GST Implications On Real Estate

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), is a kind of a comprehensive indirect tax on sale, manufacture and consumption of different kinds of goods and services throughout India, with all other Central and State taxes intended to be subsumed under it. If this happens, it has far-reaching implications, including on real estate.

Taxation and real estate industry

If we take a look at the real estate industry in India today, we find that there have been major tax changes in the last few years. However, these taxes are not uniform all over the country – different practices and regulations are followed in different states in India. It was the 46th Amendment to the Constitution that brought massive changes towards taxation in the real estate sector. Later in the following years, special powers were given to the State Government for implementing Value-Added Tax (VAT) on some specific kinds of transactions.

gst

For land, property and other kinds of work contracts, different kinds of taxes are levied by the State Government and the Central Government. The transactions are mainly categorized in three parts – value of services, value of goods and materials and value of land. VAT is applied by the State Government on the goods portion, while value of services is taxed by the Central Government. However, other than stamp duty, there is no clear tax on the transactions regarding value of land. This situation leads to confusion and can result in dual taxation. Compliance and implementation of such taxes also get difficult.

The real estate industry has justifiably been feeling jittery with such confusing tax implantations and calculations. For one real estate transaction, multiple taxes need to be paid and this has a negative effect on the industry. The industry’s demand to bring GST on board is primarily to get a clear and transparent taxation rule for the real estate sector in India.

Expected GST effects on the real estate industry in India

The implementation of GST can prove to be a significant step in reforming indirect taxation in India. Chances of double taxation would be diminished, as some of the Central and State Government taxes will be amalgamated into one tax. This will ease the process of taxation considerably, making its enforcement and administration easier and simpler.

Talking about the real estate industry in this context, there are many things which have to be known and understood. In the current situation, a builder or a real estate developer incurs various kinds of expenses during the construction phase of a project. Different kinds of taxes are involved with these expenses, such as VAT/CST, customs duties, service tax, excise duty and so on. Majority of these taxes are expenses that are included in the system. This is because they are not creditable to the developer or to the end-customer. These non-creditable expenses lead to tax inefficiency, which is not desirable.

One positive impact that might result from GST is doing away of restrictions on credit utilization. This will definitely help in strengthening the credit chain in the entire system. If property developers and builders can properly manage this aspect, they will see some profit.

It is expected that the proposed GST structure will have a progressive and streamlined approach. The tax compliance rules should not have any serious impact on real estate builders and developers. In present conditions, builders running projects in different states have to comply with State-specific VAT laws, as well as other kinds of service taxes. Bringing in GST will therefore not bring any additional compliance burden on real estate builders in the country.

Issues regarding GST which affect real estate builders

There are a few clarifications that might be sought for GST taxation by real estate developers. For instance, the definition of a real estate developer varies from one state to another in India. The composition scheme varies according to State, in which the VAT rates come between 1-5%. In some States, there are differences between the terms real estate contractors and real estate developers. It has to be understood what will the GST implications are if the terms have different meanings.

There might be some confusion regarding GST implementations on residential property, as well. In the present scenario, there is no service tax applicable on renting immovable property, particularly for residential purposes. But service tax and VAT is implemented on the construction work. The question that arises is if the proposed GST will offer differential tax for residential properties.

As of now, it does not look like completed residential projects will be affected by GST, as buyers into completed projects have already paid statutory charges such as stamp duty and registration charges on the transaction. The segments to watch on the GST front are under-construction flats and rental flats, which are expected to come under the ambit of GST. GST will apply to the materials that a developer procures for building a residential project, so there is a direct correlation to the overall cost of construction.

Much depends on what rate of GST will finally be confirmed. If it is more than the existing cumulative taxes currently in force, it means that the overall cost to consumers of buying an under-construction flat will increase along with the added cost of stamp duty and registration. At the same time, developers have to keep an eye on costing, as price competitiveness is very important in the current real estate market scenario.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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How Infrastructure Drives Real Estate Demand

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

All property investors are familiar with the phrase ‘market drivers’, which has become one of the most utilized terms in real estate investment. What exactly are market drivers? They can be explained as advancements within a region which boost the overall worth of the location, and the desirability associated with residing there. It is a well-established fact that the infrastructure of an area is a key criterion for home buyers, and therefore property investors.

