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How to make your home pet-friendly

December 14, 2019 Ref -

Home owners who wish to keep pets at home, need to ensure that their house caters to its needs and provides a safe environment for all. We explain the dos and don’ts.

Besides providing companionship, there are also therapeutic benefits of owning a pet. Nevertheless, owning a pet is also a commitment and a responsibility. Consequently, home owners should ensure that the house is safe and comfortable for their pets. Although a pet can turn your house upside-down, things generally change as the pet grows up and you learn to adjust to its behaviour and needs.

The most common change that home owners make to the décor, is to remove all rugs. If you have cats or dogs at home, the carpets can turn into breeding grounds for fleas, cautions Lekha Gupta, senior architect, LAB (Language Architecture Body).

“Wooden flooring is usually slippery. Pets love to run around and wooden flooring may cause serious injury. So, avoid it,” adds Gupta.

All staircases must be barricaded, to prevent small pets from rolling down or trying to climb up, unattended. “Also barricade all grills that overlook lower floors, as your puppy may try to jump down. All balconies and windows with wide grills, must be meshed so that puppies cannot go through them,” advises Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels in Bengaluru, a well-known pet groomer, who along with her two daughters, Rishya and Radhiya, offers various pet related services.

Protecting your home’s décor

People with dogs or cats at home, are likely to find that their sofas are covered with hair, no matter how often they vacuum the house. Hence, opt for sofa covers that can be taken off and washed occasionally. “When you have guests at home, you can remove these covers,” offers Gupta. To keep the house clean, one should also designate a dining area, a toilet area and a cosy sleeping area for your pet. “To ensure that they do not spoil the floor with urine or poop, owners should start potty training from the first day the pets come home. Continuous and correct training for the first few days is important,” states Hemchandra.

“Most pets will tend to walk right into glass. So, put a frosted film, or a decal on the glass to avoid accidents. Pets can also get hurt by swinging doors or get locked in a room. Therefore, use door stoppers that are heavy, so that the pet will not be able to play with them,” advises Gupta.

Ensuring comfort for your pets

Cats and kittens tend to scratch, to sharpen their claws. Buy a scratch pad, so that they do not scratch your furniture. Ensure that cords on curtains and wires do not hang at a low level. “Keep small objects, stationery and children’s toys, medicines and household cleaners away from your pets’ reach to prevent them from swallowing these objects,” adds Hemchandra.

Birdcages should be kept away from windows, to protect the pet from the sun’s heat and rain. Aquariums should also be kept away from direct sunlight, to prevent the growth of algae, which will make the water green. While painting, polishing or doing pest control treatment, keep the fish tank away, as the chemicals in the air may kill the fishes. Also, keep the tank away from sources of loud noise and check the electrical equipment of the tank regularly.

Tips for home owners with pets

  • Vacuum-clean the house regularly.
  • Hard flooring and anti-skid tiles are ideal for homes with pets.
  • Provide steps for pets to climb onto high furniture. Else, their nails can rip the upholstery when they try climbing.
  • Protect the pets by covering sharp edges of furniture.
  • Store household chemicals in a locked cabinet and keep glassware and lighted candles away from the pets’ reach.
  • Use wide and low wicker baskets to store all the pet’s toys and to avoid cluttering the house.
  • Most common household plants are poisonous to dogs. Hence, keep plants like jasmine, poinsettia, castor bean, lantana, philodendron, etc., out of their reach.
  • Keep dustbins and toilet lids closed.

NBFC crisis poses more bad loan risks for banks, says Moody's report

December 13, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: The continuing liquidity crunch facing non-banking financial companies is likely to result in increasing bad loans risks for banks both from these shadow banks as well as from companies relying on such lenders for funding, warns a report.

The spillover of stress among NBFCs to borrowers, and ultimately to banks, will hinder improvements in banks' asset quality, profitability and capital, which is credit negative, says a report by Moody's on Friday.

NBFCs have been facing liquidity crisis following the bankruptcy of IL&FS in September 2018.

"Tight funding for NBFCs, a consequence of the default by IL&FS in September 2018, is raising asset risks for banks in an economy that has grown increasingly dependent on non- banking lenders for the provision of credit," Moody's said in the report.

Owing to liquidity crisis, NBFCs are forced to reduce lending, leading to funding constraints for borrowers relying on non-bank lenders.

This increases the risk of loan losses for NBFCs, and as a result, they will continue to have difficulty in obtaining funding, the report said.

"As financial health of NBFCs deteriorates due to loan losses, they will have greater difficulty obtaining funding, which will exacerbate their funding constraints. It can result in more bad loans from NBFCs for banks, the report said.

Also, as NBFC customers' financials weaken, banks will reduce lending to them, which in turn will further worsen their funding stress and can lead to more bad loans from these companies for banks, it warned.

A type of NBFC credit to controlling shareholders, or promoters, of large listed companies across various industries is also emerging as a source of asset risk for banks.

Corporate promoters use their company shares as collateral to borrow, mostly from NBFCs or mutual funds, typically for the purpose of making investments, including in external businesses.

"The risk for banks is that promoters with weak governance can use company resources to repay their debt, causing financial damage to their businesses, which as a consequence, can default on their own loans from banks," the report said.

Refinancing can be difficult for promoters of companies as investments they make using loans are often illiquid, a problem made worse by tighter availability of credit from NBFCs.

The report further said the non-bank lenders collectively have a large market share in retail and SME loans, a segment that has grown rapidly in recent years and now is susceptible to asset quality deterioration as the economy slows.

