Tag Archives: CMD

How long does a modern concrete building last?

Posted on by Track2Realty

News Point: The world is gradually becoming one big concrete jungle; it is time to debate the lifecycle of concrete building.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyNeedless to say, the world is gradually becoming one big concrete jungle. Innumerable concrete buildings are being constructed for residential as well as commercial purposes globally. Given that people pay a lot of money for them, a natural question to ask is how long these concrete structures or buildings will last.

Building materials play a big role in deciding the longevity of a concrete structure. There have been instances where concrete buildings not more than 20 to 30 years old have collapsed. However, there are cases where concrete buildings that were constructed 100-150 years back are still going strong without any kinds of damage or problems.

Unfortunately, the fact that housing projects are being mass-produced today has resulted in countless buildings being constructed with inferior quality materials.

Since all concrete buildings look the same to the untrained eye, it is very difficult to ascertain how long any one will last without needing serious structural repairs. While some buildings will last for more than 50 to 60 years without problems, some will start developing problems after few years of construction.

The designs used in concrete buildings also play a part in how long they will last. If we examine some old structures, it becomes apparent that they have thick columns, beams and slabs that provide superior support to the building. In many of today’s concrete buildings being raised by developers who are more concerned with cost-cutting than delivering quality products, the slabs that are used are merely few inches thick.

Other than building materials and design, the longevity of a concrete building is also decided by the foundation. In concrete buildings that have lasted for 100 years or more, the foundation is deep and strong, set in ground soil that had been tested and confirmed for its ability to support heavy structures If the soil in a particular site is not strong enough, the foundation needs to go deeper so as to provide adequate anchorage and support.

Assuming that the developer has used a good building design by a qualified architect, that he has used good quality cement and steel, and that the foundation is adequate for the type of soil in the plot, a multi-storey apartment building will provide problem-free service for anything between 70 to 80 years or even longer. Within this period, regular maintenance of the building’s structure will need to be carried out, which a responsible developer who considers himself accountable for his products will undertake as a matter of course.

A badly constructed building which falls into neglect after all the units are sold may not last for more than 35 to 40 years before developing serious faults, along with all related dangers to the occupants. 

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What regulatory bill will do for homebuyers?

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News Point: Now that the Real Estate Regulatory Bill has been cleared for take-off and will be an enforceable law soon, the question that buyers are asking is how exactly they will benefit from it.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyThis is a fair question, considering that RERA was primarily formulated for their protection and in their interests. Let me answer it as clearly as possible, without sacrificing on the necessary details.

One of the most important things that RERA will do for homebuyers is to reduce their uncertainties when it comes to planning their finances around a home purchase.

If we assume that a buyer has booked a flat admeasuring 1,000 square feet, and that the developers has promised possession in three years. A flat of such dimensions (1000 square feet) in a location which is close to the city Centrex, or has good public transport connections to it, would potentially earn its owner anything between Rs. 1.5-2.5 lakh per annum.

If the developer keeps his promise and delivers the flat in the stipulated time, the buyer would be able to put the flat out on rent and draw an income from it to offset his home loan expense.

However, if the developer fails to deliver the property in three years and extends the delivery by a year or more without providing compensation for the delay, the buyer’s finances are thrown seriously out of whack. The Real Estate Regulatory Bill will safeguard property buyers from such eventualities.

In the latest amendment to RERA which was accepted in the final draft, real estate agents are also covered under its. Effectively, this means that property agents can no longer engage in deceptive promises, charge excessive brokerage or fail to perform their full duties in a property purchase. They will be held accountable for any deficient service or failure of omission or commission.

RERA will also ensure that home buyers will not be cheated on the promised layout, and that amenities and fittings will not change along the way. Notably, such unforeseen and unscheduled changes were a recurring nightmare and grievance for homebuyers in the past.

