Location Still The Top Consideration For Real Estate Investment

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

Thanks to the fact that prices in the residential property sector have bottomed out across most cities, real estate as an investment class is back on the radar. The investment angle aside, buying a property is also on every end user’s wish list.

While looking for a suitable property either for investment or personal use, there are many factors that should be on one’s checklist before arriving at any decision. One way or the other, location plays an important role in all of them:

Look for a safe neighborhood

Certainly, you should look for the basic amenities that will provide comfort and convenience to your family or tenants. However, it is even more important to gauge the safety of the neighbourhood. A safe neighbourhood is one where one can move about freely and not remain confined indoors, regardless of the time of day.

Pertaining to today’s job environment and also social preferences in terms of enjoying the nightlife, home seekers require a locality where returning late at nights will not be an issue. This parameter should be the first to check while choosing a location. The most attractive property prices and amenities are of no value if one has to live in fear.

Distance from basic necessities of daily living

It is a fundamental fact of the property market that a locality with all the basic amenities within a couple of kilometers ranks higher on the desirability scale. These amenities should include a properly equipped hospital and a good school or college, but social infrastructure such as supermarkets, malls and places for leisurely activities must also be counted among the basic requirement of daily living.

Ease of commuting

It is common knowledge that the closer the property is to railway stations, metro stations or bus terminals, the more valuable it becomes. Today’s society is perpetually on the move, with at least one family member having to travel a certain distance to work and back every day. With the dual income family becoming more common, the importance of an area’s ’commutability’ rises.

In any case, the distance from a public transit facility plays a pivotal role in the cost of a property. If a family is not dependent on mass transit options, it is a given that it uses a personal vehicle. Also, many families have members who travel between adjoining cities like Pune and Mumbai regularly. In other words, good road connectivity and proximity to expressways and highways is important, and will play a role in the pricing of a property.

astonia classic_night

In every city, there are localities that are defined by the type of office hubs or industries they host. Most cities will have areas where a number of Government offices or bank head offices are located, and others which have a high saturation of InfoTech firms.

From a residential demand perspective, these localities are obviously always the most preferred ones if they have attached residential catchments. If a walk-to-work option is not available, people working in these areas will definitely prefer the shortest possible commute.

Future developments

If one is on a constrained budget, then the best areas to invest in a property are those which are not fully developed yet. Homes in such areas are cheaper when compared to their counterparts in fully developed localities, but will see higher property valuations over the mid-to-long terms. The localities that have been earmarked for future infrastructure developments are the best to invest.

Areas such as Devanahalli and Bannerghatta Road in Bengaluru, Panvel and New Panvel in Mumbai and Undri and Ambegaon in Pune are examples of localities which have seen rapid increases in property values starting from a relatively lower base.

They are well-connected to the main city and provide all the basic social amenities that home buyers look for but still have more affordable housing valuations when compared to the main city rates.

High-value locations – pros and cons

It is definitely not true that the cheapest properties are always the best to invest in. Going by the location yardstick which holds true in all real estate investment, the cheapest locations are usually the most remote or least likely to see future development.

However, it is definitely true that the costliest properties will usually see the least capital value growth in the future. Invariably, such properties have seen saturation of price growth and are less likely to offer any positive returns in terms of capital appreciation even though they tend to be located in high-value areas.

However, extremely costly properties are very likely to give very good rental returns, because people who want to live in these areas but cannot afford to buy properties there will choose the rental option. The tenants who prefer such properties would be highly-paid corporate executives and even firms who are looking to lease such a property as their company guesthouse.

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 homes towers and 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.

5 Reasons Why Rainwater Harvesting Is Essential For Pune

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

Pune’s landlocked topography has made water a ultimately precious resource. The water crisis is becoming a serious issue both at the national and global levels, and in cities like Pune, the situation has reached a flash point. The city is seeing a constant influx of migrant population seeking employment in the city’s several industries.

Simultaneously, shallow lands are fast getting covered with landfills, and this has been reducing the number of water bodies available to the city’s residents. Deforestation has been another prime reason for the compounded water scarcity. While forests are being rapidly leveled for new avenues of construction, rainfall patterns too are shifting and getting unpredictable.

In the coming years, the bulk of the global population will be shifting to urban locations. This calls for a rapid development in real estate, and will also bring with it a high demand for natural resources like water.

Limited land necessitates the development of multi-storied residential buildings, and water is required for both the construction and maintenance of these building apart from providing for the daily necessities.

We know that the earth’s surface is 70% water. However, only a small portion of it is drinkable and mostly comes from fresh water sources like lakes, rivers and our underground water table. Rapid urban growth and rise in population will usher in a severely parched future in a scenario where water is needed for everything, ranging from farming to drinking to construction.

The only real solution available for regions like Pune is rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is getting more popular as a means to fight resource scarcity and is being increasingly practiced in both rural and urban areas.

The process involves collecting, filtering and storing rainwater to meet many residential and industrial needs. The equipment too is simple and includes collection funnels, filter units and storage tanks.

Rainwater is the cleanest source of freely available potable water. Practiced in urban residential projects, rainwater harvesting will be able to meet almost 50% of the city’s water needs. Households as well as commercial buildings can save a lot on their water bills.

Harvesting rainwater is not just about maximum utilization of a freely available resource but also about minimizing the impact of urban development on our natural surroundings. In fact, failure to harvest rainwater results not only in the obvious loss of a precious resource but also in heavy soil erosion.

The several advantages associated with rainwater harvesting include:

  1. Reduced demand for ground water

The water supply in urban homes comes from reservoirs that are fed by lakes and rivers. Treatment plants and pumping station also pump out the ground water, gradually reducing the available amount. In several Indian cities, the ground water table has already exhausted itself and rainwater is the only available solution.

