Tag Archives: Real Estate News India

Mahindra Lifespaces–HDFC Capital affordable housing launches its first project

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News Point: Homes below INR 10 lakhs in Maharashtra’s newest district – Palghar.

Happinest Palghar Mahindra Lifespaces-HDFC Capital, JV & JD in Indian real estate, Palghar property, Boisar property, Mumbai real estate, Mumbai property launches, Affordable housing in Mumbai, Investment in Mumbai affordable housing, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Track2RealtyMahindra Lifespace Developers Limited (MLDL) has launched ‘Happinest – Palghar’ – the first affordable housing project to be undertaken by a joint platform between the Company and HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund-1 (‘HDFC Capital’), a fund managed by HDFC Capital Advisors Ltd.

Happinest – Palghar comprises around 850 thoughtfully designed apartments and community spaces on over 8 acres, with prices ranging from INR 8 lakhs to INR 24 lakhs.

Anita Arjundas, Managing Director, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd said, “The Affordable Housing segment is a key focus area for Mahindra Lifespaces, and will play an important role in our development journey.  We are delighted to kickstart 2018 with the launch of Happinest – Palghar, the first of multiple affordable housing projects envisioned under our joint venture with HDFC Capital.  Strategic locations, good connectivity and value for money products will be important determinants for our affordable housing projects.” 

Vipul Roongta, CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors Ltd, said, “HDFC Capital is committed to partnerships with trusted real estate brands, with good track record of development and delivery, and a long-term view of affordable housing.  Right-location, customer-focused projects such as Happinest – Palghar are the need of the hour, and will create sustainable value for home owners in India. This is one small step towards “Housing For All by 2022”, which HDFC ltd has been working on as a mission and business objective to take the government’s flagship scheme, ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)’, to the real beneficiaries.”

Happinest – Palghar offers comfortable and well-ventilated 1 RK, 1 BHK and 2 BHK homes amidst lush, green surroundings.  Residents of Happinest – Palghar will be able to derive all the benefits of owning a well-designed home with easy access to established social amenities, multiple connectivity options, and abundant employment opportunities.  Already a popular tourist destination and a thriving industrial hub in Maharashtra, Palghar has recently been identified by the state government for fast-tracked infrastructure development.  Construction work on a brand-new district headquarters is already underway. Furthermore, India’s first bullet train, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, is expected to include a halt near Palghar, thereby improving connectivity to Mumbai and opening avenues for further infrastructure creation and business growth.

Happinest – Palghar is a short drive from Palghar station, and is located minutes away from the MIDC in Boisar, which is home to over 1300 active industrial units.

Residents will have access to best-in-class features and amenities that will offer maximum value per square foot, together with ample socialisation opportunities; these include a common facility center, joggers track, cricket pitch, community hall, senior residents’ area, children’s play area and badminton court.  Multiple schools, colleges, hospitals, shopping centers, movie theatres, restaurants and retail outlets are also in close proximity to the project.

Eligible customers of Happinest – Palghar can avail the benefits of the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (URBAN)-Housing for All, resulting in savings of upto Rs 2.67 lakhs.

In line with Mahindra Lifespaces’ focus on sustainable urban development, Happinest – Palghar offers environment friendly living via energy-efficient wall and roof structures; grey water treatment facilities; LED lights for landscapes and street lighting; organic waste treatment and rainwater harvesting amenities.

Furthermore, Happinest – Palghar has been designed to be convenient for the differently-abled and senior citizens, with common areas that enable hindrance-free movement for both.  The project is pre-certified ‘Platinum’ under IGBC’s Green Affordable Housing Rating System.

Mahindra Lifespaces has been present in the affordable housing segment since 2014, through its category brand ‘Happinest’.  Around 1,500 units have been sold across the Company’s ongoing affordable housing projects in Chennai (Happinest, Avadi) and MMR (Happinest, Boisar); and over 1,100 homes have already been handed over.

Each Happinest project is certified by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), and utilises environment-friendly and energy-efficient materials and technologies to enable balanced and healthy living.  Happinest, Avadi has been conferred India’s first IGBC ‘Platinum’ certification for Green Affordable Housing. 

Happinest leverages innovative technologies and value engineering approaches to ensure quality and timely construction in a cost-effective manner.  MLDL has also focused on creating an ecosystem for access to home finance for its customers in the segment; this includes partnerships with NBFCs that survey the financial capability of prospective customers, and accordingly approve home loans.