With RERA in force, the developer will not be able to make any changes in the layout, dimensions, amenities, facilities and fitting which were agreed upon at the time of signing the sale deed. If they still occur, affected buyers can appeal to a tribunal which has been specifically instated to address such incidences, and be assured that punitive or corrective action will be taken against the developer.

Also, RERA will require developers to quote their asking rates on carpet area instead of super built-up area, which has so far been the norm. This aspect will take some time to be fully implemented, as it is a huge change which will require countless developers to recalibrate their rates.

There are many more facets to this Bill which will work in favour of property buyers, but the above clearly indicate that property buyers are soon going to stop being victims and will in fact be much more in full control of their property investments.

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing 

How rental housing benefits our cities

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Bottom Line: If modern rental policy becomes a reality, we will see a significant increase in investor demand for housing in areas where there is a huge requirement for rental housing.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyRecently, the Indian Government announced its intention to deploy a modern tenancy law with the aim to promote rental housing in Indian cities, giving due heed to the requirements of contemporary tenants. The planned National Urban Rental Housing Policy intends to address the needs of people migrating from rural areas to cities.

It will benefit intending landlords who have so far shied away from renting out their properties, by means of fiscal incentives specifically designed to encourage rental housing. The result will be a far better availability of rental housing in cities where it is needed the most.

The rental housing conundrum

India’s cities are continuously growing in terms of population, and increasing population has consequently led to more pressure on their housing markets. The rental property market is the only option for most people who have newly migrated into a city for employment, or are just at the outset of their careers.

Given the huge inward migration that Pune sees each year, the city’s rental housing market is literally a lifeline for countless individuals and families. As a result, rental housing is also a prime focus for real estate investors.

This is a trend we see in cities the world over, where the rental market thrives even when end-user housing sales are constrained due to macroeconomic factors. If we look at the US market, even while home ownership was a common trend during the 1900’s, the share of the rental market was seen as increasing.

Between 2004 and 2012, the rental market grew from 31% of 35%. In 2013, the total number of renters in the US was more than 43 million.

This trend also reflects in countries like India, where rental housing is always in demand – regardless of how the home sales market is performing. There are several factors driving this phenomenon, but one of the most pertinent facts is that rental housing has positive impacts to the overall economy and development of a city, as well as the country as a whole.

Developing cities have always attracted greater migration of talents from neighboring cities. This naturally puts pressure on the existing residential stock. Rental housing is the only bulwark against the growing cost of home ownership; it offers a greater flexibility and puts significantly lower financial strain on people.

Further, rental opportunities attract a vast cross-section of households and individuals from diverse age groups, ranging from students to high-ranking executives. Almost every Indian family with the budget to buy their own home has inhabited rental properties at some point. 

A range of housing options

Rental properties come in a variety of configurations – the higher one’s budget is, the better the space will be in terms of location or size, and also the available amenities. They range from single family homes to high-end multi-bedroom apartments.

Rental homes meant for modest income groups are generally concentrated around the cheaper suburbs, while higher rentals occur in the classier areas of the city.

Thus, rental housing caters to the whole spectrum of incomes. As cities experience higher inflow of migrated population, the suburbs and surrounding spaces must develop their rental housing capacities to meet the demand. 

Rental housing decreases slums and other irregular developments

In the absence of adequate rental housing in a city, migrating populations – especially the lower income groups – are apt to occupy slums or other kinds of irregular housing which tend to blight the urban landscape of growing cities.

This adversely showcases the quality of growth of the city, and also creates a range of problems that range from increased crime rates to sanitation challenges. Affordable rental housing is therefore an important preventive of unorganized growth.

With more families able to depend on rental properties, the city’s housing market as a whole gets more standardized. Increased competition among property developers and agents ensures that real estate prices are managed within the ‘affordable’ range. This also goes on to boost the overall economy of the city. 

Rental housing encourages influx of valuable talent

One of the primary concerns among the migrating workforce is the availability of adequate housing. A city that offers limited or unaffordable rental housing options will also not be able to maintain its skilled manpower equity. The influx of qualified and skilled working population is necessary to encourage growing services sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, education, entertainment and retail.

