Sunday, November 30, 2008

India terror begins with corpses on train platform

MUMBAI, India (AP)
9:21 p.m. Wednesday, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus:

Two young men walk casually through Mumbai's main railway station, a worn Victorian hulk bustling with late commuters heading home, scurrying past small food stands and juice bars and vendors selling newspapers.

They enter near the taxi stand, where long lines of battered black and yellow cabs wait for fares. One wears khaki cargo pants and a blue T-shirt. A pair of small knapsacks are slung over a shoulder. He looks like a college kid.

They are, says a photographer who follows them on part of their grim journey, 'backpackers with assault rifles.'


To read more, please, visit - The Associated Press: By TIM SULLIVAN and RAVI NESSMAN

The Final Fight at the Taj

The New York Times: Slide Show:

Indian commandos took control of the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower on Saturday morning after a three-day siege.

David Guttenfelder/Associated Press
Published: 20081129 Please, visit: Slide 1 of 15:

Related Stories:

1) Restoring Taj hotel's glory may cost Rs.5 bn, take 12 months

2) We had warning - Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group

We had warning - Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group

The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, temporarily increased security after being warned of a possible terrorist attack, the chairman of the company that owns the hotel said Saturday

But Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said those measures, which were eased shortly before this week's terror attacks, could not have prevented gunmen from entering the hotel.

"If I look at what we had ... it could not have stopped what took place," Tata said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that will air Sunday.
To read more, please, visit: - CNN.com

Related Story:

Restoring Taj hotel's glory may cost Rs.5 bn, take 12 months

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Restoring Taj hotel's glory may cost Rs.5 bn, take 12 months




The restoration of the century-old Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in downtown Mumbai that was considerably damaged during the terror siege could take as much as 12 months and cost about Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore/$100 million), experts on structural engineering and architecture say.

The owners of the property, Indian Hotels Ltd., have said that they would take all measures to restore the Mumbai landmark and had an insurance policy against terror attacks.

"We are not just determined, but completely committed, to rebuilding the institution. We will restore it to its fullest glory," said company vice chairman R.K. Krishna Kumar.
To read more, please, visit - The Hindu News Update Service

Visit Arun Shanbhag's Live Blogs:

Thanks to Arun Shanbhag, for the above photos.
Visit his photo blogs of:
1) November 26 / 27
2) November 28
3) November 29

Thanks to BBC News, for a list of events with approximate timings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pune realty rates won't drop further - Promoters and Builders Association of Pune (PBAP)

Politically Right Answer!:

Dispelling speculations of a possible reduction in realty prices in the city, the Promoters and Builders Association of Pune (PBAP) stated on Sunday that they have already bottomed out and it is highly unlikely that developers would lower prices further.
The PBAP stated, "Prices in Pune have already corrected to the maximum possible extent and, in some areas, the correction has been as much as 25 per cent.

The majority of the supply in the property market is in the outer periphery of Pune. The rates here are in the Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 per sq ft range.

When compared to most other cities, the price range is reasonable considering the proximity of the locations to the city centre.

On an overall basis, Pune has seen a long-term trend of increase in the specification adjusted property rates ( ? ! ) of only 11 per cent to 12 per cent per annum over a ten-year period.

Many developers have already reduced rates by 10 to 15 per cent and some as much as 25 per cent," the statement said.

Feelings:

PBAP's stand on realty prices in Pune has come in the wake of a recent statement made by the Confederation of Realty Developers Association of India (CREDAI), which led to a general feeling that all realty estate markets across the country would see a further price reduction.

Facts:

The builder's association (means PBAP) obtained a feedback from its members and came to the conclusion that most developers, over the last few months, have already reduced their rates in response to the PBAP's call to fix bottom rates.

The move had taken into account the subdued market sentiment and was in anticipation of the PBAP exhibition in October.

Question: Why the prices were unlikely to come down further?

Reason: 1) Because of you! You Pune property buyers, you stopped funding builders
Elaborating on why the prices were unlikely to come down further, the PBAP stated that traditionally construction of residential projects was funded by customer advances.

