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.

 

 

Punawale Now: Taking West Pune Real Estate To The Next Level

Taking West Pune Real Estate To The Next Level
Taking West Pune Real Estate To The Next Level

Anil Pharande In Interview With The Realty Paper

therealtypaper

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces in interview with The Realty Paper

  • How is the current scenario in the Pune real estate market?

Pune is a powerhouse of potential when it comes to real estate. It is a city of learning and entrepreneurship, and there is a distinctly progressive flavour to everything that happens there. Thanks to the fact that it has become a magnet for IT/ITES and manufacturing companies, the real estate market in Pune is not likely to lose its forward momentum. That said, I always had misgivings about the opportunistic manner in which property development was taking place within the PMC limits, and was far more interested in the holistic approach being adopted in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

  • What are your focal points of a real estate development firm?

In terms of locations, we have so far concentrated on the PCMC area and West Pune. My passion for real estate in PCMC has its reasons – the idea of being involved in the raising of a planned city on the lines of Chandigarh, so close to Pune, excited me. My primary objective has been to help steer the path of this planned development, which is why I got involved with CREDAI. Getting into the creation of township properties that would take the best advantage of the benefits that the PCMC offered in terms of superior infrastructure and phased real estate growth was the next logical step.

  • When was Pharande Spaces established?

Pharande Spaces was started in 1994 with negative capital. We launched purely on bank borrowings and goodwill.

  • Where are you most involved in the development of projects?

Since I come from a technical background, I have always placed great emphasis on employing the latest construction techniques in our projects. Our primary focus is on high-quality, visually aesthetic and lifestyle-oriented township projects that are environmentally sustainable and add to the grandeur of Pune’s real estate landscape.

  • Is Pharande Spaces involved in any other business verticals?

Apart from residential real estate, we are already into the manufacture of non-conventional energy equipment as well as distribution and power transformers. We have also forayed into the construction of malls and multiplexes. As already mentioned, we have so far concentrated on PCMC and West Pune, but are now firming up plans to expand into Goa as well.

  • Were you impacted by the slowdown in the real estate market?

Along with all other real estate development firms, Pharande Spaces faced all the ups and downs of the real estate market. We did not incur losses during the downturn, but we certainly did not experience much growth during the phase. Thankfully, the slowdown is now over and demand for quality housing is back with in force.

  • How many residential townships have you built till date?

We have built more than 25 residential projects to date, which include large integrated residential projects and two fully integrated townships.

  • L-Axis was Pharande Spaces’ first ultra-luxury township. Could you tell us more about the latest township you announced?

L-Axis is definitely one of the largest luxury projects we have launched. More recently, Pharande Spaces launched Puneville, a one-of-its-kind ultra-luxury township at Punavale in West Pune. The project is being developed on the 50-acre plot of a de-notified SEZ. The location in the heart of West Pune is literally perfect, being one kilometre from Wakad and with ready access to Aundh and Hinjewadi and further on to Lonavala and Mumbai via the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.

Puneville is a top-of-line luxury residential project designed on the lines of a luxury resort by Aedas, the global award-winning architects who have master-minded Venetian style hotels in Las Vegas and Macau as well as the Financial Centre in Shanghai and Marina Bay Sands at Singapore. Aedas ranks second among the world’s top architectural firms and will bring its full expertise to bear on Puneville. This project is by far the best in the country and incorporates every conceivable luxury feature, and outshines anything so far seen in residential real estate in Pune.

  • How do you view the real estate business at a personal level?

I am passionate about what I do, but have to admit that this business literally leaves no spare time at all. Relaxation is not even a factor.

  • Do you family members complain about your constant non-availability for them? This is a known syndrome among successful developers…

Quite possible, but I haven’t heard the complaints because I’m constantly on the phone.

  • Where do you and your family go for vacations? Do you have any favourite destination?

We have explored the world, mostly in context with my constant search for architectural inspiration for our projects. During these trips, my family members certainly enjoy themselves. We are particularly fond of Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Greece and China.

(As featured in: The Realty Paper)

Gudi Padwa: The Festival of Renewal and Property Investment

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

India is a country of myriad traditions and festivals that are not only times of celebration but in many cases also major investment decisions. As a result, many market segments are also aligned to these periods. The Gudi Padwa festive season is among the periods of intense real estate market activity, because this period is traditionally seen as one of renewal and forward planning.

