Real estate is always an asset

Improvement in the overall economic sentiment coupled with liquidity due to a recent upswing in the equity markets has renewed consumer faith in real estate.
Developer Vijay Wadhwa advises parents to go for real estate investment for their child’s future. He further said, “Real estate is the best long-term investment. It remains in your child’s name, and the appreciation in value over the years makes it a safe and secure option. Or even while planning for your old age, real estate is always an asset”.

Looking at the current market scenario, Wadhwa points out that market sentiments are improving, and real estate is among the biggest beneficiaries. He said, “After witnessing slow movement over the past few months, Mumbai is seeing an increase in demand in the residential sector. Additionally, increasing focus on affordable housing for low and middle income groups has resulted in the launch of several low cost projects, most of which are concentrated in the peripheries of Mumbai. This has also opened up new investment options for those who did not have bigger investment units or major amounts that could be invested”.

Further he says, “Softening of home loan interest rates and correction in capital values by some developers has resulted in the anticipation of increased demand during the festive season,” says Narpat Mehta, director, Kanakia Group. “We are expecting an increase in demand from both end users as well as investors”.

Omaxe may raise prices

Real estate developer Omaxe Ltd may raise prices this financial year and plans to launch four new projects over the next two months on rising demand, its chairman said.
Mr. Rohtas Goel said, “Demand might be robust. I will increase prices very soon, in single digits within this year”.
The firm will invest fifteen billion rupees on the new projects, Goel said, adding he expects revenues of 23 billion rupees from the projects over 30 months.
India’s property market is recovering from a bottom hit earlier this year, and analysts say much of the demand will be from middle-income and affordable housing.

Real Estate Looking Forward

The reactions to real estate market are mixed. The looking up of this market in the US economy has raised some hopes in the Indian markets too. Various real estate companies have expressed that the market is looking up, and is likely to improve in the coming days, but some companies are skeptical and want to see actual results flowing in before commenting.
There has been some increased activity on the real estate market front in the recent weeks and this has raised some hopes. The media also reported that the prices of houses would not drop down further indicating that there is stability in the market.
The following weeks would be crucial and they could decide which way the market would go in the coming weeks.

Indian developers set sights on Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is taking small steps to revitalize its shabby forty billion dollar economy. Delegates from the Sri Lanka board of investment met officers from real estate giants for investments and have liberal rules governing businesses.

It aims to spend twenty million dollar in encouraging the nation for global tourists.

Ravi Puravankara, MD-Puravankara group, said, “With the civil war over, we are seeing a huge demand for housing”. The group is planning to launch a villa project in Colombo. Further he added, “We have already initiated the land acquisition process”.

The Sri Lankan government is aiming an FDI of two billion dollars by next year. According to government statistics, Sri Lanka received $889 million in FDI during last year and four hundred million dollars, so far, this year. The Board of Investment refused to comment on how much it expects the Indian real estate developers to invest.

Loans set to get costlier

The Reserve Bank of India may step up its efforts to pre-empt another bubble in the local property market by increasing the cost of funds for the commercial real estate sector by up to 200 basis points.
According to an RBI official, “We are looking at a hike in the risk weight to the commercial real estate segment to 125% as a measure to ward off another bubble in the real estate segment and to ensure high credit quality”.
These days interest rates on most of the loans are between 7.5% and 12.5%, depending on the credit rating of the borrowing company. The current move will make loans to this segment costlier by 75-200 basis points.
Bank finance for land development is classified as CRE if the source of repayment would be lease rentals. The segment has started showing signs of revival after an earlier-than-expected recovery of the country’s economy from a demand slump.
The measure could affect the financial health of some of the largest real estate firms of the country, which were forced to sell land banks and projects to meet their cash requirements. A similar move by the RBI in 2007 had resulted in a crash in property prices. Though the central bank was criticised for the measure, the global financial crisis in 2008 proved that it was a step in the right direction.
Till mid-November last year, the risk weight to loans secured by commercial real estate was 150%, which was brought down to 100% by the banking regulator to facilitate credit flow to the sector that was reeling under a demand slump.
High exposure of some banks in the segment may have prompted RBI to consider such a measure, said the chairman of a government-run bank. “A major chunk of the non-food credit off-take in the recent months went to the real estate segment,” he said, requesting anonymity. However, an increase in risk weight by 25% points will have only limited impact, he added.