"A curtailing of lending by NBFCs will add to risks from retail loans for banks by reducing the availability of credit that individuals can use for refinancing and by contributing to the slowdown," the agency said.

The report also said real estate companies are under significant stress, and tighter funding will further increase stress in the sector. It could lead to more NPLs for banks because they have large exposures to NBFCs active in real estate lending.

Banks also have direct exposures to real estate companies, and the growing stress in the NBFC sector will result in more impairments of bank loans to these borrowers.

"However, increases in banks' real estate NPLs will be marginal as their direct exposures to real estate companies remain small, growing more slowly than NBFC loans to the sector," it said.

Karnataka to get 22 express highways worth Rs 1.5 lakh crores

December 11, 2019 Ref -

The centre has sanctioned 22 green express highways in Karnataka, worth Rs 1.5 lakh crores, union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari has announced.

In a major thrust to infrastructure development in Karnataka, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, on December 10, 2019, gave the nod for 22 green express highways in Karnataka, worth Rs 1.5 lakh crores. This includes a new alignment of the Pune-Bengaluru Express Highway, which will be completed in the next few years, at a cost of Rs 50,000 crores.

We have just sanctioned projects worth more than Rs 1.5 lakh crores for the state. The annual infrastructure plan for Karnataka was Rs 2,150 crores, which we decided to increase to Rs 3,990 crores, Gadkari said. “We are making 22 green express highways. Today, we cleared the Pune-Bengaluru project as a ‘green express highway’, with a new alignment of 600 kms, costing about Rs 50,000 crores,” he said.

Gadkari said his ministry and the state had sanctioned 2,300 kms of new roads, where the detailed project report was ready. The bidding process would start soon, he said. Another important infrastructure project of the ring road in Bengaluru was also resolved, with the centre agreeing to the state’s request, to bear 80% of the land acquisition cost, he said.

GROHE Hurun India Real Estate Rich List 2019 | Mumbai’s Macrotech tops luxury, Omaxe affordable segment

December 10, 2019 Ref -

Macrotech Developers’ Mangal Prabhat Lodha and family, with a networth of Rs 31,960 crore, are among the top property developers focussed on premium housing, as per the GROHE Hurun India Real Estate Rich List 2019. Omaxe's Rohtas Goel and family with a net worth of Rs 1,990 crore leads the affordable segment category.

Realtors in India have broadly categorised the market into three segments: premium, aspirational and affordable.

In the premium segment, Mumbai's Macrotech Developers top the list followed by Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Communities with a networth of Rs 17,030 crore), and Vikas Oberoi of Oberoi Realty (Rs 13,910 crore).

The top five in the affordable category cater to segments that begin with the middle class. New Delhi's Omaxe tops this category, followed by Kolkata-based Ambuja Neotia (Rs 1,760 crore) and Sattva Developers' Bijay Kumar Agarwal and family from Bengaluru (Rs 1,070 crore).

The aspirational segment is led by Ahmedabad’s Adani Realty (Rs 2,510 crore) followed by Bengaluru-based Sobha’s PNC Menon and family (Rs 2,700 crore) and Mumbai’s Boman Rustom Irani of Keystone Realtors with a net worth of Rs 1,930 crore.

India’s real estate sector is in 'deep trouble': Raghuram Rajan

December 9, 2019 Ref -

India’s real estate, construction and infrastructure industries are in “deep trouble," and non-bank finance companies which lend to these sectors should have their asset quality reviewed, former central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said.

There is also “significant distress in rural areas," Rajan wrote in an opinion piece in India Today magazine. He said India is in a growth recession, defined as an economy growing at a slow pace and where unemployment is rising.

India’s GDP growth slowed to 4.5% in the quarter ended September, a six-year low. A crisis among shadow lenders and a build-up of bad loans at banks have curbed lending in the economy.

The Reserve Bank of India should carry out an asset quality review of the non-bank finance companies, Rajan said. The central bank closely monitors the top fifty non-bank financiers, which account for about 75% of total assets in the shadow banking sector, Governor Shaktikanta Das said in a press conference on Thursday.

“We have a fairly good idea of where the vulnerabilities lie," said Das, reiterating that the central bank won’t allow any large or systematically important non-bank lender to collapse.

Govt may rework findings of Household Consumer Expenditure survey

December 6, 2019 Ref -

The government is planning to rework the findings of the Household Consumer Expenditure survey for 2017-18 and check it for inconsistencies, reports The Economic Times.

“We looked at serious issues of data consistency and if post survey, some studies can be done to correct those inconsistencies,” an official told the publication.

The government may release a revised report early next year, the report stated.

A leaked Household Consumer Expenditure report reveals that average consumer spending per month fell 3.7 percent to Rs 1,446 in FY18. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has junked the leaked survey.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

The MoSPI and the National Statistical Commission (NSC) made the decision to rework the survey during a meeting on December 4.

While examining inconsistencies in the survey, the government will especially look at spending on health and education in rural areas.

The leaked survey showed that in rural areas, average consumer spending per month declined 8.8 percent in FY18.

A committee has been formed to evaluate whether supply side data can be incorporated into the expenditure figures, the report said.

The MoSPI has suggested reworking the survey within the next two months, since the ministry is examining the feasibility of conducting the survey in FY21 and FY22, the report added.

