Letters To The Editor

Print Edition: October 2012

Money Today readers give their feedback on the magazine's coverage -

The cover story on hidden risks in property buying (Key Risks, September 2012) will clear many doubts for those planning to invest in real estate. It is common knowledge that the realty sector has dubious stakeholders and intermediaries.

Currently, there are numerous complaints of delayed or stalled projects for reasons including lack of funds available with the builder. However, purchase agreements are in favour of developers and it is the buyer who incurs the loss.

The case studies were anecdotal evidence of how the buyer gets a raw deal in such situations.

In India, we also hear about property being sold to multiple buyers ever so often. While some of these fraudsters are caught, it is not of much help to the buyer, whose money might get stuck for years.

Hence, it is imperative that multiple checks be done to ensure that the transaction is concluded. Investors can only hope a regulatory framework is developed for the sector.

Real estate stocks have been underperformers for a long time and are unlikely to give good returns in the coming days because of the multiple problems being faced by the sector.

Though companies with low debt might appear to be good investment options within the sector (With an Eye on Debt, September 2012), I think it would be better to look at stocks outside the sector. Stocks in the fast-moving consumer goods, private banking and automotive sectors might do better.

The story on how Indian investors can take advantage of the US econony through mutual funds was an interesting read (Dollar Dreams, September 2012). However, the North-American economy has been going through one of its most troubled times during the past few years, despite intermittent signs of recovery. A sustained improvement of the nation's economy is still not in sight. Hence, I would warrant it is advisable for equity investors to have only limited exposure to the US market. But, despite the risk, this could be one good way to diversify ones portfolio.

The article on claiming third-party damages did well to point out the complications of the process (Damaging Rules, September 2012). The claims process could involve lengthy procedures and possibly even litigation to settle the extent of damages to be paid. Hence, it is better to claim damages from one's own insurer, where it is now a cashless transaction, with the bill being directly settled by the insurer with the garage.

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