Infrastructure has numerous types. For instance, roads are considered key infrastructure, as they enhance the connectivity of the area. There is also civic infrastructure, which involves the availability of public services in the region. In India, the primary aspects covered under civic infrastructure are reliable water and electricity supply, without which an area falls flat as a residential location and therefore as a real estate investment destination.

infrastructure3

Then there is the factor of social infrastructure, which accounts for the liveability of the area. At the most basic level, civic infrastructure will include public transport and shopping outlets, but educational institutions and hospitals are also important. People expect to have colleges, schools and healthcare facilities close to where they live. Therefore, the level of saturation of social infrastructure will play a big role in the overall value of the location as a residential and investment destination.

The global standard for urbanization which is evident in most developed countries is that all or most of infrastructure required to make an area livable and desirable as a real estate destination are set up prior to or opening it up for large-scale real estate development. This is because efforts to put the necessary infrastructure in place retrospectively results in inconvenience to the existing population because of decreased public mobility during construction of such projects.

Retrospective construction of infrastructure projects also pollutes the environment during the actual construction process, and this is nothing but bad news in an area which is already inhabited.

Creating the infrastructure which is required to make a location liveable and also supportive to various economic functions can be compared to creating vast green cover in an area . In both instances, there is a primary requirement of adequate space. Another vital factor for successful infrastructure creation is time. In the case of trees, the root systems must be given adequate time to penetrate deep enough to provide anchorage as well as access to deep-lying groundwater. Similarly, infrastructure must be given enough time to be deployed, become functional and start servicing the area properly. Without space and time, both forestation and infrastructure creation become futile exercises.

infrastructure

If we take the cases of Pune and the adjoining Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), we see a vast difference in successful infrastructure deployment. In Pune, the PMC has been unsuccessfully trying to provide retrospective infrastructure support to its massively congested and largely dysfunctional city areas.

Almost every new infrastructure project in Pune is hotly contested by local political parties and becomes road blocked by bureaucratic red tape. One of the reasons is that these projects affect already populated areas, which represent vote banks. The result is that most of these projects take ages to be built, and many are eventually shelved altogether.

The advantage that the PCMC has enjoyed is that it follows a proactive rather than reactive approach to infrastructure creation. In other words, massive Greenfield areas are taken up by the town planning authorities for infrastructure creation, and only then  opened up for further development by private builders. This has resulted in extremely viable, plug-and-play residential neighbourhoods and commercial districts which start delivering the goods from day one.

This proactive approach to infrastructure has earned PCMC the distinction of being one of India’s most sought-after destinations to live and work in. PCMC’s superior infrastructure has attracted the highest number of multinational companies and industries to the region, and this has also led to the highest rate of employment creation in PCMC. As a result, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has emerged as the most preferred city for home buyers who are looking to live close to where they work – and simultaneously enjoy a superior quality of life.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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The Challenges And Opportunities Of Urbanization In India

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Most of the populations across the globe either live in cities or are headed there. It is estimated that by the year 2050, more than two-third of the world’s population will be settled in urban areas. The trend is already in place, with more than a million people shifting to cities every year. For countries like India, migration to developed and developing cities is driven by job opportunities and a better quality of life. However, rapid urbanization also brings its own challenges.

The Challenges In India

The relationship between population migration, urbanization and economic growth is complex. For developed countries like the USA or the European nations, there is a positive correlation between urbanization and per capita income. However, the equation is not as simple when we are talking of less developed countries like India. There is a thin margin between urbanization and overpopulation, and in many large Indian cities, the ‘carrying capacity’ has always been reached. Some relevant examples are Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, where new migrants face a scarcity of affordable accommodation.

Congested city - small

It is important to understand the changes that migration to urban centres brings along. Urban growth or urbanization invariably feeds increasing industrialization and commercialization, which impacts the environment as well as infrastructural capabilities of a city. Increasing population also leads to continually expanding urban development and in the case of India, local Governments are continually challenged to deliver the necessary institutional, economic and managerial capabilities that such expansion requires. With lack of proper housing, most of the migrating population – especially those coming from the rural areas – settle for slums and other unregulated/unorganized living options.

Urban Congestion

The rapid inward migration in cities like Mumbai, Pune and Delhi has given rise to clogging and other problems like faulty water management and unnatural changes to the environment. The rapid creation of settlements in the peripheries of these saturated cities makes it impossible for the concerned city planning authorities to gauge and counter the changes to the natural environment and implement necessary sanitation and other necessary infrastructure.