SOBHA welcomes 17,000 crore for Bengaluru’s suburban rail

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Bottom Line: The Union Budget announcement to invest INR 17,000 crore towards developing the suburban rail network in Bengaluru is most significant and timely, says SOBHA in a statement.

Union Budget, Money, Rupees, Budget for home, track2Realty, India real estate news, Indian property market, Union Budget for real estate sector, Track2RealtySOBHA Limited has welcomed the announcement as it will address the issue of traffic congestion and help improve the infrastructure and productivity of the city.

As per the recent Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) Revised Master Plan 2031 report, Bengaluru’s 1.18 crore citizens waste 60 crore man hours annually. This translates to INR 3,700 crore, including INR 1350 crore on fuel alone, and the rest on productivity (man hour) loss.

To offset this kind of traffic congestion and productivity loss, the outlay planned and announced for the suburban rail in Bengaluru can prove most beneficial. This report has also recommended commuter rail system for certain strategic routes.

Bengaluru, the primary IT hub of India, has grown manifolds over the past decade, which has led to unprecedented influx of professionals from across the country. As a result, the suburbs such as Whitefield, Marathahalli, Varthur, Bellandur, Panathur, Balagere and Sarjapur along the Outer Ring Road (ORR),   have developed considerably, escalating the traffic woes. The proposed suburban line, which will connect Yeshwanthpur/Yelahanka to Anekal/Hosur, will help address the traffic concerns considerably.

J.C. Sharma, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, SOBHA Limited said, “The announcement made by the Hon’ble Finance Minister is a culmination of the concerted efforts made by the Hon’ble Union Railway Minister, Mr. Piyush Goyal; the Karnataka State Government; Mr. Arvind Limbavali, MLA, Bengaluru and Mr. P.C. Mohan, Member of the Parliament.”

Sharma stressed that the Outer Ring Road (ORR) is one of the fastest growing corridors in Asia and has witnessed a spurt of software companies, BPO’s, SEZ’s, malls and multiplexes, residential apartments, educational institutions and hospitals. This has also increased concerns of heavy traffic in these pockets, making it imperative for suburban railway line to ease the traffic in this belt.

He said, “The current infrastructure covers stations such as Yelahanaka, Yeshwanthpur, Byappanahalli, Marathahalli, Bellandur Road, Carmelaram, Heelallige Chandapura, Anekal & Hosur.  There is a large segment of office goers for the offices located in East Bangalore viz., K R Puram, Marathahalli, Bellandur, Sarjapur, Electronic city etc., The Suburban Railway System can also be synchronized with the Bangalore Metro at Byappanahalli Railway Station.”

He added, “We are hopeful that the Suburban Railway System at Bengaluru connects Yeshwanthpur/Yelahanka to Anekal/Hosur. This will help decongest the Bangalore City by shorter duration of travel time and less emissions due to vehicular traffic on the roads.  The prominent bottle necks for the traffic congestions like Silk Board junction and Tin factory junctions will have a sigh of relief due to air emissions which are increasing to alarming levels.”

The proposed suburban rail project will extend up to 160 kms and will be implemented by the Central and State Governments in a 50:50 ratio. Needless to add that the suburban rail will give the necessary fillip to the real estate in Bengaluru.

Freedom of traffic at Eastern Freeway in Mumbai

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Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Eastern Freeway has changed the travelling experiences and life for many in Mumbai.

Mumbai Eastern Freeway, Mumbai traffic, Mumbai infrastructure, housing projects near Eastern Freeway Mumbai, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Mumbai property news, Eastern Freeway accidents Rakesh Sharma, Vice President of a NBFC company knows the pains of living in Mumbai and commuting daily to work. He lives in Chembur and works at Nariman Point. For a long period he used to leave home at 7 in the morning to reach at 9. He recalls this as a safety valve to not get late when he was just working as a General manager and waiting to be promoted.

“It used to be a daily ordeal with snarl driving from Chembur to Sion to Byculla, Fountain and then Nariman Point. Though it was one and half hours drive but due to traffic bottlenecks I used to leave early and then reach 45 minutes before the office opened. It followed up with same kind of late return everyday,” points out Sharma.

Life changed for him in the last 3-4 years with the Eastern Freeway. Now he travels to same office in 40-45 minutes. The new route via Eastern Freeway to Carnac Bridge and then Nariman Point is what he never visualized as a reality earlier.

