Urbanisation: Can We Reconnect Our Cities With Nature?

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

In pre-modern times, people in Indian cities still coexisted peacefully with nature. Sadly, in the current real estate development scenario, we have definitely witnessed an increasing separation between nature and individuals.

In the pursuit of their development and urbanisation agendas, our cities have seen high-rise buildings replacing backyards, parks and forested areas.

However, it is wrong to blame solely real estate developers and municipalities for this scenario. They are effective reacting to the growing demand for such buildings from people whose evolving lifestyles focus more on work and after-work entertainment and shopping.

Let us take the city of Pune as a case in point. In previous times, this city had a much smaller geographic spread and there was no real need to increase it.

Pune was supposed to be city for retired people. The city and its trade activities coexisted very well with a strong agrarian component both in the central and peripheral regions.

Population growth was relatively limited. The neighbouring city of Bombay, established by the British circa 1845 as a major port and trade hub, attracted a significant mass of migrants looking for urban-based employment.

In fact, the British viewed Pune – or Poona, as it was known in earlier times – as a region of political unrest and resistance against their rule. Pune began growing both in terms of population and geographical spread only after India attained independence in 1947.

Then came Pune’s Technological Revolution.

Pune transformed from a relatively small city to a full-fledged metropolis and was drawing a massive influx of people responding to its rapidly increasing employment opportunities – first in manufacturing, then also in software technology and information technology-enabled services (ITeS).

When Pune was still relatively small and untouched by the rampant urbanisation we see here today, there was negligible impact on the natural wealth for which it was once so famous.

Today, we see its once generous share of green open spaces eaten up by both low-rise and high-rise housing developments, landfills, commercial complexes and shopping centres.

Sahakar Nagar Pune
Sahakar Nagar Pune

As a result of this process, city dwellers become disconnected from nature. It is true that there is a lot of awareness and concern about the need to reestablish a healthy environment, and healthier cities.

However, it is also true that most real estate development taking place today is about amenities and facilities, and that any vegetation that is factored in is merely aesthetic and ornamental.

Essentially, the city has gone from green to grey, and any new thinking about and efforts towards reconnecting people to nature must indeed be trans-disciplinary and coordinated.

Construction is an inseparable element of a city – a city without buildings is inconceivable, and deforestation is inevitable. In fact, the very genesis of buildings lies in mankind’s need to protect itself from the wild animals inhabiting forest areas with strong, impregnable structures.

Today, wildlife has been more or less wiped out from our cities, but economic inequality has given rise to new threats of forced entry and loss of life and possessions. As long as mankind prevails, buildings will prevail as well – but can we bring nature back into our cities, as well?

An experiment to achieve exactly that is reaping astounding results in cities like Singapore, where a natural ecosystem is being re-introduced into the urban fabric. It is astounding what such a vision of futuristic urbanisation can achieve.

Clearly, concrete can coexist with abundant greenery and one must not necessarily negate the possibility of the other. However, it takes a magnificent town planning vision, coupled with a strong political will – and also unswerving support from a city’s population.

As long as demand for homes is skewed only towards concrete buildings with modern amenities and some token greenery, only such supply will follow.

Increased demand for urban housing where natural environment is more than just a token gesture and, in fact, available to sufficient saturation to actually have an environmental impact, such supply will surely follow.

We are seeing the return of such demand in Pune, and it is driven not only by the higher environmental consciousness of today’s young homebuyers but also their concerns about their own and their children’s’ health and wellbeing.

A city does not lose its ‘green’ identity overnight – in cities like Pune and Bangalore, the erosion of this identity took several decades.

It will take a few more decades to bring it back, but it is possible if all stakeholders – from town planning and municipal authorities to real estate developers and buyers – decide that it is worth it and must be done.

About The Author:

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

What Lies Ahead For The Pune Property Market

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Pune’s real estate market is the stuff of legend, and justifiably so. All the five main verticals of the property sector – residential, commercial office space, retail and hospitality – are performing optimally in Pune.