Residential property prices rise

The upward movement has begun. Not only have the sales picked up, but the prices of residential property too have increased 5-15 % in the last couple of months. With a long festive season ahead, realty experts believe property markets could see heightened activity, provided developers desist from increasing prices of residential space any further.

Aditi Vijayakar, the executive director (Residential Services, India) of Cushman and Wakefield, said, “The festive season (September-December) has historically been a buying period, with a large chunk of overall sales being converted during this auspicious time. Some developers see as much as 30-40 % of the yearly sales taking place during the festive season”. Further she pointed out, “Residential prices have increased by 5-15 % from the bottom it made in the first half of the year. If the developers continue to raise the prices then the renewed demand and interest that is being witnessed will start to abate”.

She added, “The previous year has been a taxing one for the real estate industry and the initial signs of recovery are evident in the market, and as most of the sales happen during the festive periods, developers have to be cautious not to hike prices in projects and new launches as this will drive out the end users and prolong the revival in the residential space”.

According to the expert, almost all cities are registering a rise in sale as transactions had frozen up during the start of the year. But now as the economy has stabilized and is back on the growth trajectory, there is a revived interest in buying homes by end users and this increase in confidence, better economy, favorable borrowing conditions and rationalized capital values amongst others which is promoting rising sales across India.

Vijaya Bank looking at business from NRI accounts

Vijaya Bank has prepared a blueprint for taking its business from NRI accounts to five thousand crore rupees by 2011.
At present, NRI accounts contribute almost thirteen hundred crore rupees to its consolidated business volume.
Vijaya Bank Chairman and MD Albert Tauro said, “We are working on ‘Mission NRI 5000’ to grow to five thousand crore rupees in the segment by financial next year”.
Further he added, “We plan to grow both in terms of clients and volume in this segment, especially in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but it would need some seeding time”.
Besides, the bank has taken lead in financial inclusion and branch-less banking by opening almost a million no-frill accounts.
He added, “We will soon launch mobile banking facility and up our number of branches and ATMs to 1200 and 500, respectively, across India”.
He pointed, “Our CASA stands at 24% and we are targeting CASA level of 28% by the end of current financial year”.
Tauro informed, “The bank has successfully brought down its cost of deposit and raised yield on deposit. This has improved our net interest margin from 1.68% to 2.38%”.
The bank had so far restructured and rescheduled Rs 2,400 crore worth of loans, especially to the MSME, housing and real estate sectors.
The CMD was in town to inaugurate ten new branches in Lucknow region. The branches were opened in Lucknow, Badaun, Fatehpur, Hardoi, Pilibhit, Sultanpur and Hathras districts.

Mumbai expects highest residential space demand

Mumbai is expected to see the highest demand for residential space of approximately 16.40 lakh units due to the large scale urbanization. The mid-scale and affordable housing in suburban and peripheral areas will be the focus of this demand. However, the demand for office space would be approximately 23.7 million square feet, which is lower than that in Bangalore, Chennai and NCR.

The demand for hospitality in Mumbai is expected to be strong at over 98,500 room-nights, by virtue of the fact that the city is regarded as the financial capital of India and therefore the volume of both domestic and foreign business travelers is expected to grow steadily. Demand for retail is expected to be 6.19 million square feet.
On the other hand, Pune is expected to see the highest compounded annual growth in retail demand at 51% due to the current favorable demographics. The total expected demand for retail in Pune is approximately 1.76 million square feet. Office demand in Pune is expected to be 21.7 million square feet.

Bangalore emerges as a clear preference for sectors like office and retail, while it comes a close third in the residential and hospitality segments . Bangalore is expected to see the highest demand for office space in 2009-2013 of approximately 34 million square feet.