Hijacked Environment

Major environmental issues encountered around clogging settlements include land degradation, resource depletion, decreased public health, loss of resilience in the ecosystem and unsafe residential standards. Health hazards are rampant as clogged settlements encourage flooding, degradation of natural resources like water table and air quality, faulty or non-existent drainage systems, inefficient or non-existent sewage treatment facilities and transport systems.

urban landscape

As a matter of fact, India faces a major threat from water pollution. Untreated sewage water being discharged into our existing water systems has been deemed the single-largest cause of surface and ground water pollution. The problems include lack of sufficient water treatment facilities and faulty maintenance where they do exist. Migration contributes to this problem, and the untreated waste water leads to serious hygiene issues. As per the reports by the World Health Organization, only 209 out of 3,119 cities have sewage treatment facilities, and just 8 of them have a full-fledged wastewater treatment facility.

Success Story – PCMC, Pune

There are ways to handle the mounting problems associated with heavy urbanization. The first and foremost is the development of low-cost and affordable housing projects around developing cities. The second is a proactive town-planning approach wherein urbanization is anticipated rather than reacted to, and necessary infrastructure to accommodate inward migration is put in place before it actually arrives.

green urbanization

Cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) of Pune have demonstrated that this forward-looking approach works brilliantly in India. In PCMC, the town planning authorities identify areas of future urbanization, equip them with proper drainage systems, water supply, waste management and transport infrastructure and only then open them up to the migrating population.

Along with environmental and health issues, inward migration also affects the inherent culture of the city – and at least in this case, the change is invariably a positive one. With people flooding in from across the country, the host city is exposed to a variety of cultures and eventually adopts new cultural norms. This is the essence of ‘cosmopolitanization’ – the process in which a city evolves from its traditional cultural boundaries and becomes more and more accommodating to new influences.

This is a very desirable process which ‘future proofs’ a city and ensures that urbanization is progressive and not regressive. A city’s cosmopolitan ethos is born out of constituent cultural elements from various other cities and parts of the world, resulting in an urban mindset which is able to embrace positive change in the form of new economic opportunities and better lifestyle standards.

The process of cosmopolitanization in PCMC has resulted in a rapid shedding of the previous regional/industrial image and the emergence of a truly evolved global ethos. The ‘Citizens First’ approach which has driven the rational and progressive urbanization of cities like PCMC and other global cities must always be the central focus if India is to tackle its mounting problems of inward migration.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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PCMC’s Integrated Townships: Redefining Traditional Luxury

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Indian luxury real estate is in rapid evolutionary mode, and few of the previously accepted definitions of a luxury home have stood the test of time. For luxury home developers, the challenge has shifted from offering a number of attractive add-ons to providing a well-rounded residential experience that transcends luxurious exteriors, interiors and amenities.

Luxury townships are the obvious answer to the questions today’s buyers are asking. They are not looking for mere glamour – because of the mounting challenges of urban life in cities like Pune, they are also looking for superior infrastructure, cutting-edge security and project management and a walk-to-work option. These are obviously not an option in standalone luxury buildings – nothing less than a fully integrated luxury township can provide such advantages.

puneville2

A number of Indian developers who previously specialized in traditional luxury residential projects – one or two snazzy buildings in a tony part of town where ‘address value’ accounts for a massive price premium – have therefore shifted their focus to the township format. This is because luxury living in today’s context is a 360-degree lifestyle equation which cannot be limited to elegant superficialities.

The buyer profile for integrated luxury townshipspuneville is also different today. These are not HNIs hailing from families with protracted histories of wealth – they are young, self-made entrepreneurs, the corporate upper management cadre and high-placed Information Technology professionals.

This new breed of luxury home buyers is not swayed by impressive addresses and the other factors which dictated how luxury was interpreted in the past. They are looking for the aspects that spell genuine luxury today – convenience, safety, reliable water and electricity supply, modern recreational facilities, on-the-spot availability to essential services like hospitals, schools and shopping, and good internal and external connectivity.

punevilleThey will not spend their hard-earned money on an expensive location but invest in a superior living experience for themselves and their families. Moreover, the traditional CBDs of cities like Pune are no longer the areas which yield the most lucrative jobs – the IT and manufacturing hubs in modern satellite cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are the next employment hotbeds which are driving both the demand and trend for high-end homes.

This luxury home buyer demographic is highly tech-savvy and environmentally conscious, and attributes a lot of value to ‘smart’ and ‘green’ features – not only at a residence level but at a project level. Again, this is only possible in integrated townships, and this is what has spurred the growth of PCMC’s ultra-modern townships over the last decade.