He recalls most of the people coming from South Mumbai used to take the service road that went through the Bhakti Park residential pocket to exit for Wadala and the Eastern Express Highway. Commuting experience can change the mood of the travellers as well.

“I can give some quality time to family. It is not that beyond the Eastern Freeway there are no traffic challenges. As a matter of fact, immediately after the Eastern Freeway there is traffic bottleneck as the traffic diversion towards the West and South cause some delays. But then it is normally a moving traffic,” says Sharma.

Eastern Freeway is not just a 17km road stretch that considerably cuts down travel time between South Mumbai and Chembur, it is a lifeline for working class in this part of the world.

The best part, as Sharma, feels is that you come across happy faces while going to office. It is not like the earlier traffic stuck hassled and tensed look of the commuters.

The best part that this finance professional feels is that along with the ease of travel time and experience, the property value of his Chembur house has appreciated to a considerable extent.

“I do not feel like not being a part of South Mumbai as well where I can hangout after office hours without much stress about how and when to return home,” shares Sharma.

Social media adoption in Indian real estate

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Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Social media is the key in real estate but over-reliance on social media alone without strategy won’t work.

Social Media Sites, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property new, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Track2Media, Track2RealtyRecently in the wake of a sting of bad press, a leading real estate developer handed over its crisis management to the PR agency which suggested the exclusive social media solutions, since in their understanding the target audience has been net savvy.

The developer was so harassed that he never bothered to introspect as to whether the social media is fast taking over the prime time or there is a strategic PR dilemma which is leading to over reliance on this new age medium.

No practitioner of brand management would today refuse to be a proponent of social media, but the role of social media is effective only when one makes use of a prudent media mix, including the traditional media, television and social media.

PR continues to be the weakest link in the value chain of communication in real estate

Over reliance on social mediareflects strategic PR dilemma in the sector that is more concerned with ‘how to do it’ than ‘why to do it’

Misleading the audience with advertising and other forms of communication, including planted news, is a global phenomenon

Unfortunately, what is happening is that like in the early days of Web design, SEO, PPC, email, and banners before it, there is too much swooning and not enough thinking about social media right now. PR professionals are so engrossed in ‘how to use it’ that they often do not even think ‘why to use it’.

The philosophy of relying on the exclusive use of social media under the pretext of the target audience being net savvy is actually an anti-thesis of communication for branding. This is because the very ethos of branding suggests that the brand is built by audience far greater than those who actually use the product. But at times such quick-fix solutions seem to be a win-win situation for both the agency and the client, since this agency also quotes the least price in the competitive pitch.

It seems a few positive stories about big-ticket real estate deals happening over social media has made the developers across the country vouch for the use of new age technology to spread the awareness campaign. The PR profesionals are also not just obsessed but also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder as far as the use of social media is concerned. Of course, it makes their job easier when they do not have to deal with the traditiona journalists who demand a news copy and not all that crap in the name of news.

The role of social media in the Indian real estate becomes all the more critical in India since there have not been very many scientific studies to understand the audience’s concern which is always critical to the success of any PR campaign.

Public Relations strategy is all about the process of identifying what is top of mind in a community and relating your brand, product, organisation or campaign to what is most relevant to your community. That process is really all about listening to your audience and making what you have today relevant to their concerns.

Many of the PR practitioners today are trying to convince the developers that social media is ready for prime time and that they should forsake all other forms of publicity. That is probably a wishful thinking which is too ahead of its time. While consumers clearly want to engage with brands in social media, the number of social media users, though growing fast, is not yet overwhelmingly large.

Moreover, the fallacy of ‘we’ll engage with our customers and let them do our publicity for us by telling their friends’ reads well in a marketing plan, but is exceptionally difficult to execute unless the brand value of the developer is compelling in a way that most simply are not.

What has become fancy but unavoidable today is that more for the proactioners’ own convenience than any strategic reasons they often try to convince the clients for the use of social media. This saves the agency from the dirty job of dealing with the journalists who belong to the traditional media. Social media channels can be highly effective public relations tools, but they can not replace traditional media entirely. Successful public relations programs meld social media and traditional media with other communications tools and techniques.

Can budget offer bonanza for real estate?

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Track2Realty Budget Exclusive

Bottom Line: The state of economy leaves little room for the Finance Minister to grant any budget wish to the real estate sector.

