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.

How India Can Bridge Its Affordable Housing Gap

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Affordable housing isn’t just about providing homes to those who need the most – it also plays a crucial part in a smoothly-running economy. Sadly, most of the cities across the globe are struggling to offer decent, affordable housing to their citizens. India is not a unique case – the story is the same for both developing and advanced economies. The world is going through an intensive phase of urbanization, but the growth in individual incomes is not keeping pace, and this presents a gloomy picture for the housing situation.

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Statistics indicate that over the next decade, the number of people adjusting in substandard housing will rise exponentially. Incidentally, India will be among the most challenged nations, unless the government is able to realistically work on its electoral promise of ‘housing for all’.

The ‘affordability gap’ is defined as the difference between the average rent people pay for their homes without having to spend more than 30% of their family income, and the price of acceptable housing units. In India, population growth has obviously triggered a rise in the affordable housing gap, but it by no means the only country with this problem. In the next 10-12 years, the world in general will have to come up with an additional 106 million low-income housing units.

These statistics illustrate a serious problem – how will this rising gap be bridged? In a country like India, what would be the means that will allow the government to support faster affordable home deliveries? Strategically, there would be three primary approaches to resolve the problem, and all are centered on lowered cost of construction, financing, land, maintenance and operations.

Even if individually implemented, each of the three approaches will significantly cut the affordable housing gap, especially in nations like India. If these approaches could be implemented in a tandem, the cost of affordable housing can be decreased by as much as 35-50%, gradually leading to a manageable situation over the next decade.

Freeing Up Developable Land

Land supply is among the most important element in housing prices. It is also responsible for the largest part of the overall investment in buying a home. If the government decides to open up strategic land around urban locations, it could be a huge solution to the rising prices of homes. At the policy level, making this happen is not too complicated either.

Most Indian cities have land parcels that remain unused or underused. In most cases, this land either belongs to the government or local/private authorities. Bringing forward these land parcels for real estate development will greatly help in launching affordable housing projects.

Bringing Down The Cost Of Construction

Compared to other sectors like manufacturing, the construction sector has been relatively stagnant in the past years. One of the reasons for this is lack of innovation – residential projects still use traditional techniques of construction that were used some 50 years ago. This is not the problem of India alone but many countries across the globe.

By replacing obsolete construction techniques with the latest modern innovative technologies, housing prices can be reduced by almost 30% and completion times by as much as 40%. For instance, using pre-fabricated components of construction that are manufactured off the site are a sterling solution. Processes like this, which are already in use in India but not to the required degree, can improve the efficiency of residential building deployment, and significantly augment budget housing supply.

A communal approach to construction materials purchasing by groups of developers who are committed to the cause of affordable housing would also help bring down housing prices.

Lowering The Cost Of Finance

In a cost-sensitive country like India, banking interest rates play a huge role in housing affordability. At the current interest rates, and even given the current subsidies, it is next to impossible for low income earners to get loans to buy homes. Banks and other financial institutions in the public and private domain should introduce encouraging schemes like contractual savings to assist low income earners to gradually accumulate the corpus needed to make down payments on affordable homes. Of course, lower interest rates would greatly help the situation.

Apart from these, the Indian government must also find means to reduce the cost of financing to developers engaged in affordable housing projects. It is encouraging that the new government is already working on its electoral mandate, but there is still no sign of a unified approach to implementation of its goals. Hopefully, we will see more progress being made on the ‘Housing For All’ promise in the future.

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.