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Virtuous Retail acquires North Country mall for 700 crores

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News Point: The aggressive growth strategy of the retail chain also plans to invest in rebranding and expansion.

North Country Mall Chandigarh, Virtuous Retail South Asia,  Retail in Punjab, India real estate news, Indian property market, India housing newsVirtuous Retail South Asia has acquired the 2 million sq ft North Country Mall from Sun Apollo/Gumberg for INR 700 crores (USD 108 MM), including paying down debt. With this acquisition, VRSA establishes its presence in North India, adding to its existing award winning portfolio of community-centric centers VR Surat and VR Bangalore, and the 2 million sq ft. VR Chennai slated to open in Q4 2017.

Coming within 6 months of creation of the VRSA platform in late 2016, the acquisition is in line with the company’s rapid, nation-wide, expansion strategy through both ground up development and acquisition of existing, high quality assets.  VRSA’s India retail portfolio now stands at 5.5 Million sq ft.

Commenting on the acquisition, Sid Yog, Chairman of the Board, VRSA, said, “We are pleased to add a high quality acquisition to our award winning portfolio of flagship centers in India. North Country Mall offers an exciting opportunity to reformat and reposition a well-built mall in a great location, into a community centric VR flagship for the residents of the Chandigarh Capital region, and into a regional lifestyle destination for residents of surrounding cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The acquisition expands our footprint into North India, has numerous portfolio synergies, and is value accretive to our stakeholders, including retail partners and investors.”

Rohit George, Executive Managing Director, VRSA, added, “This acquisition immediately adds 1 Million sqft. of high quality retail space to our existing leasable portfolio. We look forward to working with existing and new retail partners, in offering a platform worthy of their brands, amplified by the operating and programming quality they expect at a VR Center. This acquisition, combined with VR Chennai which is in final lease up stage, also enables VRSA to simultaneously offer retailers, two new, exciting retail developments of scale, in key metropolitan markets, at a time when quality retail space is scarce and the economy is poised to grow strongly.”

North Country Mall, located in the Chandigarh Capital Region, is one of the largest operating malls in Punjab. Built on a sprawling 22 acres on the arterial NH 21, it benefits from a great location in the upmarket and high income residential suburb of Mohali, also known for its iconic Cricket Stadium and the Indian School of Business campus.

A leasable area of 1 million sqft., is anchored by top national and international brands like H&M, Zara, PVR, Forever 21, Westside, Lifestyle, Central & Home Center, across key retail and lifestyle segments, and a regional Reliance Market. Additional leasing and further development potential of 600,000 sq ft, will see new retail brands, F&B formats, and entertainment facilities added. VRSA will also invest in rebranding the mall as a VR flagship center.

6 reasons why Kochi will be India’s next real estate hotspot

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Bottom Line: Kochi expects investments of Rs. 2,076 crore; sustainable real estate growth assured

A Shankar JLL, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Indian property market, Track2Media, Track2RealtyKochi hits a six to become the next highly preferred real estate destination in India. All potential drivers such as IT development for employment generation, Metro rail for intra-city connectivity, the Smart City tag for basic infrastructure, port-based development for industry and commercial growth, airport terminal for international connectivity and foreign investment and tourism for the hospitality industry are emphasized in Kochi.

This will ultimately boosts demand for housing and make it one of the next highly-preferred real estate destinations in India. The 6 reasons why this will happen shortly:

1. Inclusion in the top 20 Smart Cities:

Recently, the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India identified the top 20 candidates under the Smart City mission initiative through a competitive selection process. Kochi ranks 5th and expects an investment of Rs. 2,076 crore for pan city solutions and area-based development.

E-Governance and water management are focus areas as part of pan city solutions which will help Kochi to access improved and planned infrastructure with assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, etc.

Kochi-Mattancherry-Central City, which is selected as the area for development, will witness intense development in the coming years. Numerous developers are trying to acquire land for real estate development in and around this area. The ‘Smart City’ tag is expected to boost prices exponentially.