Gudi Padwa is a celebration of the coming of spring, during which nature once again delivers its gift of abundance after the largely barren winter months. In fact, this period is celebrated by almost every culture in the world in some form or the other. But probably nowhere with as much joy and fervour as in India, which is a country with very strong agrarian roots. It is no accident that Gudi Padwa coincides with many festivals all over India, from Baisakhi in Punjab, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Yugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Vishu in Kerala.

The cross-linkage of Gudi Padwa with real estate purchase is by no means a latter-day phenomenon – this trend has been in evidence since historical times. India is a country where certain times of the year as seen as very auspicious for any activity related to investment and wealth creation. A self-owned home is the biggest and most important investment for most Indian families, and the Gudi Padwa festive period invariably sees significantly increased property purchase activity.

This year, Gudi Padwa coincides with many other favourable market dynamics. Very much in keeping with the spirit of spring which Gudi Padwa celebrates, India has emerged from a prolonged period of political uncertainty and economic doldrums. A strong and resolute government has taken charge, and the Indian economy is visibly reviving. Across the country, Indians have put job insecurity and indecisiveness about their future goals behind them. However, the property market has not yet picked up concurrent pace, resulting in a very favourable scenario for home seekers this Gudi Padwa.

Depending on how the property market is behaving, developers roll out various offers and incentives to encourage buyers during the Gudi Padwa season. This year, such offers are going to be plentiful, but a more important dynamic we will see is that many developers who had refrained from lowering their rates may do so selectively this year under the guise of festival discounts. Without a doubt, the tradition-fuelled upswing in buyer sentiments must be harnessed during Gudi Padwa.

More than ever, home seekers intent on making their purchase this Gudi Padwa need to be guided by the right fundamentals. It is important to understand that when it comes to freebies and offers, the real estate market is no different from any other kind of market – an attractive offer only makes sense if it is attached to the right product. Considering the magnitude of investment one makes into a home – and also the purpose of this investment – it is very important to ensure that one is buying what one really wants and needs.

One of the best ways to maintain a clear focus while buying a home in a festive season is to make a list of the merits and demerits of every option one has short-listed first. Given the specific nature of home purchase, sufficient weightage must be given to location, the reputation of the developer, the facilities and amenities available, and of course overall value for money. If all these check out positively and are backed by an attractive offer or discount, one is on the way to making a good choice.

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 Value Proposition Of Large Vs. Small Flats In Pune

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande

Over the last couple of years, I have been observing with concern the decreasing size of flats on the Pune real estate market. Of course, it is the demand for smaller flats that is driving this kind of supply.

With housing prices in the Pune Municipal Corporation rising relentlessly, the ‘biggest’ opportunity that developers perceive is in smaller flats that get sold in the shortest possible time. This kind of supply is aimed at first-time home buyers who either have limited budgets or low financial confidence.

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Smaller Flats – Pricing Trap

Though these are supposed to be ‘affordable homes’, the pricing of these units is actually on the higher side. They sell because the prices are still lower than those of larger flats, but the buyers are actually paying an excessive unit cost.

The reason for this disparity is that the ‘pigeon holes’ housing model itself has some inherent flaws built into it. To begin with, the share of common area that needs to allocated in a project that consists of only of small-sized homes means that the project loses in terms of overall efficiency and sale-able area. This results in lower revenue potential, so developers bump up their prices to compensate.

Secondly, the cost of construction depends on the quantity of raw materials being used. When a developer is building a project which comprises exclusively of small units, his development costs actually go up because every unit needs to be provided with separate fittings, appliances and finishes.

As a result, he will increase his prices to make up for the loss in profitability.

Home buyers should be aware that the converse is equally true. In a project with larger units, developers save on costs because of more efficient common space utilization and lower consumption of fittings, appliances and finishes for individual units.

Better Common Amenities

This is why a 1 BHK is often only 30-35% less expensive than a 2 BHK. The bottom line is that by opting for larger flats, property buyers are getting more value for their money.

Also, projects comprising of larger flats tend to have better common amenities, which the developer can maximize the overall livability and therefore attractiveness of the project rather than needing to focus on making as many units as possible within the available space.

