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.

Pune Real Estate: The Year That Was, And The Year Ahead

Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

2016 did not bring as much cheer to Pune’s real estate market as previous years had. Nevertheless, Pune outperformed Mumbai by between 20 to 25% in terms of overall sales.

The highest-selling category in Pune was mid-range properties priced between Rs. 35-50 lakh within the city’s municipal limits and its nearby periphery, followed by lower budget housing on the outskirts priced between Rs. 15-30 lakh.

The latter pricing category offered on the market saw some response; however, whether it sustainable is debatable.

The questions which bothered most buyers in 2016 were:

  • What are the hidden cost?
  • Does the location serve my purpose?
  • Will the project I am interested in be completed as per promised timeline?
  • Is the developer inherently RERA-compliant?

Due to these completely understandable apprehensions, reputed builders saw the most number of serious inquiries in 2016. It would not be an exaggeration to observe that the year saw developers being examined with microscopic scrutiny.

There was clear evidence that Pune’s property buyers have become very aware of their rights, and that they can expect their interests to be protected by the upcoming RERA; promoters will not be able to dictate terms as they so far have.

However, irrespective of the potential protection that RERA will provide, buyers were more focused on the reputation of the builder than prices.

This was a significant change of temperament among Pune’s traditionally price-sensitive consumers. It indicated that long-term investment value and growth now matters more to them than short-term savings.

More than ever before, the inherent value of sticking to players with an established track-record will make itself felt in 2017.

When RERA becomes a nation-wide reality in mid-2017, Pune’s established developers with a good track record quality products and transparent dealings via official financial channels will emerge as dominant.

Once the Real Estate Regulatory Bill kicks in, fraudulent builders will be pulled off the market, and there will be more clarity than ever before about the genuine opportunities that Pune’s real estate market offers.

For the entire year of 2016, Pune remained a buyers’ market and primarily end-user driven. Developers vied with each other for customers in most locations – a ‘competition’ in which only those with projects nearing completion emerged as clear winners.

High buyer caution prevailed throughout the year with regards to pre-launches and under-construction projects in the earliest stages of development.

With many projects offering ready-to-move options to buyers and investors, the thought of having to wait for 2 to 3 years before gaining possession simply failed to entice.

The locations which scored highest with buyers in 2016 were not the overpriced central locations, but those which offer good connectivity to Pune’s various workplace hubs while circumventing the steep price points of the city’s central areas.

property investment

Most buyers had a firm list of must-haves to refer to:

  • Proximity to the city’s various workplace centers; good overall connectivity via roads and public transport
  • Rational property prices
  • Availability of good schools, affordable healthcare, shopping and entertainment
  • Market-proven reliability of developers’ brand

In terms of location, Undri-Pisoli in Pune’s south-eastern sector was a clear favourite with buyers employed in the city’s Infotech sector and manufacturing industries, as all the requirements were available as above,

Also Ambegaon in the south-western part saw a lot of conversions, thanks to its good connectivity to Mumbai as well as onward to Satara and Kolhapur.

Apart from the fact that these locations are extremely well-connected, they also drew demand because they have a good supply of completed projects by reputable developers.

Fast-paced infrastructure deployment also helped bring these two locations to the top of the charts in 2016, and will continue to sustain their desirability in 2017.

Bhugaon, Keshavnagar and Manjri in the city’s eastern quadrant saw a lot of absorption because of overall access they provide to various key areas of the city. Though they are still emerging in terms of general infrastructure deployment, these are certainly locations to watch in the future.

In terms of general pricing, Pune saw a correction of 3 to 6% in property prices in most markets. Most developers rolled out additional schemes to attract buyers to their projects, with varying degrees of success.

Construction-linked plans drew some interest, but the clear winners among such schemes were all-inclusive packages which included all statutory costs such as VAT, stamp duty and registration fees.

Buyers showed a lot of preference for transparency in pricing, a decent saturation of in-project amenities and facilities, and developers whose trustworthiness was not in question.

2017 will be a year of significant and much-needed change for Pune’s property market. The Government’s demonetisation initiative has kick-started a process of elimination of fly-by-night developers and the cash components in the transactions will come to an end- a process which the final implementation of RERA will bring to culmination.