2. The first Indian Tier-II city to a propose Metro Rail:

Metro rail connectivity in Kochi is under various stages of construction and is expected to be operational by 2017. In Phase I, the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation has proposed an elevated route spanning approximately 25.25 km from Aluva to Pettah. Once completed, the metro will improve connectivity and reduce travel time from Aluva to the key micro-markets of Kochi. Real estate will be greatly influenced once the metro becomes operational.

Areas like Companypady, Ambattukavu, Kalamassery, Edapally, Palarivatom, Ernakulam South, Elamkulam, Vytilla, Panampilly Nagar and Kadavanthara will be the main beneficiaries and some of them have already started to witness increased development.

The future expansion of the metro will also benefit areas like Menaka, Kakkanad and West Kochi. Metro rail stations exert influence up to a buffer of 1 km radius, with maximum influence in the areas within a 500 m radius. Land prices along metro rail corridors have increased by 10%-15% after announcement, and are expected to increase further after operations.

3. New international airport terminal to cater growing demand:

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is constructing a Rs. 1,100 crore international terminal with a built-up space of 15,00,000 sq ft. It is designed to handle 4,000 passengers per hour and will be commissioned by 2016. Once operational, the new international terminal will have a very positive economic impact and uplift the real estate market in the whole region.

The catchment will witness development of new retail and commercial spaces along with a good supply of residential and hospitality developments to cater to the increasing demand.

The increased international connectivity will also pave the way for global companies and cargo-based businesses to deploy and expand operations nearby. The completion of the international terminal, along an operational metro, will give significantly boost the city’s real estate market – and the catchment itself is expected to witness 15-20% rise in property prices.

4. Venue for one of two submarine cable landings in India:

Kochi is one of the venues for ‘SEA-ME-WE-3’ (South-East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 3) and ‘SAFE’ submarine cable landings, and is the second Indian location along with Mumbai to have two submarine cable landings. This fact highlights Kochi as an important destination for IT enabled services. Presently, the Government of Kochi is keen on developing IT/ITeS, as the entire Kerala state is promoting this sector heavily.

The major thrust on IT/ITeS development will eventually boost real estate development in the city, as it creates demand for residential properties, Grade A office spaces and retail developments.

5. Home to India’s first global hub terminal:

Kochi is among India’s leading cities for strong port infrastructure and has the largest (and India’s first) global hub terminal – the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam. This makes Kochi the premier port gateway to South India. Warehouses and other port-based industrial developments will see growth in these areas and lead to vastly increased port-related activities.

6. Continued tourism growth:

Kochi is known for its high heritage value, and contributes significantly to Kerala’s tourism industry. It sees an annual tourism influx that equals about four times its population, of which 14% accounts for foreign tourists, and reflects an annual increase of about 6%. The city’s vision of transforming itself into a tourist hub paves the way for steadily increasing demand for the hospitality sector and its allied industries.

In short, Kochi – which was earlier struggling to recover from an oversupply scenario – will see a massive revival due to creation of demand from these initiatives. Sustainable growth in real estate prices is now assured in the city, and this has incited new interests from numerous real estate developers from all over India who are keen to launch residential, commercial and hospitality projects there.

By: A. Shankar, National Director & Head of Operations – Strategic Consulting, JLL India

 

L&T Construction wins orders valued Rs. 2416 Crores

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News Point: The construction arm of has won orders worth Rs. 2416 crores across various business segments in the month of June 2016.

L&T, Track2Realty, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property news, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Larsen & Turbo, Investment in Indian real estateBuilding & factories business:

The Business has won orders worth Rs. 1165 crores.

A prestigious high rise has been secured from a leading developer in Mumbai. The scope of work involves civil and structural works for the construction of two residential towers, each having 3 basements, 7 podiums, 66 floors and other ancillary buildings.