This is by all standards an exceptional real estate market. Moreover, Pune is always growing and adding to its geographical spread, making it by far the largest and most vibrant real estate market in Maharashtra and beyond.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that investors from Mumbai, dissuaded by the high property rates and slow market conditions in the financial capital, are extremely active in Pune.

Apart from these, there is a constant flow of investments coming in from other Maharashtrian cities like Nanded, Nasik, Sangli, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Jalgaon and Amravati. As a result, the Pune property market is extremely resistant to stagnation.

Know what drives demand

The huge degree of job creation the city’s manufacturing, automobile and Infotech and services sectors is causing inward migration from almost all parts of India and very rapid absorption of commercial office spaces.

This, in turn, is constantly ramping up residential property demand as well. Additionally, thanks to its many educational institutions, Pune boasts of constantly replenishing talent pool which fuels the growth of all the sectors active in the city.

Because of the multidimensional growth drivers that the city enjoys, the Pune residential property market is quite resistant to the severe demand fluctuations being seen in a number of other cities.

However, successful investment into the Pune residential real estate sector still calls for knowledge about what works, and what doesn’t.

Pune_India

Know where to invest

Like in every other city, Pune’s residential property sector sees the most rapid impetus in pockets or locations that are still developing. It is primarily in these emerging locations that we find the most real estate activity, both its terms of development and demand from buyers.

Areas like Undri, Ambegaon, Keshavnagar and Bhugaon have already established themselves as Pune’s fastest-growing new suburbs. The growth of such locations also serves the important purpose of decreasing demand and development pressure in the central regions. However, even in these areas, there is danger lurking for uninformed property investors.

In many of the emerging residential property destinations, we have seen a huge load of housing projects where construction has either been stalled or delayed far beyond the initially committed completion timelines.

Investors and end- users who bought into such projects at the pre-launch phase to take advantage of attractively low rates have literally become stuck along with the projects.

Know your developer

In Pune, the difference between beneficial and hazardous housing investment lies primarily in the reputation and credibility of the developer. While credibility is a much-abused qualification that almost every developer lays claim to, it is actually quite simple to verify.

One merely needs to examine the builder’s track record of successfully completed housing projects. ‘Successful completion’ does not mean ‘eventual completion’, but completion within 1-1.5 years of the delivery timelines promised to buyers.

RERA Compliance – the new Gold Standard

With the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) slated to finally become a nation- wide reality by mid-2017, Pune’s residential real estate market is going to become more vibrant and lucrative for property investment than ever before.

Thanks to this key reform in the real estate sector, the city is set to shed a lot of its ‘bloat’ – or burden of small-time, inexperienced builders out to make a quick buck with small, shoddily designed and executed projects which are also often of dubious legal status.

Such players will simply not be able to sustain operations post-RERA, and will vanish from the market.

What will remain are builders of good repute, market standing and track record – credible players who are able to abide by the strictures that RERA lays down to protect the interests of buyers and investors.

While this landmark is understandably a source of fear and trepidation for fly-by-night builders, it heralds the even more powerful emergence of strong, credible developers.

About the Author

Kishor  Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.  is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

6 Tips For Investing In Rental Property

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

From the initial choice to really purchasing your first rental property as an investment, there’s plenty of planning and work involved.

Buying rental property should be approached with a lot of circumspection and forethought so as to get optimal returns and avoid a serious financial setback resulting from a wrongly-chosen property.

There are a number of aspects to be considered when looking for an income-generating property.

You should begin hunting for your rental investment property with an unbiased approach to areas and all of the properties in your investing range.

Let us have a look at the top 6 things you need to think about when trying to find the best rental property.

1. AREA:

The quality of the location in which you purchase a rental property will determine the kinds of renters you will find, and how frequently you may face vacancies.

For instance, in case you purchase the home in an area near a university, the odds are that your pool of expected renters will largely consist of students.