These townships offer their residents:

  • Broad, well-lit internal roads
  • 24×7 water and electricity supply
  • Multiple user parking per unit
  • Multi-level security
  • Green open spaces
  • Conveniences  such as shopping malls, banks, schools and hospitals within the project
  • Easy connectivity to other parts of the city
  • Modern recreational facilities

The best integrated townships also include high-grade commercial spaces and give residents the ultimate luxury – the walk-to-work option. Obviously, this new definition of luxury living provides a stark contrast to the traditional concepts of luxury homes, which was usually tied to a vanity address in an exorbitantly pricey location. Though older luxury buildings in the core areas of cities like Pune are invariably redeveloped into luxury skyscrapers, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that the locations themselves are cramped, polluted, devoid of support infrastructure and often hemmed in by slums and tenements.

While the window view from a luxury home in such a setting is usually one of chaos and urban decay, the corresponding view from a home in an integrated township is one of greenery, orderliness and unpolluted air. No wonder, then, that the younger and smarter generation of luxury home buyers today prefers the benefits of contemporary luxury far away from such areas. Integrated townships are their obvious choice.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville  in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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PCMC Beats Pune To Rank Among India 10 Cleanest Cities

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

The verdict by Swachh Survekshan 2016, a survey undertaken by the Ministry of Urban Development February 15, 2016 to monitor how far the Union Government’s Swachh Bharat Mission has progressed, was an eye-opener for India. While the multiple award-winning Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation ranked 9th on the list of India’s 10 Cleanest Cities, Pune – administered by the Pune Municipal Corporation, did not make it to the Top 10 list at all.

punawale_pharandeAltogether, the Swachh Survekshan 2016 survey studied 73 cities having populations of 10 lakh or above, and focused on aspects such availability of public and private latrines, the efficiency of services delivery, solid waste management and infrastructure development. Always at the forefront when it comes to providing a healthy, wholesome life to its residents, PCMC had in the recent past added to its solid waste processing capabilities via a new garbage depot.

This mechanised plant processes 500 tonnes of garbage into compost useful for agriculture on a daily basis. Moreover, PCMC has set the national trend in its progressive and scientific management of landfills, as well as its initiative to turn waste plastic into energy.

Another variable which the Swachh Survekshan 2016 survey focused on was the effectiveness of communication in the identified cities, specifically their citizens’ access to information and education, and the civic authorities’ proactive approach to in Behaviour Change Communication (BCC). BCC is a very important interactive function via which a city’s governing authorities communicate with the city’s population to ensure that initiatives to help the city to grow and prosper are understood and adopted.

bannerWithout a doubt, PCMC has been consistent in upholding its promises to provide the very best living standards to its residents. Therefore, the fact that it has been numbered in the 10 Cleanest Cities of India comes as no surprise. The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is a veritable masterpiece of urban planning, driven by an unrelenting focus on infrastructure, sustainability and future-readiness. It offers a sharp contrast to the confused and retrograde approach being followed by the Pune Municipal Corporation, which has not been able to deliver on the functions and aspects that make a city worth living in.

The fact that PCMC has been able to come out a winner on the list of India’s 10 Cleanest Cities is all the more remarkable if we consider that this region is home to the thriving MIDC industrial belt, as well as the Hinjawadi Infotech Park. These hubs are among the country’s most prolific employment generators, causing countless new skilled professionals to make PCMC their home every year.

Despite the immense complexities this presents to the city authorities, PCMC has consistently risen to the challenges and continues to provide people from all walks of life and income segments with a wholesome, healthy environment to live and work in. It has been able to do this is by encouraging the development of integrated townships and ensuring that all real estate development happens with strict compliance to its town planning norms.

In PCMC, open spaces and green ‘lung’ pockets are available in every sector to control pollution and provide citizens with places to meet and relax, and wide roads and over/underpasses allow for free-flowing traffic. Water and electricity supply is several times more reliable than in the Pune Municipal Corporation, and highly efficient civic sanitation services ensure that all residential and commercial zones are kept clean.

Thanks to these factors, there is no doubt that PCMC will move further up the rankings over the next few years. In the meantime, it will continue to focus on maintaining its well-deserved reputation for being the best region in the country for people to work, live and prosper in.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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How The Real Estate Regulatory Bill Will Revive The Property Sector

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill has been waiting for a long time to be passed as a law. Though several new recommendations by various bodies were incorporated into the draft Bill and approved by the cabinet, it has still not been passed as an enforceable law by the Parliament. It is now high time that this happens – for several reasons

realestatelaw

The changes which have been made in the original draft over time are quite progressive. For instance, a real estate developer must keep a minimum balance of 50% of the funds collected for his project in an escrow account. Before the Real Estate Regulatory Bill was drafted, the concept of creating an escrow account for a real estate project in which to hold funds for a project did not exist at all. In the absence of such a regulation, builders are at liberty to siphon off funds collected for their projects and use them to purchase more land or in the construction of other projects.

