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.

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.

What Affordable Housing Really Means In India

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

Affordability, especially in the Indian real estate sector, can mean a wide range of things. Specifically, the term holds different meaning for different categories of demographics. Further, there are also several socio-economic variables governing a city or location to consider.

Generally, ‘affordable housing’ refers to residences that have been especially designed for the economically weaker section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG) who are looking for the same comfort and security of a self-owned property/home that the more fortunate middle class enjoys.

In the earlier years of real estate development in India, the EWS and LIG categories did not get much attention to their needs. However, with changes in administration and especially with the current government coming to power, a significant amount of changes has taken place in this respect.

These two sections make up the thickest segment of the demographic for India, and form the base of the country’s economy. It has been overdue that their requirements are looked into.

Thankfully, there have been several initiatives by the BJP government under the leadership of PM Modi that have boosted affordable housing sector. For example, it is seriously looking into is the betterment of accessibility – read reduced commute times.

Lack of accessibility has been one of the top reasons why low-cost housing was inaccessible. Even if such housing is outside of the main city periphery, improved connectivity makes distances shorter and such areas more viable and desirable as residential destinations.

Why is affordable housing important?

Creating affordable housing is not just about helping a certain demographic to achieve their dream of home ownership. True, from a political viewpoint it is obviously important to cater to the demands of a massive vote bank.

But there is an important economic angle to be considered, as well – the working class must have a good-enough reason to not move out of their city to be able to work and earn. It is important to understand that we are not just talking about people living on below or on the edge of the poverty line.

In 2012, the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry made an upward revision on the criteria that define EWS. With this revision, families with an annual household income of up to Rs. 1 lakh now come under the classification of Economically Weaker Section (EWS). This was a significant change from the earlier limit of Rs. 5,000 a month or Rs. 60,000 annually.

The category of Lower Income Group or LIG also saw an upward revision – now, families with an annual income of between Rs. 1 to 2 lakh came under the LIG category. Previously, the definition applied to families earning Rs. 5001 to 10000 a month or Rs. 60,012 to 1,20,000 annually.

Colori Phase 2 Undri

The people who fall under both these categories are extremely important for the country’s economic progress. They provide myriad services which our cities can simply not do without, but are very prone to migrating out of cities which do not support their needs.

For them, as for everyone else, home ownership provides not only a strong psychological anchor but also financial security and a better lifestyle – important incentives to stay put rather than migrate elsewhere.

What about affordable housing for the middle class?

This is an important question, and calls forth the real definition of affordability in the Indian context. Affordable housing also comes under the ambit of a much wider local meaning, wherein it constitutes homes that are affordable to the maximum segment of demographics.

It can also apply to the local population in a city which, despite being more economically fortunate and flexible than the EWS and LIG segments, are sensitive to high home prices within their city.

Such buyer groups will have sufficient funds to buy a decent-sized property on the outskirts, but face challenges when buying a home closer to the employment hubs and conveniences available within the city limits. Another way to understand this situation is the deficiency of properties within the city locations for buyers in the budget groups of Rs. 35 to 50 lakh.

Thus, a city would be said to be deficient of affordable housing even if it has enough homes in the outskirts within a price range of Rs. 20 lakhs. In this case, the potential buyers are those who can pay beyond Rs. 20 lakhs and are not interested in living on the outskirts.

Affordable housing as a whole is a profitable business because of its high rate of absorption. However, such housing also advances socio-economic growth both at a locality and city level, because it invites in higher earning groups.

Overall, if the majority of a city’s working class does not find suitable homes meeting both their needs and budgets, it can be said that there is a dearth of affordable homes.

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.

Demonetisation: Immediate And Long-Term Impact On Real Estate

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

PM Modi’s surprise move to remove Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes from legal use came as a shocker to all Indians. As of now, everyone is still inconvenienced, but all Indians also realize the greater good this move will accomplish in cleaning out black money from the economy.

Crowds outside ATMs are already thinning out and life is gradually normalizing across Indian cities. However, the ones who will continue to be affected the most are obviously those who have been holding and transacting in large amounts of unaccounted cash.

When considering the business sectors on which the demonetisation move has greatest pertinence and effect, the real estate sector comes almost naturally to mind, and Indian real estate industry has historically seen a high incidence of cash transactions.

However, the large-scale turmoil that many market pundits have been predicting is an exaggeration. The market is expecting a correction in the resale properties segment, which is very likely to happen.

The primary sales market in the larger cities is not going to be affected, especially when it comes to strong, established developers.