In short, affordable rental housing must always be encouraged in a city which seeks to grow and prosper. A city’s town planning authorities and state governments alike must take heed of the fact that growth in the rental housing sector is a very essential quality and component of overall urban growth and development.

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing 

The empowered Indian woman and home purchase

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A decade ago, an Indian woman independent and capable enough to buy her own home was a rare case but things have changed today.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyThe contemporary Indian woman tends to be very well educated, has a good job with excellent career growth prospects, and even holds important government or corporate leadership posts.

In any case, today’s Indian women certainly have the ability and confidence to craft their own lives, and are very much able to fulfill their dream of owning a home regardless of whether they are married or not.

In fact, buying a home is fast beginning to figure as a bigger priority for many Indian women than marriage. This is not surprising, since a self-owned home is correctly seen as the #1 security anchor in India – and the best foundation from which to make long-term life decisions.

In fact, even married Indian women today are more often than not active financial partners in their families. Apart from being earning members, they also have a complete grasp of the family’s current and future financial abilities.

Developers are very aware that the woman plays a leading role in a family’s home purchase decisions. Also, Homes are made by women, not men. Every man knows this, and will defer to the judgment of the woman in his life in matters of buying a home.

Women have a genetically encoded gift for homemaking, and much better perspective about what should be included or excluded. A man depends on the woman to make his home comfortable and suitable for family life.

Still, buying a home is not just a matter of instincts and good taste, but also one for adequate planning and foresight. For women who investigating the market for suitable properties, either for themselves or for their family, here are some points to consider:

Prepare for the initial costs:  First-time homebuyers tend to save a considerable while to get a sizable down payment together. However, keep in mind that property purchase involves several other initial expenses such as stamp duty and registration costs, utilities connection charges and insurance and taxes.

Apart from your down payment on a home (or your contribution towards a home loan) you need to have an additional fund of at least 6-7% of the base cost of the property available. If a broker’s services are used, even a negotatiated fee will amount to a significant sum.

Not having the required capital to cover all of the initial costs can prove to be a dampener on home purchase plans. It is not necessary to have the entire corpus in one’s savings account, since personal loans are always an option.

However, women who are just starting out in their careers should not allow themselves to fall too deep into a credit trap. If they avail of a personal loan to cover the initial costs of home purchase, it should be to the minimum possible extent so that repayment does not become an issue on top of servicing the home loan. It is always best to use free and clear capital as far as possible. 

Be confident about monthly outgoings:  Anyone eyeing a property purchase should first figure out the monthly mortgage and whether they will be able to afford it. Online mortgage calculators can be helpful, but they will only tell you the value of the principal and associated interests.

There are other monthly expenses involved in home ownership, and these include insurances, taxes, maintenance charges, utilities charges, etc.

For working single women, it is important that all these amounts put together do not exceed 35-40% of their net income. Do not neglect to figure out your overall cost of living before deciding on how big a home loan you can safely service, and keep in mind that property is not the only investment you should make towards your ongoing financial security. You should also put at least 10% of your monthly income into a retirement plan.

Often, the full implications of having over-committed on a home loan do not dawn on the borrower until the home loan has been serviced for a few months. By then, it is too late to modify the financial plan. When it comes to home purchase, every financial angle must be examined well in advance.

It is very advisable to use the services of an experienced financial planner, or rely on the informed advice of a family member, friend or colleague who is experienced in such matters. The process of buying a dream home should not turn into an unexpected nightmare at any point.

Be realistic and maintain forward focus:  Home ownership is a great step ahead in a woman’s life, and towards independence in your retirement age. But your first home is not necessarily the only home you will ever buy. Remember that you can always upgrade in the future if required or desired, so there is absolutely no need to buy the biggest-possible flat now. Never compromise your current financial viability by buying a needlessly expensive home.

