Indian Millennial Homebuyers: The Times Are Changing

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Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Everything that your parents may have communicated to you about owning a home may be incorrect if you are a millennial under the age of 35. However, don’t blame yourself for this – your parents operated by a rigid set of values that they have simply passed on to you. It was a simple enough formula – get a good education, get married, have kids and buy a big flat in the city. This is – or was – the quintessential Indian middle-class dream.

This dream – and the formula – may continue to have relevance to quite a few younger people in India, but the way life works for today’s millennials in India is no longer so cut and dried as it was for their parents. In the first place, we have a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive job market in India.

The career charts of Indian millennials are no longer as predictable as those of their parents were – nor does a sound college education mean that one can actually get the best jobs anymore. Also, millennials are the ‘job hopping’ generation which wants to sample different lines of work and also different companies with varied work cultures before they ‘settle down.’ This is one reason why many Indian millennials initially prefer to rent rather than buy their homes.

Secondly, because their careers are no longer cast in the concrete of limited options like engineer, doctor, lawyer, banker or ‘Government job, young Indians today are marrying later and are not necessarily in a hurry to have children once they do, either. When they do decide on having children, having one child is, more often than not, enough. The typical millennial family of today is essentially nuclear and does not subscribe to the values that drove the much larger and much more complex joint family package.

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They are more flexible and value their freedom, so they are not overly invested in making heavy financial commitments as soon as they are able to (making such commitments was a defining factor of the previous generations of Indians).

What does this mean in terms of their home purchase decisions? For one thing, it means that a smaller flat – even for a dual-income household – is perfectly adequate to begin with. What increasingly matters for the young, smart socially conscious Indian nuclear family of today is not necessarily size, but:

  • Value for money (banks and developers should understand by now that dual income does not equal dual gullibility)
  • Being able to get to and from work conveniently (not because getting to work fast matters most, but because getting home faster leads to better work-life balance)
  • Good public transport connectivity (because using public transport is good for the family budget as well as the environment)
  • Two car parking spaces (because two earning members may need to be as mobile as possible)
  • Fast broadband + Wi-Fi connectivity and other smart home features (because many Indian millennials can and do work from home, or from home as well as an office)
  • Environmental sustainability of the project (because most Indian millennials do believe that the world can become a better place)

Upgrading to larger homes should be an option, but it is by no means the only acceptable path for the Indian millennial to follow. For the previous generations, the ‘upgradation’ route was more or less socially enforced – but that trend is now history.

Strangely, many residential developers in cities like Pune have not caught on to the reasons why their projects are not selling as fast as they used to. They choose to believe that it is because ‘market conditions’ are currently ‘slow’. That may be true, but the larger fact is that housing projects that appealed to their parents may not have the same attractiveness for today’s millennials.

Projects that do not meet the requirements of today’s younger generation of working professionals are not going to work for this buyer segment, regardless of the market conditions.

One truth about the real estate market has not changed, even for millennials – while it is not all about ‘location, location, location’ for them, location is still certainly very important. It’s just that ‘central location’ is no longer the Golden Rule – Indian millennials are far more inclined to purchase their first homes in the suburbs, not in the city centre.

They are also far more likely to buy homes in organized townships with stand-alone infrastructure and their own schools, healthcare and shopping / entertainment facilities. Townships with their own office complexes offering potential walk-to-work or cycle-to-work possibilities and those close to major employment hubs such as IT parks and manufacturing belts are the most preferred.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West 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.

Rainwater Harvesting: Not Just an Option but A Necessity

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

In a land-locked city like Pune, the value of water is inescapable. Factors such as climactic changes happening at a national and global level are causing water levels to fall. Overpopulation has resulted in more and more acquisition and development of land – and, even worse, for landfills, cutting back on water bodies that were once available and accessible.

Deforestation has further compounded the deficiency of water, as this causes regional rain to eventually become unpredictable. Several areas are critically affected by a dearth of usable water – a city like Pune is, actually, a prime example of the happening throughout India.

More and more of the world’s burgeoning populations will be moving to urban areas in the years to come. As a result of accelerated property development in our cities, the greatest requirement for critical resources such as water is focused in urban areas. As a consequence, multistory residential complexes are being constructed at an extremely rapid speed.

The earth’s surface is 70% water; yet, very little of this is actually usable or drinkable by humans. It is very likely that we will shortly reach a stage when the quantity of useable water present on the earth’s surface isn’t sufficient to satisfy all of the requirements of the development occurring to accommodate the growing population.

Rainwater harvesting is the solitary realistic option to counter the growing menace of rapid water depletion – and this real and present option is definitely catching on in our cities. Rainwater harvesting involves accumulating, filtering and storing rainwater to be utilized for assorted industrial and residential purposes.