Another order has been bagged for the construction of a mixed use development (MUD) from a renowned customer in Kolkata. The scope involves civil and structural works for the construction of two towers of G+15 and G+7 floors respectively with 2 levels of common basement.

The business also secured add-on orders from various ongoing jobs.

Power transmission & distribution business:

The Business has bagged orders worth Rs. 1120 crores in the domestic and international markets.

In the international market, a major engineering, procurement and construction order has been bagged from a reputed customer in the Middle East. The scope includes construction of a medium voltage overhead line which will enhance the reliability of the existing network.

On the domestic front, orders have been received from Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) in Uttar Pradesh.

The first order involves the construction of 33kV substations and associated lines in Ghaziabad, which falls under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) while the second order involves rural electrification including feeder separation works in Meerut under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana scheme (DDUGJY).

Additional orders have been also received as part of the contract variances. 

Smart world & communication business:

The Business has won orders worth Rs. 131 crores which includes a new order from RajCOMP Info Services Limited, a government of Rajasthan undertaking, for establishing and commissioning command & control centres at Bikaner, Bharatpur and Jodhpur cities under the Surveillance and Incident Response Project. 

How real estate investment differs from speculation?

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News Point: Though investors and speculators are often used in interchangeable terms, they are not exactly the same.

Arvind Jain, Pride Group, Pune real estate market, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, Track2Realty, Track2Media ResearchIn financial circles, the terms real estate investors and real estate speculators are used to refer to people who are buying property to make a profit, rather than for personal use. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Nevertheless, even veteran financial specialists tend to get mixed up between the two.

In order to understand the difference between the real estate investor and the speculator, it is necessary to have a look at their methods of operation.

A speculator predicts (or attempts to predict) the future return on any investment, and tends to be focused on short-term profits. He or she is often not very well informed on how the asset class of real estate works in a particular locality.

Since speculators are usually also active in other investment segments such as stocks, bonds and bullion, they tend to use the same approach for all asset classes. The general approach is to buy low and sell high in a very short period of time.

A real estate investor, on the other hand, makes a careful analysis of the current market position, market trends and related affecting factors so as to make an informed and forward-looking investment decision.

Investors are not looking at short-term profitability, which is in any case not a viable objective to operate from in Indian real estate. While investors also tend to invest into other asset classes, they do not do so without fully understanding them.

The next question about the difference between speculators and investors would pertain to the returns they get. While a speculator may make a lot of money if he makes an accurate guess, all such returns are short lived. If the real estate market is facing a short-term decline, the speculator stands to lose all his money because he is also investing only for the short term. A related facet of real estate speculation is that it is, for the above reasons, not suitable for rental income generation.

An investors, however, is looking at healthy, steady returns on capital appreciation and rental income. For this reason, he maintains a reasonable investment horizon which is tailored to the market dynamics of this particular asset class. This is important because Indian real estate is subject to cyclical ups and downs.

A property cycle is dictated by various factors related to population growth, GDP, policy framework and sentiment, and boom and slump periods are more or less a given. Indian property investors aim to ride through the predictable ups and downs of this cycle. To do so they must remain invested for a period of at least 5-7 years.

Another reason why a longer investment horizon is important is that most investors look at buying properties at a lower rate at new locations in anticipation of the demand to come. For this to bear fruit, they must give these locations sufficient time to receive basic infrastructure and spillover demand from adjoining areas.

Long-term investments made by property investors provide stable and reliable returns. Investors are not prone to losing their money due to a receding market, because they have made a more careful analysis of the market condition and are willing to wait till their expected results are delivered as per the market data before they make their move.

As Robert Kiyosaki puts it “Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth.” Also, real estate is by far the ultimate asset since it not only grows in value but also performs as a rental income generator. But it must always be approached from an investor’s perspective rather than from speculative objectives.

By: , Managing Director,

Closing the budget housing gap in India

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News Point: Indian developers tend to focus only on housing for the higher income groups whenever there is an uptick in the economy. 