You may be faced with frequent vacancies during the times when students generally return home for the holidays. Also, there would be a higher churn of tenants, when ideally you want long-term leases.

Examine the location and project for existing and planned public parks, shopping malls, gymnasiums, cineplexes, public transportation stops and all the other factors that would conceivably entice tenants.

You can peruse developers’ project brochures and also do online research to establish the saturation of such facilities in a neighbourhood.

You also need to know what new developments are coming in, and what has been zoned for special purposes by the local municipality.

You are looking for a region with excellent growth prospects where schools, business parks, shopping malls and entertainment zones are either already in place or planned.

Simultaneously, be wary of any new developments which could reduce the value of surrounding properties, such as by causing the loss of green open spaces or public parking facilities.

2. PROPERTY TAXES:

Property taxes aren’t standard across the board and, as an investor intending to earn money from rent, you would like to know about how much you’ll be losing to taxes.

High property taxes are obviously justified in very good areas which are superlatively connected. Such areas also usually attract long-term renters. Locations in upcoming growth corridors should be preferred.

3. EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES:

Your tenants may be a family with kids, or intending to have kids, who would prefer areas which are near to one or more good schools. The presence of quality schools in the area you invest in will positively impact the worth of your investment.

Remember, the total worth of your rental property comes into play when you finally sell it, even though you’ll be mainly concerned with earning monthly rentals in the interim.

4. JOB MARKET:

Areas with growing employment opportunities have a tendency to draw more people – meaning more renters.

Obviously, the most desirable situation for you would be to own a rental property near to or well-connected to an established or rapidly growing workplace hub with reputable companies active and generating jobs there.

5. PROJECT QUALITY:

Today, rental home seekers prefer projects which add value to their lifestyle. Good projects with the best lifestyle deliverables may be out of their purchasing reach, but they expect to get such facilities in a rental home.

Projects with all the amenities like garden, children’s play area, sitting area for elders, reliable security and professionally managed maintenance are always preferred by families hunting for rental flats. The ambience inside the complex is very important to them.

6. RENTS:

You should be aware of what the typical rent in the region is. Make sure you find out enough about the region to judge where it is headed in the following five years.

Property taxes may rise and even if you can afford them now, significant developments in the area which increase property taxes may make them less affordable.

Single-family homes often bring renters looking for long-term leases. A dual-income family is definitely preferable over single professionals, as they are likelier to pay their rent on time and to be fiscally stable.

As a landlord, you would like to find an area where finding such tenants is likely and where such properties are available.

When you’ve narrowed down the right location, look for a property that can potentially yield you steady and growing rental income as well as appreciation on the capital value of the home.

Consider properties which are within your budget and slightly above it as well. The slightly costlier options can be paid for by some bank leveraging, and developers may be open to negotiating the price.

Also, remember that buying property can become even more desirable with some modifications and cosmetic uplifts, which will attract tenants who are willing to pay higher rents.

Such changes to the property will also serve the purpose of increasing the sale value of the home in case you want to put it on the market after some years of good rental income.

Every state and every city has areas which have both suitable and excellent properties when it comes to rental potential.

In Pune, areas like Undri, Kothrud and Ambegaon are excellent locations for rental properties because of the consistently high demand.

In Mumbai, the more cost-effective locations in Navi Mumbai such as Koparkhairne, Airoli and Ulwe are very good options, though property prices are naturally higher there.

Do your research well and ensure that you have your finances in place if and when a very good option comes up.

Remember, real estate investing does not begin with purchasing a rental property – it starts with creating the finances where you can purchase a rental property.

About the Author:

Kishor  Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.  is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

Pune Property: All Roads Lead to Ambegaon

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

No discussion on Pune’s property boom locations is complete without an extensive evaluation of Ambegaon.

An increasing number of Pune’s homebuyers are opting for areas with generous natural endowments and absence of the crush of the city’s central areas.

