News & Views on Indian Real Estate

Monday, March 31, 2008

Realty sector to see highest salary hikes

With economic growth in the range of 8-9%, India is likely to enjoy the highest salary hike in the world, of around 15.2% in 2008 as against 15.1% in the previous year revealed a survey conducted by global human resource service firm Hewitt Associates.

Employees in the real estate industry never had it this good. The realty sector is projected to witness the salary rise of 25 % in 2008 in India, even ahead of retail and telecommunications industries.

With double-digit growth in the service sector, there is strong demand for talent in the country. Struggle for finding talent to sustain the high growth is growing in the country. The high economic growth rate has provided employees great career opportunities. Therefore, employers are using compensation as a strategic lever in attracting, retaining and motivating the talent pool.

However, the survey forecasts a gradual decrease in salary hikes and stabilization in the range of nine to ten per cent by 2012.The survey was conducted in 540 organizations in India across 19 industries in the last three months.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Faridabad-High on Realty

Faridabad, the once sleeping town of Haryana, is on the fast track of development and is emerging as one of the most happening cities around Delhi NCR. If you are looking for property in a prime location that is away from the noise & clamor of metropolitan cities, yet near enough to ensure that all the facilities of urban India are available to you, then Faridabad is the way to go.

Properties are selling at a brisk pace here. The infrastructures & properties are affordable and this has resulted in a tremendous real estate boom. Being located close to Delhi and NCR, Faridabad has attracted working professionals as well as corporates and businesses.Faridabad is now a preferred destination for MNCs, the IT, ITES and the BPO sector and the retail sector too is at par with the best, with sprawling malls and swanky offices donning the streets. The capital and rental values of property are gradually on the rise and the upswing is going to continue. If you are planning to invest, it's high time you make up your mind!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gurgaon Master Plan 2021: On the high road of development

The much awaited Gurgaon Master Plan 2021 comes with high hopes for residents of the fast flourishing cyber city. The first master plan for the region aims to keep population density in the newly covered areas lower than before. The focus is on having green cover, increasing residential space, enhancing commercial space, and improving connectivity with neighboring Delhi. This will undoubtedly be a step forward in real estate growth around the region.

Moreover, the new supply could be good news for the middle class as the prices of apartments are expected to slip down. So far, property developers were only concentrating their attention on high end housing. With availability of more land, they can now focus on middle and lower segments as well.

New Gurgaon Manesar Master Plan is known to have been inspired by the Chandigarh town planning model. The Gurgaon-Manesar Plan includes great scope for the residential areas which will now feature boarding houses, social, community, recreational and religious buildings, educational buildings, health institutions, cinemas, commercial and professional offices, retail shops and restaurants, local service industries, petrol/CNG stations, bus stops, nurseries and green houses, hotels, cyber and IT parks.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Newer IT destinations biting into the Indian real estate space

As we all know one of the key contributors to the Indian real estate growth has been the IT industry.In the last one year, the capital values of the commercial office spaces has increased by up to 40% owing to the increase in the demand from IT / ITES and BPO sector across major metros in India. A recent article in economic times points out a shift in the realty sector from the mature IT markets in the country i.e.Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon to newer IT destinations such as Kolkata and Chennai.
This trend will surely open up the Indian real estate more democratically in terms of demand and distribution. What’s your take on it?

Friday, March 21, 2008

India among top three – Global realty markets

The Indian Real Estate industry is on a roll be it in the country or outside. The sector has witnessed immense growth in the past couple of years. The phenomenal increase in the Real Estate demand and access to funds were the key drivers for propelling the Indian real estate market into an overdrive.India has attracted $3 billion worth of real estate stated by government official report of March 2007. This booming India real estate market is currently more expected to contribute for concerning $30 billion in the upcoming years. When evaluated to last year, real estate 2007 has gone doubled.

In the league of the most preferred property market among foreign investors globally, US has retained its top position, while China was ranked second followed by India, a survey conducted by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) said.

China moved to the second place, garnering 21.4 per cent votes and displacing India in the process, which was preferred only by 16.7 per cent of the respondents favouring the country as the most fancied place for real estate investment.