Union Budget, Union Budget 2016-17, Finance Minister, Housing demand in Budget, Fiscal Deficit, Monetary Policy, Repo Rate, NRI investment, India real estate news, Indian property market, Track2Realty, Budget disappoints real estateA budget bonanza is a wish that businesses across the sectors dream about and real estate is no exception. Real estate, as a matter of fact, has to its claim being the key contributor of GDP and job market, besides accelerating a number of allied industries through backward and forward linkages.

However, today on the eve of Union Budget 2018-19 the critical issue is whether the state of economy allows the government to grant a bonanza.  Forget any bonanza, the economists are even pondering whether the economy would allow the Finance Minister to address the legitimate concerns of real estate.

Beyond the routine optimistic overtones on part of the stakeholders of Indian real estate this is one question that is on the top of the mind of everyone. After all, the growth forecast has been corrected and subdued and the key indicators along with industries not picking up as expected.

The underline fact is that the Union Government has very little to offer substantive for real estate as far as the budget is concerned. The former Reserve Bank of India Bimal Jalan has stressed the need to have a balance between fiscal and economic growth.

Contradicting budget compulsions & expectations 

State of economy demands prudent fiscal policy with little populist incentives

Banks are flush with funds but NPAs also rising

Slow job market indicates liberal lending for home buying could be counter-productive

With General Elections 2019 in mind, Finance Minister would be tempted to incentivise middle class 

There is no denying that the focus of the Finance Minister would be to revive demand in the market. However, any largesse or grant to long-standing demands of the sector is highly unlikely. This also includes demands on behalf of the middle class salaried homebuyers.

The developers nevertheless have their own reasons to be optimistic. JC Sharma, VC & MD of Sobha Ltd feels that if the government offers calibrated incentives to the homebuyers, in addition to schemes such as Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) under PMAY, the customers who are fence sitters will be enthused to buy homes.

“If there are schemes or incentives for homebuyers who are single mothers, retirees, physically disabled and other vulnerable sections of the society, it will bring a larger section of people to invest in a property, augmenting the demand for housing. Idea is to address genuine demands of large section of the population by enabling a reasonable set of incentives. This will give fillip to the entire sector, which has been facing challenges for the past few years,” says Sharma.

Ashish R Puravankara, MD of Puravankara asserts that real estate is the second largest employer in India after agriculture. The sector is hopeful for the incentives as these incentives promoting growth will create employment opportunities across the sector and eventually be a catalyst to better the economy. A longer-term view must be maintained in terms of the ROI on the sops provided to the industry, he says.

Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group believes it is not the state of economy but the state of banks that would encourage the Finance Minister to incentivize the home buying. According to him, though there are certain roadblocks in terms of the less than expected economic growth but on a macro level the fundamentals are loaded in favour of the homebuyers, if not the developers.

“Today, the banks are flush with funds and they need one or the other lending driven sectors to grow. Now real estate is the only sector that is appreciating asset class, unlike the automobile that is depreciating asset. The finance Minister has no choice but to incentivize the home buying where the risks are less since the product keeps appreciating constantly. My personal view is that if the homebuyers are incentivized with the Union Budget the business of real estate is resilient enough to bounce back,” says Hawelia.

The state of the economy, on a realistic level, leaves little room for the budget bonanza. Though there might be some relief for the homebuyers but that also is expected for the buyers at the bottom of the pyramid. With the government already looking forward to 2019 General Elections, some symbolic relief could also be expected for the middle class but the financial compulsions of the Finance Minister does not give hope of a budget bonanza. Balance between farm growth and infrastructure growth would be the key a year before the elections.

By: Ravi Sinha


Budget expectations for buyers & builders contradict

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Track2Realty Budget Exclusive

Bottom Line: The homebuyers and the builders are not always on the same page as far as their wishes and expectations with the Union Budget are concerned.

Union Budget, Union Budget 2016-17, Finance Minister, Fiscal Policy, Fiscal Deficit, Monetary Policy, Budget disappoints real estate, Incentive for home buying, NRI investment, Track2Realty, India real estate news, Indian property marketA friendly budget is always on the wish list of everyone. Across the industries the stakeholders, including the consumers, have more or less the same expectations with the Finance Minister to call it a friendly budget. But in the context of the Indian real estate a friendly budget for the sector does not necessarily mean a homebuyer friendly budget.