As Ambegaon offers superb connectivity in addition to a green, hilly environment, it has naturally emerged as one of the most favoured property locations in Pune.

As a matter of fact, Ambegaon will be one of Pune’s most exciting property boom regions for several years to come during the following ten years.

Apart from its abundant greenery, the backdrop of hills and excellent connectivity, it is also an eminently affordable location.

Moreover, it offers a good spread of housing options, from multistoried apartment projects to luxury townships.

Ambegaon is also close to the new MIDC in Shirval, which is a massive employment hub which has given rise to ever-increasing demand for both budget and premium homes here.

Some of Pune’s leading developers have responded to this demand with projects that bear the brand of reliability, are very suitably priced and additionally offer tremendous investment appreciation value.

The growth of Ambegaon has been partially because of the spill-over demand from Sinhagadh Road, which has developed very rapidly and seen unattractive price growth as a consequence.

But one of the leading factors for Ambegaon’s quick rise to fame has been the fact that it gives property buyers a diversified choice of homes, ranging from premium bungalows and villas to budget flats.

This location’s natural ambience and absence of congestion and pollution lend it a distinct aura of exclusiveness, simultaneously providing homebuyers a welcome option to live and raise their families in bracing, naturally blessed surroundings.

Residential areas with the kind of abundance of trees and green open spaces available in Ambegaon are home to healthier and happier people, and have a cooler climate than the inner-city concrete jungle.

It is no accident that Pune’s core city dwellers tend to be more susceptible to suffering from conditions like asthma, bronchitis and hypertension – most of the city’s previously splendorous green cover has been eroded by real estate development.

In contrast, Ambegaon is a haven of peace, calm and greenery – the hallmarks of Pune’s glory years.

Moreover, Ambegaon is constantly seeing upgradation of its support infrastructure by the Pune Municipal Corporation – a very important factor driving property investors’ interest in this location.

Investment appetite here is also because of the accelerated development of places like Bavdhan, Sinhagad Road, Wagholi, Bhugaon and Undri.

These locations have for long been catering to the demand for quality housing coming from employees of Pune’s Information Technology sector, but Ambegaon additionally gains from its proximity to the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, the famous Sinhagad Technical Institute and the Bangalore Bypass.

In other rapidly growing locations of Pune like Baner, Wakad and Hinjewadi, the predominant demand for investment properties comes from neighbouring Mumbai.

Ambegaon, on the other hand, has unique location advantages, Ambegaon is also a hot favourite with investors from cities like Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Shirval.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

What REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) Mean For Indian Real Estate

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The real estate sector in India has been lucrative for savvy investors over the last decade, but it has not been without accompanying uncertainties.

The introduction of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) will open up a platform that will allow all kinds of investors – even those with smaller budgets – to make safe and rewarding investments into the Indian real estate market.

The best thing about REITs is that investors can start with as small a sum as Rs. 2 lakh to secure units in exchange.

The REIT platform has already been approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and like mutual funds, it will pool the money from all investors across the country.

The money collected from the REIT funds will subsequently be invested in commercial properties to generate income.

A REIT will need to be registered via an IPO or initial public offering. REIT units, as such, will have to get listed with exchanges and consequently traded as securities.

The SEBI board has kept the minimum asset sizes to be invested in at Rs. 500 crore. However, the minimum issue size would have to be less than Rs. 250 crore.

As with stocks, the investors here would be able to buy the units from either primary and/or the secondary markets.

How does a REIT work?

REIT is a process to generate funds from a lot of investors to directly invest in profitable real estate properties like offices, residential units, hotels, shopping centers, warehouses and more.

All trusts with REIT will be listed with stock exchanges as they would be structured like trusts. Consequently, REIT assets will be held with independent trustees for unit holders / investors.

Role of the trustees

Trustees with REIT have defined duties which typically involve ensuring compliance and adherence to all applicable laws that protect the rights of the investors.