However, the current slowdown has led to a need for developers to raise construction finance.

The problem has compounded, since the construction finance rates have increased from 11 per cent to 17 per cent over the past few months, that too in the few cases where construction finance is available.

The statement stresses that the increased cost of finance needs to be factored in the overall project costs.
Reason: 2) Inflation:
"While inflation has impacted the cost of construction substantially over the past few years, the current downturn in inflation has not seen any significant reduction in material costs."

Reason: 3) Government of India:
Steel prices came down to reasonable levels and have already increased on various counts, including the government raising the import duty. The net impact of the steel price reduction currently stands at an average of Rs 30 per sq ft

Reason: 4) Wall Street:
The depreciation of the rupee has led to an increase of 20 per cent in the cost of imported materials," said the PBAP

Reason: 5) Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)
On the local front, the association stated that in the last few years, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has increased the charges payable by developers for approval of plans by over 300 per cent.

Reason: 6) South Korean and Japanese Car Manufacturers:
Also, the increase in the parking norms by PMC have further led to substantial increase in construction costs.

Reason: 7) Home loan interest rates:
The statement touches upon the issue of the steep increase in interest rates that had affected customers' purchasing power over 18 months ago and, in turn, led to a slowdown in the launch of new projects ( new sources of funding! ) .

Pune Builders Love Pune Property Buyers:

"Around six months ago, the PBAP had appealed to its members to absorb the price hikes of input costs as much as possible and pass on only minimal increases to consumers in light of the affordability concerns of customers," the association said.

Proof No. 1) FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008: Promoters and Builders Association of Pune strikes back: increases the per-square-foot rate of flats between Rs 50 and Rs 400 from April 20

Proof No. 2. FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008: Builders will increase the rate according to the stage of the construction, says Shantilal Kataria, while talking on rising property prices in Pune

PBAP has done it's best. Now, it's others - Indian Government, Indian Financial Institutions and Obama - turn to do their bit!

-The Times of India

Related Story:

IT, auto sectors’ slowdown has Pune realtors changing tack to attract buyers

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IT, auto sectors’ slowdown has Pune realtors changing tack to attract buyers

Pune Real Estate Slowdown and Property Rates:

A slowdown in demand for houses across India has hit Pune hard, pulling down realty prices by about one-fifth, resulting in builders and developers lavishing discounts and gifts at buyers, mostly the industrial city’s software and auto sector professionals.

Auto sales in India have contracted in three of the last four months from a year ago and tech consultants are predicting slower growth for Indian information technology service providers in the quarters ahead as large businesses in the US and Europe face an economic slowdown and liquidity squeeze.

In reaction, here’s what some Pune developers are doing: To read more, please, visit - livemint.com

Related Stories:

1) Pune builders will not see any cut in home prices

2) Trying hard to stay afloat

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trying hard to stay afloat

"Best friend turned on me. What to do?"

When i read this story in today's The Economic Times, I felt sorry for all builders in Pune. ET published this on the same day, when Property Times has organized it's most prestigious event at Le Meridien. How sad! I think Pune real estate developers should try Yahoo Answers or appoint a media manager immediately! Have a look:
Driven by the booming IT business, Pune’s property prices had shot up to exorbitant levels over the last four years as builders sold flats at up to thrice the rate prevailing earlier. Following the slowdown, demand suddenly dropped and property prices fell by up to 30%. Though builders refuse to accept, they are now open to negotiate with serious buyers.

A source said, “Customers have postponed purchases hoping that prices and interest rates will drop. With reduced demand, and thus shortage of funds, builders are postponing schedules of handing over possessions and launching new projects. Some have even stopped work due to lack of funds to source raw material.
To read more, please, visit - Omkar Sapre - The Economic Times

Related Story:

Pune builders will not see any cut in home prices

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pune builders will not see any cut in home prices

(Isn't it naive to ask a builder about reducing the property rate?)

Why?:

1) The prices have already reached the bottom.