In 2006, China got 14.6 per cent votes while India had 18 per cent and was ranked in the second position.
One of the significant findings that cannot be overlooked is the jump in investors’ confidence in China. For the second time in three years, China has been voted as the country offering the second best chance for capital appreciation after the US.

Interestingly, the United States, whose economy continues to be bogged down by the subprime crisis and faces the threat of a recession, still managed to retain the the 'most preferred destination' tag for real estate investment.The annual survey respondents included nearly 200 members of the association and was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2007, after the credit crunch and sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Going forward, we expect the Indian real estate market to witness greater M&A activity driven by consolidation and the growing maturity of the market.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goa government bans sale of land to foreigners

Those foreign nationals who are eyeing the booming property market in Goa should better do a reality check. Against the backdrop of cases of foreign land mafia and drug cartels buying real estate in Goa, the state government on, March 14th 2008, banned foreigners from purchasing properties.

The government would make a serious attempt to incorporate the changes in Section 22 of the The Registration Act, 1908 during the budget session beginning March 24. Post-amendment, sub-registrars will be vested with the authority to scrutinize the credentials of the buyer and also the source of his/her money. All documents submitted by a foreigner will also be vetted by the Goa police and the home department. If found questionable, the sub-registrar concerned will have the powers to revoke such a sale deed. Earlier, there were no proper powers (given) to the registration authorities in Goa to checks whether the Reserve Bank of India had cleared a deal. Four other states, including West Bengal and Jharkhand, have already amended the Act.

With the state government unearthing 400-odd cases of sale of agricultural property to foreigners, the sale of land to the foreigners had become a contentious issue in Goa. The Goa government had constituted a committee a few months back, which studied all the proposals threadbare and referred 298 cases to the Union Enforcement Directorate for further action.

A sub-registrar can also deny the sale of commercial land to foreigners, if their ‘business plan’ is not found to be satisfactory. With this, the government hopes to curb drug trafficking mainly patronised by many foreigners here, who operate out of their ‘holiday homes’ and ‘shacks’ along the beaches across the state.

At present, sale of property to foreign nationals is permitted under the Foreign exchange Act (Fema) after a foreign national has spent more than 182 days in India in the preceding financial year. Land can be purchased for commercial purposes like setting up an industry or running a hotel. “Even if the foreigners enter into the partnership with an Indian and wants to buy property, RBI clearance is mandatory”.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Commercial retail property heating up

Although, the residential property segment may not be performing well but the commercial property is certainly hitting the sky, says a report. Due to the corporate demand, the rentals have witnessed a rise of another 20% in the last three months. Indeed, the report claims the rentals to see a jump of 10-20% in very near future. This is because of the ongoing demand that continues to outstrip supply.

Usually individual investors, given the budget constraint, look for strategically placed bargain corners so that eventually they can attract good tenant or can even sell or lease to a brand looking for more space. The current trend sees individuals preferring mid and small-sized properties over the bigger ones as these are easier to rent out and always in demand. Developers feel that investing in such commercial retail properties, which started a couple of years ago, has now gained momentum due to a number of reasons. The advent of malls started off this trend which has now picked up as a few banks have started disbursing loans for these properties. This coupled with a boom in organized retailing, entry of foreign brands and rapid expansion of Indian brands has given it a further impetus.

There are various advantages that accrue to commercial investments vis-a-vis residential, which makes such investments a profitable deal. Capital appreciation as well as a steady income source via monthly rentals with yields of 12-14% stands in its favour. Moreover, the various options that have sprung up in retail have also played an integral role in generating high awareness levels.

Capital values are higher in retail spaces, they represent larger investments and a significant component of self-funding of upto 30-40% is required. This stands in contrast to residential properties which need only 5-10%. Despite this the rising boom in the retail sector has ensured excellent growth opportunities for individuals, thus making them turn attention to commercial retail as a viable investment avenue. Real estate developers in Mumbai plan to convert their not-so-successful retail malls into commercial office buildings due to high demand for office space from the IT/ ITES, financial services and telecom sectors. India had never seen demand for commercial property with such large floor plates.

