Realty assets


There is a unprecedented rush for forest plots near London for the reason the stock markets are unpredictably on a downward swing and realty has become an emerging avenue for investment. Another attraction seems to have property abroad. After buying orchards in Canada and the US, many with the big money are now investing in UK’s forests. As many as 397 Indians are said to have bought slices of the green cover around London since March.

In India, Rs11.5lakh or $25,000, the sum allowed by RBI to be invested in immovable assets abroad isn’t a big amount in the swelling realty market. But it could get one a decent property near London, provided the UK government relaxes its tough rules about developing forest land.

But the Greenfield and greenbelt land sold without necessary permissions from the town and country-planning department comes with its share of risks.

The local council decides how this land can be used. There is great risk in investing in Greenfield land as the UK government is very strict on relaxation in rules to build on such land.

This is what Patrick Vo found out. BBC on its website reports how Vo bought land advertised by UK-based real estate firm UKLI. But instead of being only 20minutes from London, as claimed in the ad, it turned out to be seventy miles away. Moreover, he was stunned to see ‘Buyer Beware’ notices on it and found out that the local council had obtained orders to prevent any development, including the land being divided into plots. The company reportedly refunded his money.

UKLI says it makes the implications of buying Greenfield land clear to investors. It claims investors are told planning permission is never guaranteed but given the fact that UK is facing a housing crisis, the government is likely to relax its policies and that investors would be helped by its strong team of planners. In the past, the policy has been relaxed only thrice.

According to details provided by UKLI, this first phase of the Greenfield site is part of larger development we have planned over the next few years. Each building-sized plot is generous enough to build a prestigious, 4-5 bedroom detached home, complete with a spacious garden of your own design. But it takes around five years to get permission.

The British High Commission in Delhi said it was unaware of these developments. The High Commission has urged investors to check the company’s authenticity and credentials.

But as the dream to own a house on foreign shores takes root, England remains a viable destination. In India’s swelling realty market, Rs11.5 lakh or $25000 the sum allowed by RBI to be invested in immovable assets abroad isn’t likely to get one a big enough house in big city. But it is enough to own decent property near London.

UKLI’s Delhi-based referral agents UKLI REPL say as many as 397 Indians have bought freehold property in UK since March. Following the stock market crash, Indians want to invest in something safe. Besides, this gives them the opportunity to diversify, said a UKLI business coordinator.

Although the UK government hasn’t stipulated its intention to build on greenbelt land around London, property developers and land bank firms are eyeing the space.

Likewise investors who have withdrawn from stock markets are scouting for large chunk of lands around metros in India. Their counterparts from out of India either as NRI or business investors from abroad are diverting their investments into real estate. Of course in India it is officially possible to buy large plots of land within metros from de-commissioned textile mills, factories or very old dilapidated structures. After developing the land and building commercial or residential structures/apartments the returns on the investments are higher and faster. Therefore this attracts investors even from out of India.