Conmen find new ways to dupe greedy realtors


HYDERABAD: As realtor K Rajeev was showing a real estate project (site) at Nanakramguda to a potential buyer in November, he received a call on his mobile phone. The caller, who spoke to him in Telugu and sounded that he was in a hurry, told him that he was a Non-resident Indian (NRI) based in Dubai and was looking for a prime property. In the brief conversation, he dropped enough hints that a handsome commission would be up for the grabs in the deal.

After some days, Rajeev received another call. The caller, this time was a person desperate and racing against time to dispose of his property, even at a loss. Rajeev, who decided to broker a deal between the Dubai NRI and the desperate property owner, ended up getting conned. This is the new modus operandi adopted by fraudsters to dupe greedy realtors. In the last couple of months, six realtors have complained to the Cyberabad police claiming that they lost lakhs of rupees in fraudulent real estate deals.

The 'NRI conman' dials a real estate agent and says that he would pay a short visit to Hyderabad and seal the property deal during his stay here. A little later, the con calls the realtor again, this time as a prospective seller, who wants to dispose of his property immediately as he needs money urgently. "The seller even throws a tantrum and threatens to approach someone else offering 10% of the value as commission. When the realtor asks for property papers, the seller puts a condition that it will be given only on payment of Rs two lakh or so as it is a high-value property. In their greed to clinch the deal, from the buyer and seller, realtors are paying token amounts (in a few lakhs) and getting duped,'' Cyber Crime cop M Riyazuddin said.


‘No local or non-locals, all are Hyderabadis’


Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asserted that regardless of their States of origin, everyone who lived in the ‘City of Pearls’ that is known for its ‘tehzeeb’ were Hyderabadis.

He pooh-poohed the ‘tactics of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’ and the way its leaders were whipping up a frenzy by using words that had no relevance.

“There are neither settlers nor is there anything called local or non-local. Everyone who lives here is first an Indian and then a Hyderabadi. We are one nation, one country, one people. That is India and its speciality,” he emphasised.

Mr. Naidu, together with his colleague, Union Minister for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya were present at a breakfast meeting convened by the Telangana unit of the Uttar Bharatiya Manch here.

They sought to drive home the point that the Bharatiya Janata Party stood for development, for unity and for the fact that it all boiled down to everyone living here being Indian.

Reeling out statistics, he recalled how it was a combination of the BJP-TDP combination that was proven to be the best in terms of proven development orientation. “If it started with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister and N. Chandrababu Naidu as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister earlier, it will now also, only be a similar combination with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will usher development,” he said, adding that it was in the best interests of the people of Hyderabad to vote for the alliance.

Making a specific mention of houses and the way Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had on Saturday, offered to contribute from the State on the housing programme, Mr. Naidu said snidely that while the housing programme was taken up with Central funds, it was all money that belonged to the people. “Actually, there is nothing called State or Central funds. It is your money,” he said, to applause, urging voters to cast their ballot for the ‘Lotus and Cycle’ combination.

Infrastructure development will not hurt taxpayer’s wallet: KTR

Speaking at a select gathering largely comprising business professionals, Mr. Rao asserted that no individual or government could take credit for shaping a city like Hyderabad, which by virtue of its geography and trade importance shaped into the metropolis of today. Recounting some of the city’s history, he said governments could only have been catalysts and that individuals who seek credit for what the city is have in fact gained reputation working for the city, he said while taking a dig at TDP and Congress.

Invitees to the gathering were by registration. Nearly 600 people representatives from various professions attended the Minister’s presentation at a luxury hotel on Sunday.

Following his presentation, Mr. Rao took questions from the gathering. One of the audiences asked him whether the ruling government’s welfare initiative will hurt the taxpayer and if borrowings of the government to improve GHMC will result in increased taxes.

Mr. Rao responded saying his government was committed to welfare and cross-subsidisation was imperative. He also added that the taxpayer in GHMC would in some way eventually pay for the city’s development but the government will ensure the impact is minimal. “Let me not be sly about it,” the Minister said while speaking about taxpayer burden.

He expressed disgust at open urination in the city and also said efforts will be made to improve green cover, when pointed out that city’s green cover is less than mandated 30 percent of land-use.