Individuals are no longer eyeing only residential properties as a lucrative investment opportunity. Rather, it is commercial retail space that has now become hot property. We hear this often: “What’s the smarter move? Residential or commercial investment property?” It should come as no surprise that there isn’t a one-word answer to this question. You’ll arrive at your best choice – the one that maximizes your chances for success – by working through a decision process that includes some “global” issues, some local and some that are entirely personal.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Asia's biggest real estate deal

The biggest land deal of the country took place in Noida ,a consortium led by Delhi-based Business parks and Town planners(BPTP) bagged a 95 acre commercial plot in Noida sector 94 for a mind boggling Rs 5006 crore from the Noida authority. According to a Noida authority spokesman, the permitted floor area ratio for development of the site will only be two. Only an area of 8.2 million sq ft will be allowed to develop. At this rate, the per sq ft construction right has cost BPTP a whopping Rs 6,100.

According to an official communication, the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) floated auction bids for the plot in February 2008. It received four bids and March 03, 2008, the bids were assigned to a consultant to study the technical feasibility and financial viability of the bids.

The consultant submitted its report to the authority in which one of the bidders Ansal (API) was disqualified. The remaining three bidders - Omaxe, DLF and BPTP - were qualified.

The commercial complex is strategically located close to Delhi. It will be around 16 km from Connaught Place and around 10 km from south Delhi via the DND flyover.

According to Kabul Chawla, chief of Business Parks and Town Planners {BPTP}, a company engaged in developing various projects mainly in & around the national capital region (NCR), “We will ensure that this become the country’s most prestigious commercial complex. And, we are already in touch with planners and consultants like Norman Foster, for hotels, commercial complexes and financial hubs.”

The astronomical amount paid for the site is a clear indication that, in terms of sentiment, there is no downturn in the real estate sector .It also points to Noida emerging as an alternative to Delhi and Gurgaon for office space. With the airport coming up, the expressway, and all the infrastructure development happening in the backdrop of the common wealth games to be held here, Noida and Greater Noida are sought after real estate destination. At present, office rentals in Delhi’s high class areas range between Rs 200 to Rs 350 per sq ft. In Gurgaon, it varies between Rs 80 and Rs 120 per sq ft. As against this, rentals in Noida are in the range of 40-60 per sq ft. This has also made Noida an attractive destination for commercial space in NCR. In the previous biggest land deal in Noida, Unitech had walked off with an approximately 340-avre residential plot for Rs 1,582.83 crore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fengshui for a better home.....

Acquiring a property is one of the most important decisions anyone can make in a lifetime. Buying or selling real estate can be so overwhelming, especially, when you don’t know what property to choose or what to do when searching for a new home. Selling a home, scouting out a new location for a business, or buying multiple properties is when you should not only hire a qualified real estate agent, but a Feng Shui expert as well. Yet; the optimal time to call in a Feng Shui expert is even before a home is built.

Some people say they have a gut feeling when they find the right property; they just know they’re at home. But, why not have some basis to form that feeling. Your gut is probably a good indication that you’re on the right track and the property is the right choice for you; nevertheless, the placement and direction of the home or business, in question, can be analyzed before a purchase is made. This gives you more than a gut feeling; it gives you choice information.

A lot of Feng Shui problems can be prevented in the planning stage. Before committing designs onto paper, Feng Shui Real Estate can consult with you on optimising the flow of beneficial energy throughout your home or development. The result can be more profitable for you, as the character of your venture will improve; thereby drawing increased favourable consideration from potential buyers.

And if you are a real estate agent, we can show you a completely new insight into the dynamics of various properties. Have you had properties that were slow or difficult to sell? Or deals that have collapsed because your buyers have brought in a Feng Shui consultant who advised them against purchasing? Feng Shui Real Estate can be used as an additional resource to troubleshoot such situations by providing solution-focused recommendations.