The obvious question that follows is – where can middle class home buyers from Pune find larger flats that fall within their budgets? The answer is – in the developing (rather than expensive over-developed) parts of the city.

For example, West Pune is a corridor where hundreds of property buyers are still able to find true value for their money.

Property rates in many of the the areas of PCMC are lower than the inner localitions of the Pune Municipal Corporation, which means that buyers can get the benefits of larger flats with better amenities there.

With the vastly improved road connectivity, the newer areas of West Pune close to Hinjewadi and the MIDC are now becoming the destinations most favoured by home buyers working in these employment catchments.

About The Author:

Anil Pharande 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, an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a mixed bag of products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. Puneville in West Pune’s Punawale is the latest integrated township project by Pharande Spaces

 

Pradhikaran: Pune Real Estate’s Hottest Growth Corridor

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Sector 14 in Pradhikaran now boasts of massive integrated township properties like Woodsville

Anil Pharande

The Pune residential real estate boom, initially kick-started by the IT/ITeS industry, has brought about a lot of unregulated development. While property prices in Pune rose unrealistically, the city’s traditional ease of living and pleasant climate, which were previously its USPs, suffered.

Hills and trees have been razed to accommodate the rapidly expanding concrete jungle that all but defines central Pune today. The town planning commission found itself impotent in the face of the development mania, which soon transcended all reasonable, sustainable boundaries.

Real Estate Issues In Pune

In Pune, infrastructure challenges have been increasing because of the ever-increasing population. This has also put escalating pressure on available land, resulting in the forced extension of the city limits.

The pattern of development has been decidedly mercenary and unplanned, with the only criteria being accessibility to existing and upcoming IT hubs. While the rise of Hinjewadi created increasing demand for homes in its immediate vicinity, places like Aundh soon witnessed a slew of projects by property developers. Similarly, property prices in Baner and Wakad rose so steeply that they finally corrected.

Focus On Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC)

As things stand now, central Pune no longer has an iota of its previous quality and ambience in residential property offerings. It is therefore not surprising that homebuyers are beginning to focus on the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. This area has, in fact, emerged as the last outpost Pune’s previous residential property comfort levels.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation first came into the limelight as an industrial area. However, it also has an advantage that central Pune does not – planned development. The growth of the real estate sector in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is closely regulated by the PCNTDA, which works together with the PCMC to ensure planned and realistic growth.

Central Pune continues to suffer from pollution, depleting greenery, traffic jams, water and power scarcity, lack of proper infrastructure and unrealistic residential property rates. Meanwhile, Pradhikaran (the location that defines the PCNTDA) has been benefiting from sensible real estate development.

If one studies the demographic development of Pune real estate growth, it is evident that Pradhikaran is precisely where the city’s growth is headed in the North/North-Western direction. This is extremely significant in terms of long-term residential property investment.

The Rise Of Pradhikaran

In years gone by, the PCNTDA began to acquire land in the PCMC area so that planned development could take place in the future. This planning included the allocation of specific areas for industrial activity, residential property development, public parks, unobstructed spaces, shopping centres, office buildings, roads and utilities.

Water supply to all sectors was ensured by the construction of several mammoth water tanks, each with capacities of several million litres, before development was permitted in each sector. Once this was done, the PCNTDA made the developed land parcels available to property developers.

The PCMC master plan also provides for generous road widths, the likes of which are impossible elsewhere in Pune. This goes a long way in preserving one of Pradhikaran’s natural splendour and hygiene.

Because of these factors, and also because of the growth in the PCMC industrial belt, the last two years have witnessed a huge increase in demand for residential property in the Pradhikaran area.

The fact that a number of large international companies are operating in nearby Chakan has, in fact, been a primary criterion for the area’s development profile. These companies regularly deliver thousands of jobs at all levels, which has had a telling effect on Pradhikaran’s general economic status. Specifically, there has been a huge surge in demand for residential property there.

Pradhikaran’s expansion, which has been inspired by the Chandigarh model of controlled development, began with a few hundred acres. Today, the area speaks for about 7000 acres. Pradhikaran is continually seeing infrastructural enhancements on all fronts – including roads, water and electricity supply and digital connectivity.

Pradhikaran now boasts of massive integrated township projects that offer all the hallmarks of ambient, sustainable living. Apart from the high lifestyle quotient, the investment potential of these townships benefits from a magic mix of real estate market drivers.