There will be a lot of consolidation throughout the year, with such players yielding whatever marketable land parcels and incomplete projects they hold to more established players.

2017 will not bring any further correction in Pune’s residential property prices, as demand is already returning in force to the city’s property market. Also, the fact that RERA will bring with it a significant additional financial burden on developers with regards to various statutory compliances, prices may go up towards mid-year.

Nevertheless, the year ahead will be favourable for property buyers in Pune. It will continue to be a buyers’ market, and the relationship between developers and buyers will see a major upgrade because buyers’ rights and interests will be well-defined and well-protected by the new Real Estate Regulatory bill. This is what the Government wants to achieve.

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.

How Education Influences Pune’s Property Market

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

Jawaharlal Nehru named Pune the Oxford of the East, and this title is more than well-deserved on account of the many schools, colleges and management institutes that the city boasts of. Each year, Pune attracts tens of thousands of students not only from India but all over the world.

A lesser-known fact is that Pune’s real estate market is a direct beneficiary of its highly developed educational environment. People in Pune are willing to invest considerably in their children’s education, and this includes a willingness to pay more for a home located close to a good school or college.

In fact, if we study the check-lists of features that most homebuyers in Pune consider important, more than 35% list proximity to good schools and colleges non-negotiable.

Also most of the migrants from other states generally fall in love with Pune and settle here. This also leads to demand for more houses  near the proximity of the schools as this is a most logical step for anyone to raise a family.

Not only that, but a significant number of homebuyers – predominantly young working couples – are willing to compromise on other aspects such as proximity to entertainment and even workplaces in order to secure a home close to a good school.

For these people, the welfare of their children ranks higher than their own convenience. What is even more interesting is that not all of these homebuyers are married or have children. Why do such buyers consider proximity to good educational institutions important while selecting a property?

The answer is as simple as it is profound. On the one hand, married homebuyers with children are definitely interested in quality schools and colleges because of the educational opportunities they offer. Such homebuyers have either just starting a family or are planning to do so soon.

Either way, they are considering the future of their children and are even ready to pay more for smaller homes in order to secure their chances of a good education.

In the larger context, however, most property buyers and investors in Pune understand that the availability of good schools in a neighborhood contributes directly to the overall value of the locality’s real estate.

Obviously, Pune’s educational districts rank very high as property investment destinations. This is underscored by another very interesting fact – namely, the resilience of the property values in areas of Pune which are close to the good schools, colleges and management institutions.

child in school

In the past, these areas did not see any drop in property prices even when other localities were seeing price corrections.

Historically, homebuyers focused on these areas of Pune were willing to make all kinds of compromises in order to secure the education advantage. They were ready to settle for smaller homes in projects without clubhouses and swimming pools, in congested areas without malls or any kind of organized shopping nearby.

Over time, these constraints have given way to some extent. Developers who were able to secure redevelopment rights in some of the core areas of the city were able to build more modern residential complexes which have a decent share of lifestyle amenities.

While examining the correlation of Pune’s educational institutions and the property pricing in the areas around them, some may argue that good schools and colleges have led to the higher appreciation of these areas.

The rationale would appear sound – homebuyers in Pune will always prefer residential projects located near an educational district and are ready to pay higher rates for them. So have Pune’s good schools, in fact, helped drive up the property prices in these localities?

Maybe so, but this is an incomplete argument at best. The fact remains these areas are also defined by higher historic affluence and that this affluence has triggered the development of high-quality schools there. There is no doubt that in Pune, the best schools and colleges are in localities defined by a higher standard of living.

In the final analysis, what perhaps matters most from a property market perspective is not the nature of the relationship between education and property values in Pune, but the simple fact that the relationship definitely exists.

Developers with projects in and around Pune’s educational institutions are able to ask for higher prices, and homebuyers are generally willing to pay them.

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’s Real Estate Market – At The Cusp Of Revival

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

It’s a much-asked question – is this the right time for first-time home buyers, or should they wait as there is another price correction expected? In a price-sensitive real estate market like Pune, this question has been asked for more than a year now, and the market’s answer has been quite consistent.