2) High interest costs

3) Charges levied by Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations

4) High input costs

Means - Pune builders are desperate to cut property prices! The official quote is always opposite of what PBAP actually means. Remember, the statement about price rise because of steel and cement rates?

The Pune builders’ community has flatly refused to effect any price cuts in residential projects, even after major realty organization like the National Real Estate Development Council (NREDC) and the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) asking its members to slash prices.

“The last few months have been a very tough time for the entire community because of the slowdown in the market and several other reasons. The prices have already reached the bottom. I see no scope at all for any further reduction in home prices in Pune,” said Lalitkumar Jain, president of Promoters and Builders Association of Pune (PBAP).

According to a realty consultancy firm, a flat in some of the decent areas commands a price between Rs 3,000 and Rs 8,000 per sq ft, still a distant dream for most prospective buyers.

Blaming it on high interest costs and charges levied by Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations and input costs, developers said that the prices in Pune have already seen all possible reduction.
SakaalTimes

Related Story:

1) Builders will increase the rate according to the stage of the construction, says Shantilal Kataria, while talking on rising property prices in Pune

2) Builders in Pune dismiss suggestions that the property prices are heading for a sharp drop, claims that the demand is steady & still outstrips supply

3) Developers are likely to be forced to reduce prices further and offer higher discounts to clear existing inventory - BNP Paribas

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Visit Times Property Showcase '08: 22nd and 23rd November '08 at Le Meridien to find out the project which gives you value for your money

An ideal platform!

Yes, indeed it's an ideal platform! Not to check out the different investment options as Times Property claims. But an ideal platform to find out which project in Pune real estate market gives you value for your money.

Amanora Park Town:

I was a little worried about the builders' participation in this exhibition. Hoping to hear positive news, i called Madhur of Aquarius Ventures, the event manager of Times Property exhibition. As per my expectations Madhur had lots of exciting news. For example, participation of Amanora Park Town!

Property Rates and Value For Money:


Good that on May 13, 2007, Amanora Park Town was launched in Times Property event at Le Meridien and they make it a point to participate in each event.

Amanora's participation adds great value to this exhibition because of their recent advertising campaign based on "Value for Money". Indirectly, Amanora says that in other projects in Pune real estate market you don't get value for your money!

For the obvious reasons, in the ad Amanora only lists out the specifications, amenities and the infrastructure services they offer but do not tell you it's costing. In this exhibition, you get an opportunity to ask their costing in terms of Rs. per sq.ft. Amanora's costing will help you to find out what should be the right property price of the project you wish to book!

For example, Amanora claims to spend Rs. 450 per sq.ft. for that long list of infrastructure support services. You can ask for the bifurcation - land, construction, infrastructure services and find out approximately how much other projects might be spending and get an idea of the right price you should pay for that project.

This exhibition is an opportunity to ask, discuss and debate openly about rational property prices with all the participating builders. Oh! What a great platform!! Do visit and go for a reasonable property rate!

Related Story:

Is this the right time for NRIs to book a flat at Amanora Park Town?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How many cancellations happened at Blue Ridge?

Questions are Answers!

Today, I went to Nanded City Pune to find answers to your questions posted on my last post - Confirmation process starts at Nanded City Pune. But instead of answers, i got a question, "How many cancellations happened at Blue Ridge?"
"I don't know. I was at Blue Ridge day before yesterday but i did not ask this question." i told the sales executive.
"No need to ask. All Pune knows that more than 700 cancellations had happened", he said.
I said, "Oh! You read my blog!!" and took his leave.

Private and Confidential:

I went in the office of Nanded City Pune and asked for the plans.
"Are you called?" receptionist asked me.
I said, "No, I have come here to prepare myself." I was pretending as if i have booked a flat.
"You can have a look but cannot take them with you." she said.
"Oh! Why didn't you put them on the website?" i asked her.
She said, "They are private and confidential. Not for the outsiders." and told me to take a seat.