The home you live in today does by no means have to be the one you will be living in when you retire. When it comes to real estate, it is always a good thing to upgrade as financial ability improves, but this process can and should be planned out over the entire course of one’s working life. For a woman who is at the outset of her career, nothing is more important than financial stability on every front.

To plan for upgrading to a bigger and better home further down the line, it is very advisable to invest (and stay invested) in good mutual funds which deliver more returns than savings accounts.

Direct stock market speculation into single company stocks and bonds as a potential source of real estate funding should be avoided, as such investments are not sufficiently diversified to offer a safety net in case a company experiences a downturn. 

Shop around extensively for home loans:  When it comes to choosing the right lender, do not go by the recommendations of friends or relatives alone. Do extensive research on the several different lending institutions available to you.

Ideally, you should get pre-approved for a home loan the interest rate should be the most competitive. Remember that as an Indian woman, you are entitled to ask for a lower rate of interest on a home loan – be sure to insist on this benefit.

The home loan market in India is currently very competitive, and banks are falling over themselves to attract customers. This is a fact that can and must be taken advantage of.

A woman who is shopping around for a home loan should make specific inquiries about special interest rates and other incentives that a bank is offering to women borrowers. Asking the right kinds of questions will also establish you as an informed borrower and encourage the bank to offer you the best possible structuring.

Never take the first thing that is offered to you – most banks have a considerable margin of flexibility to accommodate borrowers who know what they want and are determined to get it. If you are married, the ideal scenario is to take a joint loan with your spouse. This is also the arrangement that banks prefer most, since it reduces their risk.

Be sure of the developer’s credibility:  Every day brings new stories about buyers who have been hoodwinked by unreliable developers. Either the project has been unreasonably delayed, has never even taken off or the delivered property (or amenities and facilities) are grossly different from what was initially promised.

Do not fall into such a trap – no woman looking for the security of home ownership should have to deal with such a setback. Make sure the developer has a strong reputation on the market by doing multiple checks with reliable agents, the home loan company and also on the Internet.

It is highly advisable to patronize only established developers with a readily verifiable track record for timely completions and 100% adherence to the agreements they make with their customers.

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing 

What has led to Pune’s affordable housing crunch?

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No discussion about the hottest real estate markets in India today is complete without a generous reference to Pune.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyPune is one of the most-talked-about and desirable places in India to live and work in today. People are attracted to this city because of its vibrant job market, the much more clement climate and environment when compared to the neighboring financial capital Mumbai, and – very importantly – the superior quality and spread of options in housing.

However, there are some important factors that property buyers who are not familiar with Pune should be aware of so that they can make the right choice while buying their homes here. Pune is doubtlessly a marvelous place to live in, but this has over the recent years actually become a problem.

The areas closest to Pune’s business district and Information Technology hubs have gained attention for being the most desirable places to buy or rent a home in. However, as the popularity of these areas increased, so did the cost of living. Because these areas are seen as high profile and naturally attract people from the higher income brackets, most of the housing supply there is now in the premium segment. The property rates of such housing also drive those of non-premium housing upward.

It is not only real estate prices which are affected in these locations, but the overall cost of living. The high property prices in these areas mean that shopping outlets, entertainment centers, restaurants and healthcare facilities all have to pay much higher rents.

The higher costs are directly passed on to the customers in these catchments. Moreover, because of the overall premium ethos of these locations, they tend to attract retail, hospitals and F&B outlets which cater primarily to high-income customers.

True, Pune is one of the most vibrant cities because of its high lifestyle quotient, spunky neighborhoods and Information Technology hubs. Unfortunately, the very residents who made the city this upscale, happening place where everyone wants to live and work are now challenged by the increased property prices and cost of living. In Pune, affordable housing options are becoming fewer and far between.

