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When the Boom Became a Whimper. Hyderabad is back to the Grinding Days of Old.
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When the Boom Became a Whimper. Hyderabad is back to the Grinding Days of Old.

About Hyderbad Real Estate Scenario .........Exclusive Ventures - May 2010

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1.0 History

(Excl Ventures News) Hyderabad was a communal cauldron till late Eighties. Then it became a sleepy stunted town in the Nineties with little signs of growth. The streets remained unchanged over years. Spend 10 years in US and come back and you would whistle, that this town never ages!

Srinivas would be there as ever in the little pan shop, handing out single "Wills" & "Gold Flake". Its only the rare NRI that bought a Packet! Walk into the corner tea shop and you would know the chairs and tables have not seen soap and water, since you left. The ever present flies will land around the sweaty glass rim, the moment Chai is delivered by century old "kaka".

Look into the street .every other guy, little shops that you saw while growing up, would still be there. The watch repair fellow with rickety glass topped table, the dirty vegetable shop where rats still shoot across fingers as we pick up bhindi, the medical shop with Saridon and Horlix, little cloth shop with wooden shutters stocking faded 2x2 cut pieces, saree "fall" and lungis. The street remained as familiar as ever.

2.0 Sweeping Changes

The arrival of the Millenium brought sweeping changes. The rich from Andhra saw the opportunity. They brought in money like Hyderabad had never seen before! Numerous streets simply vanished together with assortment of rickety shops. Suddenly, roads were being laid all over the place. Buildings sprouted with glass facades and impressive architecture. The then CM started path breaking exercises in bringing IT industry to Hyderabad. By 2005, the boom had really taken off.

With Hyderabad suddenly being spoken of all over India and even abroad, there was an influx of outsiders into the city. Business naturally blossomed and soon it became a vibrant garden drawing bees in thousands.

Once sleepy streets that became wide and asphalted, suddenly saw traffic. Car dealers, banks, trading outfits, show rooms, hotels, super markets, corporate offices, training institutes, guest houses, restaurants, sprang up all over the place. The commercial growth drove real estate boom with every Tom, Dick and Harry turning builder. If there was one successful commercial establishment or one apartment building that got sold, ten were under construction, beside.

Instead of 10 years, even a one year break was sufficient to make a visitor gasp at the swift change, as commercial high-streets, took over once sleepy lanes.

As greed fed on greed, the over supply affected everyone. By Mid 2009, several commercial establishments (Guest Houses, Training Centers, Restaurants, Dealerships, Retail Shops etc) had gone broke and were closing down, fuelled also by the impact of recession. Builders vanished leaving half completed projects to the ironies of nature and scorn of buyers.

3.0 Flawed Policies

Instead of reinforcing the gains and building scale gradually, Govt spent grandiose amounts on projects that have contributed little to the economy. Look at the Outer Ring Road Project. Shouldn't there have been only 4 lane work now leaving balance land to be developed after 10 or 20 years, as traffic grew? Hundreds crores spent on Lift Irrigation Projects, while everyone knew there will be no power in summer, to lift water. Thousands of crores on irrigation contracts with no firm plan for completion of works. One rain and flood, everything goes flat so that the contractors (we all know who they are!) could start afresh again !

With Govt cash coffers empty and the lingering Telengana issue slowing fresh private investments, Hyderabad is struggling to keep pace with other Metros which are recovering from the impact of recession.

Hyderabad can not expect wide ranging, quick development soon. Instead, only micro centers like Hitec City, Gachibowli, Somajiguda would see action. We can not see all round growth, for sometime to come.

4.0 The Impact of Bust.

From 2005 to 2007, residential projects came up around the city, in 360 degrees. The city central areas were bursting with promise of fast growth and hence it was natural for outlying areas to see action, as the city was expected to spread out fast, especially with the 160 Km long ORR being founded.

When the boom, burst even the mighty have fallen and continues to struggle. The smaller players have almost all been washed out. Some consolidation also is happening with certain unfinished projects being taken over by bigger players for re-launch with new brand name.

Even large companies with once deep pockets, are also struggling now to liquidate unsold inventory.

Take the case of Splendid Aparna. The Palm Meadows Villa Project on Medchal Highway, with 335 Luxury Villas was expected to be gobbled up by the market. Though it was a good 2 hours drive from Hitec City (that too through congested roads), it was expected that there would be buyers, to go that far and spent 4 hours daily, to commute to work. Its true that many NRIs planning to work in Hitec City or Gachibowli did book there, while the location was very much suitable for people working or having business, in Secunderabad.

The receding boom affected the project. But since the developer had class, they went ahead and built the community though the booking, according to Aparna, is only 75% even now. A whopping count of 85 Villas, out of 335 remains to be sold. More disturbing is that fact that, though the project is more or less completed with one of the best landscaping in Hyderabad, there are only 20 "happy families" living there, after throwing open the project for possession, in early 2010. This shows lack of rental demand in outer areas. (News Report Dated 29.05.2010 - Aparna Palm Meadows)

This example only proves the fact that unlike Bangalore, where 360 degree development has happened and the radius keep increasing by the day, Hyderabad is still a micro-market economy with demand concentrated only in pockets, here and there.

Hyderabad is back to the olden days of gripe and grind except that there are several malls and shiny shopping arcades on the streets which gives a false impression that everything is fine, while the under belly is on simmer.

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