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 5.15%

December 5, 2019 Ref -

After a series of rate cuts, the RBI has maintained a status-quo on the repo rate at 5.15%, at its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy for this fiscal.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on December 5, 2019, kept the key policy rate unchanged at 5.15% and decided to continue with its accommodative stance, to support the economy. The central bank also revised GDP growth downwards to 5% for 2019-20, from 6.1% projected in its October 2019 policy.

“The Monetary Policy Committee recognises that there is monetary policy space for future action. However, given the evolving growth-inflation dynamics, the MPC felt it appropriate to take a pause at this juncture,” the RBI said, in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy for this fiscal. The panel decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target. All the six members of the MPC voted in favour of a rate pause.

The CPI inflation projection is revised upwards to 5.1%-4.7% for H2 FY20 and 4%-3.8% for H1 FY21. Between February and October 2019, the RBI has reduced the repo rate by 135 basis points.

Private equity firms sense big opportunity in last-mile real estate funding

December 4, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: Private equity (PE) firms are increasingly looking at capitalizing on the growing requirement of last-mile funding by real estate developers, considering that the prolonged slump in the residential segment has been aggravated by the ongoing liquidity crisis.

Several private equity investors are either setting up platforms for financing real estate projects, which are in the late or final stages of construction, or looking to offer capital for such projects from existing funds.

Demand for late-stage capital has gone up over the past two years with developers focussing on completing projects, particularly after the implementation of Real Estate (Regulations and Development) Act (Rera) in 2017. The ongoing liquidity crisis and reluctance of banks to refinance loans have also increased demand for funds, given that several late-stage projects are stuck for want of capital.

For instance, global alternative investment manager Investcorp, which is setting up a new real estate platform, will look at opportunities for last-mile funding apart from serving other credit requirements.

According to Ritesh Vohra, partner and head (real estate), Investcorp India Asset Managers, developers are faced with severe cash flow issues due to the current liquidity crisis in the financial markets along with the continuing slowdown in the residential segment.

“In such a situation, last-mile funding makes eminent sense as any fresh liquidity that comes in to complete projects can be quite transformative for all stakeholders," he added.

Last month, Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors (EAAA) partnered with South Korean Financial services conglomerate Meritz Financial Group to launch a late-stage funding platform to buy out existing residential real estate loans. The platform will target to raise $1 billion from international institutional investors in the next 12 months. Everstone Group is another private equity investor which has set its sight on lending in the real estate space. Mint reported on 18 September that the India- and SouthEast Asia-focused private equity firm is looking to set up a credit fund for the real estate sector in India.

Private equity firms are eyeing this space also because last-mile funding is relatively less risky, considering that such projects come with the required approvals and have already started generating sales.

“Projects are not getting completed because of lack of capital, especially in the last-mile stage. So, where approvals are in place, construction has started and sales have even been established, risks are mitigated to a certain extent. With less risk, you get a better reward; hence, everyone is interested. But it has to be pick and choose," said an official with a real estate fund, requesting anonymity. The interest from private equity firms comes at a time when the government is lending help to sort out the mess in the real estate sector.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced setting up of a ₹25,000 crore alternative investment fund to provide last-mile funding for stalled housing projects.

According to the government, there are around 1,600 stalled projects with 458,000 incomplete housing units. While the government will initially pump in ₹10,000 crore, it plans to raise the remaining capital through several other institutional investment firms and sovereign funds, including State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corp. of India.

Real estate experts said the government’s initiative to revive stalled projects will revive sentiments in the residential segment, which has seen a slump for the past four or five years.

Home sales have seen continuous decline since 2014, barring a marginal growth in 2016. However, post the government’s demonetisation move and implementation of the good and services tax (GST), home sales saw a sharp decline by 40% to 72,300 units in the first nine months of 2017, according to property consultant JLL. “The declining trend in residential sales stabilised after 2017 whenl sales gained traction in 2018 and reached 1.15 lakh units in the first nine months of 2019. However, the recovery has been gradual and the quantum of sales is still a tad below the 2016 levels," said the note by JLL published on 22 October.

Should IBC keep entertaining complaints of individual buyers?

November 25, 2019 Ref -

Cases related to insolvency proceedings by homebuyers against developers have been on the rise ever since buyers were granted the status of financial creditors status under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Developers are now claiming that buyers are taking undue advantage of the law, which they want amended. Their main demand is that instead of just one homebuyer, at least two-thirds of allottees of a real estate project should be required to trigger IBC proceedings against a promoter. Other demands include making Rera the sole. Ashwini Kumar Sharma asked experts if such demands are viable.

The demand of developers that they should not be made subject to IBC and should only be regulated by Rera has no legal or factual basis. Rera’s objective is to regulate real estate projects, primarily to bring in transparency and to protect the rights of the homebuyers, while IBC’s aim is to revive stressed assets or companies. One cannot be a substitute to the other.

IBC comes into play only when a real estate company defaults in payments to its creditors, while Rera continues to be in operation throughout. If an existing developer is unable to complete a project, and IBC is triggered, a new resolution applicant may come in to complete the unfinished project and also meet its obligations towards lenders. Rera does not have any mechanism to deal with such a situation.

To check the risk of IBC being misused by a single aggrieved homebuyer (in the process jeopardizing the interests of other stakeholders), IBC could be amended to increase the threshold for triggering corporate insolvency resolution process under IBC for real estate companies by specifying a minimum number of homebuyers.