As a result of the rapidly increasing capital values, housing rents in the most popular areas have also been rising inexorably, and this trend shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Right-priced housing is decreasing because of the swanky new apartment buildings in the more happening locations. Pune’s inner locations and those closest to its IT hubs now have no affordable housing left for people to buy, even as the influx of new renters in these limited areas drives up demand and prices for a limited amount of units available for rent.

The only solutions would appear to lie in Pune’s far-flung outskirts, where land is still cheap and developers can keep their prices low. However, these areas are also very far from most of the city’s workplace hubs, and also lack the kind of support infrastructure that makes decent living possible. Fortunately, Pune still has a small handful of locations which are neither too remote not too costly for budget home buyers.

Among these, Undri in the Southeast of the city and Ambegaon in the Southwest are two of the best-connected areas which are still receiving a decent supply of affordable housing and also rapid infrastructure deployment. Keshavnagar and Manjri in the East are also still quite affordable, though relatively less enabled in terms of infrastructure.

These locations offer home buyers the benefits of rational housing prices as well as very good connectivity in terms of road network, public transport and proximity to good schools, shopping, entertainment and affordable healthcare.

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing 

Real estate demands from the Union Budget

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Real estate stakeholders in every Indian city are looking forward to the upcoming financial budget 2016 to see whether it will provide any relief to the sector.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyDevelopers have their own expectations, because positive announcements for real estate buyers made during the budget will help increase the market sentiment, and therefore sales. The general hope is that the budget will provide cheer to intending homebuyers who have been deterred for various reasons.

Make home loans more affordable

The Union Budget should make the rate of interest specific to home loans more reasonable. Currently, the banks are offering interest rates which are still too high. Paying so much interest has serious implications on the family budgets of most middle-class wage earners. It is not surprising that many of them currently shy away from home loans.

The budget should bring the interest rate on home loans down to between 7.5%-8.0%. The new government has clearly stated that it wants to make Housing For All Indians a reality by 2022. It is impossible to achieve this goal if home loans do not become affordable to all, as well.

Additionally, the home loan interest amount exemption under Income Tax benefit should be increased from the existing limit to Rs. 3 lakh. Further, this exemption should be made applicable for more than single property purchases.

This is not an unreasonable expectation. In the current times and in many cases, a single home is not enough to accommodate all family members. The finance ministry should take due note of this fact and accordingly provide relief for both first home and second home buyers.

Eliminate multiple taxation on property purchase

The budget should also do away with the multiple taxes involved in the purchase of residential property. As of now, home purchasers are required to pay service tax and value-added tax (VAT) on top of stamp duty and registration charges. Goods and Service Tax (GST) should be introduced in the place of these taxes. 

Bring in the real estate regulatory bill

The real estate industry expects the Budget to finally make the Real Estate Regulatory bill a reality this year, so that the industry has the benefit of an apex body via which all concerns can be addressed transparently and efficiently.

Reduce cost of property registration

Another expectation from the Union Budget is a reduction in the cost of property registration. Stamp duty and registration costs are as high as 6% in most cases, and this needs to be reduced by a few basis points to aid consumers. Alternatively, a slab-based approach should be introduced. Stamp duty falls under state government purview, but the Center can nevertheless issue a directive to reduce stamp duty costs.

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing

Tips on buying a ‘starter’ home

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By: Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyBuying a home, though a momentous step for most people, is usually not a final thing in and by itself. Most homeowners will upgrade their homes at some point, which makes their first homes ‘starter homes’.

The seemingly diminutive term aside, it is a fact that we tend to buy our first homes with the maximum resources which are available to us at that point in time. Starter homes may yield to a bigger, better deal in the future, but right now it is all that one can afford. As such, starter homes are as significant to their owners as anything that will follow.

Buying a starter home is also significant in another sense – it is the point where most people step into ‘adulthood’, in the sense that they are finally transitioning from living on rent to a self-owned property. It marks the end of one’s association with landlords, and the beginning of autonomy.

The autonomy that a starter home affords is first and foremost financial in nature. Rather than spending a significant amount of money every month without the hope of seeing any returns on investment, one is now investing a certain sum of money every month into a self-owned, appreciating asset.