The developers for some strange reasons have always been myopic when it comes to budget expectations. On the face of it, they won’t shy away demanding measure that would encourage the buyers. However, anyone closer to the power corridors in the Finance Ministry would be knowing how lobbying has always been for the long standing, often unreasonable, demands for the sector.

On the eve of the Union Budget 2018-19, the question is yet again the same. Whether the budget should be buyer friendly or the builder friendly. Are both the stakeholders on the same page this time around?

To understand this contradiction, let us first see what are on top of the wish list of the homebuyers. These are:   

Reduction in income tax slabs

Lower rate of interest on home loans

Reduction of GST

Stamp Duty reduction

Increase in cap on interest and principle deductions

Restriction on loss from house property 

Now let us see what a large universe of the developers is lobbying for. These are:  

Industry status

Capital for land investments in the affordable segment

Single window clearance/smoother approval process

Reduction of LTCG Holding Period for REITs

Ashish R Puravankara, Managing Director of Puravankara tries to balance the debate when he says that budget in itself a delicate affair, a tough balancing act of allocating necessary resources to every sector for a nation with such diversity and population. So, the best we can hope for that is something for everyone which is enough for both industry and buyers and no one feels excluded.

“Some the critical concerns with the developer fraternity will lie in the realm of policy implications, approvals and sanctions, and ease of doing business. For the homebuyers the concerns remain of price-points, developer reputation, quality of end product. While RERA may have abated some of these direct concerns, the larger picture of economic stability and also job security is where the common man’s hopes lie with the Union Budget,” says Puravankara.

JC Sharma, VC & MD of Sobha Limited admits that while the sector has seen some forward-looking reforms in the recent past, it still has concerns that needs to be addressed. One of them is the demand for industry status for the sector as a whole. In the Union budget 2017-18, the infrastructure status was conferred to only the affordable housing segment, not the entire sector. With the industry status, the sector will be able to secure funding for their projects at reasonable interest rates, which will spur new launches and better quality projects.

“It will enable developers to deliver projects on time as well. This will, in turn, augment well for employment generation, ‘housing for all’ and build the right eco system. Similarly, the tedious approval process for a project leads to delay in delivery of projects and increase the project cost in the range of 10 to 30 percent. Therefore, it is important to have a ‘single window clearance’, a long-waited demand of the realty sector,” says Sharma.

Aditya Kedia, Managing Director – Transcon Developers maintains that the buyers and the developers go hand in hand. If the Acts like RERA benefits the buyers it gives boost to the sector, increases transparency in the sector which ultimately benefits the sector altogether. The relaxation in income tax for first homebuyers, reduction in the HRA limit, high tax savings on home loan and home insurances are some of the much needed expectations from the homebuyers.

“The root cause of all the delays or cost overrun of various projects are somehow linked with the delay in approvals. Developers expect from the government to come up with some mechanism which makes the ease of doing business a reality for the sector. One Window Clearance and Digitization at larger scale in the sector is the need of the hour,” says Kedia.

The sector has been rhetoric with its oft repeated self-glory that real estate sector contributes significantly to India’s GDP with about 6-7 percent. The housing sector alone contributes around 5-6 percent to this. It also plays an important role in accelerating infrastructure development and capital investment. Further, there are claims that the positive effects of the sector are mirrored amply on the ancillary industries such as tiles, paints, fittings and fixtures, cement and steel etc.

More importantly, the sector claims to be the second largest employment generator in the country. This clearly reflects the critical role played by the real estate sector in driving the economy. Therefore, they assert that it is imperative for an ideal budget to focus on the sector where the impetus is on strengthening the ecosystem by taking care of the interests of developers and the buyers alike.

Unfortunately, in this argument and demand of the sector, the buyer is not at the core of the budget wish list. No one is bothered to address the pain point that the buyers are increasingly deserting the housing market. And the buyers have not much to expect in a financial eco system where de-growth in jobs is a big deterrent in home buying. If only the Finance Minister could address this, most of the issues of the buyers and the builders would be settled.

By: Ravi Sinha

Puravankara to invests INR 600 crores in affordable housing project

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News Point: Provident Park Square is Puravankara’ s first launch of 2018 and marketed through ‘Book Building Process’ to determine home prices through a transparent, scientific supply-demand model. 