Arvind Jain, Pride Group, Pune real estate market, India real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, Track2Realty, Track2Media ResearchAs per rough estimates, the Indian housing market is short of as many as 19 million homes. That’s a lot better than the figure of 24 million that held true just five years ago.

After the obvious deficit of affordable housing for the LIG and EWS groups, what is most striking is the low availability of budget housing projects that fall in the price range of Rs. 40-55 lakh in urban areas. This is the budget range that pertains to the largest part of the rapidly growing Indian middle class.

It is high time that the Indian residential real estate sector focuses more on the supply of budget homes.  Indian developers tend to focus only on housing for the higher income groups whenever there is an uptick in the economy.

The demand has supply trends for the last decade have thus been anything but supportive to the cause of affordable housing for the Indian middle class. It is no accident that the mid-income housing segment is the most important customer base of housing finance companies.

A vital step in fast-pacing the budget housing pipeline is more encouraging institutional funding. With the potential rate of return being as high as 25%, investment into budget housing projects offers excellent incentives for institutional funders. However, given India’s abysmal track record for transparency in the past, such funds will always seek the security and sustainability of developers having a good reputation.

The challenges for budget housing

While there is huge demand and opportunity attached to budget housing projects, they also come with a unique set of challenges. For one, there is the ongoing lack of speed in project approval process.

Though much has been promised by the Government on this front, the fact is that there is still a huge bottleneck of pending approval for housing projects. Also, most of our larger cities suffer from a lack of good support infrastructure in emerging locations.

In fact, building infrastructure to connect adjacent geographies to the prime city centres is by far the most viable solution to accommodating a proliferating population.

The reason for the snail’s pace at which support infrastructure is being deployed in emerging locations is the fact that it is a time-consuming process. City planners must undertake detailed feasibility studies before launching large infrastructure projects.

We have seen that major infrastructure projects in India take anywhere between 5-15 years to complete. Nevertheless, building infrastructure in peripheral locations is the primary tool in the hands of our city planning authorities to ensure that more citizens have access to budget housing.

Developing roads to connect adjacent geographies to the prime city centres is by far the most logical and sustainable way to ensure the holistic growth of a city, and to keep real estate costs within the reach of the middle class.

In some cases, city planning authorities have indeed been proactive in fast-tracking such vital road infrastructure. In Pune, the upcoming Ring Road will inter-connect key thoroughfares like the Pune-Nashik, Mumbai-Pune-Solapur, Pune-Ahmednagar and Pune-Satara highways and decongest traffic loads on the roads connecting Pune and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).

As a result, areas such as Charoli (which already benefits from its proximity to Pune Airport, Nagar Road and the manufacturing and IT hubs of the city) have become the new havens for budget housing seekers.

Another hurdle on the road to better budget housing availability is the presence of too many fly-by-night players in this segment – it tends to discourage large-scale FDI funding. This has been the top reason why institutional funding requires so much time to identify its preferred plays in the Indian budget housing market.

Also, the profit margins have been and will remain thin in projects where developers limit themselves to a small number of units.

Significant returns on investment in budget housing are only available in projects with a sufficiently large number of units. Such projects require the financial and technical abilities of large national players. This is the primary reason why massive integrated townships with an adequate supply of budget housing see the maximum investment from foreign investors and funds.

Large integrated townships bring another key to deciphering the budget housing problem to the table – they help reduce the impact of high land prices on end-users. While developers of smaller projects must spread this cost over a much smaller number of buyers, developers of large integrated townships are able to pass on the economies of scale to their buyers and simultaneously provide superior amenities and more green open spaces.

 By: Arvind Jain, Managing Director, Pride Group

Triple intervention helps homebuyers; hurts developers

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News Point: Consumer activism, media trial & judicial intervention come to the rescue of harassed homebuyers; developers clueless to deal with it.

