Infrastructure And its Correlation to Home Buying

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Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

In India, as in other countries, it is a simple fact that localities which are as close as possible to important workplace areas will be most consistently sought out by people looking to buy homes. Therefore, projects with great connectivity by railway and road, see the highest demand for residential properties.

Property investment is always driven by the infrastructure in and around a locality. From sufficient roads to reliable water supply and drainage, infrastructure includes all the physical characteristics which contribute towards creating sustainable communities. Unsurprisingly, property costs close to infrastructure including airports, railway stations and roads are higher than in other regions.

If a location does not offer reliable electricity and water supply, connectivity, public transportation stops and sanitation by ways of good sewerage and waste disposal, it will not work as a residential destination regardless of what else it offers. All these are services that nobody living in a modern Indian city is prepared to live without.

From a property marketplace outlook, sufficient infrastructure in an area includes everything that leads to an easier, convenient lifestyle which does not have to contend with any kind of shortages, service outages and breakdown of public facilities.

Well-planned roads and public transport

Roads are required to make transport quicker and simpler. They are important right from the time when basic infrastructure and initial real estate development are being put in place, as raw materials and labour has to be able to reach the location. Once the area is established, roads let people travel to and from work, for kids to get to and from school and for access to shopping and entertainment.

Proper planning of road, rail and public transport nodes is very important. The key factor to be kept in mind during this planning is that people do not want to too close to bus depots, railway stations, shopping areas and industries businesses – but neither will they wish to be too far away from them.

Reliable supply of essential utilities

In a developing country like India, there are still many towns and suburbs of cities that do not enjoy reliable water and electricity supply, garbage management and public security features. With the income of typical Indian families constantly growing, today’s urban homeowners are willing to spend more to get access to seamless water and electricity, and adequate security.

Naturally, residential complexes that provide 24×7 water and electricity supply and round-the-clock security are far now highly favored. This is what has led to the growing momentum of township development in Pune and even more so in PCMC. Housing projects in places that don’t have reliable utilities and where security is a concern do find takers – but these are usually exceptionally budget-strung buyers who resign themselves to having to wait for everything to fall in place at some stage.

Sanitation infrastructure

In India, there has been rising awareness of the minimum levels of sanitation that a household should have access to. A new location will only start attracting real demand from homebuyers if it offers appropriate measures of sanitation such as municipal road cleaning, trash removal, sewage and waste water disposal, and other related services. Without these services, life becomes unhealthy and intolerable. A location’s score on the sanitation front is a very important criterion for homebuyers who are shortlisting housing projects in which to buy a property.

Social infrastructure: Schools, hospitals, shopping and recreation

Indian families put great onus on the availability of schools in a residential neighbourhood. This is why areas with good schools in the vicinity fetch higher property rates than most others. This is not only a question of convenience for Indian parents, but also of the safety for their children. Because of life’s uncertainties and the rise in road and domestic accidents, hospitals are another component in an area’s social infrastructure that is of critical concern for homebuyers. They expect quick access to medical facilities –  this is non-negotiable.

Recreational open spaces such as parks are also consistently in favour from city dwellers that wish to experience nature to some extent, and thereby be able to find some refuge from the urban madness that rules most of their days. A locality that offers water bodies, gardens, parks and playgrounds in the vicinity are considered premium.

Developers of large integrated townships are aware of how important the availability of good social infrastructure has become, which is why they include gardens and artificial lakes as well as schools, shopping and entertainment inside the project premises for their residents.

Infrastructure in all its facets is therefore hugely important in today’s residential property scenario, and it directly influences the buying behavior of Indians scouting around for homes. The degree to which social and civic infrastructure is available in a neighbourhood dictates how successful a residential destination is today.

This is why integrated townships have become the most important trend on the Indian property market today. Townships are not dependent on how proactive the municipality and private sector players in deploying social and physical infrastructure. They deploy it themselves in perfectly-contained microcosms that not only include residential projects but also office and retail complexes as well as educational and healthcare facilities.

Integrated townships ensure that their residents have everything they need for a modern comfortable and secure lifestyle accessible within easy reach, for instant use. The high demand for township properties in rapidly urbanizing cities like Pune and PCMC vouchsafes the fact that homebuyers are no longer willing to compromise on the advantages of sufficient infrastructure in their neighbourhoods.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.