The presence of Tata Motors, Talawade, Hinjewadi, Chakan and the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt add to the value of these townships, while the Mumbai-Pune highway and Expressway make it advantageously accessible to the financial capital of Mumbai.

No wonder that Pradhikaran is now being seen as both, the best option for first home buyers, and as the new residential property investment hotspot in Pune’s real estate market.

About The Author

Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm operating in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

Pharande Spaces Announces L-axis, PCMCs Premium Residential Project

Affordably Priced, Will Cater to Management Cadre Homebuyers.

Pune, June 27, 2012:  Pharande Spaces, the leading construction and development firm specializing in township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, is launching its premium residential project L-axis on the PCMC Spine Road, in Sector 6 of Pradhikaran. The launch date is June 28, 2012. The project is spread over 11 acres of verdant green land and will feature 2, 2.5 and 3 BHK apartments.

L-axis layout

“Projects by Pharande Spaces have become a byword for value for money, and our mid-income housing townships in Moshi, Ravet and various locations in Pradhikaran have met with resounding success,” says Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces. “L-axis is our offering to the premium segment of home buyers who value even more advanced levels of comfort, generous living space and high-tech amenities.”

Spine Road, which is where this ahead-of-its time luxury housing project is located, has become one of the most talked about infrastructure embellishments in the progressive Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. This area is fundamentally at the core of Pune’s most vibrant industrial area, with many manufacturing giants such as Tata Motors, Force Motors and Bajaj Auto close by. It is also well-connected to the Chakan industrial area, which is home to national and international automobile companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and Mahindra & Mahindra. Apart from this, the Talawade IT Park is also within easy access.

In addition, L-axis is advantageously placed close to the Bhosari District Centre, Sadhu Vaswani International School, Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, the PCNTDA Traffic Park and the upcoming International Exhibition and Convention Centre at Moshi. The project will feature technologically advanced security and lifestyle features to its residents and boasts of vast green spaces, with paved area kept at a minimum.

L-axis also includes a modern clubhouse with gymnasium, tennis and basketball courts, a multi-purpose community hall and a massive water-world-style swimming pool that offers limitless enjoyment to all family members.

“We have conceived L-axis in response to the huge demand for luxury living spaces coming from the managerial cadre of these industries,” explains Anil Pharande. “Keeping in mind the clientele, we have added every possible lifestyle feature, including multiple parking spaces, luxurious atriums and lobbies in each building and high-speed lifts.”

In fact, L-axis represents a first-of-its kind residential option for discerning homebuyers in the PCMC area for whom ease, luxury and convenience are the primary watchwords. No effort has been spared to make this a landmark development which will become its own distinctive address. The launch price for apartments at L-axis is currently Rs. 4500 per square foot, and will be augmented to Rs. 5000 per square foot thereafter.

Pharande explains that PCMC’s Spine Road is the perfect location for this project, providing a residential catchment that is a focal point of the region’s most prestigious industries. The 10-kilometer road connects two major highways and also runs through Pimpri Chinchwad’s industrial, residential and commercial areas on the eastern side.

Pune Has More Potential For Real Estate Growth

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

Pune property market is a lot more conservative than Mumbai, and there is certainly a market-dictated cut-off point for price escalations, says Anil Pharande, Vice-President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that concentrates on township properties in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area of Pune.

Excerpts…

From technocrat to leading builder…. How did this transformation happen?

I was very interested in what was happening in Pimpri-Chinchwad back then. The idea of being involved in the raising of a planned city on the lines of Chandigarh, so close to Pune, was an exciting prospect. The Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) had taken on an ambitious and laudable task. My first objective was to help steer the path of this planned development, which is why I got involved with CREDAI. Getting into the creation of township properties that would take the best advantage of the benefits that the PCMC offered in terms of superior infrastructure and phased real estate growth was the next logical step.

Can you give us an overview of Pune’s reality market and its growth prospects?

Pune is a powerhouse of potential when it comes to real estate. It is a city of learning and entrepreneurship, and there is a distinctly progressive flavour to everything that happens there. Thanks to the fact that it has become a magnet for IT/ITES and manufacturing companies, the real estate market in Pune is not likely to lose its forward momentum. Having said that, I always had misgivings about the opportunistic manner in which property development was taking place within the PMC limits, and was far more interested in the holistic approach being adopted in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

What is the impact of the price upheavals of metropolis Mumbai on Pune’s realty market?