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill will make it compulsory for builders to ensure that at least 50% of such funds will remain reserved solely for the development of the project for which they were collected from buyers. To ensure that this actually happens, they will have to pay these funds into an escrow account within 15 days. While this is definitely a rule which will protect the interests of property buyers to some extent, it still means that builders can use half of the funds collected from buyers for other purposes.

This gives rise to a pertinent question – why would they want to do that? Isn’t it in the builder’s own interest to complete a project on time? Unfortunately, many developers don’t look at it that way at all. The reason why they divert funds from ongoing projects is so that they can purchase land to build land banks, which allows them to showcase more projects on their balance sheets. Doing so makes allows them to raise more capital from banks or private equity funds, and also to give an inflated image of the size of their business.

There have been several other changes to the draft Real Estate Regulatory Bill, as well – each giving a clear message that the era in which developers could do whatever they want is going to be history once it is implemented. Not least among these important changes is that developers will have to register all projects which they are constructing within 3 months once the Bill becomes a law.

If they fail to do so, they will be penalized to the tune of 10% of the overall project cost, and will have to bear an additional penalty of 10% and even face a prison term for any further delay to register their project.

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill will also bring an end to developers’ freedom to make changes in the original plans or structural designs of their projects once they have been registered. They will only be able to make any changes if they are able to get the signed approval of at least 2/3rds of those who have invested into the project. Projects which do not have completion certificates issued as yet are now also included, meaning that an even bigger segment of buyers will benefit from protection of their interests.

The current version of the Real Estate Regulatory Bill also has another noteworthy amendment in the fact that it now includes commercial office projects. In other words, investors who have plugged their funds into commercial office properties will also be protected by the Bill. Of course, the fact is that 85% of the Indian real estate market consists of the residential sector.

However, this amendment is important because it will help the sector become more transparent in every respect, and not just in some segments. Real estate brokers and agents are now also included in the latest draft of the Bill, which means that will also be liable for legal action if they engage in any practices which are not in line with the new law.

Finally, the latest draft of the Real Estate Regulatory Bill permits customers with grievances to move the consumer courts, and does not position itself as their only legal recourse.

With all these positive amendments now in place, the Real Estate Regulatory Bill is indeed a powerful means to make the chronically opaque Indian real estate sector more transparent. Once it becomes a law, people will feel more confident in investing into real estate, and this will result in the revival which everyone has been waiting for. This confidence will take time to become evident, but it will definitely come – and when it does, we will see massive changes on the ground.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings.

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Pimpri-Chinchwad Among Most Popular Cities On The Internet

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

In a recent discussion with the Times of India group, some interesting trends came to light. With 121 million Indians currently logged in on the internet, and this number is growing at the rate of 25% per annum. More and more Indians are logging in and relying on the Internet to meet their needs for information, help them access goods and services, scout for jobs and look for homes and investment opportunities.

The internet has revolutionized the way Indians perceive their world and consume news and information about it, and the rapid growth of smart phone use in the country has only boosted this trend. According to a recent report by HSBC Global Research, India – India’s smartphone penetration stood at just 30% last year, will by 2019 account for 12% of the global smartphone market with a whopping penetration rate of 65%.

pcmc

Obviously, media houses like the Times Group have not lost any time in harnessing India’s promising online market. Times Internet, the Times Group’s flagship internet brand, is also India’s largest Indian online group. Naturally, it draws a massive amount of online traffic, and lays claim to over 6.5 billion page views per month. Indiatimes.com alone accounts for 5 million visitors every single month.

Considering that the internet has become the fastest and most trusted medium to reach consumers of real estate, developers will take such statistics very seriously. Over and above other information which is of great interest, real estate developers want to know the demographics of online visitors, and which areas job seekers – who are of course potential real estate buyers – are investigating online.

According to sources at Times Internet, 85% of the monthly visitors to their sites are graduates and 40% of these are post-graduates. 19% of these visitors have an annual income of over Rs. 7 lakh per year. But more interesting than this are the online traffic details for India’s leading cities, because these details reveal which cities potential home buyers are most interested in.