Classifying homebuyers as financial creditors in insolvency procedures addresses their concerns substantially and provides them with an additional forum to seek relief. However, it also increases the default risk for developers, especially for those having delayed legacy projects.

The time-bound nature of the insolvency process provides a limited window for developers to reach settlements with claimants, failing which the interim resolution professional takes over. Even a single buyer in a project pursuing such a remedy could put the company at risk of a default on loan obligations, irrespective of its liquidity position, and this exposes the law to a possible misuse. An effective solution to this involves the stipulation of a minimum number of homebuyers, either in terms of absolute numbers or the value of their claims, relative to the total outstanding debt on a project, for the initiation of insolvency proceedings.

Moreover, IBC doesn’t focus on timely project completion. Referring cases to Rera and following up with IBC if the issue remains unresolved could be a solution.

Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai make it on new global prosperity index

November 22, 2019 Ref -

Bengaluru has emerged as India’s highest ranked city at No 83 in a new index of the world’s 113 cities, in terms of economic and social inclusivity, topped by Zurich in Switzerland.

The first-ever Prosperity & Inclusion City Seal and Awards (PICSA) Index, was released in the Basque Country capital of Bilbao in northern Spain, on November 21, 2019. The index is designed to showcase not only the quantity of economic growth of a city but also its quality and distribution across populations. Bengaluru emerged as India’s highest ranked city at No 83, followed by Delhi at 101 and Mumbai at 107, among 113 global cities. The top 20 were awarded a PICSA Seal as the world’s highest-ranked cities building inclusive prosperity. Bilbao, the host city of the new index, was ranked at 20.

“As the first ever non-commercial ranking index, PICSA provides a new measure of economic productivity that goes beyond GDP, to provide a holistic account of how well people are doing in the economy and which have the populations that are most empowered to contribute to its economy and share in its benefits,” explained Asier Alea Castanos, director of strategic programmes at the Regional Council of Biscay, in reference to the index launch.

“There is increasing recognition in governments and also the private sector that success needs to be judged in new ways. Factors like health, housing affordability and quality of life, need to be put alongside jobs, skills and incomes, when measuring prosperity,” he said.

Commissioned by Basque institutions and compiled by D&L Partners, the PICSA Index measures factors such as the affordability of housing and access to education and healthcare, besides GDP per capita. It marks the first time that the world’s major cities have been ranked not just by the size and health of their economy, but for their efforts to build an inclusive and prosperous environments for all its citizens.

Zurich, as the number one, scores strongly across all measures, particularly on quality of life, work, housing, leisure, safety, and education – with the Swiss higher education system attaining an especially high score. Vienna, the Austrian capital in second place, scores close to top marks on healthcare. Copenhagen, Luxembourg and Helsinki complete the top five. The higher end of the list is dominated by European cities, with 15 of the top 20, joined by four North American cities (Ottawa in 8th place, Washington DC ranked 11th, Seattle in 14th and Boston in 16th) and Taipei, which is the only Asian city to make it into the top 20 at 6th place.

Dr Bruno Lanvin, founder and CEO at D&L Partners, said: “Without equity and inclusion, economic growth is not sustainable. Without growth, equity is about redistributing poverty. By measuring performance of cities across different pillars of inclusive prosperity, as the PICSA Index does, policy makers can identify high performers in specific domains and establish roadmaps of best practices.” For the index, the cities were assessed on comparable data from the main focus areas by a jury of experts and business leaders. These assessments then produced an overall score for each city’s inclusive prosperity, allowing them to be ranked based on a wide range of measures.

Homebuyers have filed over 1,800 cases under insolvency law: Govt

November 21, 2019 Ref -

MoS Corporate affairs Anurag Thakur said the govt is aware of the problem of pendency at NCLT to high number of cases being filed by homebuyers against builders for even small defaults.

NEW DELHI : Homebuyers have filed more than 1,800 cases against builders under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) since June 2018, the government informed parliamentarian in the Lok Sabha.

These are the number of cases pending before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) as on 30 September.

Citing the information received from NCLT, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur said that a total 1,821 cases have been filed by homebuyers against builders since June 2018 under the Code.

On whether the government is aware of the problem of pendency at the tribunal due to high number of cases being filed by homebuyers against builders for even small defaults, the minister replied in the affirmative.

"The matter is under consideration of this (corporate affairs) ministry," he noted.

According to him, data regarding cases filed against builders for defaults of less than a month is not available with the NCLT.

Real estate stress fund can help up to 14,000 flats in Ghaziabad: CREDAI

November 20, 2019 Ref -

Around 14,000 home buyers in Ghaziabad can be handed completed flats, if builders in the city get access to the ‘stress fund’ announced by the centre, the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India has said.

Approximately 30,000 units, which are in various stages of completion, are pending in Ghaziabad, realtors’ apex body Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) said, adding that the average delay in projects here is two to three years. “The Rs 25,000-crore stress fund announced by the government, is going to help around 40 to 50 projects in Ghaziabad, meaning benefit to 12,000 to 14,000 buyers awaiting delivery of their homes,” CREDAI Ghaziabad president, Gaurav Gupta said, on November 19, 2019.

“Our only request, is that the modalities of this fund should be brought out soon, so that the funds could be availed. A delay of six or 12 months in the modalities could mean several other projects, which are not stressed but on the verge of it, would be impacted,” he said. The body also reiterated its demand for an amendment in the law, seeking consent of at least two-thirds of home buyers of any project, for initiating insolvency proceedings against any promoter. It added that the Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA) should be the first contact point for any buyer, instead of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) or the Consumer Forum.