There is doubtlessly an impact, since a lot of cash-rich buyers from Pune are looking at Pune both as a property investment and retirement home option. The level of demand from Mumbai tends to exert a certain upward pressure on property prices in Pune. However, the Pune property market is still a lot more conservative than that of Mumbai, and there is certainly a market-dictated cut-off point for price escalations.

Do you think that the dismissal of a few big builders from CREDAI over non-compliance will affect the body’s advocacy on transparency?

Not at all. Every administrative body must experience occasional churn in order to maintain its vision and to stay flexible and open to new avenues of progress.

About your ongoing and upcoming residential projects…and future expansion plan?

Woodsville in Moshi is virtually a small town within PCMC, spread over 40 acres with vast tracts of open spaces and a very healthy environment. This hugely successful project, which is being developed phase-wise, has been and continues to be a primary focus for us. I’m also very excited about (L)-Axis, which we are launching along the PCNTDA Spine Road. In contrast to our other projects, which cater mainly to the middle-income group, this is a luxury apartments in pune which will have no rivals in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

WoodsvilleApart from (L)-Axis, Pharande Spaces is planning a residential/IT-ITES SEZ project at Punawale, near Hinjewadi/Wakad, Dehu Road-Katraj Expressway bypass. It will encompass 42 acres in the residential segment and 28 acres for the IT Park. The residential part will have apartments, row houses and bungalows.

What is your take on green building concept? Why is it not popular in India compared to West?

There is a lot of change-resistance and no end of misconceptions about green buildings in India. It is taking a long time for developers and buyers to understand the sound rationale behind them. However, I am seeing a definite awakening now, and I am confident that the next ten years will usher in a slow but steady green revolution in Indian real estate.

There is a general belief that affordable housing by private players is a non-starter in India, do you agree?

I completely disagree. A huge amount of affordable housing stock in our cities is created by small private developers who cannot imitate the scale of the larger players. Countless people would still be waiting in vain for the many Government-driven budget housing schemes that are yet to see the light of day if it were not for these private players. Many national players have also made their mark in this segment and consistently delivered.

(As told to KR Iyer (ramanaathan.iyer@sulekha.net)

http://property.sulekha.com/pune-has-more-potential-for-real-estate-growth_news-1093

Pune Real Estate: From Kothrud To Wakad – And Beyond

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

In Pune, property and quality of life were once synonymous, but that can no longer be taken as a given. In earlier years, it did not really matter much where one chose to buy property in Pune – all locations were more or less supportive of peaceful family life in their own right.

Today, while considering flats for sale in Pune, one has to consider a number of variables – among them the levels of traffic congestion and pollution, the availability of basic facilities such as water and, of course, quality of the neighborhood.

Let us take Kothrud, for example. This once charming area was one of the first suburbs to be developed after the old city. Even today, it is considered a desirable core area due to its strong connection with the city centre via Karve Road. However, for better or for worse, Kothrud is also mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the suburb with the fastest urban growth in the world.

Kothrud started developing in late 90s. Back then, Pune City was truly a Pensioner’s Paradise, with little economic activity. People from Mumbai looking to buy property in Pune preferred Kothrud, naturally leading to an accelerated rate of development.

By the time the IT/ITES boom began in 2000-02, Kothrud was a full-fledged residential destination. Because of this, it fortunately did not go the way of suburbs like Aundh and Baner in the West or Viman Nagar in the East as they joined the IT/ITES bandwagon.

Over the past decade-and-a-half, Kothrud has evolved as one of the most densely populated residential destination in Pune. Residential projects are very scarce and the demand is enormous. However, because of the manner in which it grew, Kothrud was not developed holistically in terms of social infrastructure.

Many other areas in Pune developed on similar lines, and the old Pensioner’s Paradise charm soon gave way to massive, relentless development. This began the hunt for less cluttered and more lifestyle-supportive residential locations.

Pune Property

Fortunately, Pune is not a sea-locked city like Mumbai, and there was scope for looking further ahead. One of the first areas to emerge as a preferred area to settle down was Wakad – a once-nondescript village with 5000 locals who farmed sugarcane, onion and groundnut in its rich, black, fertile soil.