Feng Shui as a science can affect the physical, mental, emotional and the spiritual level of an individual. If at the physical level, it relates to the changing in the placement of objects, it can help you achieve mental stability and progress emotionally. And once the emotional balance is created, one can evolve spiritually to the higher self. Experts highlighting the importance of Feng Shui also state that --Feng Shui as an art can help you progress but it can't change your destiny, unless you work hard to achieve it. Feng Shui is not just placement of articles in the house but it is also connected to your entire well-being.The Chinese exponents of Feng-Shui believe that where you live and how you allocate and arrange the elements of your home or workplace can significantly affect the harmony of your health, wealth, and happiness. Many of Feng Shui's precepts are based on sound practical sense, others seem to be merely a matter of convention, while for some people Feng Shui lies beyond any rational explanation.

It considers four factors: the Chi or "breath of life" potential of the neighborhood; the site orientation or the importance of the direction in which the building faces; the five elements -- fire, water, wood, metal, earth -- and their mutual influence upon a location; the power of water and its significance in relation to the property.

If you acknowledge and understand the all-pervasive life energy (Chi), you can affect the whole tenor of your well-being. Simple things like placing your furniture the wrong way, using wrong colours, and elemental conflicts (i.e. having the water 'refrigerator' next to the fire 'stove', can create factors that impact negatively on your life.

Is it a Superstition? It really doesn't matter. What does matter is that if you are a builder it behooves you to know Feng-Shui as it relates to building. Whether you believe in it or not, feng-shui is seen by millions as an ancient science full of philosophy and practical wisdom.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Move towards SEZs

Before end of this year there might be a correction in the rental rates of commercial real estate space in software technology parks or STPI to the tune of 15%. This may take place because the IT and ITES companies are making a beeline for SEZ space.

As against everyone’s expectations regarding the extension of the STPI sceheme, the FM didn’t make any such indication in this budget. Though the general indication is that it’s not the final decision it will expire in 2009 but still a lot of people expect that even if the STPI is extended, it will not be extended for a very long time and not with the same concessions being provided so far. So, migration to SEZ is happening and will continue.

This means that the space available right now for the Software Technology Park will turn into general office space and demand for it will drop. This combined with the additional supply of commercial space in the pipeline, that will hit the market in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and the NCR over the next 12 months, will result in a correction in commercial rental rates by nearly 15% The numbers show that within the SEZ space, India will have 16 million square feet of SEZ space for IT available and ready before 2010. Around 80% of this has already been pre-booked and the demand is very strong. The price for SEZ space has also gone up in the last year. So, the demand is really high.

While some IT companies plan to hold part of the STP space, for their main operations within the city because of their location. But will move the rest of their operations to SEZs. So, the prices will fall anywhere between 15% or more than that, which is the response one is getting from the real estate industry right now.

Moving to an SEZ outside of the big cities might lead to a loss of talent. What's your take on this?????????

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Brand Building-The need of an hour

How did you first become aware of google.com? Was it by watching Harbhajan Singh bowling something related to this name in a cricket match or perhaps did a friend tell you about this great search site? Were you are looking for tall man or did you notice a sign of a company with the apparently unrelated name in search business? Branding has been a part of the Internet since commercialization began.

Brands are one of a company's important assets. Brand value becomes important when competitive forces come into play. It perhaps has no relevance in a monopoly situation. Branding provides connection with the consumer which is crucial in any competitive market. Building a Brand is about (1) what you stand for and (2) the value that brings to those exposed to your brand. If what you stand for is a value system that others want, and want to identify with, you will be able to make your brand easily recognizable.

Most of the real estate players in India have a negative image. So the real estate players in India are developing new ways of introducing its brand, taking the help of sponsored events, brand-building proposals, tie-ups and high value advertisements. They are doing all these to rectify the negative image in the market. Firms that remain locked in the tunnel vision of customary branding, there performs will fail to see the disaster, fail to understand it, fail to act on it, and finally find their brands suffering.On the other hand, firms that expand their view to include social-paradigm based practices will see the crisis developing, be able to understand it, test it and with approaches, it will address as well seize competitive advantage and profits from its resolution.

