Demolition campaign alarms prospective property buyers in Bangalore

Amrita Jain was very clear about what she wanted as she searched for a new home in Bangalore.

The Karnataka High Court lawyer, who moved to the city from Dimapur in Nagaland, wanted a house that was well connected by public transport, located near schools and hospitals, and built by a builder she could trust.

Things changed when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) city civic body launched a demolition campaign this month in a bid to tackle the encroachment, just days after rain-triggered flooding wreaked havoc on the city.

“My husband and I are … looking to buy our dream home. But the reality is stark,” said Jain, who has since reworked her priorities.

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“Previously, the criteria for zeroing in on an area to relocate were transportation connectivity, office hours, proximity to schools and hospitals, and builder experience. But now my list has expanded to include invasion-related issues as a top priority,” he said. Jan is not alone.

Many potential property buyers in India and abroad have been alarmed by the anti-invasion campaign in Bangalore. Some have delayed their plans to buy properties. Many others are pushing for more due diligence and avoiding parts of the city such as Yemalur, Bellandur, Marathalli, Sarjapur, BEML Layout, Whitefield and Outer Ring Road, which were badly affected by the floods and targeted by BBMP for invasions, real estate consultants said. DH.

“Most buyers looking for a home in these areas would either need a higher guarantee or might transfer their preference to other parts of the city that were less or not affected by the flooding,” said Rohan Sharma, head of research at consultancy real estate JLL.

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The hesitation can also be seen in the resale market because people are more wary of properties that arrived before the RERA Act was implemented in 2016, said Prashant Thankur, head of research at property consultancy ANAROCK.

BUYERS AGREE

“Such developments are an alarming concern for us as NRI buyers,” said Dubai-based Saurabh Kumar, who is a manager at Faith International General Trading. “Furthermore, I am now also convinced to invest with reputable developers instead of local developers so that we don’t end up in similar situations.”

A proptech startup has “seen a nearly 150% increase in inquiries” from its NRI clientele since the demolition campaign began, it told DH on condition of anonymity.

DAMAGE CONTROL

In fact, things have gotten so serious that property developers in “India’s Silicon Valley” have started taking unusual steps to reassure potential clients.

“As well as making sure all relevant documents are in place, we now conduct site visits and review the BBMP master plan to strengthen due diligence on our part. We also encourage our clients to check the facts on their own,” Thakur said.

Bengaluru has traditionally been among the top three preferred destinations for real estate investment in India. The city witnessed a surge in property demand once again after the pandemic, especially from NRI buyers after the rupee crash.

Demand for rental properties had also increased in recent times as professionals returned to offices, said Bhavesh Kothari, founder of Property First Realty LLP.

But things could change if property developers fail to quell buyers’ concerns.

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“The ramifications of the demolition campaign could be felt throughout six months and also throughout the country,” said Debarpita Roy, a researcher at the Center for Social and Economic Progress.

Knight Frank, the Brigade Group and the Karnataka government declined to comment.

Legal experts such as Ankita Paul urged prospective buyers to pay more attention to details such as property rights, required clearances, RERA certification, and prior developer litigation.

Fellow attorney Jain agreed, but was not ready to give up the city.

“I have never considered a plan B because I am determined to settle in Bangalore for the rest of my life. However, I am willing to go the extra mile to make sure I invest in the right place,” she said.

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