Unhappy Homebuyers, Consumer activism in real estate, Judicial intervention for homebuyers, Media and real estate, Indian real estate news, Indian realty news, India property news, Track2Realty, Property market of IndiaSnigdha Chauhan has been a dejected homebuyer for long after having invested in a housing project in Gurgaon that could not take off in the last seven years. She knocked every possible door – right from the developer who even refused to meet personally, to the fellow homebuyers who were clueless as to what to do. Media, of course, did not find a story into this as project delays are no news nowadays. And finally, her last resort in judiciary proved to be an ordeal of dates after dates as the developer had more financial clout to afford battery of eminent lawyers.

Snigdha, and many harassed homebuyers like her, are today smiling as the tables have turned and the simultaneous triple intervention of consumer activism, vigilante media and judicial cognisance have changed the outlook of the helpless homebuyers completely. This triple effect is proving to be the boon for the homebuyers and bane for the defaulting developers who took the buyers for a ride too long due to lax regulations and passive institutional responses.

“I was taken aback on that night when I found it in the TV news that after the buyers’ protest and its telecast on the TV news channels, the court has now intervened and ordered that the developer will have to refund the homebuyers’ money with 18 per cent interest. I think the collective power of consumers, media and judiciary saved us from being robbed of our lifetime’s savings,” says Snigdha.

Emerging realities 

  • Consumer activism, media trial & judicial intervention helping the harassed homebuyers
  • Developers are clueless in terms of dealing with the simultaneous spate of consumers, media & judiciary
  • Developers blame it to approval delays but are not open to be transparent with homebuyers
  • Elements of consumer blackmailing also gets legitimacy due to poor perception of the builders

This is not an isolated incident where some of the homebuyers like Snigdha could get the justice; though delayed but not denied. Today, as the consumers increasingly understand the power of collective might & activism and media is supporting the worthy cause leading to judicial interventions & speedy trials, the market dynamics of Indian real estate has suddenly changed a lot.

This also raises a fundamental question as to how long will this triple action continue. More importantly, are the developers at the receiving end of the current spate of consumer activism, vigilante media & judicial intervention ready to change the ways & means of operating recklessly?

Most of the developers admit that today environment is challenging for a real estate developer. They, however, blame it to the external factors than accepting their own fault. A section of developers maintain that there are so many unforeseen reasons and force majeure which are beyond the control of a developer. So, during that period construction is stalled beyond months to years. That period cannot be contracted. Developer faces two losses, one is time, and another is financial loss.

Pratik K. Mehta, Managing Director, Unishire maintains that consumer activism is good but needs to be used constructively to resolving a problem. Similarly, with the vigilante media and judicial intervention, lot of the non-transparent issues could come to light which are not always due to a developer but sanctioning authorities also.

“I understand that there is a valid reason behind the new wave of activism that is taking place and agree that if a developer has not delivered on promises and commitments, they should be penalized but blatant activism without appropriate knowledge of the situation may only worsen the problem,” says Mehta.

A critique of consumer activism, Raj Gala Shah, Partner, Zara Habitats says that such market forces will definitely be the catalyst to better the eco system, provided there is ethical practice followed while fighting for the right cause and for that to happen self governance is crucial. It should definitely be the ultimate aim to weed out unscrupulous elements, not just from the business but also from the consumer activism side wherein certain individuals pursue monetary benefits under the garb of activism.

“Under an united effort the consumer, media and judiciary, the real estate sector can steer the future to a transparent environment, without being dependent on the government. As the adage goes ‘with great power comes greater responsibility’ and it seems apt for the current scenario of consumer activism. With the easy availability of information through RTI, 24×7 media coverage, a judiciary with stern outlook towards the real estate sector, it seems that there are only unscrupulous elements in the business,” opines Shah.

Developers have their reasons to sound like every consumer activism is blackmailing. But the fact remains that it is not consumer activism alone but two pillars of democracy – media and judiciary – that have become part of this ‘operation clean up’.