The objective of REITs

A REIT’s objective is to provide the investors with dividends that are generated from the capital gains accruing from the sale of the commercial assets. The trust distributes 90% of the income among its investors via dividends.

Apart from minimum entry level, a REIT is supposed to provide diversified and safe investment opportunities with reduced risks, and under a professional management to ensure the maximum return on investments.

The advantages with REITs include:

  • Income dividends: 90% of distributable cash at least twice in a year
  • Transparency: REIT will showcase the full valuation on a yearly basis and will also update it on a half-yearly basis
  • Diversification: According to the guidelines, REITs will have to invest in a minimum of two projects with 60% asset value in a single project
  • Lower risk: At least 80% of the assets will have to be invested into revenue-generating and completed projects.

The remaining 20% of the properties that include properties like under construction projects, equity shares of the listed properties, mortgage-based securities, equity shares that derive a minimum of 75% of income from Government securities or G-secs, money market instruments, cash equivalents and real estate activities.

The REIT concept has been in the news for some time now. However, the real estate regulations rolled out so far have not quite helped bring them to Ground Zero in India as yet.

REITs’ exemption from tax on the distribution of dividends would make it much more attractive for investors.

According to a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield, commercial properties in India that are ‘REITable’ investment opportunities are between $43 billion and $54 billion across the top cities.

Are REITs more attractive than actual property purchase?

Investing in REIT can be compared to investing in Gold Bonds. Indians are partial to buying physical gold rather than in Gold Bonds, implying that having one’s own investment in property will always provide Indians greater satisfaction than mere paper investments.

The Indian property market is now almost stabilized and it is the right time to buy self-owned homes. While it is human tendency to wait and watch, the bottom of the market cannot be fathomed accurately at the best of times.

At the end of the day, REITs are investment instruments and not a means to acquire actual property – which is always high on every Indian’s wish-list.

A budget that clearly favours purchase decisions for first- time home buyers and is a step closer to the Prime Minister’s mission to provide Housing for all by 2022 is in place. 2017 is certainly the year to make home ownership a reality.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond.

Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

 

Reaction To Union Budget 2017-18

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The Union Budget has announced that 1 crore rural houses will be created by 2019, and the outlay for rural housing under PMAY is Rs. 23000 crores from the previous Rs. 15000 crores.

This will help address the housing needs of the homeless and those living in ‘kachha’ houses in the rural areas, and potentially help reduce pressure on urban areas if it is in conjunction with employment generation

The total allocation for infrastructure is a whopping Rs. 396135 crores in 2017-18. This is very good news for the real estate sector, as the correlation of infrastructure with real estate growth is a well-established fact.

Affordable housing has finally been given infrastructure status. This will mean cheaper loans for developers of budget housing and significantly boost the Government’s target of Housing for All by 2022.

The Affordable housing has seen a significant change in the Government’s existing scheme, with the qualifying size requirements now changed from built-up area to carpet area of 30 sqm and 60 sqm for projects within the municipal limits of the large 4 cities.

On the all-important front of personal income tax, the existing tax rate for incomes between Rs. 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh has been reduced to 5%, and taxpayers in other categories will also save Rs. 12,500.

While this will definitely boost the overall consumption story, it, unfortunately, will not have any significant impact on housing demand.

However, the FM did indicate that lending rates are likely to come down in the wake of the demonetisation move. A decline in interest rates would have positive implications on housing demand.

8 Expectations the Real Estate Sector have from Union Budget 2017

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The real estate sector has been the second biggest employer for India after agriculture, and market estimates suggest that it will grow by as much as 30% in the next decade.

Consequently, stakeholders have high expectations from the 2017-18 Union Budget. Here are 8 such changes that the industry and its stakeholders are unanimously looking forward to:

  1. Income tax relaxation

As of now, the tax deduction limit for home loans is just Rs. 2 lakh, which becomes insignificant when you take into account the high prices of properties in our larger cities.