However, the autonomy extends beyond the financial aspect, as well. Regardless of how small and humble one’s starter home is, one finally enjoys the full gamut of freedoms vested in home ownership.

Most changes and modifications to the flat can be carried out with complete confidence, with no permission from the landlord required (of course, some structural changes will still require the approval of the housing society).

Unlike in the case of a tenant, a property owner has an active say in all matters that come up for discussion at housing society meetings. His or her vote is required and sought to pass new rules, regulations or initiatives undertaken within the project.

That said, starter homes are often just that. They are purchased to serve as transitional homes, and will in most cases not be the ‘final’ home one lives in. Until the time for upgrading comes, however, it will serve as a place to set down one’s roots, start a family and work on one’s career. Because it is bought at a time before the buyer reached his or her peak financial capacity, it needs to come at an affordable price and also involve affordable maintenance costs.

Luxurious amenities are not expected in such a home, but most buyers will still look for a decent size of living space and a balcony. Reliable water and electricity supply are of course indispensable, and should not be compromised upon regardless of one’s purchasing power.

Location is a critical consideration for starter homes as much as for the more expensive upgrades which are to follow. While a small family can live in adequate comfort in a 1 or 2 BHK flat, a remote location which does not allow for a relatively easy commute to and from work is not acceptable.

The area must be well-connected by public transport, as many people will only buy their first car for regular use at a later stage. The area must also offer an adequate selection of retail outlets to meet daily shopping needs, and access to a good school and hospital.

Location is in fact very critical when buying a starter home, because many first-home buyers find that their lifestyle quotient takes a backward step when they stop living on rent and buy their starter home.

After all, one of the advantages of living on rent is that one can live in central locations which offer a lot of conveniences. When it comes to actually buying a small home of one’s own, one may find that the only locations that are affordable are the under-developed or emerging ones.

To avoid such a trap, it is all the more necessary to launch a detailed and patient search when looking for one’s first home. The first options that crop up while doing an online search for properties within a certain budget often tend to be in emerging locations, but that does not mean that no better options are available.

This is the best of time to contact real estate brokers who have good databases to access. Some of the cheaper options in a project may not be advertised online, but other often exist.

Also, not all emerging locations are created equal. Some offer much better locational advantages than others, and reputed developers will often launch township-style projects in which most needs of residents are easily met. Obviously, properties in such locations and projects will appreciate must faster than others, meaning that one is buying into a much more advantageous base for a future upgrade to a larger home.

Festive season boosts demand for affordable homes in Pune

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By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyIn a price-sensitive market like Pune, affordable housing is always in demand. The city’s working and earning middle class is constantly on the lookout for good homes available within their budget. This festive season, the Pune market is showing signs of increased activity as always, but the onus is on homes which fit people’s budgets.

Buyers are looking for decent-sized homes within the city limits, with good amenities, and within a budget range of Rs. 29-50 lakh. This is the category of homes which will draw the highest demand this festive season. Developers offering homes in this budget range in an all-inclusive package will be able to tap into this demand.

Buyers should do their homework and look for good options in new constructions by reputed developers. Focusing only on established builders will allow them to book homes in under-construction projects with confidence, as timely completion, delivery of all promised features and adherence to quality construction norms are assured in such cases.

The festive season is an ideal time to take advantage of lucrative offers from such developers, such as all-inclusive price packages. However, buyers should not be swayed by offers of meaningless freebies and focus only on the actual value being given.  Buying an affordable home is all about getting what one needs within one’s budget, not about bringing home surplus white goods or paid vacations.

Information technology is still Pune’s biggest demand driver for residential real estate. The most exciting – and, from the investment perspective, profitable opportunities in the Pune real estate market are currently 1 and 2 BHK flats in well-connected locations.