Real Estate stocks to do well even as underlying asset prices remain stagnant

November 19, 2019 Ref -
Jatin Khemani

Whether it is real estate as physical assets or as stocks, there has been a lull for many years now. Will the two always move in tandem? Can real estate stocks do well even without real estate assets picking up?

Before that, let’s understand why the real estate business and stocks are so out of favour.

How real estate went out of favour

- It is an extremely asset-heavy business with significant upfront investments needed for buying land and for project development, necessitating the use of borrowed money or settling for a lower return on equity. Further, each project has a long gestation period of 7-10 years.

- To make economic sense, the project size has to be meaningful, in which case even one or two projects going wrong on location/timing/pricing can push the company behind by a few years with significant resources getting stuck.

- It takes decades to build credibility in one geography. However, the moment a company enters a new geography, it has to start all over again in terms of building customer trust and working with the local ecosystem. For instance, the brand and operations of a successful Mumbai-based developer cannot be leveraged greatly in Pune. You don’t believe me? What else explains the largest developer in the country, a so called ‘national’ brand, deciding to restrict itself to only five cities?

- So, to keep the growth momentum going, a company has to keep capturing higher market share in its existing geography or geographies, but it can hit a ceiling when it becomes too large – think DLF in Gurgaon – and this also adds to the risk of geographic concentration.

- Thanks to multi-year projects, the accounting has been too complex – revenue booking as well as cost assumptions are at the discretion of the management. Difficult for even a seasoned investor to judge if reported financials of developers depict the true and fair picture of the underlying operations. This makes valuing a real estate company a speculative task – you can’t use any P&L metric such as operating profit or earnings and valuing based on net present value of on-going projects, land bank etc. involve a whole host of assumptions around volumes, realisation, cost, and timing.

- Long-term investors struggle to see too far into the future as a project’s life is typically about seven years and life beyond that would depend on new projects, which you may not know about right now, and these may or may not work in the same way. It’s like being on a treadmill – you got to constantly run even to stay at the same place, unlike a Nestle or a 3M which add growth on top of a sticky base business.

- It’s a sector marred with corruption & red-tape; there are 50-plus approvals a developer needs from different government authorities before he could commence a project. It is not easy to find clean promoters operating in a sector in which being clean is a disadvantage.

- An apartment is a capital good and the biggest investment in a customer’s lifetime; typically, he/she will be your customer just once or twice in his/her lifetime, no matter how happy he/she is with your product, unlike companies selling consumables where customers keep coming back for repeat purchases.

- Among buyers of real estate, there are home buyers and there are investors. The latter come in herds and only in a good cycle, adding fuel to fire, which leads to asset prices gaining further momentum.

- All these factors make it a classic cyclical industry, which does well for a few years, with higher volumes, higher pricing, higher margins leading to higher market valuation, followed by a bad cycle, resulting in lower volumes, lower prices, lower margins and thus lower market valuation. In a good cycle lasting 3-5 years, the price-to-book multiple for a respectable developer could move from near book value to 3-5 times book, while the book value itself could double in that period, leading to phenomenal gains for shareholders who catch the cycle right, ride along and make a timely exit (even if it’s 15-20 per cent below the top).

A vicious cycle

So, where are we in the cycle? While it is impossible to point that out with any precision, when one sees the data over the last 5-6 years with real estate transaction volumes being weak, flattish to negative pricing trend being prevalent across key cities and dismal performance of large real estate stocks, it becomes pretty apparent that we have been in a negative cycle for a while now. This vicious cycle has been further exacerbated by path-breaking (& back-breaking for real estate) policy actions such as demonetization, GST and RERA, all happening in the last couple of years.

Mind you, the sector remains extremely important for the enormous employment it generates, the linkages it has to core economy, including consumption of cement, steel and building material, the revenue it brings to the exchequer through registrations etc. The Government very well understands this, as is reflected from  the remedial measures taken – incentives offered to first-time home buyers, including interest subvention, increased tax benefits, exemption from GST on ready-to-move properties etc. as well as a host of similar sops extended to developers & JV partners (land owners), including tax exemption, tax relaxation, according infrastructure status, among others.

One of the strongest drivers for real estate demand is interest rates – the lower the differential between rental yields and home loan rates, the higher the probability of people living in rented premises turning home buyers. In other words, when the EMI isn’t going to be too much higher than the rent you pay, it makes sense to own the asset rather than continue on lease. The home loan rates over last few years have fallen from 11-12 per cent to as low as 8 per cent and it continues to fall further based on the repo rate cut from RBI. Add to that government incentives and tax benefits, the adjusted rate falls to around 5 per cent compared to 2-3 per cent rental yield. The differential is close to being the lowest in a long time and is expected to induce demand.

However, the bigger problem hasn’t been the lack of demand; rather, it has been a case of over-supply. The previous cycle saw the influx of new entrants who expanded recklessly with customer advances. About 70-80 per cent of these developers are stuck in the slowdown and many may not be able to keep up with new operating ways under RERA. Many leveraged developers holding illiquid land banks and incomplete inventory are going bankrupt.

New launches have also slowed down sharply and are lower than units being sold, which is slowly but surely clearing the excesses built-up over the previous cycle and this shall pave the way for the next upcycle. Whether that happens in the next one year or two remains to be seen; however, the direction seems clear.