Rainwater is a clean, free source of potable water. Rainwater harvesting used in residential properties, which involves trapping rainwater from roofs and directing it into underground storage tanks or cisterns, can satisfy 50% of a regular family’s water needs.

The truth is, rainwater harvesting isn’t just a strategy to make maximum use of the natural resource – it also has minimal environmental impact. Naturally, it leads to substantial price savings on recurring water charges in residential buildings. In a city like Pune, a huge number of residential societies are dependent on expensive water tankers which extract ‘hard’ water from borewells – a process which further depletes ground water levels and causes all kinds of associated problems to the environment.

Urban water supply calls for pumping stations in addition to putting up treatment plants and supply conduits. With the rate of increase in urban population, city planning authorities cannot match utilities in the majority of Indian cities. Engineers and geologists are constantly fighting to discover new sources of water.

With borewell shafts going deeper as the hunt for more water continues in cities like Pune, water supply can actually be significantly supplemented by rainwater and decrease the pressure on the usual water supply.

When rainwater is harnessed in a housing complex, it can be utilized for assorted non-drinking functions that call for substantial volumes of water. Because rainwater can complement the traditional water supply system, this means considerably reduced utility bills.

Rainwater harvesting is equally appropriate for large manufacturing units that use up substantial amounts of water. Such industries can reduce the pressure on groundwater by making use of rainwater for all their requirements.

A perfect fallback position

Climate change has caused significant disruptions in the weather patterns in lots of Indian cities, resulting is decreased rainfall. Rainwater can be collected, stored and used during drought seasons to complement the ordinary water supply. In cities like Mumbai and Pune, the dreaded bane of rationing and water shortage is mitigated with rainwater harvesting, which also reduces the dependence on dams and water reservoirs.

When rainwater harvesting systems are used by a sufficient saturation of residential buildings in a city, there is a substantial drop in pressure on drainage systems, thereby reducing the possibility of floods, soil erosion, and surface run-offs. Rainwater harvesting is a perfect solution especially in low-lying regions, which are usually prone to floods due to over-taxed drainage systems.

The use of rainwater harvesting systems allows groundwater levels to recharge, which in turn aids in enhancing urban greenery; in fact, this is actually the sole dependable means of having green places without leeching away from the direly needed water supplies within urban areas.

Simple to set up and use

Rainwater harvesting systems are simple to put up and operate. There is absolutely no requirement for the complicated purifying systems which need to be applied to cleanse groundwater, since rainwater is pure. Rainwater collection systems use modern yet extremely simple technology, and their care simply involves occasional cleaning of pipes and the storage tanks to ensure the rainwater gathered is not contaminated.

Actually, rainwater harvesting can be used by anyone. Installation of gutters is step one for buildings that lack them, together with a filtration system to make certain that any other sort of debris or leaves will not find their way into the storage tanks. Safety precautions include having locking bars or lids to stop the breeding of mosquitoes or other forms of pollution of the stored water. Catchment areas in a city may comprise paved regions for example roads and car parks, where water may be picked for several non-drinking purposes.

Need for more government support

Most of the municipality areas of cities like Pune have a huge number of housing projects which don’t have the required rainwater pits. In quite a few cases, the lack of space and the overall design of the project may not make rainwater harvesting pits feasible at all – but where it is possible, no effort should be spared to create them and put rainwater harvesting systems in place. New apartment projects must, of course, be engineered from the world ‘go’ to incorporate rainwater harvesting systems.

While all such measures have been implemented in the more progressive PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) of Pune, the speed at which the Pune Municipal Corporation is moving on this front leaves a lot to be desired. Rainwater harvesting is a standard feature in PCMC’s large integrated townships.

As rain is becoming noticeably scantier, the government has already begun undertaking measures to encourage residential societies, educational institutions, and similar buildings to optimize water use and exercise better principles of water economy.

The rapid, yet necessary proliferation of paved areas and roads in our cities is preventing the proper percolation of rainwater into the ground, and causing water bottlenecks on the outskirts. Establishing regularly spaced rainwater harvesting pits in urban localities is definitely the way to go, and must be implemented in cities like Pune without further delay. Additionally, the city authorities must put in greater efforts to educate citizens about the benefits and implementation of rainwater harvesting.

About The Author:

Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West 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.

PCMC’s Townships Save the Day for Pune’s Home Buyers

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Townships are a new property mantra in India, and for the bigger cities they’re without any doubt the sole remaining hope for good quality living standards. Slowly but surely, residential quality of life in cities like Pune are on the decrease, and township properties are rightfully getting increasing importance as the most logical response to the increasing need for quality-based living.

