Real estate prices in Mumbai 'unbelievably low', says Donald Trump

Contrary to the general perception that real estate prices in Mumbai are among the highest in the world, US realty tycoon Donald Trump feels that they are ''unbelievably low''.

Real estate prices in Mumbai 'unbelievably low', says Donald TrumpTrump said on Tuesday that prices on a square metre or square foot basis are much higher in New York and other real estate markets in the world, which may not be as ''good as Mumbai or as important as India''.

Inaugurating the Trump Tower in Mumbai's Lower Parel area, the American business doyen said, ''I like coming into markets where it is good for an investor to buy (property) and do something special. Prices in Mumbai, in my opinion, are unbelievably low.''

Trump, who also has his own television show called 'The Apprentice' and has lent his name even to products like mattresses, says that he likes to invest in markets like Mumbai where it easy to acquire properties.

This again is in contrast to the experience of the average citizen, who finds even a house in the distant suburbs, far from the island city, out of reach.

The chairman and president of The Trump Organisation, which has projects ranging from residential real estate to hotels and golf courses around the world, is launching the Trump Tower jointly with India's Lodha Group.

Trump joined the Indian and international business community in praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who assumed office in May. He said the world was keenly watching India, and Modi had done a ''terrific job'' in terms of letting the world know what is happening in India.

Though Trump said that he would be keen to invest further in India, he also pointed out that regulations governing foreign direct investment in India were very strict.

The luxury Trump Tower would dominate the South Mumbai skyline when it comes up by 2018. It is being built inside an ongoing Lodha Group project called The Park, which is spread over 17 acres in south-central Mumbai.

The land for this project was bought by the Lodha Group from DLF in 2012 for over Rs2,700 crore.

The Trump Tower will be a 75-storey structure with two wings and 300 residences in all. Apartments will be priced between Rs9 crore and Rs18 crore, Lodha Group managing director Abhishek Lodha said.

The cost of the project is expected to be Rs2,000-2,500 crore; and it is expected to fetch revenues of around Rs5,000 crore, Lodha said.

Already, 100 apartments in Trump Tower have been sold. "We have had lot of interest from people living in Mumbai, as well as from international investors,'' Lodha said. ''A lot of non-resident Indians from the Middle East, Europe, and Hong Kong have bought properties, since they are aware of the luxury standards that a Trump property offers globally.''

This is The Trump Organisation's second proposed project in India. In 2012, Trump had signed an agreement with Pune's Panchsil Developers for India's first Trump Tower, which will be a 22-storey residential twin-tower project with 44 luxury single-floor condominiums. Pune's Trump Tower is expected to be ready for occupancy next year.

In Mumbai, this is Trump's second attempt to enter India's financial capital. His earlier partnership with Rohan Lifescape, a Mumbai-based developer, failed to take off.