Am I implying the next boom in real estate asset class is around the corner? The answer is NO. I think despite the time correction of the last few years, the prices are still elevated, considering the rental yields. To my mind, this could be a rare cycle where stocks of real estate developers could do well, even though prices of underlying assets may not move much. This is because the 20 per cent surviving developers will cater to the entire market (including what’s vacated by the other 80 per cent) and grow volumes exponentially over the next 4-5 years.

Either ways, it is far simpler and convenient for investors to deploy capital in stocks of real estate developers rather than buying underlying property – one can deploy smaller amounts, spread it out, can diversify across developers and geographies, and still enjoy the liquidity without maintenance overheads, and transaction costs of brokerage and property registration.

Some key micro-markets have one or two-well managed listed players that fit the criteria of market leadership, long and credible track record of execution with on-time delivery and customer trust, a strong balance sheet and sensible capital allocation history. Some of these are trading close to their book value – implying that we are getting an entry with the same terms as the promoter did decades ago and deriving all the goodwill and potential growth for free.

Thanks to new accounting standards, developers have moved to project completion method, taking away all management/auditor discretion - the revenues and costs are now being accounted for only at the time of actual possession by the buyer.

Thanks to the underperformance of the last few years, listed real estate is an under-owned and under-researched sector with hardly any representation in frontline indices. When things indeed turnaround, they shall be scope for re-rating for those showing swift execution capabilities.

Aarey Colony metro car-shed: SC extends ban on felling trees

November 18, 2019 Ref -

The Supreme Court has extended its ban on felling of trees in the Aarey Colony area of Mumbai, for setting up of a metro rail car-shed, till the date of the next hearing in December 2019.

The Supreme Court, on November 15, 2019, extended the interim order by which it had stayed further cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, for setting up a metro car-shed. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said it will hear the matter at length in December, 2019. On October 21, 2109, the top court had clarified that there was no stay on the construction of the Mumbai Metro car-shed at Aarey Colony but the status quo order was only applicable on felling of trees there.

The SC had asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to submit a report on the number of trees cut, afforestation and transplantation being carried out, in lieu of felling of trees at Mumbai’s prominent green lung. Mumbai Metro had claimed that they had transplanted over 5,000 trees and assured the court that absolute status quo was being maintained, with regard to felling of trees in the area.

Demonetisation third anniversary: Cash demand soars 20.14% to Rs 21.6 trillion

November 11, 2019 Ref -

The currency in circulation has jumped a whopping 20.14%, to scale Rs 21.59 lakh crores, show the latest RBI data, released on the third anniversary of the government’s controversial demonetisation announcement.

Data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), released on November 8, 2019, showed that the currency with the public grew 15.2% to Rs 21.59 lakh crores, as of the fortnight to October 25, as against Rs 17.97 lakh crores on November 4, 2016. However, the growth of currency in circulation seems to be slowing down as it grew 21.1% in the last year, over the previous year. On November 8, 2016, the government and RBI pulled out Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes from the system in a surprise move. Apart from prodding the people to move to digital, which would have helped arrest the growth of black money, the demonetsation move was also aimed at curbing fake currency and restricting insurgency activities.

According to the RBI data, there has been a 5.2% addition to the cash economy with the public between April 1 and October 25, 2019, which is slower, compared to 6.6% growth a year ago.  After falling massively post-demonetisation by nearly Rs 10 lakh crores, the currency in circulation has recouped at a faster pace, and it took over 16 months for the levels to go back to the pre-demonetisation levels. Digital payments have grown manifold over time and the UPI volumes hit the 1 billion transactions-mark in a single month, in October 2019.

Nirmala Sitharaman's booster dose for real estate sector: Key takeaways

November 7, 2019 Ref -

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 6 announced another set of measures to boost the beleaguered real estate sector and infuse confidence among hassled homebuyers.

"The move will help relieve financial stress faced by a large number of homebuyers. This will also release a large number of funds stuck in these projects for productive use in the economy," Sitharaman said at a press meet.

Here are the key points from the press meet:

- SBI Cap will prioritise projects as per viability,

- Net worth key factor for disbursement

- SBI Cap will manage real estate AIF through an escrow account

- Projects can be NPAs/incomplete to be eligible, but not marked for liquidation by NCLT

- Projects must be net worth positive to avail funds, percentage of completion not a criteria

- RBI to soon issue clarificatory note on realty fund

Sitharaman signals next dose of reforms to target realty sector

November 6, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: The government’s next round of reforms is likely to be focused on real estate, with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying that the prevailing slowdown in the sector needs to be addressed soon.

The government is working closely with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to address issues faced by the sector, Sitharaman said at an event marking the silver jubilee celebration of the National Stock Exchange of India on Tuesday.

“Real estate sector requires a lot more attention because the sluggishness which prevails there has got to be addressed," she said. “The government is very keen and is working very clearly together with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to see how best we can make necessary tweaks to the existing blocks to help the people who are affected in this one sector which I have not really completely addressed till now."

The real estate industry has failed to recover from the twin shocks of the ban on high-value currency notes in November 2016 and the goods and services tax that was introduced in July the following year.

This has resulted in piling inventory, stagnant-to-falling property prices and dwindling funding for developers.

Real estate projects worth ₹1.8 trillion are stalled across India, according to Anarock Property Consultants.

The focus on real estate is part of the government’s broader plan to kick-start economic growth, which has slowed to a six-year low of 5% in the quarter ended 30 June.