In Mumbai, for instance, the standard housing price is Rs. 1 crore, so the current tax deduction limit is insignificant for homebuyers in the financial capital.

Apart from extending the tax exemption for home loans to at least 5 lakh, the budget should also introduce concessions on insurance premiums to encourage buyers insure their property.

  1. Increase in HRA deductions for the self employed

Salaried individuals already get HRA (house rent allowance) as a component of their income, and can also claim deductions on it.

However, self-employed individuals are limited to only Rs. 2000 as a maximum deduction on HRA as per the provisions of Section 80GG. The 2017-18 Union Budget should address this dichotomy.

  1. Standardize construction materials

A major reason for increasing home prices is the constantly escalating cost of construction materials like cement and steel.

Standardization of such materials can help reach tax clarity and also make real estate a viable opportunity for investment.

  1. Single window clearances for real estate projects

As per the usual process, real estate projects need to go through a long line of approvals, and this bureaucratic process has been resulting in delayed deliveries.

Single window clearances have been a long-awaited step to reduce these bureaucratic setbacks. Once in place, it can give a major boost to the market.

Union Budget 2017

  1. Simpler tax norms of REITs

Until today, the real estate sector has not benefited from any REIT listings, with the model in its current format still weighed down with multiple taxes.

Taxation for REITs needs to be simplified to allow developers and investors to benefit from REIT listings. It is necessary that the Union Budget 2017-18 recognizes the importance of REITs and provides:

  • Lower taxation on REIT income
  • Reduction/removal of service tax with leased premises
  • Waiving capital gains during transfer of property to REIT
  1. Better GST Clarity

Although the GST (Goods and Services Tax) structure has been declared, stakeholders are eagerly waiting to understand the rates applicable to the real estate / construction industry.

We seek clarifications on abatement schemes, and scenarios when developers use composition schemes and the resultant credit for input tax.

  1. Financial protection with project delays

Currently, the interest deductions associated with self-owned homes has been limited at Rs. 2 lakh. However, for projects under construction, the deductions applicable are just Rs. 30,000. Further, the applicable period for the interest is 3 years, starting from the year that the loan was approved.

This has proved to be a hardship for property buyers and investors. Union Budget 2017-18 should focus on further interest deductions in late deliveries and also amend the period of repayment from the year the possession was due.

  1. Clarification on PMAY beneficiaries

According to a recent announcement by the Union Government, a 3% interest rate is applicable for loans up to Rs. 12 lakh and 4% up to Rs. 9 lakh, as per the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) scheme.

The scheme also states that two new income categories have been added to avail higher loan amounts with higher subsidies. We look forward to further clarifications on the definition of these beneficiaries.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond.

Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

 

What Makes A Real Estate Investment Location Lucrative?

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

A simple Google search on real estate investment locations will throw up hundreds of results. Finding genuine online advice – the kind that can lead you to a truly lucrative real estate investment decision – is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.

The Internet’s usefulness as a tool to guide your property investment decisions depends upon the individual’s capacity to read between the lines of a mammoth amount of information which may or may not lead to house one is looking for.

Year 2017 should be a year for residential real estate investment, as the Government is ensuring low interest rates and a slew of incentives via schemes such as the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY).

So, interest in and appetite for real estate investment is back in force – but where should one invest? After all, successful real estate investment is proverbially driven by ‘location, location, location.’

When you are trying to identify the right location to invest in, you are obviously ready to put up a lot of saved or leveraged capital. This is no time to rely on sponsored advice and blanket generalizations.

What must come into play here is some basic knowledge of what makes the real estate market tick, and more specifically what drives demand in any location. The viability of a location is what will result in the hoped-for returns on investment.

So, how does real estate location viability actually work? From a residential property investment perspective, every city – especially if it is a tier 1 city – has its hot investment corridors, and other micro-markets which are simply not working currently.

Some of the important real estate drivers to look for are employment generation, infrastructure creation and historic price growth.