Also, according to the latest statistics available from the Times Group’s indiatimes.com, the Pimpri-Chinchwad draws a mind-boggling monthly traffic of 658273 visitors on. In fact, PCMC ranks among the top 10 cities in terms of search rankings on the Internet. On TOI.com, Pimpri-Chinchwad ranks 4th after Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, with 21.7 million views per month. In comparison, Pune ranks 9th with only 5.26 million viewers per month.

Online visitors are interested in the PCMC for various reasons, the first of course being job opportunities. This stands to reason, because in terms of job creation, PCMC is significantly ahead of Pune and most other cities in Maharashtra with the exception of Mumbai. The combined employment generated by the Hinjewadi IT Park and the MIDC manufacturing belt has made PCMC a focus area for fresh graduates seeking to build their careers.

PCMC is also among the most prominent search terms for online home hunters. Buyers are attracted by the prospects of living close to their workplaces, the superior infrastructure in PCMC, and the more attractive property prices when compared to most regions in the Pune Municipal Corporation.

The highest number of online searches for real estate within the region are for properties in Puneville, Moshi, Ravet and Chakan, as these areas offer fast access to PCMC’s primary employment centres and also offer superlative returns on investment. Another key terms which features prominently in online home searches are for integrated townships, for which PCMC has extremely famous.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings.

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PCMC Real Estate By 2025: Looking Into The Future

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is internationally known and acclaimed for its progressive and sustainable approach to real estate development. The model of urbanization that PCMC follows is known as ‘planned development’, which means that real estate is developed according to a Master Plan. Today, the real estate sector in PCMC is renowned for its New Age residential configurations such as integrated townships, which have become the most preferred option among home buyers.

While Pune also has a thriving real estate market, it cannot compare to what is happening in PCMC because the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) does not follow a planned approach to real estate development.

In fact, Pune is very likely to become a smaller version of Mumbai over the next decade. This is because infrastructure in both these cities is only addressed retropsectively, and not not proactively like in the PCMC. Because of the planned urbanization happening here, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is already being seen as the City of the Future.

PCMC By 2025

urbanization

Over the next decade, PCMC will have reached its fullest potential. Obviously, it will look very different from what we see today. It will have grown into a harmonious montage of large industrial units, IT Parks, hotels, shopping and entertainment plazas, educational institutes and healthcare facilities – all against a backdrop of massive public parks and gardens, and crisscrossed with multi-lane roads and flyovers.

At least another 25,000 acres of land will have been added to the PCMC jurisdiction by2025, and this will eventually result in the addition of at least 2 million new homes. These homes will cater to every social stratum of property buyers, from the lower to the high-income segments.

HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL EXPANSION – CREATING A SPECTACULAR SKYLINE

There will be tremendous – yet controlled – horizontal real estate growth in Pimpri Chinchwad over the next decade. Most spaces allocated for residential use will have been utilized for that purpose. But this will not result in an urban jungle, since the PCMC planning blueprint will enforce the maintenance of vast green spaces at all stages of development.

punawale_pharande

By 2025, almost all residential areas in PCMC will have become self-sufficient real estate developments. The PCNTDA (Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority) has charted a regulated, progressive and environment-friendly course for real estate development in PCMC, and I expect that integrated townships will have become the default configuration.

In fact, the addition of 25,000 acres will not suffice for this region’s real estate development over the next decade. This is because the PCMC will have to accommodate a massive demand for housing. The population growth in PCMC over the last 25 years has been almost ten-fold (from 200,000 to 2 million), and it will cross 50 lakhs (5 million) by 2035.

On the one hand, there will be a huge requirement for homes from the rapidly growing manufacturing sectors of Pimpri-Chinchwad and the Chakan-Talegaon belt. Chakan itself, though a burgeoning industrial hub, has little to offer by ways of residential facilities. Areas like Moshi, Ravet and Punavale, which are booming today, will have become fully developed and will cater to most of the housing demand.

There will also be massive spill-over demand from Pune City, which will have reached complete saturation point in the next 10-15 years. At the same time, one must also factor in the ever-increasing migrant population from all over the country, attracted as much by PCMC’s excellent education institutions as by the varied career opportunities.

puneville3

This means that PCMC will also grow vertically over the next ten years. More land will have to come within the purview of planned development, and building heights will need to increase from the currently permitted 70 metres – approximately 22 floors plus parking – to 100 metres or more. FSI, which still currently stagnates at 1, will need to be raised to at least 2, or even 2.5.

This means that over the next decade and a half, PCMC will be a skyscraper city on the lines of Gurgaon.