There appears to be no possibility of  further price corrections in Pune. Demand in the right locations and at the right price points has returned, which means the right kinds of properties are selling. Rather than a price correction, it appears that  it is likely to be appreciation which is on the cards once again.

First Homes Market – Returning Rationale

The prolonged market slump from which many of the Indian cities are only now beginning to recover certainly served an important purpose – that of bringing property prices down to their lowest possible levels.

As market pundits have correctly pointed out, the only way for inherently strong markets like Pune is up going forward. However, as of now, the advantage still lies squarely with the buyer. The current time is, in fact, optimal for first-time home buyers to make their play.

For a while now, property valuations in Pune have been at their lowest point. Also, there are very good value-adding offers available, especially in terms of innovative financial structuring.

The financial burden of buying a home in Pune has indeed never been easier to bear than today. Many leading developers are now proactively assisting buyers to reduce the financial implications of buying a home in their projects by way of attractive schemes.

Among the most successful offer available in Pune right now is, all-inclusive rate packages, which include all the usual add-on costs such as stamp duty, registration and VAT.

EMI holidays have also found some favour, though buyers considering such a scheme must definitely carefully study the fine print and long-term implications of the offering.

Second Home Market – Once Again Gaining Traction 

Apart from the first-home market, we are also seeing a revival in Pune’s second home market. Buyers who have been hoping to buy second properties to house their extended families or as investments are finding this the ideal time to make a decision for purchasing the second home.

However, to accurately gauge the exact nature of the revival in Pune’s second homes market, one needs to understand its exact nuances. It is a common error to equate second home with holiday homes in remote locations.

real estate development

This particular market segment, in fact, continues to languish across the country for lack of demand. It usually thrives only during periods of prolonged economic prosperity and protracted vibrancy on the primary homes market.

It is only when people have been secure in their jobs for a sufficiently long time and seen a series of salary hikes that they see any rationale at all in investing in ‘non-performing’ real estate assets like holiday homes. During any other time, they will usually focus only on buying properties which serve the primary need of accommodation or rental income generation.

Investment Advice

Regardless of whether one is looking to buy a first or second home in Pune, the basic success fundamentals remain the same. One should go for locations which are close to primary workplace areas which have a good saturation of office complexes, if one can afford it.

Other important aspects to focus on are the availability of good social and civic infrastructure like schools, hospitals, shopping, etc., and presence of public transport.

With regards to whether one should opt for under-construction or ready-to-move projects – both options have their distinct individual merits, so it is not an either-or scenario at all.

While under-construction properties cost less, one should only consider this option if the developer is reputable and has a good track-record of timely completions. Currently, some builders are offering attractive packages even for ready possession flats – serious end-users and investors should certainly not miss this chance.

Finally, a guideline to pure investors (as opposed to pure end-users) for managing expectations is in order. High capital appreciation may not be a factor in Pune at the moment, which is precisely what has led to the amenable prices prevalent on the market today.

Pune’s real estate market currently stands at the cusp of revival; it is expected that it will take at least 2-3 years for substantial appreciation numbers to become a norm again across all locations.

The investment factor to zero in on currently is good rental potential, which is certainly a possibility in high-performance locations such as Undri, Ambegaon, Wagholi and Bhugaon. For optimizing rental income potential, the flat’s size, amenities, location and builder’s brand value must be considered as integral.

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 Drives Housing Demand In Pune’s Kothrud?

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

Quality of life was once a defining characteristic of Pune, but thanks to the lag in infrastructure to support the rapid development in the city, this characteristic has become rare in most areas.

In previous times, it was of no real consequence where one purchased a home in Pune – all areas which saw real estate development offered a good quality of life. Today, while scoping the market for flats for sale in Pune, it is necessary to factor in a number of variables.

The most important aspects to consider are traffic congestion and pollution levels, whether the area offers a good availability of basic facilities and, of course, the overall ambience and quality of the neighborhood.

Kothrud, a western suburb of Pune, is one area which has always offered residents a very high quality of life. It is one of the core traditional areas of Pune from very early times. In fact, it features prominently in the recent Hindi blockbuster film ‘Bajirao Mastani‘ because it is in Kothrud that Mastani’s resided.

