By: Ravi Sinha
In the last five years of our editorial journey our constant endeavor has been to establish Track2Realty as a constructive critic of Indian real estate. In the process we have also succeeded in setting up a few benchmark along the way where Track2Realty has been accepted as the milestone of high quality journalism.
This has indeed been challenging in an eco system where the market forces have been driving the journalistic practices to the marketing driven economy. Yet, if we are seen today on a different trajectory it is largely because we have managed to sail smoothly without any corporate financers or other vested interests having any stake with us.
What started as a consortium of journalists with a fair degree of commitment and passion for â€˜free, frank & fearlessâ€™ journalism has only scaled up qualitatively over a period of time. No wonder, in a media world where the advertisers are calling the shots and most of the publications succumbing to their demands, Track2Realty stands out as a thorough editorial initiative. We are here to empower the stakeholders with informed choices.
As a matter of fact, we are the only media group to be truly offering a â€˜niche publicationâ€™ and not â€˜another trade publicationâ€™. This has been possible because unlike very many other trade publications that focus on developers as their target readers, we know whom to address. The mushrooming trade publications and the developers who sail smoothly together with a mutual appreciation club are also conscious of our editorial integrity.
Not surprising, we have been at loggerheads many a times when the objectivity demands. A number of legal notices on our table are a testimony of the fact. To the extent possible, we have always stood our ground against the unethical practices in the industry.
Our target readers have therefore been institutional investors, banks & financial institutions, policy makers, NRIs & HNIs and other such influential groups. In the last five years we have managed to create a large databank of those who matter for the sustenance of Indian real estate. We have also developed a collaborative and participative relationship with the readers. Track2Realty is more about dialogue than monologue with the target groups.
As a matter of fact, Track2Realty Investment magnet Report 2015 is born out of this idea exchange with the influential group of readers. Since our brand rating has been quite popular among the investors and financial institutions across the globe, they approached us to rate & rank housing projects as well. One strong message that was coming out of our idea exchange for the last couple of years has been that while the Track2Realty Brand X Report empowers them with their understanding about the performance of the respective companies, they were equally curious to know which are the projects worth investing the money.
Frankly speaking, it took us quite some time to evaluate whether we should get into this kind of study and be open to a market perception that we are endorsing certain housing projects. However, this internal assessment also came as a blessing in disguise.
We took this decision making exercise to a level where with the help of some journalist friends and industry insiders we invited a brief feedback about ourselves. The market feedback has been that we are recognized across the sector as a no-nonsense journalistic venture with unquestionable editorial sanctity. This indeed has been a confidence booster for us to get into evaluation of housing projects.
The next challenge has been how to assess the 100 best projects. After all, this kind of editorial study has never been done in the history of Indian real estate. After a series of brain storming sessions we could finally develop ten metrics to evaluate the given project. Very much like our brand study year after year, we decided to be transparent in this process as well. We have hence explained the ten metrics and the reasons and rationale of these metrics preceding the listing of 100 best projects.
Once the metrics were developed our researchers travelled across the country, even some of the non-core markets of Indian real estate, for primary research and listing. The idea has been to pick up 100 housing projects that would be relevant for the year ahead as the investment magnet. So, the projects that are mostly sold out and near possession were valued lesser than those projects where the scope of investment and appreciation potential is brighter as of now. On the other extreme end, housing projects with no buyers around were valued even lesser.
Initially we picked up 500 projects from across the country. It was followed by the rigorous screening and evaluation on the defined metrics and was zeroed down to 300 and then 150. The real challenge started hereafter as certain cities and certain developers figured way higher than others. In a completely objective study the impression (as an outside view) would have probably been that based on the market performance of these cities we have been carried away by the leading developers in those markets. Moreover, this could have also defeated the purpose of a pan-India outlook for housing investment.
Hence, we worked on a fine balance of objectivity and subjectivity and decided to put a cap on the number of projects from one city and one developer. This has also been done to give the potential investors much broader geographical horizon by including a few Tier II and non-core markets that hold good potential for investment.
As said earlier, we believe in dialogue and collaborative & participative journalism. Feel free to give your feedback to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take your comments & feedback as our stepping-stone to scale up our high quality journalism even further.