In cities such as the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, the ‘Infrastructure First’ strategy being employed by the governing authorities since several decades has served to provide highly adequate living conditions for PCMC residents. On the other hand, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not been able to keep up to speed on its own infrastructure scenario. The heedless way with which real estate development has been taking place in Pune has not only resulted in a veritable concrete jungle but also made problems like traffic congestion, air and noise pollution and also water depletion much worse over the past several years.

PCMC – The New Townships Capital

In this depressing scenario, the massive integrated townships being developed in the booming city of PCMC has offered Pune’s citizens a new and invigorating lifestyle standard. In the PCMC, the integrated township revolution started in areas like Ravet and Moshi, and today the city’s leading developers have also established high-end townships in Punavale and on Spine Road.

Though negligence and greed are definitely operative factors in the illogical way the Pune Municipal Corporation has been developing, it also has certain limitations. In the first place, integrated township projects require substantial acreage, and large plots have essentially been completely used up in the central regions of the PMC. As consequence, the focus has now shifted to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, where superlative support infrastructure, affordable property rates and a scientific approach to real estate development still make townships a very workable proposal.

In integrated townships, the issues are infrastructure shortfall and deteriorating living conditions are totally negated. These projects provide an extremely high grade of living standards, set to the backdrop of tasteful natural surroundings and adequate open spaces.

Providing township-level facilities in smaller residential projects would entail prohibitive prices for the developers – and the cost escalations would have to be passed on to the property buyers. Such facilities would immediately boost a smaller residential project into the luxury category, with consummate price implications to buyers. However, as a result of the economies of scale, township developers in the PCMC are giving the township lifestyle option to buyers at prices that reasonable and attractive. 

High-quality infrastructure, open spaces and instant accessibility to every requirement of day-to-day living in these townships result in a first-class lifestyle equation since all residents in a township gain from one big integrated and centrally managed system.

Township Properties – Higher Price but Ultimate Value

As already mentioned, when a builder offers township-level facilities in smaller housing projects, the prices to consumers are comparable to those of high-end luxury residences. In townships, the vast variety of facilities, fully-integrated infrastructure as well as the availability of schools, hospitals and shopping complexes within the premises obviously means that township properties come at a price that is somewhat higher than standard multi-storey flats.

On the other hand, the added expense is vindicated by the reality that people who buy into township properties are guaranteed a greatly superior living standard – not to mention vastly higher yields on investment.

For property buyers who just don’t desire to compromise on their lifestyle choices, the township properties of PCMC are the most logical and intelligent options. The direct benefits include a healthier life thanks to open spaces and greenery, complete security, the guarantee of high-grade infrastructure and facilities within the premises, and instant accessibility to recreational facilities and retail outlets. This results in a very high measure of convenience and comfort within an entirely cosmopolitan ethos.

About The Author:
 
Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West 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.

Demonetization: Advantage India’s Youth

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Digitization is the future – but until now, it had been the Indian government itself that stood against the future by encouraging cash payments and levying heavy charges on digital marketplaces. Invariably, the merchant discounts rate (the fee that is supposed to be paid to the banks) was passed onto the end customer. However, under the current Modi establishment, things have begun looking brighter.

The announcement of demonetization of high-value currency notes certainly came as a shock to the masses, but it seems that people have not only understood the reason behind the move but are also offering full support to this change. This is especially true for the younger earners and spenders in our economy. There are several favorable aspects to the younger generation that makes demonetization a welcome move at this point in time for our economy.

Firstly, the current generation is by and large rejecting many of the concepts that the previous generations believed in. Things like hoarding of assets, black money and tax evasion wherever possible are by and large unacceptable to the young contributor to the economy today. In fact, just the opposite.
 
The younger generation is more in favor of spending and putting their income back into the flow, rather than keeping it aside for emergencies. They believe in using credit cards and similar financial tools that don’t involve hoarding. The principled younger earners of India today prefer to be transparent taxpayers rather than find ways to evade tax and hide their income. They know and appreciate that that their tax contributes towards the betterment of the nation and assisting the lesser-privileged. This is a highly responsible generation.
 
Secondly, this highly tech-savvy generation knows all about digital payments. A twenty-five-year-old of today is more predisposed and equipped to making digital payments than people from the previous generation. They are more comfortable with mobile wallets than with carrying cash. The rapid penetration of smartphone technology and online payment gateways has also helped build trust, while offering convenience.
 
Thirdly – and most importantly – this is a generation stands firmly against any form of corruption. It’s not just about making your own lifestyle comfortable anymore but growing with the nation. They fully support the recent demonetization move’s primary intention to weed out and expose corruption in India.
 
