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.

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.

Why Roads Boost Real Estate Growth

Anil-Pharande– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

It is no secret that improved road connectivity is very important for real estate growth. Most property brokers will make a big case out of an area’s excellent road network and how this improves the appreciation value of a proposed property. But how exactly does this phenomenon work? What is the real ‘connection’ between better roads and better real estate values?

  • The History Of ‘Road Power’

Infrastructure is the key to growth for real estate – and the cornerstone of infrastructure is roads. The importance of roads to human being is vouchsafed by how long they have been around. The oldest paved road in recorded history was made sometime between 2600-2200 BC in Egypt; but it was the Roman Empire which brought out the fullest potential of roads traversable by wheeled, horse-powered carriages.

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Circa 312 BC, the Roman Empire built stone roads throughout Europe and North Africa to aid its military campaigns. At the height of their power, the Romans had built 78,000 kilometers of roads that led to and from Rome. History is witness to what the Roman Empire achieved by connecting the parts of the world that were important to them to their seat of power.

However, it was only much later that ‘road power’ could begin to be fully exploited. It was, in fact, only in 1768 that the French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation. Ever since then, roads have emerged as the master key that unlocks all urban potential in the modern world.

  • Fast Forward To Today

It is safe to say that real estate development as we know it is impossible without adequate road networks. In the first place, they are required to transport construction materials and manpower to sites. Thereafter, people need roads to be able to travel to the newly developed locations. However, the basic roads that are initially used to ‘open up’ and area usually fall short of the task of really making it prosper. High volumes of traffic require larger, better-planned roads to accommodate it, and it often emerges that existing distances between locations can be significantly reduced by laying new roads altogether.

In the city of Pune, one recent example of the introduction of a new major road can cut down the distance that needs to be travelled between destinations was the Spine Road in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). The launch of this important piece of infrastructure had a direct and very beneficial effect on residents in all the areas it influences. It connects two major highways, provides access focus for various residential, commercial and industrial centres and is the longest stand-alone road in the region. Spine Road has significantly relieved traffic congestion on internal roads – it has six lanes with cycle tracks, service roads and even parking facilities.

  • How Roads Improve Urban Life

Time Saved = Improved Lifestyle: With the shorter distances achieved by well-planned and strategically laid new roads, people can choose to not use their fuel-guzzling cars and travel to and from work by public transport or two wheelers instead. Apart from improving the quality of lives, this also decreases noise and air pollution in residential areas. Improved road connectivity also improves the overall safety of a neighbourhood, because emergency services like law enforcement and fire brigades can reach there faster. Residents also have quicker access to hospitals, which often makes the difference between life and death.

Obviously, infrastructure initiatives like the Spine Road in PCMC are a major advantage to employees working in the area’s numerous manufacturing and service industries. In Indian cities, the amount of time it takes to get to and from one’s workplace literally makes or breaks residential locations. Also, because residents of well-connected localities can reach and return from their workplaces faster, they have more time to spend with their families. The same fundamental works for school-going children, as well.

Considerable Savings On FuelEver-increasing fuel prices were once a concern only to the middle class, but they are today even the more affluent classes are feeling the heat. In India, electric cars that can meet the travel requirements of a normal-sized family are still a distant dream. Like it or not, we continue to depend on fossil fuel-driven vehicles.

A normal middle class family can save quite a lot on its monthly fuel expenses when a new road improves overall connectivity in their locality. Communities which live in areas without good road connectivity often spend between 10-15% of their monthly income on transportation alone. The figure rises proportionately to the number of vehicles the family operates.

The Health ‘Connection’Reduced travel time also equals a lower chance of commuting-related physical ailments and stress levels. When people have to travel over longer distances daily, the time in which they are exposed to traffic pollution and extreme climate increases proportionately. Several serious health problems such as deep vein thrombosis and lung infections have been directly linked to regular, long automobile travel.

By the same coin, road rage and reckless driving also often the direct by-product of traffic congestion caused by insufficient road linkages. Also, improved road connectivity leading to significantly shorter travel distances makes it possible for people to opt for health-positive travel modes such as bicycles.