In 1983, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) acquired 50% of this virgin location. By 1998, PCMC counted Wakad as one of its areas. Today, Wakad has emerged as the focus of younger, financially fit families that are looking to upgrade their lifestyle by moving to larger, more nature-endowed homes on the outskirts of Pune City.

With the increasing congestion of the previously preferred area of Aundh, neighboring Wakad was seen as the perfect location, with close proximity to the Infotech and Biotech Parks at Hinjewadi, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Industrial area, the Mumbai-Bangalore Bypass, the Super Express Highway to Mumbai and the Balewadi National Sports complex.  Thanks to the Expressway, Wakad is only about 80 to 90 minutes away from Mumbai, and Mumbaikars looking to buy property in Pune saw it as an excellent value proposition.

Of course, Wakad is just one of the chapters that the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has in its book of Pune real estate successes. Today, Ravet and other sectors of Pradhikaran in the PCMC have become the new residential real estate watchwords in Pune. These areas are developing fast and are even now venues of extremely modern integrated residential projects.

However, the development of Wakad marked the beginning of a new residential real estate trend in Pune – the quest for better environments to settle down in and recapture some of Pune’s erstwhile glory as Queen of the Deccan.

Anil Pharande is Vice President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of Pharande  Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

Pune Real Estate: The Price Of Rapid Urbanization

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By the most recent reckoning, India’s population currently hovers around the 1.15 billion mark. It is estimated that by 2030, this figure will have grown to around 1.53 billion. India’s urban areas are just about ready to burst at the seams, on the heels of an accelerating population explosion.

The population growth in India’s rural areas in the present decade is around 18%, and over 30% in the urban areas. This pattern of urbanisation is seen as encouraging, since it seems to indicate that India will attain the global urbanization standard average in the course of the next decade.

However, it is also true that this upsurge in our cities’ population is putting available civic structures like public transport, water supply, drainage, sewerage and obviously the supply of housing under severe pressure.

This raises the question – how are India’s real estate developers addressing the problem of insufficient infrastructure in and around their projects in the main cities? The fact is, they can’t do much.

In cities like Pune, property buyers have no choice but to turn a blind eye to the absence of sufficient infrastructure. They are aware of the fact that they will face numerous inconveniences, but what can they do?

Many opt to buy into projects that boast of compensatory measures to overcome the infrastructure deficit. These would include independent water supply if a reliable municipal pipeline doesn’t exist, electricity backup to make up for unreliable power supply and sump pits if the area does not have adequate sewage.

However, such projects in Pune City are few and far between, and homes in them come at extremely high prices. Also, no matter in how many ways Pune developers compensate for lack of civic infrastructure, they cannot add more than a token patch of landscaped lawn by ways of natural ambience.

The high property rates are a real problem. Many of those who buy flats in Pune have saved all their lives for buying their Pune dream home. They have made a lot of sacrifices to make this happen; having finally managed to save enough, they buy their homes and immediately regret it.

The maintenance costs for their flats are far too high for them to bear – a lot of them can’t afford petrol for their cars anymore. They travel to and from work by bus.

We have all looked at the parking lots of highly-priced residential projects and seen dusty cars with handmade posters on the rear windows saying things like ‘Homemade Detergent Soap Available at Flat 12A’ and ‘Tuition For Stds. V to IX – Contact Mr. XYZ at Flat 26C.

It simply makes no sense to invest everything in a home and then live in financial stress afterward. The solution obviously lies in finding a home where the same investment buys you more.

The choice is between paying a certain amount on a small, under-equipped flat in the crowded central city or on a spacious home in a location blessed with natural beauty and and sound infrastructure.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, which planned its residential areas decades ago, offers such options. The integrated residential projects in Ravet and other sectors of Pradhikaran close to the upcoming International Convention Centre offer the kind of homes that Puneites have always dreamed of, but never been able to own.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation also has an extremely vibrant economy, offering more and more job opportunities across all business sectors with every passing year.

Finally, because of the regulated nature of the PCMC real estate market and the high emphasis on civic facilities and amenities, there is no question of an eventual infrastructure deadlock. The real estate prices are way below those see in Pune, too. For that reason, these are the kind of homes that will be sources of joy for several generations.

Anil Pharande is Chaiman – Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm operating in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

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