Belfast Telegraph

Homefinder Abroad: It's time to enjoy an Indian summer

With a buoyant economy and an educated workforce, the sub-continent is buy-to-let heaven. Jane Hardy reports

Buying property in India is a relatively new trend in the second property overseas market.

The distance from the UK, ill-founded imagery surrounding this vast and complex country, and ignorance of the process itself made it seem a step too far for most people.

But all that has changed and prospects are now so bright here that bankers Merrill Lynch have predicted a seven-fold increase in the Indian property market up until 2015.

Kuvera Properties specialise in the sub-continental market. Managing director Kieron Murphy said: "India only opened its gates to foreign direct investment two years ago and so the property situation is quite new."

And he is optimistic about the outlook. "The economy is buoyant and has been growing at the rate of 8% for the past decade. It's a country with a population of 1.1 billion, 51% of whom are under 25, and some people still tend to think of it in terms of the ox and plough, but the reality is much more hi-tech."

Twenty-first century India is described by Mr Murphy as having an educated workforce with two and a half million graduates, plus a nuclear programme and around 100,000 of its citizens employed by IBM.

And all these people need to be housed. This is buy-to-let central and represents investment in its purest form. These are not holiday homes, partly because of their location (you probably wouldn't choose to weekend here), but also because of the type of development being constructed to cater for Indian workers. Which is not to say that the specification isn't good and the finish fairly top end.

Rudrapur is one area that has been designated a kind of industrial and IT hub. It's situated 250 kilometres north-east of New Delhi and has excellent transport links. It's also near the Himalayas. Hitherto not a well known part of the country, it has become a byword for inward investment. It's officially known as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and the companies that have been allocated plots in the area include Nestlé, HCL (a leading global IT business), Tata (one of the sub-continent's largest car manufacturers) and Bajaj (one of India's leading motorbike companies).

The industrial zones are vast, with the Rurapur SEZ measuring 4,200 acres. There will be a great demand for rental properties with only 10,000 new homes being built in Rudrapur up until December 2008.

Kuvera Properties are presenting a tempting investment opportunity as the company has been land-banking in the area and has started work on four separate projects of residential and commercial property, consisting of 500 apartments and a serviced apartment-hotel.

John Ahern, a farmer in his early 30s who hails from Cork, has invested in India via Kuvera. He said: "I'd bought property with them in the UK and Poland and was happy, so I thought I'd try India because of the growth and return."

He has spent 37,000 euros (£26,000) on a flat in Rudrapur, which will be ready in December 2008, and is destined to be part of the housing supply for the numerous workers in the area. As John points out, India and China are the biggest economies " driving the world" - and he'll eventually be benefiting to the tune of 5% rental guaranteed over two years. He has no plans to visit India and this is pure investment.

Goa is a completely different part of the country and represents a different market. This former Portuguese colony has all the assets to appeal to hippies of all ages - beaches, period European-style architecture, temples, a relaxed way of life and very affordable property.

An estate agent's job in this part of the world is relatively easy as it presumably involves showing people who have fallen in love with the place round potential second homes.

On the Goan Estate Agency website, you could acquire a three-bedroom house, partly furnished, only 1.5 kilometres from the beach on a glorious plot with fruit trees for £50,000.

For a bit more - £20,000 to £75,000 - has apartments and villas in a lovely South Goan location, Betalbatim Beach. And there's a new development, Georgina's Retreat, which sounds utterly English, like something out of a John Betjeman poem.

Kuvera Properties, tel 00353 16401815,

Goan Estate Agency, , tel 0161 766 1018

Belfast Telegraph


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