Provident Park Square, Puravankara, Ashish Puravankara, Puravankara affordable housing, Provident housing, IPO style home selling, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Investment in Bengaluru property, Track2RealtyPuravankara Limited has launched its first premium affordable housing project of the year – Provident Park Square -  in a joint venture between Puravankara Limited (Developer on record) and Keppel Puravankara Development Pvt. Ltd. (Landowner).

With an investment of INR 600 crores, Provident Park Square at Judicial Layout, Kanakapura Road, Bangalore, is a mixed development project which caters to the needs of the new age home buyer.

Like a micro mall, the property includes restaurants, retail stores and many more such lifestyle amenities. The property is being developed using state-of the art precast technology.

Provident Park Square is in line with Puravankara’s ambitious plan of developing 10 million sq ft of affordable housing projects through the next 13- 15 months.

Ashish R. Puravankara, Managing Director, Puravankara Limited says, “After some interesting times in 2017, we are optimistic about 2018 being a great year for the industry. The launch of Provident Park Square has kick-started our journey for 2018 and we are confident that the world class design and high quality amenities will truly be the first of its kind in the affordable space. The Government’s strategic initiatives and the country’s encouraging economic growth have fuelled greater interest in the affordable housing segment.  Affordable housing not only triggers a robust growth for the sector, but also enables a higher GDP for the economy.” 

The project is being taken to market through an innovative Quasi Book Building method, where the price discovery process is driven by data from fundamental ‘Demand-Supply’ metrics. The pre-booking process, currently open at this point of time, offers the complete product information to prospective buyers, along with a ‘Price-Band’ for each type of unit within the project.

Expressions of interest from prospective buyers help analyse the demand base for the project, which drives a data driven approach to the eventual pricing decision, which would be announced by mid-March 2018.

All customers during the pre-booking process will be allotted units of their choice, based on first-cum-first-serve queuing methodology. While early adopters / buyers will be at the top of the queue and hence get access to a wider choice of units, all buyers during this process will be offered a “Uniform Base Price”, there-by improving transparency in the customer buying process.

The Home buying process from time immemorial has depended on “Brute-force negotiation” between buyers and the seller. The Quasi Book building method eliminates this wasteful exercise and introduces a transparent yet competitive manner of price discovery and selling of real estate, which becomes even more essential in the “Low-Margin-High-Volume’ affordable housing space.

The first phase of Provident Park Square will be ready by 2021.

Livability index adds to second home charm of Lonavala

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Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: A traditional holiday home destination, Lonavala has high livability index to attract the investors.  

Lonavala Holiday Home Destination, Lonavala Weekend homes, Lonavala second homes, Investment in Lonavala, Properties in Lonavala, Mumbai holiday home destination, Mumbai holiday home destination, Mumbai weekend home destination, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Track2RealtyMayur Patil, the property developer who operates in and around Thane was surprised when Rashmi Garg, an NRI from Britain, insisted that she would invest only in Lonavala as her holiday home. Though he had scouted for many quality options in and around Mumbai and Pune, this NRI lady was adamant on her choice of Lonavala as the second home destination. A few interaction later, Patil could understand the method into this madness.

“An outside view might give the impression that all these options of second homes are more or less identical but they are not. While greenery and open spaces are the USPs of most of the second homes, none can match the scenic view that this hill station provides. Add to it, the connectivity and the social infrastructure of the destination. In terms of the overall quality of life, anyone who knows about Lonavala will not settle for any other location,” says Patil.

As a matter of fact, it is the overall livability index that gives Lonavala a cutting edge over other peer second home locations. Moreover, it is as well connected with Mumbai as with Pune. Thus, it is an ideal weekend destination for the residents of both the cities.

Lonavala is about 64 kilometers from the city of Pune and 96 kilometers from the city of Mumbai. In terms of connectivity, Lonavala is on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway by road and is well connected to several other towns of Khopoli, Karjat, Talegaon Dabhade, etc.

Even Navi Mumbai is around 50 kms form Lonavala. Analysts believe that once Navi Mumbai international airport is ready, Lonavala property market will attract more premium.

What makes Lonavala all the more tempting proposition is that it offers the greenery and the kind of livability index that not many markets in and around Mumbai or Pune can match. The kind of open spaces and emerging social infrastructure that this location has, it often gives the indication of living outside the mad rush of Mumbai & Pune and be in the lap of nature.

