A visit to the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI)- Confederation of Real Estate Developers'''' Associations of India (CREDAI) Property Exhibition, at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds, in the Bandra-Kurla Complex of Mumbai, last week, brought up the above question. There were nearly a hundred developers, exhibiting over 700 projects that offered a whole gamut of amenities. These ranged from a driver’s personal room, yoga/meditation room, club-house, state-of-the-art gym, Jacuzzi, spa, steam and sauna facilities, temperature-controlled swimming pool, jogging track, aerobics room, room for indoor games, a crèche, convenience store, business café and what have you!  Name it, and you have it. 
Some of these properties promote the concept of rain-water harvesting, and would even have their own Sewerage Treatment Plant. Everything was being done to catch the fancy of the purchaser, and lure him into making a booking. Financing options, with competitive interest rates and EMIs, were there for you to take. And if all this was not enough, one project offered you the chance to win an Aston Martin or a BMW 18 from the lucky draw of the first 200 bookings. 
Would one make the serious decision of investing in a house, just to stand the chance of winning in a draw? I wouldn’t be swayed by such bait, but if the draw could win you such fancy cars, maybe some buyers would! Which brings us back to the question: is it the proper time to invest in property?
The question is similar to the one every equity investor faces--is it the right time to buy into equities?  Should I take the plunge now, or should I wait for another dip? Market experts will tell you, don’t try to ‘time’ the market. You will never be able to do that. What will make you profits is the time you spend ‘in’ the market. So get in, and stay invested. The longer the period, the more the money you will make. 
But there are a lot of differences in buying equity shares and property. While the equity share is wholly for the purpose of investment, the property could be for you to live in. And whereas the equity investment could be of a much small amount, property purchase involves much higher amounts, amounts that could be your whole life’s savings. In fact, it may require you to go in for a housing loan, which entails an ongoing liability of having to pay EMIs.
There are a number of factors to be considered while going in for a house. The house is a life-time investment, and the requirements of the entire family have to be taken care of. Once all aspects have been considered, and you think you have found the right place, then not going in for a property, just because you are not sure whether it is the right time, would be a wrong decision. 


In other words, ‘is it the proper time to buy’, is not the right question. Land will always be a rare commodity, and the increase in population will ensure that property will always fetch higher values in a densely populated market like India. Also, property is the easiest resource for any government to raise revenues, by levying higher taxation, and registration fees. 
Just to give an example, the government of Maharashtra increased ready reckoner rates by an average of 7%, effective April 1, 2016. In 2015, the government levied a 15% hike, whereas in 2014, the rates were hiked by 22%. This will give you an idea of how the prices are spiralling. So if you have to buy a property, don’t think of the timing. Satisfy yourself about the suitability of the property, to meet your long term needs, and just go ahead and buy it. Yes, do negotiate--for the asking price is never the correct   price of the property. Strike as hard a bargain as you can. But then, don’t hold back. For, anytime is the proper time to buy property, if it is the right property for you.
Now, if you happen to be and NRI reading this in Singapore, the MCHI-CREDAI Property Investment & Homebuyer Show comes to you on 16-17, April 2016, at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Centre. 
Back in Mumbai, there is another chance to meet the sellers, at the MCHI-CREDAI Biz Net, 22nd APRIL 2016, Sofitel Hotel, BKC, right opposite the MMRDA grounds.
(Formed in 1982, MCHI is the most prominent and the only recognised body of Real Estate Developers in Mumbai and MMR. CREDAI-Maharashtra is the flagship organisation of all the Associations of Builders and Developers of Maharashtra, encompassing over 75% of the organised Real Estate Sector in the State, except Mumbai. It has a total membership of over 2600 developers, affiliated to 39 city-level organisations. MCHI-CREDAI brings together members dealing in Real Estate Development on one common platform, to address various issues facing the industry. Members of MCHI-CREDAI account for 80% of the organised development of new residential and commercial properties, in Mumbai and MMR).
 Pictures Courtesy- Sanika Ghatkar
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