WORLD-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE

In most cities, such growth would mean serious infrastructure challenges. We have already seen what happens in a city like Mumbai, where skyscrapers are being built without sufficient parking, connectivity and municipal amenities to support them. However, thanks to the master plan that PCMC will always adhere to, the necessary infrastructure will precede the building of high-rises.

I firmly believe that in the next 20 years, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will serve as a national and even international benchmark for planned, scientific vertical real estate growth.

An essential prerequisite to support this massive growth is an advanced public transport system. With an eye on this future requirement, PCMC has adopted a model similar to Ahmedabad’s Janmarg – a scientifically designed BRT-based public transport system spanning 130 km across 14 routes in PCMC. This system involves 4-lane wide, exclusive roads with grade separators that will reduce the dependence on private transport in favour of more efficient public transport.

This, in turn, will result in smooth traffic flow, less road blocks, radically lower pollution levels and a healthier, energy-conserving environment. To ensure that there are no hitches in the development of this lifeline, the PCMC has established an Urban Transport Fund for its funding.

Another requirement for efficient transport is more connecting roadways. A Ring Road is already on the drawing boards, which will create a hub-and-spoke road network, which will help sustain the enormous increase in vehicular traffic that industrial and residential growth will generate.

However, the Ring Road alone may not suffice to cater to the public transport needs that will emerge over the next two decades. I personally feel that an elevated skybus or monorail network or even an underground rail network will be called for.

A WORLD-CLASS GREEN CITY

PCMC has already spearheaded sustainable real estate development in the region. Green development is the future of real estate all over the world, and many of the bigger residential townships and commercial complexes in the PCMC have adopted the ‘green development’ mantra. Over the next ten years, we will see more and more of developers here taking sustainable real estate development seriously and launching Green Homes.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is taking its mission to provide cleaner, greener homes to its citizens very seriously. As of today, there are around 60 registered green buildings completed or under construction in the PCMC. The new PCNTDA building itself is a resounding statement to how important sustainable development has become to the city.

However, this is obviously not enough when we look into how PCMC should look by 2025. In order to see it emerge as a world-class Green City of the future, there needs to be more enthusiasm within the region about the benefits of green homes and workplaces. We need to see more determination by the PCMC to encourage and promote developers who are taking the Green cause seriously.

Permissions for green buildings must be fast-tracked and be given preferential status. Everything that happens in a mighty and progressive municipality like the PCMC should be a benchmark for other regions to follow. The PCMC must be the most determined of all the regions to promote and develop green real estate, so that the PCMC is the clear leader in sustainability by 2025.

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE -THE ULTIMATE GAME-CHANGER

I must also mention  the new 200-acre International Convention Centre at Moshi, which will be fully developed and operational by 2025. By this time, the Convention Centre will be attracting a massive amount of tourism, hospitality and retail development, which will turn PCMC into India’s most thriving urban destination. Global hotel chains will have redefined the hospitality sector, and the shopping centres will be populated by marquee retail brands.

In fact, the next decade will see PCMC being catapulted into the international Big League, giving it a distinct global identity in its own right.

About The Author:

Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings.

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Festive Season: Tips On Freebies And Offers On Property

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

In Maharashtra, Diwali is definitely the time of choice for property buyers to invest in their dream home. In fact, property buyers look forward to this festival to sign the papers on their homes because this city cherishes this traditional time of investing in the future.

freeObviously, builders also respond to the vastly improved market sentiments and do all they can to sustain them. During the Diwali period, property buyers will be presented with a slew of offers which developers introduce to induce sales. The Diwali period this year will see a lot of such activity, because property developers are eager to create sufficient interest in their projects. The residential property market has seen slackness over the preceding months, and Diwali is the time that developers have been looking forward to as much as property buyers.

The question here is – do such ‘freebies’ constitute real value for property buyers? The answer to this does not depend solely on what is being offered. It is a normal market phenomenon for incentives to be offered during the festive season, but property buyers should consider the actual value of the property.

They should be cautious about extravagant freebies and take a close look at the factors that add or reduce value in the case of real estate. If the project is by a developer known for sub-standard construction, or if it is located in a ‘blind spot’ of the local real estate market, no amount of freebies can compensate. The property itself will not represent a good investment, and the buyer will not benefit in the long run.

Another aspect to watch out for is freebies being offered for properties in over-priced projects. At a time when property buyers seek the best options for their money, getting a free car along with an overpriced flat does not make sense. If the flats in this project do not represent good value for money, freebies will not improve the situation. If a buyer wants to buy a flat in Pune such a project, it is best to negotiate for a better price than to accept freebies – or ask for them in addition to a discount.