A study by Track2Realty finds Lonavala to be among the three most desirable weekend home destination, with Goa and Kasauli being the other two. The study finds that the HNIs and the NRIs are most bullish on these locations. And there is a reason to it. Apart from the quality of relaxed life, the investors who were among the first movers in these locations have been rewarded with sizeable appreciation as well.

Lonavala attractions

Green scenic beauty of the region USP of Lonavala

Livability index high in Lonavala

Relatively lower cost of property & high appreciation potential turns Lonavala investment magnet 

Lonavala has been known for its green pastures, the location has undergone a sea change in the last few years. Apart from its natural beauty that has regularly drawn visitors to this place, Lonavala has also seen several new developments for those on the look out for entertainment and adventure, making it a perfect combination. With lots to offer, there is no wonder that Lonavala is shaping out to be an ideal investment hot spot.

The recent developments elevate Lonavala above a mere holiday home destination. More importantly, for those families where members are working in both the cities of Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala is the ideal answer as the first home destination as well.

Alok Jha – Manager, Research & REIS, JLL India says it also is likely to become a satellite town for both Pune and Navi Mumbai in the future. Given the economic activity and employment generation in Navi Mumbai – which now has the potential to become a serious office district – Lonavala can mature from a mere weekend getaway into a residential investment hotspot and end user driven market.

“Once the Navi Mumbai international airport becomes operational, Lonavala will stand to benefit from excellent air connectivity. The rising office stock both in Mumbai and Pune has increased the demand for training centers in the region, and Lonavala is already home to the corporate training centers of L&T and Tata,” says Jha.

Lonavala is so much in demand today that it may emerge as the first home destination in the next few years. Already the attraction quotient of Lonavala is so high among the young generation looking to relaxed lifestyle that many of them are also buying Lonavala as their first home.

Most of the analysts tracking the property market in this part of the world point out that in Mumbai and Pune rapidly increasing population density, grueling commutes and extremely high real estate costs have compromised the quality of life.

The best part is that the Lonavala property is quite affordable for second home investments. While the prices of apartments are in the range of Rs. 3,000 per square feet to Rs. 4,000 per square feet, the independent villa would cost between Rs. 5,000 per square feet to Rs. 7,000 per square feet. Isn’t it a tempting proposition for those in need of some relaxed lifestyle in the lap of nature?

By: Ravi Sinha 


Market intelligence lacking in Indian real estate

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Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Market intelligence is a critical missing link in the Indian real estate and developers’ gut feeling is what leads to decision making.  

Market intelligence, Real estate market intelligence, Real estate due diligence, Research in Indian real estate, Data analysis in property market, Information gap in real estate, Market survey in real estate, Market analysis of Indian real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news,  Track2RealtySome call it market intelligence and not due diligence where the focus should be more on the micro markets than general trends which could be misleading. However, there are many grey areas where in the absence of proper research and reliable data even the assessment of ground realities is not feasible.

Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments agrees over the need for proper due diligence across the real estate sector.  He says whether it is developers purchasing land, investors investing in projects, housing finance companies approving projects or customers purchasing homes; due diligence is needed at every level. Over the years, each of these segment of players in the real estate sector have burnt their fingers for some reason or the other in the absence of due diligence.

“We have already seen a far greater degree of scrutiny from HFIs (Home Finance Institutions) when it comes to checking the approval documents for projects. Unfortunately, the homebuyers still do not undertake the requisite amount of due diligence especially when buying homes from fly-by-night operators masquerading as professional developers.  The cost of reasonable due diligence often is less than one month’s EMI and this offers peace of mind through 240 months of loan repayment.  Yet, customers blindly believe that they will not be victims and they go forth without proper due diligence,” says Gera.

Indian realty, as a matter of fact, lacks proper research and data for the necessary due diligence. Unfortunately, it is not on the agenda of industry bodies like CREDAI and NAREDCO since a transparent due diligence mechanism across the built environment of real estate will expose the developers also to various disclosure norms. A not-so-transparent eco system may not help the developers, it nevertheless suits them because transparency empowers the homebuyers and equips them to force the builders bring closer to best practices in the business.

What is an ideal due diligence and data point for the sector? The nature of the business is such that there cannot be any thumb rule, maintain analysts tracking the sector. For example, forget corporate governance and transparency, even the accounting norms are complex. Time and again, accounting scandals and unexpected losses prove that what is ‘off’ the books is often more important that what is ‘on’ the books.