Audiences sought responses on women empowerment, commitment to industry, and also improvement of neglected areas like Malkajigiri. “Pipeline works currently underway in Malkajigiri will soon bring water to the area and the condition of roads will improve,” he assured one questioner from Anandbagh who rued that the area had become a disaster.

“No right to seek people’s support”

Mr. Rama Rao, who spearheaded the TRS campaign for GHMC elections on Sunday, said none of the Opposition parties, including AIMIM have a single reason to seek people’s support. However, the TRS has every reason to do so by the virtue of its commitment shown to improve infrastructure in the city during the last 19 months, Mr. Rama Rao said minutes before the high-decibel campaign came to an end on Sunday.

“Congress, TDP-BJP and Majlis have no reasons as to why people should vote for them as they are the one responsible for all problems in the city. It was they who headed the civic body in the past. But the TRS has proved what it is capable of doing,” he said. He reiterated that TRS would win the Mayor’s seat on its own and there was no room for any talk of taking support from other parties as of now, he said in response to a question.

Musical touch to GHMC polls

The lyrics praise the contestants and their ‘achievements’ apart from the party leaders they belong to. Well, music has become an integral part of the campaign of all the contestants irrespective of the parties. What was confined to just major political parties in the State or National elections has now caught on with small time contestants as well.

And small time writers and musicians have used it to the full potential. It is not just money but also an opportunity for these artistes to present their talent to people in the film and television industry. And they get paid pretty decent amount for the work, which they finish off in two or three days. Singers, writers and musicians make around Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1 lakh depending on the financial status of the candidates and their rivals. “Songs play a key role in the campaign as they introduce the candidate and his work to the voters easily and effectively,” says Gadari Kishore, MLA from Tungaturthy, who has helped Kothapet TRS candidate, G.V. Sagar Reddy in creating an album for the campaign. “Thanks to the album we are way ahead of others in the campaign.”

Narsi Reddy, a singer from Nalgonda, who has sung for a few albums for contestants from different parties, says rural singers with folk background are sought-after for such albums. The lyrics are mostly rustic with little focus on literary aspect of it and singers effortlessly go about singing the racy numbers. The musicians are mostly those working for television serials or those working for the local bands. Most candidates prefer popular film tunes.

Misalignment of girder triggers panic

Panic spread among shopkeepers here at Palika Bazaar in Secunderabad, when a launching girder above a viaduct was slightly misaligned at a point during the ongoing Metro Rail works. Engineers at the site said that the incident took place at around 2 a.m., and that it was a minor thing.

The area was cordoned off for more than 100 metres, in which all the shops and establishments, including Alpha Hotel were closed.

“The launching girder slightly went out of line on Saturday night. We don’t know the exact time, and the work was done in evenings mostly,” said an L&T engineer, who was present at the site on Sunday morning.

The girder misalignment took place above the viaduct being built above the famous Alpha hotel, and adjacent the St. Thomas SPG Tamil Church on the Old Gandhi Hospital to Jubilee bus stop line.

When contacted, a Metro Rail official however said, “Nothing went wrong. It was part of the ongoing works, and the place had to be cordoned off as planned. We did it on a Sunday, as it was a holiday,” he added.


Hyderabad residential housing demand stable

Property consultancy Knight Frank expects customer demand in the residential realty market of Hyderabad in 2016 to remain stable amid fewer project launches.

Such a scenario, Director-Hyderabad Vasudevan Iyer says, could push up the property prices.

According to the India Real Estate report (July-December 2015) released by the consultancy, on which he addressed presspersons here on Thursday, the prolonged consolidation witnessed in the market is expected to persist in the first half of 2016 as well. Developers would wait for further inventory unwinding to continue.

In 2015, “while the sales volumes fell marginally, by one per cent compared to the previous year, new launches dropped by a more pronounced 14 per cent.” The year ended on a flat note with no show of definite signs of recovery in market activity. The demand, however, remained virtually the same as in 2014.

End of 2015 “did show some promise in terms of supply as the H2 saw 11 per cent growth in the number of units launched, the report said. The demand on a half-yearly basis is around 7,000-7,500 units, he said, adding that unsold inventory level stood at 31,500 units.

