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Lutyens Delhi Opens Its Gates To Buyers

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Spread over 2,800 hectares, it has around 3,000 government-owned properties and 600 private bungalows covering a little over 101 hectares.

One of India’s most exclusive address where the cost of owning a house is staggering and deals are few and far between, the Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ) has witnessed around 17-18 prime residences being put up for sale in the past few months at a time when buyer interest is perhaps at its lowest.

Situated in the heart of the national capital, the LBZ boasts of heritage buildings, central vista and is home to India’s president, prime minister, top politicians and ultra high net worth individuals (UHNIs). Spread over 2,800 hectares, it has around 3,000 government-owned properties and 600 private bungalows covering a little over 101 hectares.

“There are a handful of options in Golf Links with area of 375 sq yards (3,375 sq ft) and a couple of 575 sq yard (5,175 sq ft) ones. There are two-three big properties available on Amrita Shergill Marg. So if we take up all listings, the number should be around 17-18,” said Mohit Minocha, founder of real estate consultancy South Delhi Floors.

Minocha, who deals in prime residences, said prices have declined compared to pre-COVID times. “Earlier a 575 sq yard property in Golf Links was priced at Rs 100-105 crore (around Rs 2 lakh/sq ft), but now a couple of properties have quoted Rs 80-85 crore (Rs 1.65 lakh/sq ft). Prices also depend on final negotiations and factors like location, area, etc.”

In Sunder Nagar there are two-three properties up for sale. Here prices are in the range of Rs 85-90 crore (Rs 1.15 lakh/sq ft) against the pre-Covid rate of Rs 110-120 crore (1.55 lakh/sq ft). All plot sizes are the same at 866 sq yards (7,794 sq ft).

A top real estate consultant, who did not wish to be identified, said normally one could find around five-eight properties for sale in LBZ, but it is somewhat unusual that about 18 properties are up on the block. “Considering that businesses are trying to conserve cash, the number of deals is likely to go down. I’m not saying there won’t be deals, but they will be very few, perhaps one or two a year,” he explained.

Buying and selling in the LBZ is a long-drawn process, which usually takes six months to a year. Real estate consultants said usually two-four deals are completed in a year as it involves a lot of money, running into hundreds of crores. Also, there is a ban on construction of basements and number of floors are capped. High-rises, too, are not allowed.

Generally, these properties are bought and sold in the name of companies as this helps save stamp duty because the property is showed under asset transfer from one firm to another.

On the current sales scenario in LBZ, Amit Dhingra, who deals in prime real estate, said since number of transactions are less, therefore, references are also less. He added that there is a villa on Hailey Road which is available for Rs 200 crore and another villa on Barakhamba Road for Rs 600 crore.

He added that there are two bungalows on Prithviraj Road estimated to be in the market for sale at Rs 600 crore and Rs 400 crore. Going ahead, he said the number of transactions are expected to reduce further in light of the prevailing environment.

Both Minocha and Dhingra, however, said distress selling is a rare phenomenon here.

Liaison Consultancy Services chairman (real estate) Surender Arora said he is aware of four-five properties up for sale on Kasturba Gandhi Road, Sunder Nagar, Prithviraj Road, but has not spoken with the sellers so far. “The market here is down at the moment in line with the current prevailing economic conditions and is likely to revive next year,” he added.

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