Of course, certain elements of consumer blackmailing cannot be completely ruled out. But then the developers are guilty of lending credence to every arm-twisting as legitimate activism since they have not taken care of perception management. CREDAI President Geetamber Anand repeatedly talks about perception management but has thus far failed to take any action against the erring developers who have been indicted by various judicial interventions in recent times.

This spate of collective might of consumers, media and judiciary promises to change the market dynamics more than any government appointed regulator. The reason being that it is coming out of spontaneous reaction and calls for fighting against the malpractices in the business where the developers have enjoyed the free reins far too long.

A section of analysts admit that the genuine developers who are not guilty of delaying and denying the buyers should rather welcome this triple intervention. They can also be more open about the issues the developers have to face. Of course, the single most and biggest challenge is the approvals systems for projects. It is the leading cause of worry on part of the developers as reason for many project delays is the system.

There is absolutely no accountability in the approval systems and due to several agencies involved there is lack in coordination and willingness to adhere to timelines. Also, most of the authorities are ill equipped to handle their respective jobs/positions which worsens the situation.

With the onset of consumer activism, a lot of these processes can be monitored, documented and understood by the general public at large to understand the various challenges developers face. This also could pose a huge pressure on the departments to work diligently as now they are answerable to not just a handful of developers but to a larger set of an audience that is not ready to be a silent spectator any longer.

Will the triple force of consumer, media & judiciary weed out unscrupulous elements from the business? There is no second opinion that if channelized properly, this spate of vocal outcry can certainly identify and weed out the unscrupulous elements form the business. Of course, the element of consumer blackmailing threatens to derail all the good work done. But then it is not the consumer activism alone but to monitor and take it to logical conclusion, media and judiciary are also playing an active role. Collectively, this promises a new eco system of housing market in the country.

By: Ravi Sinha

ICICI Prudential Fund invests Rs 150 crore in Signature Global

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News Point: Signature Global has raised Rs. 150 crores from ICICI Prudential Real Estate Fund for affordable housing.

Rupee, Rupees, Indian currency, Indian money, Cash, Indian real estate news, Indian realty news, India property market, Finance, Track2Realty, Track2Media ResearchSignature Global is currently developing 5 affordable housing projects in Haryana. It is also exploring opportunities for affordable housing projects in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

The Company has witnessed a strong response to its projects, with each of them getting oversubscribed by almost 3 – 4 times at the time of launch.

“Our Endeavour is to provide good quality homes within committed timelines to all our customers. We currently have a pipeline of more than 7,500 homes in Gurgaon.’’ Signature Global Chairman and Co-Founder, Pradeep Aggarwal said.

He added, “As we are focusing on affordable housing, we will use these funds to add more projects. We are pleased to have Prudential ICICI fund as our financial partner and hope for a long and growing relationship.”

KPMG India Private Limited acted as financial advisor to Signature Global for the transaction.

Signature Global (India) Private Limited was formulated, as one of the key stakeholders of the SMC Group. SMC Group is the financial investment group with a pan-India presence. The primary business of Signature Global (India) Private Limited has been to offer financial solutions par excellence.

An attractive market for first time homebuyers

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News Point: For the first time homebuyers and end users, it is equal opportunity market in Mumbai.

Akshay Tritiya, Festival home buying, Real estate Exclusive news, Home purchase on Akshay Tritiya, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Indian property market, Track2Realty, NRI investmentRecently a homebuyer asked a very basic question to a consultant as to whether he should buy an apartment on Akshay Tritiya this year. The buyer, Dharmesh Verma, believes in the auspicious spirit of the festival but his question was more on the timing, keeping in mind price index which has time and again been projected to correct. Most of the homebuyers, especially the first timers, get confused between the reports of correction and the ground realities.