When the office boy gave me the xerox of floor plans of 1 bhk and 2 bhk flats, I had a strange sensation.

After years, i was holding xerox copies of floor plans of Space Designers, an architect of Nanded City Pune. They were my mentors when i was in real estate advertising. I still remember picking up the first copy of Magarpatta's brochure lying on Arc. Prakash Deshmukh's table and feeling deeply hurt because he did not let me do it. Now, i was holding Nanded City Pune's private and confidential floor plans.

Strictly No Photography:

I don't know when but i picked up the habit of Mr. Arvind Jain's (Director of Pride Housing) habit of reading the floor plan. He used to move his index finger in the flat. As if he used to sense the space and experience the feeling of moving and living in the flat. By this method, it takes time to understand the flat, but not much when you are supposed to keep it a top secret. In a few minutes, i finished reading floor plans of 1 bhk and 2 bhk flats and asked the office boy for the layout of Nanded City Pune and the floor plans of 2.5 bhk.

While i was waiting for him, i took out my digital camera to check the battery. It was OK. So, i looked around and took a snap of the site office. In no time, i do not know from where, the security guard came to me and asked me to show the photographs i had shot. I showed him all snaps i had taken. He told me to delete only one. The one which had the inside view of the office. Showing sales executives talking to the property buyers who had come to confirm their flats. Somehow, i successfully managed to delete it.

You can see the rest of the photographs here. I hope, these photographs will help you to get familiar with the site office of Nanded City Pune, if you are visiting it for the first time. (You can also have a look at the layout of 700 acre township here.)

Vice versa:

Now, there was no point in being there. So, i got up to go.

"What exactly happens when someone comes for the confirmation?," i asked the sales executive who was on his way for lunch.
He said, "Same what happens when he comes for an enquiry. Only difference is, here he has already taken his decision. There he takes it after listening to you. Vice versa." Before i could thank him, he asked me, "How many cancellations happened at Blue Ridge?"

Sandy, how's your flat?

I am curious to know what's your take on the floor plans of Nanded City Pune. Please, share your views and experiences of confirmation process in the comments. (Comments Policy). After all, it's your home!

Sandy, particularly yours. Is this the flat you were expecting to give your parents?

Related Stories:

1) Truth about Nanded City Pune

2) Should i cancel my booking at Nanded City Pune?

3) Magarpatta's Nanded City Pune closes it's offer of phase 1 with a promise to open 2nd phase in December 2008

4) The township advantage

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Vandana Chavan reminds Ajit Pawar of his promise to Pune of no changes in land reservations for schools, playground and hospitals

“We cannot let the stain of this crime imprint on our party,”

Vandana Chavan, a senior NCP leader, who is in the forefront of Green Pune Movement (GPM), is one of the few people who had prepared and got through the Green Development Plan at the Pune Municipal Corporation, while she was the mayor.

Our DP must reflect the vision of our leader, Chavan said while giving details of how the DP ratified by the State government had digressed from the original one.

The State government has carried out huge changes and deleted every single reservations proposed by PMC in the DP submitted to it for ratification as part of the office procedure. To read more, please, visit Ajit Pawar lends support to Green Pune Movement

Related Story:

8,000 citizens object to changes made by the state government in the Development Plan for Baner and Balewadi

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Confirmation process starts at Nanded City Pune

Thanks to all, for sharing tips and taking part in the conversation! Your views have helped many to see the things clearly when there was no communication from the builder and circumstances were uncertain.

Confusion Ends or Begins?

Depending upon your date of booking, you will receive a call from the sales executive.

Today, they invited 70 numbers who have booked on 13Th of May. Lucky fellows. Booked at the property rate of Rs.2,750 per sq.ft. and got the first opportunity to choose!

You will visit the site office of Nanded City Pune. Sales executive will show you the layout plan of the residential sector and the floor plans of the flats.

You have to choose your building out of 6 buildings opened for booking.

You have to choose your flat - 1 bhk, 2 bhk, 2.5 bhk or 3 bhk flat.

Floor plans are available only at site office.

