Last week (Friday), Ramesh (our property expert) and Nachiket went to check a property at Virar East - about 5 to 10 mins auto ride from the station - which is almost ready (about 3 of the 8 buildings are pretty much done with the rest to follow during the year). It seems that there could be about 100 flats available (of about 340 sq ft) which could cost about Rs 5.5 lakhs. This is slightly above our target price range - but having said that, when I asked some drivers to see the property - they actually wanted to buy the next higher value flat (which is priced at about 7.5 lakhs)! They were willing to put in 2.5 lakhs as margin and were quite comfortable with servicing the EMI on the 5 lakh loan required for 15 years. I asked them why they would take on this kind of additional pressure and why not just buy the smaller 340 sq ft 1 RK flat ? They all said that they had to plan for the future - for their children (extra room needed) and even for guests from the village. This showed both their aspiration levels and more importantly, affordability levels - the drivers were all earning in the region of 12,000 to 15,000 and so the EMI of approx 5,000 was not a problem.
Anyway, re loans against the property itself, MHFC is doing a soft launch - just circulating the possibility to people who have been asking us for some time about properties and loans - and it looks like we will have 100 buyers from just this personal reference list. We will be able to test our systems through this initial process - so treating this as a pilot.
Nachiket took some photos of the project itself which I am sure he will put up shortly.