“There are drastic measures that are needed now to infuse liquidity into the sector. If there is zero GST implemented for real estate projects at least for six months, it would make a marked difference. There is an urgent need for active lenders in real estate, with existing banks not lending enough," said Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder and managing director of Mumbai-based developer Hiranandani Group.

The finance minister said alternative funds have approached the government with proposals to invest in the sector as long as there is some support mechanism available for reviving the real estate sector.

Sluggish demand and the consequent liquidity crunch in the real estate sector have also affected non-bank lenders and banks through increasing slippages in their loan books. Several realty firms are struggling to repay loans.

According to a Fitch Ratings report in October, around $10 billion of development loans are coming up for repayment in the first half of 2020 and this may impact mainstream banks that have lent money to shadow lenders or invested in their bonds. Sitharaman said the government wants to ensure that the crisis in the real estate sector does not spill over to other industries.

Defaults by Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd and Altico Capital have aggravated the issue, making banks excessively cautious in extending loans to housing finance companies (HFCs) and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Private sector lenders, including Yes Bank Ltd and IndusInd Bank, have the largest direct exposure to the commercial real estate sector and would be susceptible to “asset-quality difficulties" if the sector continues to struggle, according to a mid-September Moody’s report.

A study jointly conducted by industry body Ficci, National Real Estate Development Council and consultant Knight Frank has stated that the outlook for the country’s real estate sector in the September quarter has fallen to the level that was recorded during the uncertain times before general elections in 2014.

The number of property developers reporting bankruptcy has doubled during the past nine months, which has added to the woes of NBFCs, according to a 14 October Reuters report.

As of 30 June, 421 developers are under the corporate insolvency resolution process, up from 209 as of September-end of last year, according to data from the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

Sitharaman said that India is still dependent on banks for debt functions. “Banks alone cannot serve that cause. And that is why I am very happy that even as I stepped into this ministry, there were enough efforts being made by the bureaucracy—and I credit them for it—for looking at deepening the debt market in India," she added.

In September, Sitharaman announced a ₹20,000 crore special funding boost for stalled projects that are in the affordable and mid-income category, those that are 60% complete and aren’t non-performing assets or in the National Company Law Tribunal.

Essentially, the government cherry-picked the safest options among stressed projects, said property analysts and experts. Also, that is yet to be implemented.

“The money needs to reach the hands of the developers. Demand is slowly coming back in residential, but projects are stuck because there is no liquidity. If the government could encourage banks to start lending again, that would be a huge boost," said Ramesh Nair, chief executive and country head of JLL India.

Chennai, Bengaluru see sharp drop in housing sales: Report

November 5, 2019 Ref -

New Delhi: Housing sales declined 9.5 per cent during July-September period across nine major cities to 52,855 units on low demand as economic slowdown and liquidity crisis weighed on buyer sentiment, a PropEquity report said. This is the fourth such report that has shown fall in housing sales during the third quarter of the 2019 calendar year.

As per the PropEquity data, housing sales fell in seven cities and increased only in two cities.

Chennai saw the maximum fall of 25 per cent in housing sales at 3,060 units during July-September 2019 as against 4,080 units in the year-ago period.

Housing sales dropped 22 per cent in Mumbai to 5,063 units from 6,491 units, followed by Hyderabad that saw 16 per cent decline to 4,257 units from 5,067 units.

Kolkata witnessed a 12 per cent fall in sales to 3,069 units from 3,487 units, while Noida saw 11 per cent decline to 990 units from 1,112 units.

Sales in Bengaluru, too, went down by 9 per cent to 9,843 units from 10,816 units. Thane saw 9 per cent dip in sales to 10,714 units from 11,773 units.

However, Gurugram witnessed 7 per cent rise in sales to 1,190 units from 1,112 flats and Pune saw one per cent increase to 14,669 units from 14,523 apartments during the period under review.

PropEquity, which is owned by P E Analytics, is an online subscription based real estate data and analytics platform covering over 1,15,225 projects of 32,745 developers across over 44 cities in India.

According to data analytics firm PropEquity, housing sales stood at 52,855 units during July-September 2019, down 9.5 per cent from 58,461 units in the year-ago period.

PropTiger and Anarock, which are a major brokerage firms in housing segment, have reported 25 per cent and 18 per cent fall in housing sales, respectively, during July-September period. Real estate consultant JLL India, which is a dominant player in leasing of commercial properties, saw one per cent decline.

"Demand has been definitely impacted in the last quarter with buyers delaying their decisions," Samir Jasuja, founder and managing director at PropEquity said.

"The downtrend observed was mainly due to the economic slow down as well as the liquidity crisis in the market," the report said.

PropEquity said that real estate market is currently an end user-driven market with customers preferring ready to move-in or nearing completion properties.

"Furthermore, consumers are now looking for developers with excellent track records in terms of quality and execution," it added.

New launches too fell 24 per cent to 32,834 units. Unsold housing stocks came down to 6,01,785 units from 6,21,806 units at the end of June quarter.

Construction ban: NCR builders fear momentum break, hope for permanent solution

November 4, 2019 Ref -

Real estate players in the National Capital Region said on Friday that the ban on construction till November 5, 2019, will have an adverse effect on their pace of work, resulting in delay in handing over flats to buyers.

Builders in Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad also hoped that a “permanent solution” be found to the annual practice of banning construction in Delhi-NCR during this time of the year and other steps be taken round-the-year to prevent such alarming levels of pollution.