For a city like Pune that is seeing tremendous residential and industrial growth, water for non-drinking purposes can readily come from rainwater. Large volumes of it can be used for cleaning, washing, toilet flushing and gardening. Similarly, industries can use rainwater to meet their production needs.

2. Backup water supply

Rainwater harvesting can be insurance for times when the regular water supply has been compromised. With climate change taking a major toll on the availability of naturally available water, rainwater can be of use during times of drought. Pune and Mumbai, in particular, must resort to rainwater harvesting on a war footing to minimize their dependency on reservoirs.

rainwater harvesting

3. Environment friendly

When a neighborhood starts using rainwater, the community as a whole will be able to fight the problems associated with runoffs, soil erosion and pressure on the drainage systems. Collecting rainwater would also mean reducing the chances of contamination that flows into our rivers and lakes.

Low-lying areas like Pune and Mumbai can also fight the chances of flooding by harvesting large volumes of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting, therefore, meets the needs of the environment and ensures that the city is less affected by chemicals that run off from our farms into our rivers.

4. Ease of implementation

A rainwater harvesting setup is easy to install and maintenance is not a big challenge. The purest form of water, rainwater also does not need very complicated purifying devices to meet our primary needs. Based on basic technologies of collection, filtering and storage, rainwater harvesting setups are worth the minimal initial expense and effort required to set them up in every way.

While the tools for rainwater harvesting can be used by anyone, there are some important facts to remember:

  • Identification of catchment areas that include terraces, car parking, roads and other concrete surfaces
  • Installation of gutters with filtration system that blocks debris on the outside
  • Channels that ensure a smooth flow to the storage system
  • Safety precautions against any kind of contamination, including the breeding of mosquitoes

5. Increasing support from the government

The incumbent Indian government has been rightly focusing on the water scarcity problem, and as a result has been facilitating several plans for rainwater harvesting. New apartment projects are now by law required to have rainwater harvesting systems in place and in several regions.

With rainfall getting scarcer every year, the government is looking to initiate special installations in residential societies, commercial buildings, educational institutions and other buildings. The increasing road coverage in the country also opens up an excellent avenue of rainwater collection for better use.

India’s Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is also creating programs to raise awareness for maximizing the use of rainwater harvesting across the country. It has been supporting several NGOs, consultancies and companies to educate people on what has been a traditional means of collecting and using rainwater for future purposes.

Today, rainwater harvesting should come automatically as a building standard. While builders are already getting aware, customers too should start asking for the same. In several areas, old building which were not integrated with harvesting systems should be reconstructed or retrofitted to support rainwater harvesting. This is by all means a vital measure that cannot wait longer.

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 homes towers and 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.

Are You Buying A Home That You Can Grow Old In?

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

Good, affordably-priced housing is the essence of a happy and secure life for people of all ages. However, this is especially true for older citizens, or people aged 50 and above.

Because housing is the largest single factor in the household budgets of most Indians, the cost of housing has a direct impact on day-to-day financial security and the capacity to gather capital which can be drawn on in the retirement years.

In the Indian context, affordability is not the only criterion that drives the demand for homes which people can occupy with dignity in their advanced years. Their homes must also be supportive of health, safety as physical comfort.

This means that homes suitable for the elderly must have good access to shops catering to the necessities of daily living, essential services, public transportation and healthcare facilities. These aspects are important when it comes to older adults being able to maintain a comfortable and active lifestyle.

The elderly must be able to meet their basic needs and also maintain social connections. Because of this, low-cost housing in small standalone projects is not suitable for senior citizens.

They require the benefits of larger residential complexes which have communal facilities such as gardens, clubhouses and open spaces, so that they can meet other members of the community in a safe and wholesome environment.

However, the tragedy in India is that most of the existing supply of housing in is not geared towards meeting the requirements of senior citizens. Housing that is affordable tends to lack good access to the elements that contribute to a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle for the elderly.

The available options that do offer proximity to stores and healthcare and also a means to socialize within the residential project are priced beyond the affordability of family wage-earners.

Much is being currently written about senior living projects being the new trend in India. Senior living projects do have their merits; however, what is being overlooked here is the fact that Indians do not, as a rule, prefer to shift to new homes of any kind when they grow old.

They prefer to ‘age in place’ – meaning that they would like to continue occupying the homes in which they have been living all along. The demand for homes in senior living projects is limited to a small margin of India’s ageing population.

senior couple

While choosing a home during the productive years, it is important to ensure that:

  • Financing the home does not overly strain the budget, so that enough savings towards retirement are possible
  • The home has existing access to all the necessities of the elderly. One cannot depend on the possible arrival of shops and hospitals at a future date. Because of inherent lack of development potential, some areas will always remain detached from such facilities even years after their emergence from obscurity
  • The project has existing facilities for meeting the social needs of the elderly. Small projects, though cheaper, do not have these facilities
  • The home is not in a skyscraper, since these have the highest incidence of social disconnect and generally also the lowest assurance of safety and internal mobility

Given the fact that a majority of Indians prefer to continue living in the same homes as they age, it is important that homes purchased during the productive years have the above elements in place.

While affordability will always be a very important criterion, it is not a wise choice to make it the sole consideration while buying a home. A home must be also ‘retirement ready’ in all respects.

Lack of access to good hospitals can be a serious setback in case of medical emergencies, and the absence of a means for socializing will mean a limited and uncomfortable experience in later years. A home must be and remain conducive to an active, healthy and comfortable at every stage of life. These qualities must not be sacrificed solely to achieve the objective of affordability.

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 homes towers and 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.