They believe that:

  • Demonetization will equip authorities with the tools to track down individuals and organization who hold unaccounted cash and evade tax. With the high-value currency note ban, all cash hoarders now are forced to put their cash back in the economy and make it accounted for. The younger generation is a staunch supporter of such a level playing field, and vehemently opposes all forms of inequality
  • Black money has always been the prime funding for all kinds of illegal activities like gambling, drug use and trafficking, terrorism and inflated market pricing. This generation’s stand against such activities is very much on record
  • Demonetization will curb tax evasion and now everyone, howsoever rich or resourceful, will have to pay their taxes in full. It will not be just the middle class that will be contributing to tax-funded projects like infrastructure development, education, hospitals, schools and other such moves towards making a better and equal society. A big thumbs up from the younger generation.

As India moves more and more towards digital currency because of demonetization, the ensuing boost to online commerce will also encourage all kinds of startups that the young Indian are working or investing in. Moreover, people with lawful and accounted-for money will have nothing to fear – and the younger generation is all about living their lives free of fear – and free to explore life’s endless possibilities.

About The Author:
 
Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West 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.

A Review of The PCMC Property Market in 2016

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces
 
As the new year dawns, India’s real estate market has begun navigating the potentially choppy seas of 2017 with a lot of uncertainty. When it comes to the past year, it is safe to say that nothing went as anticipated for the property market. The hoped- for recovery in the residential sector did not happen, and the Government’s unexpected demonetisation move in early November put paid to any chances for a last-minute turnaround.
 
Robust economy: Through the entire gamut of churn and setbacks in 2016, only one city’s real estate market managed to hold its own and even achieve some modest growth. West Pune, with its dominant market PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation), has always been a unique as it rides on an unbeatable trinity of residential demand drivers – manufacturing, Information Technology and the services sector. This equation has perennially acted like a healthily diversified investment portfolio, with the inherent strength of one or two of these sectors compensating for the occasional de-growth in the others. As always, this factor came to the rescue of the PCMC residential market.
 
Employment still drives housing demand: While the manufacturing sector in PCMC has always been robust thanks to the MIDC belt, continued growth in IT and the various services streams additionally ensured that the employment graph remained strong. With job creation continuing to drive the demand for homes, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation crossed the finish line of 2016 ahead of the other major cities – with room to spare. Though the demand for prime and luxury housing has remained somewhat subdued, budget and mid-income housing saved the day. If anything, 2016 amply illustrated that the middle class in Pune and PCMC has become extremely choosy about its home purchases.
 
Unsold inventory: Many of Pune’s peripheral areas – the hot investment favourites of 2014-15 – saw a depressing build-up of unsold supply even in completed projects. The lack of support infrastructure and known deficiencies such as inadequate or non-existent water supply put paid to many a developer’s hopes of selling his stock solely on the basis of enticingly low rates and freebies.

Of course, every large city in the country has its share of unsold inventory today, either because of muted market sentiment, the fact that a lot of supply is still in the early stages of construction, supply in the wrong locations, or unrealistic pricing of certain projects by developers. In the case of West Pune, most of the non-selling oversupply has been in locations lacking infrastructure. In PCMC, the supply overhang is largely from smaller developers without a good track record and credibility on the market.
 
Evolving buyer preferences: Diwali, the traditional period for increased home purchases in Pune, saw very few takers for inferior projects in inferior locations. Even the prospect of acquiring larger homes than their current ones did not draw mid-income buyers to lagging locations. On the other hand, there was a distinct uptick for smaller but ‘high-performance’ homes in properly connected areas. The accent was on a high degree of facilitation within such projects.
 
Price corrections: With 2016 bringing a slow but steady erosion of property pricing in most of its markets, some of the previously unaffordable locations in West Pune / PCMC have once again become attainable to homebuyers. If Budget 2017-18 brings the hoped-for benefits for first-time property buyers and the RBI rolls out lower interest rates, there is every reason to expect a major revival in home buying sentiment – and it is the superior locations which will see the highest demand.
 
Outlook for 2017
 
The trend of the real estate market in Pune and PCMC performing against the larger odds will definitely continue. Not only do the twin cities have all the right economic and demand drivers firmly in place, but their inclusion in the 100 Smart Cities program will only increase the interest from multinational companies to set up and expand operations here. This will, in turn, increase inward migration and fuel greater demand from investors, even as local end-user demand continues unabated.
 
While the bulk of demand today comes from end-users, investors are still very much a force on Pune’s property market. The city offers several budget bandwidths and property typologies into which one can invest. Well-timed and properly researched real estate purchases can reap very satisfactory returns.
 
However, it should be borne in mind that not every kind of investment pays off equally in Pune – one needs to know precisely how each sub-market works, what it responds to and where the demand is headed. A poorly-judged property investment can be a disappointing proposition. Particularly, investors need to be wary of the cheap, potentially illegal ‘gray market’ residential constructions happening on the outskirts.
 
About The Author:
 
Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West 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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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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.

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%.

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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.