If you have made up your mind about booking a flat and completely ready, means if you go to the site office with the cheque book, you can complete the process in the same visit.

However, Nanded City Pune has given you 7 days to confirm your bookings!

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Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation finally starts work on the 14.5-km-long Aundh-Ravet Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) route

Commuting time to come down to only 20 minutes!

Over 65 % cost escalation raises questions!

The massive traffic jams caused by the increasing number of commuters between Pune and Hinjewadi and towards the expressway on the Aundh-Ravet stretch has been making life difficult for the commuters for some time now. The faster evacuation of commuters through Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is expected to ease the situation considerably.

Aundh-Ravet BRTS is a pilot project under the Centre’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) under which the central government will grant 50 per cent of the total fund. The state government will fund 20 per cent of the cost while 30 per cent will be borne by the PCMC.

PCMC has appointed SN Bhobe and Associates as project management consultants. The road is proposed to have a footpath, cycle-tracks and eight-foot subway.

“The project is to be completed in 18 months. Some structures on defense land have to be demolished and this is taking time,” Sharma said.

The proposal for the project was passed a year ago, but there was a delay in carrying out the project as defense land had to be acquired.

Questions are being raised about a cost escalation, by over 65 per cent, as the project, originally scheduled to cost Rs 198 crore is now pegged at Rs 333 crore.

The opposition parties are up in arms against the Rs 71 crore that PCMC’s standing committee passed last week for re-laying high-tension cables on the Aundh-Ravet stretch.
- Express India

Related Stories:

1) Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to take a loan of Rs 350 crore from the Asian Development Bank to start a Bus Rapid Transit System service

2) Bus Rapid Transit System project approved in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

3) Footpath? My foot!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

8,000 citizens object to changes made by the state government in the Development Plan for Baner and Balewadi

The Green Pune Movement (GPM) has set a goal of garnering the support of at least 1.5 lakh citizens against the 46 changes carried out in the DP.

The modifications include dereservation of over 90 per cent of the plots earmarked for public amenities and facilities like schools, hospitals, parks, gardens and libraries, as well as roads and sewage and drainage projects.

Citizens’ groups and NGOs that have come together under the banner of the Green Pune Movement (GPM) on Saturday submitted a list of 8,100 citizens who have objected to the changes made by the state government in the Development Plan for Baner and Balewadi. The list was handed over to Sadhana Naik, deputy director, town planning department.

December 1, the last day for giving in suggestions and objections:

Satish Khot, president of the National Society for Clean Cities, a part of the GPM, told TOI that all groups involved in the campaign are working in full swing in different parts of the city to seek the public’s support against the changes.

“We are not sure how many names have been submitted in all so far. But we hope to reach a substantial tally by December 1, the last day for giving in suggestions and objections,” Khot said.

He pointed out that ‘mohalla’ committees and NGOs working in various fields were reaching out to vast numbers of people by targeting housing societies, multiplexes, gardens, jogging parks and senior citizens groups, among others. “In fact, we have also got a good response from rickshaw drivers,” Khot added.

Related Story:

PMC General Body defers support to fight against the state government move to make major modifications in the development plan of Baner and Balewadi

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Pune first in country to reduce load-shedding

Facilitate sale-purchase of power not on 'day ahead' but on 'week and month' ahead:

If the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) permits the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) to facilitate sale-purchase of power on week and month ahead basis, there are hopes that the Pune model of zero load-shedding will have one more avenue to secure additional power.

Since April 2008, Tata Power has been appointed as the franchise to procure additional power required by Pune to prevent load-shedding. During April/May 2008, Tata Power procured power with firm contracts. But, since October 1, the company has been buying power from IEX on day ahead basis and, due to price and availability constraints in day ahead mechanism, the assured power is not available every day.