Developers show anger for new bill

A draft bill on real estate regulator that will protect the interest of home buyers by ensuring a transparent and healthy real estate sector has drawn the anger of developers.
According to Mr. Kumar Gera, Chief-CREDAI, “The government is trying to play nanny to the home purchaser”.
According to the new bill, a builder will have to register a project with the regulator before he does marketting for the properties. For this, the builder will have to submit a documentary proof of land ownership and the mandatory licenses for registration.
After verification only, the entire information about the project will be available on the regulator’s Website that will be accessible to common people. The regulator will also scrutinize the advertisements and names of brokers.
This process will make certain the legitimacy and the viability of the project, ending the current practice of realty firms launching projects without land ownership or mandatory approvals that leads to buyers getting stuck with fake projects.

Property expo in Mumbai from Oct 1

The Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) will organize an exhibition `Property 2009′ at MMRDA Grounds, Bandra Kurla Complex, from October 1st to 4th. Over 75 real estate developers will showcase their projects in Mumbai and suburban areas such as Thane and Navi Mumbai, besides Pune. State Bank of India is the co-organizer of the event. The other partners in the four-day programme include ICICI Home Finance, Axis Bank, LIC Housing Finance, IDBI Bank, and HDFC. Citibank NA, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation, GIC Housing Finance, IDBI Home Finance and Kotak Mahindra Bank will also participate.

‘Real Investment’-The Book For Real Estate

Knight Frank has introduced a real estate guidebook for India. The book provides information needed to invest in real estate market. Mr Pranay Vakil, Chairman-Knight Frank India, said, “We felt the need for a single credible source of information for which we brought together the best minds of the industry in business. This book makes real estate market simpler by offering tips”.

Tata extends affordable housing scheme to 2BHK segment

Tatas expanded their affordability drive to the housing sector by launching flats for Rs 12.73 lakh for a two bedroom unit.

Tata Housing Development Company launched its ‘New Haven’, offering 1,300 apartments, including 2 BHK (bedroom, hall and kitchen) and 3 BHK homes, starting at Rs 12.73 lakh with a minimum size of 670 square feet.
The Tatas began their affordability drive in the housing sector earlier in May by offering one bedroom flat at prices starting from Rs 3.9 lakh at Boisar in Mumbai.
Conceptualized as a national brand, New Haven will meet the home-buyers’ full spectrum of lifestyle needs at an affordable cost, the company said in a statement.
According to the statement, after the launch of New Haven at Boisar in Mumbai, it will be expanded across the country mainly in the Tier I and II cities. Consumers can book an apartment with an initial payment of 10% of the total sale price as booking amount.
New Haven, spread across 35-acres, will offer self- contained homes and provide consumers with facilities such as club house and community center.

Residential property prices may go down

Knight Frank India said that prices in the residential property segment are likely to decline in a short time. Knight Frank India Chairman Pranay Vakil said, “We feel prices of residential segment may go down over a period of time”. Further he added that the residential segment may see a robust demand in certain markets and it was also a good time for property developers to invest in land.

Real estate demand at this stage is the result of investor-led demand and end-user demand. While investor demand is due to shift in money from equity markets, on the other hand the end-user demand is due to increased consumer confidence and pent-up unmet demand from the recession period. This leads to a rapid increase in demand for real estate and also in property price.

2BHK is in trend

The maximum demand currently is for 2BHK residential apartments and finally supply is following demand. Such has been the response that there are developers who claim as much as 55% of their inventories comprise two bedroom units.

According to Atma Sharan, GM-Marketing, Ashiana Housing Ltd, “About 55-60% inventory would be 2BHK. This definitely is the fastest moving segment, particularly among first home buyers.

The 2BHK end user is attracted by the price tag, affordability factor, and lower EMIs. Developers who were primarily focusing on plush housing earlier are including smaller units in a big way in their projects. They are coming up with new initiatives in this line which is expected to attract the young service class people in a big way. So, be it DLF, Unitech or Jaypee, they all have at least 30% inventories as two bedroom units in their projects and plan to increase the percentage with time.

