How The Real Estate Regulatory Bill Will Revive The Property Sector

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill has been waiting for a long time to be passed as a law. Though several new recommendations by various bodies were incorporated into the draft Bill and approved by the cabinet, it has still not been passed as an enforceable law by the Parliament. It is now high time that this happens – for several reasons

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The changes which have been made in the original draft over time are quite progressive. For instance, a real estate developer must keep a minimum balance of 50% of the funds collected for his project in an escrow account. Before the Real Estate Regulatory Bill was drafted, the concept of creating an escrow account for a real estate project in which to hold funds for a project did not exist at all. In the absence of such a regulation, builders are at liberty to siphon off funds collected for their projects and use them to purchase more land or in the construction of other projects.

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill will make it compulsory for builders to ensure that at least 50% of such funds will remain reserved solely for the development of the project for which they were collected from buyers. To ensure that this actually happens, they will have to pay these funds into an escrow account within 15 days. While this is definitely a rule which will protect the interests of property buyers to some extent, it still means that builders can use half of the funds collected from buyers for other purposes.

This gives rise to a pertinent question – why would they want to do that? Isn’t it in the builder’s own interest to complete a project on time? Unfortunately, many developers don’t look at it that way at all. The reason why they divert funds from ongoing projects is so that they can purchase land to build land banks, which allows them to showcase more projects on their balance sheets. Doing so makes allows them to raise more capital from banks or private equity funds, and also to give an inflated image of the size of their business.

There have been several other changes to the draft Real Estate Regulatory Bill, as well – each giving a clear message that the era in which developers could do whatever they want is going to be history once it is implemented. Not least among these important changes is that developers will have to register all projects which they are constructing within 3 months once the Bill becomes a law.

If they fail to do so, they will be penalized to the tune of 10% of the overall project cost, and will have to bear an additional penalty of 10% and even face a prison term for any further delay to register their project.

The Real Estate Regulatory Bill will also bring an end to developers’ freedom to make changes in the original plans or structural designs of their projects once they have been registered. They will only be able to make any changes if they are able to get the signed approval of at least 2/3rds of those who have invested into the project. Projects which do not have completion certificates issued as yet are now also included, meaning that an even bigger segment of buyers will benefit from protection of their interests.

The current version of the Real Estate Regulatory Bill also has another noteworthy amendment in the fact that it now includes commercial office projects. In other words, investors who have plugged their funds into commercial office properties will also be protected by the Bill. Of course, the fact is that 85% of the Indian real estate market consists of the residential sector.

However, this amendment is important because it will help the sector become more transparent in every respect, and not just in some segments. Real estate brokers and agents are now also included in the latest draft of the Bill, which means that will also be liable for legal action if they engage in any practices which are not in line with the new law.

Finally, the latest draft of the Real Estate Regulatory Bill permits customers with grievances to move the consumer courts, and does not position itself as their only legal recourse.

With all these positive amendments now in place, the Real Estate Regulatory Bill is indeed a powerful means to make the chronically opaque Indian real estate sector more transparent. Once it becomes a law, people will feel more confident in investing into real estate, and this will result in the revival which everyone has been waiting for. This confidence will take time to become evident, but it will definitely come – and when it does, we will see massive changes on the ground.

About The Author:

Pharande Vaarivana PuneAnil 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’s Integrated Townships: Redefining Traditional Luxury

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Indian luxury real estate is in rapid evolutionary mode, and few of the previously accepted definitions of a luxury home have stood the test of time. For luxury home developers, the challenge has shifted from offering a number of attractive add-ons to providing a well-rounded residential experience that transcends luxurious exteriors, interiors and amenities.

Luxury townships are the obvious answer to the questions today’s buyers are asking. They are not looking for mere glamour – because of the mounting challenges of urban life in cities like Pune, they are also looking for superior infrastructure, cutting-edge security and project management and a walk-to-work option. These are obviously not an option in standalone luxury buildings – nothing less than a fully integrated luxury township can provide such advantages.

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A number of Indian developers who previously specialized in traditional luxury residential projects – one or two snazzy buildings in a tony part of town where ‘address value’ accounts for a massive price premium – have therefore shifted their focus to the township format. This is because luxury living in today’s context is a 360-degree lifestyle equation which cannot be limited to elegant superficialities.

The buyer profile for integrated luxury townshipspuneville is also different today. These are not HNIs hailing from families with protracted histories of wealth – they are young, self-made entrepreneurs, the corporate upper management cadre and high-placed Information Technology professionals.

This new breed of luxury home buyers is not swayed by impressive addresses and the other factors which dictated how luxury was interpreted in the past. They are looking for the aspects that spell genuine luxury today – convenience, safety, reliable water and electricity supply, modern recreational facilities, on-the-spot availability to essential services like hospitals, schools and shopping, and good internal and external connectivity.

Pharande Vaarivana PuneThey will not spend their hard-earned money on an expensive location but invest in a superior living experience for themselves and their families. Moreover, the traditional CBDs of cities like Pune are no longer the areas which yield the most lucrative jobs – the IT and manufacturing hubs in modern satellite cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are the next employment hotbeds which are driving both the demand and trend for high-end homes.

This luxury home buyer demographic is highly tech-savvy and environmentally conscious, and attributes a lot of value to ‘smart’ and ‘green’ features – not only at a residence level but at a project level. Again, this is only possible in integrated townships, and this is what has spurred the growth of PCMC’s ultra-modern townships over the last decade.

These townships offer their residents:

  • Broad, well-lit internal roads
  • 24×7 water and electricity supply
  • Multiple user parking per unit
  • Multi-level security
  • Green open spaces
  • Conveniences  such as shopping malls, banks, schools and hospitals within the project
  • Easy connectivity to other parts of the city
  • Modern recreational facilities

The best integrated townships also include high-grade commercial spaces and give residents the ultimate luxury – the walk-to-work option. Obviously, this new definition of luxury living provides a stark contrast to the traditional concepts of luxury homes, which was usually tied to a vanity address in an exorbitantly pricey location. Though older luxury buildings in the core areas of cities like Pune are invariably redeveloped into luxury skyscrapers, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that the locations themselves are cramped, polluted, devoid of support infrastructure and often hemmed in by slums and tenements.

While the window view from a luxury home in such a setting is usually one of chaos and urban decay, the corresponding view from a home in an integrated township is one of greenery, orderliness and unpolluted air. No wonder, then, that the younger and smarter generation of luxury home buyers today prefers the benefits of contemporary luxury far away from such areas. Integrated townships are their obvious choice.

About The Author:

Pharande Vaarivana PuneAnil 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.