRWF.
The RWA officials in the Race Course area have made it mandatory for residents to wear masks while moving around in the society premises. Those who own houses in these societies have been urged to not host any guests till the situation gets better. Further, all delivery transactions take place at the society gate and the commodities are collected only after proper sanitisation.
Further, several residents are coming forward to help their Covid-infected neighbours and their families with medicines and home-cooked meals.
“The prevailing situation is grim and there is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds at several facilities. In such conditions, self-regulation is crucial. Besides, we keep a tab on people who test positive for Covid-19 and make an attempt to ensure that others don’t catch the virus from them,” added Bhandari.
SINGAPORE: Ishwinder Kaur and her husband spent more than two years looking to buy their first home in Singapore, hoping property prices would dip during the hunt.
The couple finally bought their apartment in December after prices rose in all but one quarter last year, even as the city state posted its worst recession during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We got really worried because we saw that people were snapping up homes left, right and centre,” said Kaur.
House prices rose again in the first quarter, with the private home market up 3.3%, its steepest rise in nearly three years, fueling expectations the government is likely to intervene soon to calm the market.
Driven by low interest rates, confidence in property’s long-term safety and a fear of missing out, the boom is putting buyers increasingly at odds with the government, which has been warning that purchasers should exercise caution.
Authorities in Singapore, where real estate is a safe haven investment for wealthy foreigners, keep close tabs on property prices to ensure housing remains affordable for locals and stays in step with economic fundamentals.
They began advising prudence late last year, with Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam warning again in April that home buyers should exercise caution given the risk of rising interest rates. Instead, some buyers are trying to get ahead of any intervention, further driving up sales.
“Considering that only property value seems to be growing steadily, and extra stamp duties may kick in soon to cool the market, it is better to invest in a new house at this time,” said sales engineer Faye Zhou, who is looking for a condominium.
Government tools to cool the market include boosting stamp duties on foreign buyers and investors with multiple homes, or increasing the proportion of down-payments. It can also increase land supply through tenders.
Private home prices fell 11.6% from a 2013 peak over a span of 15 quarters after the government took steps to curb a housing market boom as Singapore emerged from the global financial crisis.
The government last tightened curbs in 2018 after prices rose about 9% over a year and analysts expect it to act again as the city-state’s economic recovery from the pandemic is uneven and near-term wage growth remains muted.
Foreign demand is also returning, according to property consultants OrangeTee, helping boost sales of luxury homes to their highest since the third quarter of 2017.
Total transactions in the first quarter nearly doubled from a year ago, touching their highest in at least two years.
The housing loan booking at DBS Group, Singapore’s biggest bank, has been at record levels.
“Some of it is because of people’s view that you might see some cooling measures. So people are trying to get ahead of that,” CEO Piyush Gupta said in the bank’s results call with reporters.
Further out, supply is set to tighten in both the private and public housing markets due to pandemic-driven delays in construction.
The inventory of uncompleted homes with developers is dwindling and had fallen by 40% as of the first quarter compared with two years ago.
Developers will likely seek to acquire land to replenish their inventories, either sites from the government or existing apartments blocks that can redeveloped. Analysts expect intense competition for land, which may, in turn fuel further price rises.
Property in land-scarce Singapore has long attracted the super-rich from around Asia, with political uncertainty in rival Hong Kong helping boost that appeal.
And even if prices fall in the near-term from recent highs, buyers are confident they will not stay low forever.
“Property prices in Singapore will certainly still grow steadily in the long term … there’s limited land but more people are coming into Singapore,” said Sky Chen, a 30-year-old architect who bought his apartment in November.