Retail investors turn careful on IPOs

Though the 10 IPOs in the fiscal have mopped up close to Rs 10,000 crore, the attitude of retail investors to the offerings has been one of extreme caution.

While participation by institutional and high net worth investors has been positive, retail interest has waned, said merchant bankers.

The 10 IPOs that hit the market this fiscal have seen their retail portion getting subscribed less than four times on an average.

The IPOs may be getting subscribed multiple times. But the fact that several investment recommendations stated that the IPOs were overvalued put retail investors off.

Mr Adeel, a retail investor, said: “A small-time retail investor will look at investment recommendations and most of the IPOs are said to be overvalued. This will keep us away from those IPOs.”

Janpath, Samrat hotels to get posh makeover

After revamping its flagship hotel, The Ashok, ITDC is going full-steam ahead to give hotels Janpath and Samrat a makeover designed to make the competition sit up and take notice. As part of the renovation, Hotel Janpath will soon boast of onyx pillars and a mini-spa in each room on four floors. The spas will be equipped with a jacuzzi, massage table and medicine dispenser while one spa each on the ground floor and first floor will offer services of a gym, sauna, steam room and treatment room. For those working on their tan, the rooftop will have a solarium. “The personal spa concept is likely to require an investment of Rs 45 crore. We are still in the process of finalizing the details,” a senior ITDC official said. The hotel has already seen some tangible changes like a cobbled stone driveway. The grim, white-washed facade has been knocked down in favour of glass and the decrepit restaurants, known only for political sit-downs, have been opened to private players. While designer Rohit Bal promoted Italian joint Cibo opened earlier this year, Mismo and Swagath are the other top of the line eating places that the hotel hosts.

All apartments sold within 2 hours

DLF has launched the 2nd phase of its residential project in the heart of national capital, has sold all the apartments within 2 hours. The company sold all the flats, offered at prices of up to Rs 1.86 crore, though it has increased the selling price of its units by up to 26% compared to 1st phase.
TC Goyal, MD- DLF said, “Even with increased price, we have received tremendous response for our product. We initially planned to launch six hundred fifty units in 2nd phase, but due to huge demand we planned to offer more”.
The company has launched 2nd phase of the project at Rs 6,750 (2-BHK), Rs 7,500 (3-BHK) and Rs 8,000 (4-BHK) per square feet.
However, the effective rate would come down to Rs 5677, Rs 6363 and Rs 6820 per square feet respectively as DLF would offer a discount of five hundred rupees per square feet for timely payment and 8.5% rebate on down payments.

PDL looking torward tier-II cities

Parsvnath Developers Limited is looking toward tier-II cities and following the strategy, PDL announced Parsvnath City at Saharanpur.  It will offer plotted development, independent Floors and expandable villas at affordable prices.  Spread over more than hundred acres, Parsvnath City, Saharanpur is strategically located on Delhi road. First of its kind project will offer independent floors in affordable range starting from Rs 9.50 lakh. The project will comprise of plots in various sizes of 201, 300, 402 and 502 square yards. The independent floors will have the options of 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom and 3 bedroom with study room units and option of expandable villas are also available.
Parsvnath City will have fully fledged infrastructure wide well lit metaled roads and solid waste management.  The township will also have Group Housing, School, Community Center and Mall. The realization from the project will be about three hundred fifty crore rupees spread over 2 years. The development of the township is planned to be completed in 2 years.

Century joins affordable housing bandwagon

Century Real Estate is the latest to join the affordable housing bandwagon. It has come up with ‘Century Indus’ project that offers apartments in the Rs 20-30 lakh category.
Mr P. Ravindra Pai, MD, Century Group said, Acquiring land at historical rates has helped the company make the project affordable.
The company has a land bank of over 3,000 acres, most of them acquired in historical rates, worth about 2 billion dollar. There are plans to make use of some of the land parcels to develop few more affordable projects in the city.
“We propose to develop 6,500 apartments targeted at the affordable segment, approximately seven million sq ft development, with a budgeted outlay of Rs 1,050 crore in the next three years,” said Dr P. Dayanand Pai, Founder and Chairman, Century Group. The projects would be located in North and West Bangalore.
Mr Pai said that the group has now formed ‘Century Real Estate Holdings.’ About 300 acres, valued at Rs 1,200 crore, from the land-bank have been transferred to this company, and about 12 projects would be developed on this land.
The company is looking at raising funds at entity and project levels. At the entity level, it plans to raise Rs 200 crore as bank debt for pre-development of these 12 projects. “We have almost tied up the debt,” said Mr Pai.