Prices have already stabilized in view of the situation prevailing prior to the demonetization move, and there is minimum chance of further correction – especially in low-end projects. High-end and luxury projects may see a correction to some extent.

Land transactions, which have historically been driven by cash, are taking a major hit and we can expect a correction of 20-30% in land valuations in the unorganized sector.

Lower land costs in emerging areas and smaller cities will eventually result in lower cost of budget housing, as developers will assuredly pass on the benefit of these savings to their customers.

Pricing is a critical factor in the current market environment, and no player will lose the chance to offer more benevolent price tags in order to secure business.

The full impact of demonetisation will be more visible only after the next Union Budget is announced in February. The negative sentiment currently prevailing is likely to be negated to a large extent by some very positive announcements.

We expect the Finance Minister to roll out special incentives for first-time home buyers in the budget properties category, and also a positive revision of income tax slabs – which will help reduce the financial burden on home buyers and increase purchasing power.

With home ownership always being a priority investment objective for all Indians, this will have very positive implications for the residential real estate sector.

DEMONETISATION

On the whole, the demonetisation move is very good news for the health of the Indian real estate sector. The Real Estate Regulatory Bill (RERA) will be deployed across the country by mid-2017, and Maharashtra has recently put forth its own draft laws.

Along with the impact that the demonetization move has had on India’s parallel ‘black economy’, we will see a lot of sanitization in the industry.

The Indian real estate sector will now become more transparent, credible and attractive to all kinds of serious investors, especially institutional investors.

In the long term, we will see a much more holistic and healthy pattern of growth in the Indian real estate sector.

The Government’s many initiatives to render the Indian business environment more attractive for both domestic and foreign investments will definitely bear fruit.

For end-users and investors, the current time is extremely favourable to make their move to secure the best real estate bargains.

Smaller residential developers and investors will be more eager than ever before to offload their inventory so as to alleviate their liquidity woes to some extent.

The salaried class which uses home loans to purchase properties will not face any problems at all because of the demonetisation move.

Since the above measures will serve to make the real estate sector more transparent and wholesome, future growth in the residential property sector will be steady and rational.

Those who invest in residential real estate now can, therefore, look forward to very satisfactory long-term capital appreciation.

Also, to be noted – the slowdown induced by the demonetisation move has nothing to do with the huge pent-up demand for housing in India. This is still very much intact and in fact growing at steady pace.

The residential sector was in fact in revival mode shortly before this move, and though overall sentiment has now faced a new setback, this is strictly temporary.

Fly-by-night developers get driven out and large players who have already made transparent transactions a standard will emerge stronger.

Within the next 12-18 months, we will see a much more sustainable and robust real estate market emerging in India.

About The Author

 Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director ofAmit 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.

Wait For The Real Estate Regulator Bill (RERA) Or Buy Now?

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

Across the country, aspiring property buyers are waiting for RERA – or the Real Estate Regulation Act – to be implemented by the States.

Time and again, it has been stated that the consumer must consider the reputation of the builder prior to taking a decision to buy a property/asset which is likely to remain for generations.

On implementation of RERA, only builders with sound reputations will remain in the fray – this probably its most important function in protecting consumer rights and interests.

Once RERA becomes a enforceable law, it will change the ways in which residential housing projects are planned, offered, sold and possessed across India. Property buyers will no longer need to worry about unfair contracts, delayed possessions, non-notified alterations in building plans and other risks.

The aim of RERA is to make real estate purchase simpler by bringing in better accountability and transparency. In doing so, it will also infuse a lot more confidence among buyers – who, at the end of the day, should feel as comfortable about investing in a home as they are about buying gold.

RERA lays forth several ground rules for real estate buying and selling, including:

  • Registration of every real estate project with the appointed tribunal (with some exceptions). Non-registered projects cannot be offered for sale or booked by promoters.
  • Mandatory uploading of project details by the developer on the RERA website, including layout planning and completion schedule.
  • 70% of the advance collected from buyers needs to be maintained in a separate bank account and be used only for the stipulated project construction. These funds cannot be hived off for other purposes – a practice that has contributed majorly to delayed projects in the past. The individual state governments have reserved the power to alter the amount, but the principle is very much in place.
  • Establishment of Real Estate Appellate Tribunals that will handle any issues related to property disputes, with the intention of delivering quick and unambiguous resolution.
  • Setting up of an advisory body to deal with matters related to government-sponsored real estate development.