In the era of the Peshwas in which ‘Bajirao Mastani‘ takes place, the area was called Kothrud Baug. It still boasts of several high-profile landmarks such as the Dashabhuja temple and Mrityunjaya temple, which date back to the glorious times of the Peshwas.

Kothrud has always been a highly progressive area, seeing many ground-breaking infrastructure projects far ahead of the rest of the city to make living here more convenient and comfortable. In fact, the city’s very first flyover connecting Karve Road to Paud Road, was erected in Kothrud. It also has superlative connectivity to various parts of the central city via Karve Road.

Situated in the veritable nerve centre of Pune, Kothrud has witnessed rapid growth in its housing sector and was, in fact, identified among the fastest developing suburbs in Asia in the 1980s.

Considered one of the most upscale neighbourhoods in Pune, Kothrud has also seen rapid growth in its real estate prices. Kothrud was among the first of Pune’s suburbs to be developed, with its latter-day development beginning in the late 90s. In those years, Pune still held fast to its tag as Pensioner’s Paradise.

There was little economic activity happening in the city in those years, until Pune’s IT/ITES boom began to take hold in 2000-02. Even then, Kothrud was already a fully-developed residential location. This is why this area did not suffer from the over-development that beset areas like Aundh and Baner in the West and Viman Nagar in the East when they got on the IT/ITES bandwagon.

Throughout, Kothrud has been seeing a lot of demand from real estate buyers from both within the city and neighbouring Mumbai. Given the massive amount of interest from both end-users and investors, developers in Kothrud have always been offering progressive housing formats and succeeded in making it one the most desirable core area to live in.

Source: Google Maps
Source: Google Maps

Real estate buyers and investors are attracted to Kothrud both for its superior housing options and the convenience of living there. The civic infrastructure is top-grade, and the social infrastructure in terms of shopping, educational institutions and hospitals is matchless.

Today, because of lack of developable plots and new housing projects largely happening in the form of redevelopment, new housing options in Kothrud are scarce on the ground even while demand continues to be enormous.

In the midst of this crunch for living spaces that befit the expectations of buyers considering Kothrud, Amit Enterprises Housing has launched its high-end project Ved Vihar. The project consists of four towers exclusively offering 2 and 3 BHK luxury flats, and is therefore perfectly aligned with the demand profile of this happening location.

With quality of life ranking as the top consideration for home buyers in Kothrud, housing projects must deliver on all fronts. Even as compromised infrastructure, air pollution and traffic congestions plague most of the other parts of the city, Kothrud is still a haven from the mounting humdrum and chaos.

However, this alone is not enough in real estate market terms. Given the premium pricing of this location, home buyers also expect the very best in amenities and facilities. Developers who provide these in their housing projects are seeing the highest demand.

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.

Sahakar Nagar – Pune’s Most Aspirational Neighbourhood

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

Pune is witnessing a very high rate of cross-border cultural exchange, with an increasing number of its citizens traveling abroad even as more and more international tourists explore the city each year.

The IT culture, glitzy shopping malls boutiques offering the latest in global fashion trends and international schools are all part of this process of cultural homogenization. Pune has become a truly cosmopolitan city, thanks largely to the influence of its burgeoning IT sector.

Nevertheless, the historical Pune – the city which holds on to its traditional values and outlook – continues to exist. Because of the mass-scale development happening all of the city, it is less visible today than it was just ten years ago, but the spirit of Punyanagari lives on in its core areas.

Sahakar Nagar is perhaps the most prominent of these strongholds of Pune’s traditions.

Sahakar Nagar needs no introduction to citizens of Pune. This elite residential area is one of the oldest, greenest and most respectable addresses in the city. The area was developed after the 1961 floods in Pune, and has become a prominent location today.

Sahakar Nagar is home to some of Pune’s most established businesspersons, politicians and movers and shakers, and has been a very exclusive and largely closed real estate market for decades.

Simultaneously, Sahakar Nagar represents a unique balance because it has retained the city’s traditional Marathi culture while at the same time evolving to keep pace with the times.

Aerial view of Sahakar Nagar, Pune
Aerial view of Sahakar Nagar, Pune

From the outside, the tranquil dignity and old-world charm of this venerable residential location gives no visible indication of change. However, Sahakar Nagar has been seeing a constant process of reinvention which has resulted in excellent civil infrastructure.