Developers glorify ‘location, location & location, but never go beyond land competence to develop destinations

Due diligence mechanism is missing and developers’ gut feeling leads to decisionmaking

No focus on need-based housing like affordable & mass housing, senior housing, child-centric housing and serviced residences

It is only through a detailed review of financial disclosures that such exposures can be uncovered. Cash flow is another critical area as more often companies go bankrupt because they run out of cash, not earnings. The due diligence agency can focus on the sustainability of cash flows of the given company, not just earnings.

It will be beneficial for the developers as well because often they have limited expertise in a particular sector of real estate or geographical territory. As a result, they are faced with situations where they are looking to venture into new markets, or alternatively, are evaluating the development of new domain expertise into residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, institutional or industrial verticals within regions where they already have a strong presence.

As India talks about Housing4All today the debate has mainly focused around the country’s failure to construct affordable and mass housing. The fact of the matter is that the developers have failed to create need-based housing in general; reason why there is so much of demand & supply mismatch.

Experience across the industries suggests that the product must be customized according to the need of the buyers to command a premium on aspiration. This conventional wisdom of market does not hold true for the housing market, it seems.

By: Ravi Sinha

Builders need to learn dialogue with buyers

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Commnication in the Indian real estate is all about monologue than dialogue. Within the offices the developers adopt this strategy with the employees and for the outside world the strategy is rolled out through advertising and public relations 

Communication, Dialogue, Builder Buyer interaction, Builder buyer conflict, Non communicative builders, Monologue of builders, Builders avoiding buyers, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Investment in real estate, Track2RealtyThe real estate sector is in dire need to communicate an connect with the stakeholders and society at large. In the name of communication all that they do is to hire a PR (Public Relations) agency for the purpose of brand building but do not understand what is communication in the right context.

The absence of skilled communication professionals makes the matters even worse. And media is not ready to take the industry and its practitioners who, more often than not, do not even read what they themselves send to the journalists on beat.

The Indian real estate has by and large failed to communicate & connect with the stakeholders in the right spirit

Some of the real estate advertising has evoked sharp criticism and outrage for being class-conscious than classy

Communication of Indian developers is more about monoligue than dialogue

The question is whether comunication is the weakest link in the list of best practices for the Indian real estate. The opinion may be divided over the weakest link, but what cannot be doubted or debated is the fact that media greedy developers do not understand how to connect with the media. More importantly, they do do not know the importance of connecting with all the stakeholders and keeping the communication uniform; something that will definitely cut short the role of the media.

The developer, in their quest to get noticed, often end up revealing the deepest instincts of their target audience. And when they cross the level of sensibilities, they generated public outrage as well. For example, recently a Lodha Group advertisement for a luxury residential project read, “You worked your way up to rise above the crowds. Not live with them.” While real estate groups routinely emphasise ‘exclusivity’ to their potential customers, this advertisement was criticised to be a new low for high-end projects.

While this was perhaps remarkable for its pointed and blatant reference to ‘the crowds’, other advertisements also strike a similar chord. For example, another project of Lodha group, emphasises that one of its projects features ‘Thane’s first by-invitation’ residences, and that people who buy houses in the project will ‘live a life only a handful will have the privilege to enjoy’.

Housing projects exemplify this trend of underlining exclusivity and privilege to potential customers the best. That is perhaps because they address multiple instincts—including security, comfort, ideas of purity and pollution and class consciousness. Gated communities are structured in such a way that they keep the ‘underclass’ at an arm’s length, allowing them inside for the sole purpose of serving the residents of the enclave.

In some cases, housing projects also explicitly aim at keeping out people with certain food choices. For example, a developer in Mumbai and another Chennai tried to promote vegetarian-only apartments. The fact that these factors formed the basis of a marketing pitch indicated that the company believed that they would work with their target audience.

But class consciousness does not reflect only in terms of the amenities available or the people it ostensibly keeps out. Even names bring with them their own set of biases. For example, in Mumbai, developers are resorting to names like ‘New Cuffe Parade’ and ‘Upper Worli’ to increase the market value of their projects. And hence, Lower Parel is rebranded as Upper Worli, as the former is associated with a working-class mill district.

So, while there has been much criticism of such advertising pitches, they only reflect existing biases and social divisions. Needless to say, such insensitive advertisements lead to Internet outrage. But it seems all that the developers believe is that the very purpose of an advertisement is to evoke response, no matter for right reasons or wrong reasons.

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