In one of the most important addendums to RERA, real estate brokers and the way they conduct their business now also fall under its ambit. The days of unscrupulous property agents either acting solely in their own interest or in collusion with developers are now numbered.

In fact, RERA will protect both the buyer and the seller – for instance, it protects developers from non-payment. While the promoter is required to obtain necessary documentation such as the completion certificate, the buyer is liable to be fined for delays in payment. Failure to register the property or comply by other regulations of the Act will lead to hefty fines and even imprisonment in certain cases.

All this may sound too good to be true – and in fact, it is for now because RERA is likely to come into full force from May 2017. All the individual state governments need to get their ‘acts’ together to comply with its requirements and adopt it.

The good news is that they do not have the option of not doing so – the Central Government has amply demonstrated that it is determined to push the Real Estate Regulation Bill through come hail or high water.

The Indian real estate market is currently showing positive signs of revival. Even as smaller builders struggle – now also because of the recent demonetization of larger currency notes – credible developers continue to launch new projects and raise funds to meet the committed completion timelines.

With RERA in place, several not-so-credible developers will go out of business. Buyer will be protected from players with ulterior motives – in short, fly-by-night operators. This will, in turn, infuse a much-needed positive sentiment among buyers and consequently help increase demand.

Increased sales will improve the cash situations of the credible developers that remain after the weeding out, and projects will be automatically delivered in time.

real estate law

Should You Wait For RERA Or Buy Now?

At the current point in time, because of the lower demand seen over the last 2-3 years, property prices across India’s major cities have sunk to incredibly low levels. Buyers have a wide range of options in locations, budgets, amenities and – perhaps most importantly – in developers.

In previous times, buyers with budget constraints could only consider projects by builders with doubtful reputations and questionable business practices. This is no longer the case – today, a home in a quality project by a trustworthy and reputable developer is very much an option even within a modest budget.

RERA will take another year to be implemented; meanwhile, there are other dynamics which are changing on the Indian property market. Reduced pricing coupled with attractive deals in most cities, and the fact that more and more fence-sitting buyers have run out of patience and are coming onto the market with firm ‘buy’ decisions, have kick-started the modest but very real recovery we are seeing on the residential market.

In Pune, we have witnessed a 25% increase in buying activity in high-demand areas like Undri-Pisoli, Ambegaon, Bhugaon and Wagholi in the last 4-5 months alone. In Mumbai, buying activity in Navi Mumbai, Thane and some other relatively affordable areas has also picked up significantly.

What does this mean for property buyers? Very simply – any revival in buying activity eventually leads to increased prices. Such is the immutable law of demand and supply. Given that demand is increasing steadily even now, property prices will begin rising even before RERA becomes a market reality next year.

What Experts Say

Industry watchdogs unanimously agree that there is no scope for current property prices to decrease further. Whatever correction in prices could happen has happened, and developers cannot reduce prices further even if they wanted to – doing so would, in many cases, seriously impact their ability to stay on the market.

In fact, RERA will mean that promoters will be bound by more procedures, and this may increase the cost of their projects – costs which are likely to be passed on to the consumer. In other words, RERA could be instrumental in inducing cost escalations in many cities.

It should be noted that while RERA will ensure that unscrupulous developers and their business practices will be driven off the market, it will simultaneously ensure that builders with sound reputations and impeccable track records will become stronger.

One of the most important intentions of the new law is to support such developers so that they can continue to serve the needs of property buyers in the wholesome and transparent manner which they are known for.

In short, for buyers who have no intention of dealing with any but the most reputed developers, there is no real advantage in waiting for RERA to kick in. If one is working with a reputed developer, the privileges, benefits and safeguards that it will bring already apply today.

Another valid argument against waiting for RERA before buying a property is that that once the Act is in place, it will become mandatory for builders to invest extra time with regulatory bodies to work along the extensive details of construction plans, clearances, approvals and other details related to their new projects. Paradoxically, this will in fact result in delayed deliveries where the opposite effect was actually intended.

Even though many buyers feel that they should wait for RERA to be implemented before buying a flat, the fact remains that there are already many builders with strong reputations and credible market practices.

Buying a property from such a player now instead of later can turn out to be wise decision if RERA results in upward pressure on prices. Also, if one is looking to make the most of current attractive pricing and offers, there is actually no better time than now.

The time and effort spent in taking advantage of the favorable market dynamics existing today will prove to be the soundest investment. The sole proviso is that one should only patronize a reputed developer with a good track record for delivery and construction quality.

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.