This area is unique in yet another aspect. Because of the fact that the residents of Sahakar Nagar will never want to move anywhere else, getting a resale home here is a huge challenge. Also, since it is fully developed and occupied for several years now, there is next to no new residential supply.

Sahakar Nagar is one of the last predominantly end-user driven locations in Pune, though investors are always keen to make a play in this distinguished luxury neighbourhood. It is a genuine stronghold of the city’s elite and affluent families that has never been open to investors.

The past few years have seen no new projects at Sahakar Nagar because of the lack of land. The primary residential configuration at Sahakar Nagar is bungalows and villas, which comprise most of the housing landscape of this high-profile location.

The resident profile primarily reflects Pune’s orthodox Hindu Brahmin community, which has helped preserve Sahakar Nagar’s reputation as one of the last outposts of the city’s traditional roots.

The location itself is perfect. At a high elevation, it offers a breath-taking view of the Parvati/Taljai hill area as well as thick reserved forest lands. Bharati Vidyapeeth, one of Pune’s most upscale educational institutions, has its campus close by.

The Pune-Satara road provides ready access to Swargate Bus Terminus, a vital transit hub in the heart of the city, as well as other key areas of Central Pune. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is within easy commuting distance via the Katraj Bypass. Sahakar Nagar is also within a stone’s throw from City Pride Cineplex, and has its own integrated high street shopping area which most of the local residents patronize.

Thanks to its unmatched locational advantages and also its unique profile, Sahakar Nagar is a highly aspirational luxury address. Due to scarcity of developable space, top-class projects in the area are a focal point for high-end investors as well as families looking for prestigious permanent residences.

With next to no availability of residential units of any kind, Sahakar Nagar’s status as a stronghold of Pune’s elite stands unassailable.

Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. established its foothold in Sahakar Nagar back in 2007 with the launch of the luxury apartment project 9 Green Park. This project was completed in 2012 and is, not surprisingly, completely sold out and occupied. However, another luxury apartment project by AEHL now offers the hope of home ownership in Sahakar Nagar to Pune’s discerning few.

Montecito Entrance Lounge small

Montecito – located adjacent to 9 Green Park – enjoys the most spectacular view yet of Sahakar Nagar’s legendary natural splendour. This ultra-luxurious apartments project, spread over 4.3 acres of Sahakar Nagar’s most breathtakingly beautiful hilltop location, consist of two 16-storied towers that offer 64 apartments backed by five levels of reserved parking. This unique project is designed by none other than renowned architects Talathi & Panthaki.

Answering the call for luxury living in Pune’s most treasured and highly exclusive residential addresses, Montecito is AEHL’s final brush-stroke on a priceless masterpiece called Sahakar Nagar – a location that always has, and always will, capture the very essence of all that is truly Pune.

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.

Guidelines To Buying A Budget Home In Pune

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

The Pune real estate market is a highly price-sensitive one, and affordable housing is in perennial demand in this city. The bulk of the demand for affordable housing in Pune stems from the steady stream of manpower from other parts of the country, most of which belong to the working middle class.

While these home seekers invariably operate with a tight budget, they are still looking for decent homes that meet an acceptable threshold of lifestyle requirements.

While the premium and ultra-luxury housing categories continue to witness stability rather than any real growth, the affordable homes segment shows healthy demand and uptake.

However, not everything that is affordable shares this demand. Customers are primarily on the lookout for homes that fall within the city limits, are of decent sizes and have good amenities.

Of course, the price tag must be right – in the mid-income category, flats that fall within the price range of Rs. 35-50 lakh are the hottest sellers. Many developers who cater to this demand and are sensitized to the price-sensitiveness of their target clientele are offering all-inclusive packages that cover all the usual add-on costs to buying a home – VAT, stamp duty, registration fees, etc.

There is obviously a lot of investor demand as well – but again, this demand is squarely focused on the budget segment of homes in well-connected locations. For both end-user and investor demand, the target properties are 1 BHK and 2 BHK flats in localities like Manjri, Wagholi, Ambegaon, Bhugaon and Undri.