The answer that the homebuyer got was even more basic but that explains the ground realities of the housing market dynamics at any given point of time. It is even more true in case of Mumbai today where the property market is equally poised and the rental values are rising; thus making sense for property purchase now.

“If you are an end user do not give any other thought and buy it now. But if you are an investor the answer depends upon your investment horizon. As an end user the market may not be the same for you again in Mumbai,” was the suggestion.

“This is going to be my first property and hence lots of questions in my mind are quite natural. But I have been advised by a number of experts that for an end user who is looking for a house to stay, this is the best time to buy. Pricing index and its movement is something that should bother the investors and not the end users. Over a long period of time appreciation is quite natural since the price point is very attractive at this point of time across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR),” says Verma.

Opportunity cost & benefit

  • Mumbai property equal opportunity market on Akshay Tritiya
  • Price point attractive, near-completion & ready to move options available
  • Salary hike this month catalysts to drive property market
  • A price hike post Akshay Tritiya on the cards

The slow moving market and slow pace of appreciation across the MMR might deter the spirit of the investors who have invested in multiple of properties, but not to the first time homebuyers. As a matter of fact, for the end users this is an equal opportunity market in Mumbai today as many near completion and ready to move properties are on offer. The best part is that the price point is today so very balanced that it may not be so post the Akshay Tritiya, keeping in mind the demand & supply equilibrium and the improving macro economic outlook.

Most of the analysts tracking the city property market maintain that the way economy is now consolidating and the new launches are lesser due to policy ambiguities along with hike in Ready Reckoner rates, a price appreciation post Akshay Tritiya is very much on the cards. The developers, on their part, have ignored the market signals and kept the price hike on hold since they have weathered a long spell of slowdown.

Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson of Nahar Group points out that the rates for the real estate have been quite stable for the last 18 months and this will remain unchanged for Akshay Tritiya. Of course, in most of the cases the revision has happened post Gudi Padwa. However developers usually come up with schemes and short-term incentives which are time bound to facilitate the buyers during this period.

“It is a strong belief that high value purchase on Akshay Tritiya brings in good luck. The market is witness to a lot of important transaction, purchase and launches taking place during this period. Purchase of home, which is once in life time occasion in most of the cases, is preferred to be bought during Akshay Tritiya. Developers also prefer to launch new projects on Akshay Tritiya as it brings in good luck. Considering all these factors, a buyer gets several options and choice of projects along with the advantage of launch rates which are slightly lower than the normal rate. For people looking at moving into ready to move apartments, they can take the advantage of ready facilities without waiting and moving into their own house on this auspicious occasion,” says Yagnik.

Dibyendu Banerjea, Director of Nouam feels that home buying is a very important decision as it involves an emotional as well as a rational aspect in the minds of Indian consumers. Festivals are considered to be prosperous and promising time for investments, especially Akshay Tritiya.

“Indian property market in recent times have witnessed an upward trend in terms of enquires and sales. Since, Akshay Tritiya is considered as an auspicious occasion for wealth creation and good fortune, developers at this time seek to capitalise on these festive sentiments via increased marketing efforts. In that respect, festivals like Akshaya Tritiya can act as a powerful market force,” says Banerjea.

Historically the festivals like Navratra, Diwali, Gudi Padwa and Akshay Tritiya have been powerful magnet to bring the homebuyers into the market. However, this time Akshay Tritiya makes even more sense because it is not only the festive spirit but the market momentum that is also poised to be in favour of the homebuyers. It is not something that Mumbai property market is always witness to, as the demand & supply dynamics more often than not keeps the market momentum tilted towards the sellers.

There is one more reason that promises to make this Akshay Tritiya count in Mumbai market. This year the salary appraisals have been quite decent in Mumbai and most of the industries have been witness to salary hike in the double digit. So, the newly found salary growth along with the luxury of choices in the property market makes it an ideal time for the prospective homebuyers to book an apartment now.

