Monday, August 13, 2012

Fitting tombstone to Mumbai Mill Lands


As per news reports, DLF has sold off 17acres of its land in Lower Parel to Lodha Builders for Rs2,700crores. Bought from the National Textile Corporations (NTC) for Rs703crores in 2005, the deal implies that DLF has made an annualized return of 21% on this deal. Over the same period, the NSE Nifty returned a paltry 12%. Smart deal? Sure.

While newspapers are full of the details, I write this post only for nostalgia and to add an epilogue (tombstone?) to the famous Mumbai Mill Land case of 2005-06. In March 2006, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court's broad definition of "Vacant land", deciding instead that the term did not include lands vacant after demolition. This reduced the land available to the BMC and Mill Workers as per the controversial Development Control Rule 58.

The stock markets cheered real estate stocks, experts said this would release supply of land and prices would fall. Seven years later we know that real estate prices in that area have risen about four times (I'd guess from Rs7,000 per square foot then to current levels of Rs30,000 per square foot). Which makes DLF look smart. And no rules were broken. DLF played by the rules and made a killing.

That's Mumbai Real Estate for you. All the rules and regulations and maze of laws that govern this city's prime property seem stacked in favor of the builders. Time and again laws have changed to increase the supply of land and bring down prices. Think repeal of the Urban Land Ceiling Act, a new Housing Policy. Nothing works. Prices just keep going up.

Because the laws of economics don't apply to the real estate sector in Mumbai. Prices can't reflect demand and supply when supply is controlled by a few and demand is on tap. The last time prices fell meaningfully was in the market bottom of March 2009 when, post financial crisis, a funds shortage drove builders to raise funds by launching new projects and clear inventory by selling at significant discounts. Since then prices have most likely doubled in most areas.

Does the current market situation resemble March 2009? I don't think so. Weekend newspapers are full of real estate ads but they hardly seem desperate. Banks seem to have learnt their lessons and haven't lent much to Mumbai real estate. Mortgage major HDFC says prices are the most affordable in 30 years. Can prices crash from here? Depends what you mean by crash. 10-15%? That's more like a "fall" or a "correction". A crash would require a financial crisis type panic. And even if that happens, the 2009 experience shows that there's enough demand if prices fall by 15%+.

Finally, spare a thought for the Mill Land Workers, some of whom are still waiting for their homes. Mills have been replaced by malls and chawls have been replaced by towers. Girangaon is dead. The ruins of cotton mills await prospective buyers for the next tallest tower in Mumbai even as the roads adjacent to them house slums.

I wonder if there is anything real about Mumbai Real Estate.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Black Friday, never forget

Blast 1 - 1.28pm - The Bombay Stock Exchange. 84 dead, 217 injured.

Blast 2 - 2.15pm - Narsi Natha Street. 5 dead, 16 injured.

Blast 3 - 2.25pm - Air India Building. 20 dead, 87 injured.

Blast 4 - 2.30pm - Lucky Petrol Pump, Dadar. 4 dead, 50 injured.

Blast 5 - 2.55pm - Century Bazaar. 113 dead, 227 inured.

Blast 6 - 3.05pm - Zaveri Bazaar. 17 dead, 57 injured.

Blast 7 - 3.13pm - Plaza Cinema, Dadar. 10 dead, 37 injured.

Blast 8 - 3.20pm - Sea Rock Hotel, Bandra. No one dead or injured.

Blast 9 - 3.25pm - Juhu Centaur Hotel. 3 injured

Blast 10 - 3.35pm - Airport Centaur Hotel. 2 killed, 8 injured.

"Subsequent police investigations revealed that 257 people were either killed or went missing in the blasts while 713 were injured."

Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused, is still at large.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

26/11 Never Forget

26th November 2008: 172 dead as under. [Source]

CST: 58

Nariman House: 9 (includes 2 terrorists, 1 Marine Commando)

Oberoi: 32 (includes 2 terrorists, 10 staff)

Taj: 33 (includes 4 terrorists, 11 staff, 1 NSG Commando)

Cafe Leopold: 10 (includes 2 staff)

Girgaum Chowpatty: 2 (one terrorist, one policeman)

Cama & Albless: 8 (includes 6 policemen)

Metro: 1 (policeman)

Vile Parle: 2

Dockyard Road: 3

Saturday, July 11, 2009

7/11 Never Forget

6.24pm Khar Road - Santacruz
6.24pm Bandra - Khar Road
6.25pm Platform 1, Jogeshwari
6.26pm Platform 3, Mahim
6.29pm Mira Road - Bhayandar
6.30pm Matunga Road - Mahim Junction
6.35pm Platform 4, Borivali
(Source)

11 minutes
7 blasts
186 dead
544 seriously injured
312 suffered minor injuries
(Source)

The families of blast victims Parag Sawant and Amit Singh who lie in coma to this date, haven't forgotten. And neither should we.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bandra Worli Sealink Now Open

46 years after first being conceived and many years spent in delay, the BWSL is finally open to public. I drove there today morning and had the following observations:

- Despite being touted as an 8-lane road, the BWSL only consists of 4-lanes as of now. In fact, construction of the other 4 lanes is far from being complete as this photo of the exit at Worli clearly shows.
IMG_0760

- Cranes are still there on the Central Tower and the two smaller towers. Work is obviously in progress here.
IMG_0744

- Dispersal at Worli will remain a problem. Today, we had to go to the opposite end of Worli Sea Face road to take a U-turn and drive back to South Mumbai. Hopefully this arrangement is only for today and there will be a direct right turn at the exit point itself.

- Keeping the speed limit at 50kmph pretty much kills the point of such a bridge. Doubt it will be adhered to.

- Without a Worli-Haji Ali-Nariman Point link, this is just one part of the Western Freeway project. It will only benefit those who live/work around Bandra/Worli. For everyone else, they will only move faster from one traffic jam to another.

But for whatever it's worth, this is a significant event in Mumbai's creaking infrastructure saga. 3 photos below show the journey to this road.




Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Electoral rolls for Maharashtra State Elections 2009


Electoral rolls are already being prepared by the Maharashtra State Election Commission. I had a couple of EC officials come home (and visit our road) checking the rolls for any corrections. If you missed out on the recent Lok Sabha Elections, do ensure your name is there on the electoral rolls for the State Elections, due in September.

You can check out the Chief Electoral Officer's website to see, online, if your name is included or not. If not, then there is still time to get your name included. If these officials can slog on a hot, Mumbai afternoon to ensure the rolls are accurate, surely you can do your part by voting on the day that counts.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

12th March 1993, never forget

Friday, 12th March 1993.

Blast 1 - 1.28pm - The Bombay Stock Exchange. 84 dead, 217 injured.

Blast 2 - 2.15pm - Narsi Natha Street. 5 dead, 16 injured.

Blast 3 - 2.25pm - Air India Building. 20 dead, 87 injured.

Blast 4 - 2.30pm - Lucky Petrol Pump, Dadar. 4 dead, 50 injured.

Blast 5 - 2.55pm - Century Bazaar. 113 dead, 227 injured.

Blast 6 - 3.05pm - Zaveri Bazaar. 17 dead, 57 injured.

Blast 7 - 3.13pm - Plaza Cinema, Dadar. 10 dead, 37 injured.

Blast 8 - 3.20pm - Sea Rock Hotel, Bandra. No one dead or injured.

Blast 9 - 3.25pm - Juhu Centaur Hotel. 3 injured

Blast 10 - 3.35pm - Airport Centaur Hotel. 2 killed, 8 injured.

"Subsequent police investigations revealed that 257 people were either killed or went missing in the blasts while 713 were injured."

Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused, is still at large.