“The situation in the residential market is not as positive though unsold inventories are at their lowest level since 2010. The steady demand in the last 18 months does point at a possible improvement in residential market fundamentals in the months to come,” Mr.Iyer said.

Hyderabad office market, Director (Occupier Solutions Group) Arpit Mehrotra said the demand increased, while the reducing vacancy levels is causing a surge in rental growth. In the second half of 2015, 3.1 million sq. ft. was absorbed, the strongest half-yearly absorption numbers.

Office space absorption in Hyderabad at record level: Knight Frank

After a long spell of lower growth the real estate market in the city of Hyderabad is on the roll again, this time led by the commercial property space.

The property consultancy firm Knight Frank, which has released its half-yearly report covering residential and commercial space for top seven cities of India, said Hyderabad had recorded the highest ever office space absorption of 3.1 million square feet in the second half of the calendar year 2015.

These are the strongest half yearly office space absorption numbers in Hyderabad history. A spurt in demand for office space is very much evident as the absorption levels in the preceding six month period was just half of what has been recorded in the second half of the year.

"With good infrastructure, talented work force and lower rentals and property prices compared to other cities, Hyderabad has been fast emerging as a second base for many Indian and global players in South India after Bangalore city. The spurt in demand for office space in Hyderabad is also marked by a new trend where builders and the users of office space coming together for a custom made development ," Arpit Mehrotra, director, Occupier Solutions Group of Knight Frank India said on Thursday.

The new completions in commercial space remained lower at 2.4 million square feet during the same period helping the rentals go up a little and this could encourage more investments into the commercial real estate development in the coming days, according to him.

On the other hand, the residential market in Hyderabad remained more or less steady with the volume of sales hovering above 7000 units for the past two years. However, the dip in new launches since the second half of the calendar year 2014, way below the sales volumes, continued in the second half of 2015 as well. This has also contributed to a gradual rise in average property prices, which rose to Rs 3,620 per square feet in the latest 6 month period from Rs 3,390 in the first half of 2014, according to the report.

"While demand holds steady in the housing segment, both supply and unsold inventory stood at their 5 year lows," the report said in respect of the Hyderabad market.

Hyderabad Real Estate Market Poised for a Correction

HYDERABAD:  The Hyderabad real estate market is finally seeing a correction, leaving behind the bad times, reveals reputed real estate consultancy Knight Frank India’s latest report.

Knight Frank India has recently released the report on real estate sector in 2015. The report was prepared after studying the realty scenario in major cities in India. Good thing for Hyderabad is that the sector is poised for a correction.

“The demand for housing segment outstripped supply in Hyderabad in the second half of 2015. As a result, the unsold inventory has decreased. Even office market is in a consolidation mode as the demand for office space also rose in the city. As a whole, the unsold inventory in Hyderabad market has been unwinding, which shows the city realty is on a path of correction,” said Vasudevan Iyer, director of Knight Frank, Hyderabad.

Due to the correction, Hyderabad market’s unsold inventory was at its lowest at the beginning of year 2016 when compared to the situation in the past five years.

According to the report, Hyderabad office market shifted gears in second half of 2015 by absorbing 3.1 million sq. ft, posting the strongest half-yearly absorption numbers in its history. The reason for growth in office space absorption is that many MNCs see Hyderabad as a commercial and IT office space hub which provides quality space at cheaper prices.

Many reputed MNCs like Google, Qualcomm, Salesforce and JP Morgan have acquired large chunks of office space here.

Though the situation in the residential market is not as positive as in office space segment, steady demand during last 18 months does point to a possible improvement in residential market fundamentals in coming months.

A correction has to occur in any market which sees a sudden rise or fall or rush. Hyderabad realty has been picking up over the past six months and we hope that a correction in the market will benefit it, says Gummi Rami Reddy, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association, Hyderabad chapter.

With vacancy levels reducing, even the rental segment is set to witness a growth, much to the relief of property owners and investors in the city.

growth Highlights

■ Hyderabad realty sector poised for correction

■ Unsold inventory decreased in second half of 2015

■ Prices to remain stable due to this decrease

■ Rental segment is set to grow in 2016

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