The World's Priciest Homes: New Delhi's Crumbling Bungalows

They're filled with musty bathrooms and peeling paint, and they're selling in the tens of millions of dollars. Jim Yardley examines New Delhi's real estate boom, which is driven by "ego, status and some unique distortions in India’s economy."
March 4, 2013, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With perhaps only 10,000 properties total in the "leafiest, most prestigious section of the capital, known as Lutyens’ Delhi," which was designed by British architect, Edwin Lutyens, in the early 1900s, "the bungalows built nearly a century ago during the British Raj, are among the highest [priced] in the world," writes Yardley.

"Though India’s economy has cooled, the demand for property in elite areas remains so strong that even finding a house for sale is tricky: formal listings do not exist; prices usually circulate by word of mouth. Transactions often require some 'black' money, or stacks of cash paid under the table to avoid taxes."

"Not surprisingly, as Indian industrialists have amassed great fortunes in recent years, the temptation to buy into a zone where status is so nakedly demarcated and only a few hundred private properties exist has proved irresistible. Property values in the Lutyens’ bungalow zone, as well as in nearby neighborhoods, have appreciated steadily for many years but skyrocketed in the past decade."

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Published on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in The New York Times
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