These have been identified as the growth corridors for Pune that are seeing development in all aspects – and, importantly, boasting of property prices that are still favorable for the middle class.

How To Choose An Affordable Home In Pune

Since the affordable homes segment is the primary hunting zone for predatory fly-by-night builders who specialize in cheating their customers, the first thing that a budget home buyer in Pune must verify is the reputation of the project’s developer.

Buyers in Pune need to do thorough research among the multitude of projects in the budget homes segment. By focusing on reputed builders, the search becomes faster and easier.

Apart from delivering on the promised project features, reputed builders will ensure that their projects meet the construction quality standard that are expected of them. The search gets further narrowed down and simplified if the buyer differentiates between meaningful and meaningless offers.

Meaningless offers include most freebies which several new builders tend to roll out in an attempt to hide or compensate for the flaws in their projects, in the location or in the documentation.

Meaningful offers are those that translate into actual, significant savings on the cost price of the property, result in increased value of the investment and provide convenient payment options.

Colori Phase 2 Undri

Budget Home Buying Guidelines:

Generally, it is advisable to:

  • Be somewhat flexible with your budget and not limit yourself to a set figure. The budget should be the second of third focus area – location and amenities ensure that the price you pay for a flat today will get multiplied several times in the near future.
  • Not be tempted by unrealistic promises from unknown developers working on the outskirts of the city. Many misinformed budget home buyers in Pune have fallen prey to illegally constructed projects in the past and lost out on their entire investment.
  • Deal only with well-known branded builders, especially if you are booking into an under-construction project. Such developers can be relied on to adhere to ethical business practices, and to deliver quality projects which will stand the test of time and yield good resale value in the future.
  • Not neglect the factor of appreciation potential. Pune is a rapidly-growing city and property prices will appreciate, but only in good locations and quality projects.
  • Negotiate with the builder on the price. Pune has always been a buyer’s market, and builders who see serious intent from a buyer will usually be somewhat flexible in their pricing. However, know where to draw the line on bargaining, so as not to lose out on a good opportunity.

Know What Amounts To A Good Location

The hallmarks of a good location for buying a budget home are safety, convenience and appreciation potential. All three variables derive from a single word – infrastructure. The development of roads, hospitals, shopping complexes, schools and avenues of entertainment all result in quality neighborhoods.

Appreciation and convenience are also a factor of accessibility from the city’s primary and secondary workplace areas, meaning areas where large numbers of people go to work daily. The more accessible a location is from such areas, the more attractive it is to buyers and investors and this drives up property price appreciation.

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.

Innovative Exit Option For Home Buyers From Amit Enterprises Housing Limited

Pune, March 28: Amit Enterprises Housing Limited, one of the most reputed real estate developers of the city has come up with a first of its kind exit option for home buyers.

The special scheme titled ‘Own a Home or Double your Money’ was announced by Sanjeev Pate and Rohan Pate, Directors, Amit Enterprises Housing Limited during a Press Conference held in the city today.

(L-R) Sanjeev Pate & Rohan Pate, Directors, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd (1)

“The highlight of the scheme is its flexibility. It is the first ever offering in real estate that provides an exit option to a home buyer at the time of possession and that too with great appreciation of the money that he has paid during the booking”, informed Rohan Pate.

“Under this scheme, customer pays 10% of the cost of the flat, does the agreement with us and avails the loan facility of any leading bank. After this, there will be no EMI for the customer till possession. If he feels to change his decision of buying the flat at the time of possession, then he will be able to do so. Moreover, he will get refund of booking amount with 100% appreciation, which means he will get 2 times of the booking amount”, he added.

(L-R) Sanjeev Pate & Rohan Pate, Directors, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd (2)

Thus, according to him the scheme not only provides immense flexibility of offering customer with an exit option at the time of possession that too with 100% appreciation on the booking amount but also provides benefits like no EMI till possession.

This ‘Own a Home or Double your Money’ scheme is available for 2 and 3 BHK Homes at Bloomfield and Astonia Royale (Both at Ambegaon) and for Astonia Classic and Colori (Both at Undri).

SBI, HDFC and ICICI have approved the scheme and shall provide home loans to the buyers as per their eligibility.

For more information, please call 9922998899