The areas which are drawing the highest number of enquiries this festive season are Undri, Ambegaon, Wagholi and also Mundhwa and Manjri, because these locations have the advantage of good connectivity to Pune’s IT corridors, and projects there fall within the right budget bracket.

Tips for home buyers:

  • Do not focus merely on price. While buying an affordable home is definitely about staying within one’s budget, there are always superior projects with better amenities and in better locations available within any budget range.
  • Do not be tempted by the cheaper options being offered by unknown developers on the outskirts. Many buyers fall into problems today by investing in illegally constructed projects which are sold cheap but may cost the buyer dearly later on.
  • Patronize only reputed developers. Doing so allows you to book into under-construction projects without fear, and benefit from the more attractive prices available in under-construction projects.
  • While choosing your project, do not neglect to factor in potential for appreciation – your home is your most important investment. The location should have strong infrastructure fundamentals and demand dynamics. Spend some time and effort to study how prices have been growing in the area.
  • Remember that this is currently a buyer’s market, and that there is scope for bargaining. Rather than settle for inferior options by unknown builders, look for good options with reputed builders and discuss with them how the best price can be arrived at.

Make way for the smart homes revolution

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By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyOver the past two decades, Pune has seen rapid growth of the IT culture. In the beginning, this culture was limited to employees of the city’s many IT/ITES parks – today, it has touched almost everyone who lives in Pune. The cyber revolution in this city is inescapable – those who do not own computers populate internet cafes.

The current generation of young people below age 30 is defined by computer savviness, and these are the people who will usher the city into the future. Naturally, this revolution has had a very distinct impact on the kinds of homes that younger people choose to buy today.

Whether they are working in Pune’s innumerable software companies and IT-enables services firms or in some other sector, the young home buyers today have developed their own criteria for what constitutes an ideal home. ‘Smart’ homes are now in vogue not only with IT/ITES employees – most young home buyers today consider properties that support a cyber-driven lifestyle desirable.

The highest demand for smart homes in Pune stil still stems from people working in software parks and IT companies. This is largely because of their exposure to IT-driven concepts, their sizable pay packets and the fact that they have often been trained or stationed abroad and have been exposed to global residential concepts.

Smart homes are not just an interesting variant – they are by and large luxury offerings, and there is a premium attached to homes with ‘smart’ features which varies according to how many of these features have been included in the project.

In the past, smart homes were considered something of a niche concept, owing to the larger ticket sizes. The clientele that developers initially targeted with their smart homes projects was primarily the higher-paid professionals employed in the city’s IT hubs. Today, the target audience has expanded a lot and includes a larger section of gadget-conscious younger generation of home buyers with a well-defined yen for automated homes. Falling in the age group of 29-40, these buyers tend to hold hold senior roles within the IT/ITES, manufacturing or services sectors. Regardless of career orientation, they are upwardly mobile, highly aspirational and eminently qualified for home loans.

Over and above being a premium offering, smart homes are a means for those whose professions involve high levels of stress. For such professionals, the comforts, enablement and security that smart homes offer are a means to relax and generate more time to spend with their families.

Smart homes offer technological features wherein home owners can operate almost anything in their homes (including lights, air conditioners, security systems, curtains and blinds) from within and even outside at the touch or click of a button. Today, smart home technology uses user-friendly software that allows simplified control of climate, lighting, entertainment and communication. The technology involved impacts three key areas – energy efficiency, security systems and telecom systems.

Smart homes have a definite status value attached to them and tend to have higher resale value because of their locations, which are either close to the city’s IT hubs or in upscale areas more or less defined by higher purchasing power and therefore higher lifestyle aspirations.

Appreciation of such properties is also influenced by the very nature of the features that make life simpler, safer, more comfortable and more exciting. The technology that drives smart homes can be readily upgraded, making them completely future-ready. This increases their potential resale value many times over.

Source: Track2Realty

Is your home safe from earthquakes?