The catch here is the price point and the stage of construction of the properties across the MMR. The fundamentals are then proving to be catalyst to spurt the property transactions. Collectively, it looks like Akshay Tritiya this year might change the spell of slowdown in the Mumbai property market.

False promises land Amrapali Group in serious trouble

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News Point: Delayed possession and false promises land Amrapali Group in serious trouble, as homebuyers cry foul, celebrities backing off and political connections deserting.

Anil Sharma, Amrapali Group, India Real Estate News, Real Estate & Crime, Indian realty news, India property market, Noida real estate, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyAfter taking the homebuyers for a ride long enough, the Amrapali Group seems to have ran out of luck with the homebuyers taking to social media to mobilise support, the brand ambassador Mahender Singh Dhoni exiting as face saver and the political support to the builder deserting.

Amrapali Group, after much-publicised “Mission Possession” has only been diverting the attention of the buyers till the residents of Amrapali’s Saphhire project in Noida lost their patience and went viral on Twitter. They also tagged the brand ambassador Mahender Singh Dhoni in their tweets asking the cricketer to dis-associate himself from the builder.

Residents are complaining about the pending civil and electrical works in the project. The company said it would complete the same in next three months.

Amrapali Group CMD Dr Anil Sharma said, “Sometimes there are so many unforeseen reasons. There are so many force majeure, which are beyond the control of a developer. So, during those periods construction is stopped for two years, three years, four years, five years. Those period can’t be contracted. There are two losses, one is time loss, another is finance loss. We are not burdening that finance loss to our esteemed customers, but time loss we can’t make up. Ultimately, time loss has to be extended.”

As the homebuyers were welcoming the Dhoni’s rebuttal to Amrapali, another cricketer Harbhajan Singh tweeted: “Well done @msdhoni for dropping #Amarpali builders’ brand ambassadorship..they didn’t gave us VILLAS they announce after 2011 worldcup win”.

“At least they should give them houses who paid..may be announcing a villa for us .. was a publicity stunt,” he said in another tweet.

Reacting to Harbhajan’s complaints on social media, Amrapali CMD issued a press statement, “We offered these villas to World Cup winning team as to honour their efforts, for that we did not charge anything. Amrapali Group never denied to handover those villas, nor now.”

“In this duration, cricketers or their representatives did not ask about the status of their villas and also there were some relevant process and formalities need to be done from their end.

“Whenever they will ask us, we will share the required details of their villas with them. I would also like to clarify that the project is in final stage where villas were promised,” Sharma said.

However, it is not just a case of one or two projects of Amrapali Group getting delayed. The homebuyers allege most of their projects are delayed and they are just unresponsive to the buyers.

Over 4,000 buyers of the Group’s Golf Homes project are also the sufferers after the developer delayed the possession by about 15 months and allegedly stalling the construction work.

As if the ire of homebuyers and the celebrity cricketers was not enough, sensing the public mood even the political patronage of Amrapali Group has deserted. Anil Sharma, who contested Lok Sabha Elections on JD(U) ticket in 2014 found his party distancing itself from Dr. Sharma. The party’s General Secretary, K C Tyagi, said, “Anil Sharma for the last Lok Sabha Elections was on the ticket of JD(U), but after 15 days he was an independent candidate.”

Tyagi added, “As a member of the Real Estate Committee, I am on record to say that they (builders) must be prosecuted. I am with the buyers of Amrapali Golf Villas and stern action must be taken against him. Homebuyers must go to the court and they must present their case to the Parliamentarians. From the 25th, Parliament session will start and I am hopeful that entire Parliament, after passing the Real Estate Bill, will stand by the consumers.”

Once a powerful man as an influential builder with connections in cricket to film and politics, it is not just fall from grace for Anil Sharma, but could be termed as self-inflicted disaster. It is a learning curve for the builders who think they are too powerful to take the homebuyers for a ride.

By: Ravi Sinha

What regulatory bill will do for homebuyers?

Posted on by Track2Realty

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 

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