Rupee depreciation may be bad news for the Indian economy, but not so for the non-resident Indians (NRIs) scouting for property back home. Cashing in on the opportunity to buy residential units cheaper by up to 20%, NRIs are queueing up big time.
“The enquiries from NRIs for buying property in India have risen by at least 15-20% following the rupee depreciation. The enquiries may go up further once it touches the 60 mark,” Harinder Singh, managing director, Realistic Realtors, said. Eager to hardsell the Indian real estate story, Singh said "it is the most advisable time for NRIs to invest in India".
The number of calls from NRIs have gone up to 800 per month from 200 earlier at Investors Clinic, a real estate portal, as the property prices for them has come down by 20-25%, according to Nishant Singhal, Director – Strategy & Alliances, Investors Clinic. Even before the rupee depreciation had begun, the NRI community had begun stepping up their enquiries in anticipation, according to analysts.
Another real estate portal Commonfloor.com is seeing 10 lakh visits every month, which is double of what it used to get few months ago.
Sumit Jain, CEO, Commonfloor.com, said the NRI traffic was coming primarily from the US and Australia. And the demand is more for high end properties.
“With rupee depreciation, slowdown in real estate market and government policies including the one on farmhouses in Delhi, this is the right time for NRIs to invest in India,” Jain said.
Delhi-NCR and Mumbai are still the most preferred destinations for NRIs to buy property, a property broker said.
IndiaHomes, a property services company, also saw increased number of enquiries from NRIs for buying properties across segments. “There is an immediate spurt of interest for buying property in India but whether this would translate into actual transactions will only be known after some time,” according to Manish Mehta, Vice President, IndiaHomes.
To cater to the NRI needs, IndiaHomes has customised its home page specific to countries where a potential buyer resides. It is also planning to open offices in the US, West Asia and South-East Asia by end of the year, where it already services customers through the online medium.
On the other hand, Investors Clinic had facilitated 400 transactions for NRIs last year and average investment per NRI was around Rs 3 crore. It already has offices in Singapore and Dubai to tap the huge NRI market and offer customer care services as well as facilitate loans from various banks for its overseas customers.
It had also organised ‘The Indian Property Show’ in Singapore in May this year. The fair witnessed a footfall of about 400 NRIs and 30 properties were sold in the two day event. Six developers who participated in the show include Jaypee Greens, Spire, Mantri Developers, QVC, Vatika and Supertech.
It had earlier organized such a show in March 2013. Singapore has a population of 5.3 million, out of which about ten percent are Indians.
However, there are contrarian views as well. Joy Sanyal, Head – Development Initiatives, Jones Lang LaSalle India said there is not much traction. “NRIs are much more conservative than local buyers. It is too early to see an impact,” he said.