Mumbai, being the country’s financial capital, has been attracting massive investments over the years despite its astronomically high ticket sizes.

Bangalore has become India’s prominent Information Technology capital and been attracting consummate investments.

However, Pune has begun stealing Bangalore’s thunder as a preferred InfoTech destination, owing to:

  • Better real estate affordability
  • Global reputation for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, and
  • Massive wealth of trained workforce.

The third factor is a very important one, and plays a big role in the city’s viability as a real estate investment destination.

Pune Mumbai Bengaluru

Pune – the veritable ‘Oxford of the East’ – has numerous high-quality educational institutes which regularly churn out graduates who are directly absorbed not only into the city’s IT firms but also into its manufacturing belt and services sector.

This directly translates into housing demand across a broad budget band, and in various locations of the city.

All such cities have micro-markets which are suitable for either commercial or residential investment, and others that are probably avoidable right now.

Because of the amount of business Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune generate – and the fact that they are in the cross-sights of many large commercial players – these cities are excellent choices for commercial space investments as long as:

  • One picks one’s location and property size wisely
  • Achieves a reasonable entry point in terms of ticket size

Commercial real estate investment calls for larger capital and longer investment horizons, and ROI is generally derived from rental income.

Areas which are close to relatively affordable residential catchments or at least provide good connectivity to them should be favoured.

When it comes to residential real estate investment, it pays to remember that speculative investments may have played a role in escalating prices beyond affordability in some areas.

Several factors have now combined to drive out speculators from most Indian cities, and price corrections have occurred. If the prices have bottomed out or the location is still in growth mode, it is a good time to invest in it.

One should look for factors like proximity to workplace hubs, infrastructure availability – especially in terms of connectivity and public transport – and a decent saturation of social infrastructure such as shopping outlets, healthcare and schools.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

The Advantages of a Pre-Approved Home Loan

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

A self-owned home is the dream of every Indian, and all of us want to see ourselves being able to go in for it one day. When that day comes, the last thing we want is any reason for delay or insecurity to cloud the decision.

This is especially true if one is a first-time home buyer. Obviously, the most challenging and confusing part of the home buying process is the financials.

Confusion here can relate to which the best lending institution is, what type of loan is best and what the conditions are, and what size of home loan one can comfortably pay off over the years of tenure.

However, one of the biggest worries for a first-time home buyer with regards to a home loan is how long one needs to wait for its approval. In this scenario, the best bet for a first-time home buyer is to apply for a pre-approved home loan.

Getting a pre-approved loan means that you have already dealt with one of the trickiest parts of the purchase process, and can now focus your time and attention on finding the best property options available. Pre-approved loans also give you an upper hand when you at the negotiation table with a developer.

Understanding the difference between loan pre-approval and pre-qualification

Pre-approval and pre-qualification of home loans are completely different things. Pre-qualification is more like an educated guess on the part of the bank or lending institution about how big a loan you qualify for.

This estimate or loan eligibility is based on your current earning power, credit score, financial history, and so on. A pre-approved loan, on the other hand, is a written guarantee by the lender that you have secured a loan.

To grant a pre-approval certificate, loan officers will conduct an employment, remunerations and ‘credit worthiness’ check.

This will include collecting all past financial data like loan of credit card repayment history, credit card statements, disposable income, current debts, and more. Generally, all of this would be done using special software.

Home Loan

How to get a pre-approved home loan

The first step towards obtaining a pre-approved loan is finding a lending agency you can trust. It might be one that you know, one that an acquaintance works for, or one that has been reliably referred to you.

While any lenders would conduct an extensive credit check, you must find one that is not only willing to lend to you but also has a good reputation on the market.

Another important thing to check is the rate of interest that will be charged on your home loan. The best agencies will come up with competitive rates and also offer helpful customer service.

In these cases, the loan officer will actively help you out to get the pre-approval, and discuss the type of settlement you would be eligible for given your salary, investments, tax returns, debts, credit score, etc.