Home buyers should especially beware of freebies being offered by investors who have put their money into properties in locations that are known to be ‘overheated’ (in other words, where rates have been artificially inflated by excessive investor activity). In such cases, freebies are meant to act as psychological encouragements to make an unwise property purchase.

There are certain incentives that buyers can definitely take seriously. These are not in the form of cars or vacations, but represent actual savings to them. Such incentives include:

  • Reduced down-payments to book flats, with balance payable on possession, resulting in an extension of the period between booking and full payment. Normally, buyers would have to pay the balance as the building progresses
  • Waiver on stamp duty, VAT and registration charges
  • Free or significantly reduced clubhouse memberships
  • Free parking, furnishing, interior decoration and smart home features (which would otherwise be charged for)
  • Waiver on premium for floor-rise

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area, offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

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Infrastructure: The Key Real Estate Investment Criterion

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

We keep hearing the term ‘market drivers’ being used in real estate. What are they? Market drivers can be defined as developments in an area that increase the value of living there. It is a well-established fact that infrastructure is by far the most important driver for real estate demand and property appreciation growth.

Infrastructure can take many forms. It includes road development to boost connectivity of a location, civic infrastructure such as dedicated water and electricity supply, public gardens, etc. that increases the quality of living in the area, and social infrastructure such as schools, colleges and healthcare, which result in shorter travelling time to such very essential services.

punawale bridge

Infrastructure must be put in place either before or along with other real estate development. Attempts to put it in place retrospectively create the kind of mess that we can see in many of our cities today. The building of flyovers and road widening are attempted in highly congested areas, disrupting the flow of normal activity and taking ages to be built, causing great inconvenience and massive costs to the city because of the incessant delays.

Building infrastructure is like growing trees – in both cases, there needs to be enough space for them to grow, and sufficient opportunity for a root network to deploy. Without space and depth, neither trees nor infrastructure can grow and flourish. If we take the case of Pune as an example, we can see that building infrastructure as an afterthought to real estate development, rather than as a precursor, does not really work well.

Pune’s haphazard development in the past has not been favourable for decent infrastructure deployment to complement its rapid development on other fronts. Battling severe constraints, Pune’ development authorities are doing their best to counter the ill-effects of unregulated development which has so far been taking place.

Infra

 

We are seeing some good results in building support infrastructure, but the Pune Municipal Corporation is actually a losing battle. This is amply illustrated by the fact that the Pune Municipal Corporation is not able to provide suitable parking, traffic management solutions and utilities supply despite enormous investments.

Guidelines For Homebuyers & Investors

  • The infrastructure of a location is a major focus area for property investors for a very good reason. Real estate investors want to attract end-users, either as rental or purchase clients, to the properties. They know that an area without sufficient infrastructure will be unattractive to their clients, because the quality of living quotient is low.
  • Again, properties in areas without good infrastructure tend to have cheaper property rates for a reason. Developers with projects in such locations know that the area has little or nothing to say for itself in terms of quality of life. The only way they can hope to sell their projects is to offer very attractive rates.
  • Buyers should place infrastructure availability prominently on their checklist while scouting for suitable homes. Road and rail connectivity, water supply, proximity of schools, hospitals and shopping outlets are of paramount importance. Buying a home cheaply if the location does not offer these is meaningless, and will give cause for regret.
  • If one is buying a property purely as a long-term investment and primarily for capital appreciation, one can afford to be a bit philosophical about existing infrastructure. After all, one is not planning to live there and does not expect very fast appreciation. As long as there is a reasonable assurance that it will arrive in the foreseeable future, it makes sense to invest in a property located in an emerging area where infrastructure is in its nascent stages.
  • However, if one is buying the property in order to generate rental income, existing infrastructure is far more important than upcoming infrastructure. People looking for rental options are also looking for a certain ease and dignity of living. They are willing to put the option of buying a home aside so that they can live in a good home in a good location on rent.
  • Where the option exists, give a high preference to townships over all other options. While checking out townships, ensure that they are located in areas which have a good saturation of support infrastructure as well. Most large Indian cities now have township projects coming up.
  • In Pune, the infrastructure-rich Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is attracting the highest number of buyers and investors of township properties. In other parts of the country, Navi Mumbai and the Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar belts are becoming important township hubs.
  • In Delhi NCR, the areas to look at for townships are Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Greater Noida. In Bangalore, the growth hubs for townships are Yelahanka and Devanhalli, and in Chennai they include Sriperumbadur, Perambur, the OMR belt and Anna Nagar.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

 

 

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