Lodha Developers among top 10 Builders

Lodha Developers Ltd. has been selected as one of the India’s top ten builders on the basis of a survey conducted by Construction World, India’s premier magazine for the construction sector.
The survey was conducted over a period of 4 months among a spectrum of handpicked audience comprising industry professionals from across India.
Mr. Abhisheck Lodha, Director, Lodha Developers Ltd. said, “Our selection as one of the top ten builders in India by the Construction World is recognition to our standards of excellence in every aspect of our services and our presence in varied segments like high-rises to mid-income luxury, in the real estate sector”.
Instituted by ASAPP Media, the award is recognition of exceptional work done by architects and builders in various aspects of infrastructure and real estate industry over the years.

Mumbai high street rentals see biggest crash

As the global slowdown pushed consumers to stay at home, retailers halted expansion plans and checked out of expensive high-street locations. Rental rates at high street locations across the world crashed, with the biggest crashes in Mumbai.
Among the exceptions were Bangalore’s two iconic retail hubs, Brigade Road and Commercial Street, and Kolkata’s Camac Street.
Mumbai’s leading highstreet locations—Colaba Causeway, Linking Road and Kemps Corner—also reported the largest declines in rentals across the world on a year-on-year basis—63.5%, 63%, and 60% respectively.
As per the annual global survey, Main Streets Across The World 2009, by global real estate consultants Cushman and Wakefield, over three-fourth’s of the world’s most prestigious shopping streets saw rentals crashing anywhere between 17% and 63.5%. Around 18%, however, recorded a growth.

Weaving character into homes

Bringing character to a home is the latest mantra, at least in the luxury format.
Designer Mr Sabyasachi Mukherjee will work on six of the two hundred limited edition homes Samira Habitats is developing at Alibagh. These would cost upwards of one crore rupees each.
The designer will work closely with the project architect to ensure structural compliance of the masonry, while filling in with his craft and elements.
The purpose is to lend individuality and embed creativity that the designer exhibits in his apparel on the ground.
Further he said, “When I decided to extend my love for visual aesthetics, form and color to interiors, I chose Samira Habitats because of their offerings of finely crafted homes close to nature. Their eye for opulence and detail is a vision I passionately share”.

Real estate firm sees festival sales

Property firms are launching housing projects and raising pitch for ongoing ones in the hope of making decent sales going into the festive season. The mood among builders may be buoyant, but very few believe price hike is possible as demand is still hesitant and new supplies are hitting the market.

The festive season, which usually begins late September with the Hindu festival of Navratra and continues up to Christmas, often sees higher sales of property, cars and other durables.

Lodha developers is planning to launch two new projects, comprising apartments priced over Rs 1 crore, in Mumbai’s suburbs of Andheri and Thane. So far, the slow return of housing demand was scripted by lower-priced homes. But Lodha’s offerings indicate the builder is confident of getting buyers for high-priced segment as well.

Sub-PLR rates set to go

People who borrow money from banks to buy homes at floating rates of interest are set to benefit as banks are expected to change the way they price such loans.
The Reserve Bank of India is preparing to ban lending below the prime lending rate, the benchmark rate for all floating rate bank loans.
Sub-PLR lending came into existence a decade ago after banks obtained permission from the central bank to lend below the benchmark rate.

International Real Estate Expo (IIREX 2009)

You are invited to be a part of International Interiors & Real Estate Expo (03-05 Oct 2009) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, the largest real estate exhibition and conference in India.


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