The Real Estate ‘Connection’For all the above reasons, improved road connectivity has a massive impact on real estate prices of a location. There is always higher demand for homes in well-connected areas, because they are more accessible, safer, healthier and cheaper to live in.

About The Author:

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

PCMC – India’s Best-Planned Real Estate Market

Anil-Pharande

 

 

 

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Planning In Real Estate

Planning is an inalienable component of real estate development. This is why buildings are engineered, not built randomly. While developing a project, this means that the builder follows a pre-determined design provided by an architect, who has based his or her design on proven engineering principles.

This planning ensures that the building’s structure has a prescribed foundation depth and distributes weight uniformly so that it can withstand internal and external stresses. The engineering aspect of project design also ensures that living units are proportionate and that the available space within them is optimally used.

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In a residential complex, the planning aspect is extrapolated beyond individual buildings. The architect’s job is to engineer the project in such a manner than the buildings are distributed according to plan across the plot, and that open spaces, parking spaces, internal roads and common utilities are exactly where they are supposed to be. In larger townships, the planning aspect becomes even more involved because of the larger area.

Planned Cities

All these are expected factors when it comes to real estate projects. But when such detailed planning is applied to an entire city, its benefits are vastly magnified. Architects, engineers, town planners, government agencies and builders approach the development of the whole city as though it were one large integrated complex.

This takes a huge amount of planning, coordination, investment and effort, but the results are obviously worth it. This is how the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation came into being. This is what sets it apart from other cities and into the same bracket as other planned municipalities like Chandigarh.

Today, the PCMC is a model city which is the result of careful planning of economic, social and real estate development. Unlike in the other regions in Pune, PCMC’s town planning authorities have scrupulously shielded the city from the ad-hoc development that has paralyzed the rest of Pune. The futuristic thinking and high vigilance that has been employed in developing this region has resulted in an avant-garde satellite city which adds a whole new dimension to the Pune’s real estate market.

Planned Cities Which Began Well And Ended In Chaos

From the start, planning authorities of the PCMC were determined not to repeat the mistakes committed in other cities which were originally meant to be immaculately planned municipalities. They started off on the right note, but the planning aspect soon decayed and gave way to the kind of unregulated growth that has destroyed the urban fabric of most Indian cities today. Some of the examples of failed attempts to produce planned municipalities in India are:

  • West India: Navi Mumbai and the Kalyan-Dombivili and Virar-Vasai belts
  • North India: The Ghaziabad-Gurgaon-Faridabad-Greater Noida corridor
  • South India: Bangalore’s Devanhalli-Yelahanka and Chennai’s Siruseri-Sriperumbadur belts
  • East India: Kolkata’s Rajarhat-Batanagar-Kalyani belt.

In each of the above cases, what had begun as a regulated real estate development process soon turned to a commercial expansion. PCMC on the other hand, adopted a smarter blueprint from the start. No scope had been given to nearsighted development. PCMC was always meant to be the city of the future where residents could enjoy the benefits of 100% infrastructure-based, community-oriented real estate planning and development.

Real Estate Demand Drivers In PCMC

Demand for residential real estate in a successful satellite city is created when there is a right balance of infrastructure, a stress-free lifestyle and employment opportunities. Additionally, there has to be good connectivity to the parent city. In context of PCMC, these are:

  • Road and rail connectivity to Pune
  • Its highly-planned business and industrial zones create countless new jobs every year
  • Infrastructure is vastly superior when compared to Central Pune
  • Real estate development is strictly dictated by a pre-planned urbanization model that ensures high living standards for all

PCMC is a perfect example of how satellite cities can surpass the central city. Here, the retail, commercial and residential markets work together symbiotically to create a winning proposition for end users and investors alike. When compared to Pune, PCMC has a much higher availability of green spaces, superior social fabric and vastly better infrastructure. Thanks to better land availability, PCMC also provides the most opportunities for real estate developers to create large integrated townships, which have are nothing short of a blessing for Pune’s residents.

About The Author:

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