How does a letter of pre-approval help?

An important advantage of a pre-approved loan is that you know your spending limit. You are precisely aware of what kind of property you should be searching for. This eliminates from your search properties that you are not eligible for.

Secondly, with a pre-approval letter, you will not have to wait for many of the formalities of property purchase once you come across a suitable option. You have the advantage of being immediately able to book the property using the pre-approval letter. A pre-approved loans also gives you a lot of credibility with builders/promoters, and increases your negotiation power.

Getting a pre-approved loan is the easiest way to buy your dream home in the current market scenario. It is not only assuring but also keeps you within the limits of your affordability – and makes you a highly credible buyer whom any seller will take seriously and extend the best possible deal.

The approval should give you an opportunity to make a choice at leisure, but should not lead to the trap of landing in a circle of indecision and complacency. The pre-approved home loan should be a tool which lets you make a decision when you find a house of you and your family’s choice, and to act on it.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

Pune Real Estate – Green Is the New Gold

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

If we look at Pune’s real estate landscape, it is quite evident that the city has taken a hit in terms of its previously legendary green cover. This is of course unavoidable in the urban areas, which must accommodate the constantly growing population in the city.

This is the price we must pay for growth, which is ultimately good for the economy. However, there’s no escaping the fact that there is a deep link between green environment and the quality of living that a city’s residents enjoy.

Residential neighborhoods that are bestowed with trees, foliage, lawns and natural open outdoor spaces also have healthier and happier people. This is by no means just a romantic concept.

The existence of green spaces actually contributes to air quality, as trees and other greenery absorb toxic pollutants like sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, ammonia, nitric acid vapor and ozone – and give back life-giving oxygen. Greenery and green open spaces also play a major role in controlling urban temperatures.

Just a decade ago, Pune was known for its abundance of green cover, which generously embraced almost all of its residential areas. Today, a lot of this green cover has gone under the development hammer with the unconstrained proliferation of real estate and massive industrialization.

This, coupled with road development and the unbelievable increase in traffic movement within the city, has given rise to serious health issues now cropping up into once healthy neighborhoods.

As a result, today Pune’s citizens are far more prone to suffering from ailments like high blood pressure, bronchitis, asthma, depression and overall stress. A city that was once an epitome of modern natural living is now starved for oxygen and visual relief from the ever-expanding concrete jungle.

Though a green environment evidently benefits everyone, it is particularly important for the very young and elderly. Children obviously thrive most in green surroundings, and senior citizens living amidst sufficient greenery have fewer health problems and lead a considerably fitter lifestyle than those who live in an environment of unrelieved concrete inside the city.

The more the availability of greenery and green open spaces in a residential neighbourhood, the likelier it is for its residents to spend time outdoors and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Without a doubt, life in a city should not be merely about owning a beautiful home, but also about being happy and healthy. As the world continues its fight against global warming and urban areas grow, home buyers in cities like Pune are starting to prefer neighborhoods that have amenities like parks, gardens and enough natural green cover.

sahakar nagar pune
Sahakar Nagar, Pune

Locations like Undri and Ambegaon, where the benefit of protected green cover is still available, score high on their preference list – not only because of their greenery but also because they are also more price-friendly than the congested inner city areas.

These are also among the most preferred locations for property investors; as Pune continues to develop rapidly, its greener areas will eventually command premium prices.

After all, green cover is the pièce de résistance that gives luxury areas like Sahakar Nagar, Koregaon Park and Boat Club Road their unique appeal. And for home buyers, it’s not just about giving kids the opportunity to play outside but also living in a healthy environment – and a more active and vibrant community.

Green spaces in and around residential projects have been proven to bring people outdoors to engage in healthy interactions with neighbors. Common gardens and parks are spaces where people meet and spend time together.

Consequently, people who choose greener living spaces over concrete jungles enjoy better social bonding, are more concerned about the development of their community and neighborhood – and live longer and happier lives.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.