Brand building has become the need of an hour with the increasing number of players in the space and with those emerging as national region players in order to cut across the rivalry. As many groups are listed on the stock market, it’s not necessary to follow so as to uphold an incessant touch with their investors. Rising stock listing rush is also fueling those who are unlisted.

Everyone in the real estate industry is making tangible efforts to craft their brand image and be the best among all. Almost all the realty companies have doubled their branding expenditures. The investments towards the reasons are backed by the growth in the sector and eventually the authentic performance of all the companies and are heavily enjoying the sale in black. Almost all the companies witnessed a quantum jump in profits (by more than 50 per cent).

Day by day the Indian consumers are becoming more demanding and with the increasing contribution of global investors, branding is become essential and real estate is no exemption.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mixed Bag......

Union Budget 2008 evoked mixed reactions from realty sector. The budget mentioned there will be a boost in the country’s socio-economic infrastructure with due emphasis on education, health and hospitality sector. The boost in housing sector will take place due to the increase in income tax exemption limit to Rs.1.5 lakh (Rs.110000) and new tax slabs as it will increase the affordability of equated monthly installments pertaining to new and existing housing loans. The real estate sector will also benefit from the amendment relating to dividend distribution from a subsidiary to a parent company, as this is prevalent in the sector.

However, there has been no relief on service tax on rentals which will continue to increase pricing pressure, though in the short to medium term this will not have a drastic impact as supply outstrips demand. Eventually, the burden would be passed on to tenants. A reduction in duties and service tax benefits directly to consumers would have propelled the demand for realty across the country.

Further, Real estate industry says that tax holiday on establishing hospitals anywhere in India and specially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities will fuel growth in these cities and attract investment.

According to some, this Budget was a political Budget meant for certain section of people. Some were expecting Service tax exemptions for the urban area low-cost housing. Also there was no mention of privatization of the airports and ports and about so many other areas of infrastructure. On the other hand some believe that the budget will have positive impact on the real estate industry expecting the construction cost to come down due to duty and central value-added tax reduction. The Indian real estate sector has welcomed the overall impact of budget while saying that it could have done more for the industry.

Monday, March 03, 2008

VAASTU-The essence for better living

You are emotionally disturbed, with illness and financial problems at home. At work, you’re losing out on opportunities, and your efforts are not taking your career to where it should be. Ever thought of VAASTU?

Vaastu literally means “house" or dwelling place. The principles of Vaastu establish to create a harmony between the fine elements in the environment. Vaastu is directly related with nature, earth's magnetic field that is invisible but a powerful force, which affects man's life. Vaastu helps in making a congenial setting or a place to live and work in a most scientific way taking advantage of the benefits bestowed by nature, its elements and energy fields for enhanced \health, wealth, prosperity and happiness. The Vaastu science mainly deals with the natural needs of the man for living, like weather, winds, light etc., and the restrictions or passage of these natural sources in the dwelling.

Applying vaastu principles to your home could just about bring greater equilibrium into your life.It is believed that construction of house as per Vaastu Shastra leads to a happy and prosperous life.

Vaastu Shastra describes that everything in the universe is constructed by the five elements called Panchamabhoota (earth, water, fire, air and space) and that gravitational and magnetic effects and rotational influences of planets and other celestial bodies with cosmic rays, affects us and controls the way we live. Vaastu Shasta, considers where the building spot is located, the spot's shape, the building’s shape, the direction the building will face, the location of gates, entry doors, room, doors, windows, placement of the furniture, colors, storage systems, the building’s general design, plants and trees etc.

Today, Vaastu Shastra is looked upon as a highly evolved, building philosophy in which directions and shapes are the most vital aspects of designing. The four directions of the plot are decided, based on the epic centre of the plot.

A complete vaastu solution can be provided only by an expert. Everyone should consult one with the right credentials and references.

A flawless, vaastu-compliant example of architecture is the famous Balaji temple at Tirupati, and its prosperity is testimony to the tenets of vaastu. Experiment with a few principles of the science – it could change your life, for the better.