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing, Pune real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, India investment, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyThe Indian subcontinent has always been prone to earthquakes. However, it is only the recent earthquakes in Nepal which have made home owners and prospective buyers wonder about the earthquake resistance factor in Indian real estate. Two quakes, a week apart, ripped the beautiful mountainous country to debris and several Indian states and cities felt the impact, as well. In some places, there were even incidents of damage to old structures and ill-planned buildings. 

According to geographical statistics, more than 54% of the Indian landmass is prone to earthquakes.  The reason for this high amount of exposure is the increasing intensity at which the Indian pelagic plate is driving into mainland Asia. The United Nations and World Bank estimate that by 2050, more than 200 million Indian homes would have experiences earthquakes and storms. 

The most vulnerable cities are Srinagar and Guwahati, which have been categorized under ‘very severe intensity’ zones. Apart from these two, 36 other Indian cities have been identified to be vulnerable to earthquakes. These include Kolkata, Dhanbad, Patna, Dehradun, Jalandhar, Jamnagar, Surat, Pune, Mangalore, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai, Vijayawada, Jabalpur and Bhubaneswar, among others. Some of these are also among the most important and highly populated cities of the country.

Over the years, increasing concerns about earthquake resistance have led scientists and engineers to invest R&D resources and considerable funding into methods to make modern buildings earthquake proof. Earthquake proof buildings have deep strong base and are lighter in loads than traditional constructions. Special beaming and bracing make them resistant to the kinds of sideways movements that are experienced in the event of an earthquake.

 Some of the latest concepts being used to render buildings more earthquake-resistant in many global cities are:

  • Base Isolation System: Here the foundation of the building is separated from the actual structure using rubber bearings that act as seismic isolators during a quake. During a shake, only the foundation will slide, but the actual construction will stay intact. The rubber bearings also act as shake absorbers and cut down the intensity of the impact
  • Dampers:  The concept is quite similar to the big shock absorbers used in vehicles. Their job is to dissipate the total energy across the base of the building to keep the top structure safe. Dampers are advisable for high rise buildings and for retrofitting older buildings.
  • Levitation: Levitation engineering lifts up the house when an earthquake strikes. The building here is constructed upon a deflated air bag that pumps up during a quake and builds air space of a few centimeters between the house and the ground. This reduces the impact to a great extent.

In India, the Bureau of Indian Standards had a detailed and revised publication for ‘Recommendations for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures, 1962. According to the standards, buildings that adhere to these recommendations will not encounter a ‘total collapse’ even in earthquakes of intensities as high as 8.0 on the Richter scale.

If you are an existing home owner or planning to buy a new home, you would doubtlessly be concerned about how safe the building really is – especially if it is a modern high rise. 

The first thing to know here is that there is no such thing as a 100%y earthquake-proof residential building – the best that can be achieved is a standardized level of earthquake resistance.

However, most residential projects that have been built in the last 5-6 years will be resistant to mild earthquakes registering at around 4.0 on the Richter scale. However, very few would be able to remain standing during a massive quake registering at, say, 9.0. 

The good news is that in most Indian cities, reputed and established developers are following the accepted local building bye laws and standards for structural safety laid out by the National Building Council (NBC). These are the accepted standards of earthquake-resistance in high-rise buildings, meaning that their buildings will be able to withstand certain intensities of earthquakes. 

Such developers follow the guidelines for construction of earthquake resistant buildings as a matter of course. This is not in just a cursory fashion – reputed developers appoint specially qualified engineers who oversee the construction process and make sure that the highest standards of earthquake-proofing are actually being incorporated. Also, builders with a strong reputation for quality construction will at all times ensure that their buildings are built with high-grade steel and that there are sufficient emergency escape routes.

This is yet another reason why one should only by homes in projects built by established developers who have a standing reputation for high standards in their construction norms. If one is still in doubt, one can consult a neutral architect or contractor while the building is still under construction, who will be able to give a fair estimate based on soil cohesiveness and quality of materials and processes being used.

Source: Track2Realty

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