Vivek Velankar, founder Sajag Nagrik Manch (SNM) consumer group, has urged people to send their submissions to CERC supporting the IEX petition by November 18. Details about sending submissions can be obtained from www.cercind.gov.in.
-The Times of India

Related Story:

Sajag Nagrik Manch has demanded compensation from BSNL and MSEDCLfor the ordeal of residents of Baner

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mission Accomplished: India fifth in world to reach moon

The tricolour landed on the Moon at 8.31 pm on Friday, opening a new chapter in the history of India’s space exploration


The tricolour was painted on all sides of the 29 kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) which was attached to the top portion of the main lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan.

The MIP is the brainchild of former President A P J Abdul Kalam who witnessed its separation from the main orbiting craft and its crashlanding 32 km from the Shackleton crater on the moon’s south pole from the mission control room at ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore.

ISRO officials told TOI that the countdown for the MIP’s much-awaited flight to the surface of the Moon began at 7.47 pm.

It went off smoothly and at 8.01 pm the command was issued for it to separate from the orbiting spacecraft. The MIP began its flight towards the Moon’s south pole and after a 25-minute flight, crashlanded. To read more, please, visit - The Times of India

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pune Municipal Corporation to conduct a housing survey to review the housing issues in the city

The survey will be helpful for the Pune Municipal Corporation PMC as the state government is mulling to replicate the rental housing policy of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in the Pune metropolitan region once the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) is formed.

Also, the state government in its housing policy has expressed the need for setting up special townships (for example - Nanded City Pune!) to make houses affordable (has given more FSI to these townships) for the middle class (!?) and also to decongest the cities.

According to PMC statistics, the city's urban population has grown from 1.64 lakh in 1901 to about 42 lakh in 2001, a 25-fold increase.

The state government has decided to establish the PMRDA by December 2008 by amending the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act to include the city development chapter in the same. The move will help in integrated development of about 2,200 sq.km. of the Pune region. Rental housing would be one of the first priorities of the PMRDA and the housing survey will be useful for the PMC to have a housing policy in place. -The Times of India

Related Stories:

1) Thanks to high real estate prices! Pune to become 7th metro city in India : Assocham report

2) Metropolitan Planning Committee for Pune region by March

3) For the proposed ring road project, Pune Municipal Corporation would have to bear land acquisition cost to the tune of Rs 409 crore

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4) Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Blog

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Home loan interest rates have come down to around 10.25 - 11% on amount up to Rs 30 lakh! Are you booking a 2 bhk compact flat at an affordable rate?

When i read the story "Construction poised to pick up: Demand for realty to get a boost again" written by Prabhakar Sinha in today's The Economic Times, i understood why Finance Minister P Chidambaram had whipped the public and private sector banks to reduce the home loan interest rates. F M knows well that you are tired of postponing booking a compact, luxurious, 2 bhk flat at an attractive rate.

F M knows that you want that car which comes as a free gift along with the flat. F M knows that Obama can change everything except outsourcing to India. F M loves you and he is doing his best to make you happy.

Real estate developers also love you. This time, builders have decided not to increase the property rates though there will be increase in demand. Builders are not only sacrificing their profits for you. They are sacrificing their future. Builders are going to use installments of your payment for construction, not for purchasing more land.

Most of the builders are thankful to you and your F M for giving them an opportunity to complete their dream projects. God bless you. God bless your housing finance company. God bless F M.

Related Stories:

1) Be ready to pay as much as 40% own contribution upfront if you are planning to buy a home on a bank loan

2) Diwali Offer: Buy 1 flat Get 1 free !

3) Is it the right time to invest in property?

4) Can our banks weather the financial crisis? - PSM Rao

Subscribe for free to receive hot Pune real estate news, views and reviews:

1) Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Market News Blog

2) Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Investment Blog

3) Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Advertising and Marketing Blog

4) Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Blog

5) Please, feel free to call me on my mobile +91 98600 44110! I enjoy talking, sharing my views and giving advice about buying property in Pune real estate market (so i do not charge anything for the first 8 minutes!)

6) Please, join me on Friendfeed, to share news articles, family photos, interesting links and videos and let us discover and discuss information!

Visit Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Blog Group and join for free to receive updates of all blogs!