“However, such disruptions are unfortunately not added to the committed possession dates for the homebuyers. Even if work is officially stopped for just 10 days, it may take another two weeks to fully remobilise the site.

There are at least 7-8 such episodes in the construction cycle of a typical project in NCR. Hope this is seen as a factor beyond the control of builders,” Bajaj, the managing director of Eldeco, told PTI.

Developers are already doing their bit towards environment and are employing means that can help contain the pollution, said Ashok Gupta, CMD of Ajnara India, which has projects in Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida.

“However, stopping work for 4-5 days is a bit too much and should be avoided at a time when we are working towards achieving the goal of delivering as much as possible,” he said.

Dhiraj Jain, the director of Mahagun Group, which has projects in Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida, said the EPCA’s step is an indication that the situation of pollution is bad.

“Every year we see this happening around November but this step is good only for a few days. … We hope a permanent solution comes up that does not hamper the pace of construction which is important to deliver houses to everyone,” Jain said.

Sagar Saxena, the project head for Spectrum Metro, described the decision as a “setback” to the overall pace of development.

“A sudden brake of a week does affect the construction. I strongly feel that there are other steps that should be taken round the year so that this yearly phenomenon of pollution should not happen,” he added.

Ghaziabad-based Vasu Infrastructure’s director Rakesh Aggarwal felt the EPCA’s decision to completely stay all construction activities in Delhi-NCR will adversely affect the management of labour and said it becomes difficult to keep workers unoccupied for four to five days at a go.

“Almost a week’s time without work will disperse the settled labour which in turn will affect the flow of work in the coming days even after the ban is lifted. This has a bearing on the overall efficiency and adversely affects the productivity of a project,” he said.

Ghaziabad-based Vasu Infrastructure’s director Rakesh Aggarwal felt the EPCA’s decision to completely stay all construction activities in Delhi-NCR will adversely affect the management of labour and said it becomes difficult to keep workers unoccupied for four to five days at a go.

“Almost a week’s time without work will disperse the settled labour which in turn will affect the flow of work in the coming days even after the ban is lifted. This has a bearing on the overall efficiency and adversely affects the productivity of a project,” he said.

Ghaziabad-based Vasu Infrastructure’s director Rakesh Aggarwal felt the EPCA’s decision to completely stay all construction activities in Delhi-NCR will adversely affect the management of labour and said it becomes difficult to keep workers unoccupied for four to five days at a go.

“Almost a week’s time without work will disperse the settled labour which in turn will affect the flow of work in the coming days even after the ban is lifted. This has a bearing on the overall efficiency and adversely affects the productivity of a project,” he said.

“Increase in the level of pollution is a matter of grave concern and everyone should pitch in to mitigate the effects but there should be some permanent solution to it rather than all such stop gap measures as it is a yearly problem and almost happens around the same time every year,” Aggarwal, also the vice president of Credai Ghaziabad, said.

A spokesperson for BPTP, which has projects in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida, said, “We will comply with the government order and stall all construction. Our focus has been on enhancing green cover at our sites.”
The EPCA, a Supreme Court-mandated panel, on Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activity till November 5.

It also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season and directed that all coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will remain shut in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat till the morning of November 5.

Mumbai Coastal Road project: SC to hear pleas against quashing of CRZ clearances

October 22, 2019 Ref -


With hearings in the Ayodhya case drawing to a close, the Supreme Court bench has agreed to hear pleas against the Bombay HC verdict that quashed the CRZ clearances for the Mumbai Coastal Road project.

Supreme Court has agreed to hear, on October 25, 2019, the appeals challenging the Bombay High Court verdict, which had quashed the CRZ clearances granted to the Mumbai civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project. A bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, was told by solicitor general Tushar Mehta on October 21, 2019 that the matter, which was last heard in July 2019, required an urgent hearing.

Mehta, appearing for Mumbai’s civic body, said as the court was busy with the Ayodhya matter, this case could not be taken up on August 20, 2019, as assured and it may now be listed for hearing. “We are still busy. We can transfer this to some other bench,” the court said. The solicitor general, however, insisted that as this bench was aware of the facts, so, the appeal may be heard by it only. “All right, we will see,” the bench said.

It had said earlier that it would hear, on August 20, 2019, the appeals in which had sought an interim stay on the high court’s verdict quashing the CRZ clearances the Mumbai’s coastal road project. The bench was hearing the appeals filed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Larsen and Toubro Ltd and HCC-HDC JV. The municipal corporation had submitted that CRZ clearance was granted on the undisputed land and the HC’s order be stayed. However, the apex court had said that it will hear the parties concerned first, on the pleas.

This Diwali, budget tips for revamping your home

October 18, 2019 Ref -

Considering that home owners cannot spend huge amounts to renovate the home for every festival, we look at some pocket-friendly tricks, to deck up the home for Diwali.

Diwali is a time, when one spruces up the home to make it look clean and fresh. For the festival of lights, it is important that the house looks bright and cheerful. “The first thing to do, is to thoroughly clean all the walls, fans and lights. All chandeliers and lamps should be cleaned, so as to emit more light and give a sparkling look to the home. Keep the rooms well-organised and clutter-free,” advises interior designer Meghna Mirchandani, of Dimensions, Delhi. Dry cleaning the sofas and curtains, can also give a fresh feel to the house and is an inexpensive option, compared to changing the upholstery, adds Mirchandani.

You can also use colourful throws, or lustrous silk and shimmery brocades, to decorate the house. “Change the cushion covers and add a few more, on the sofa. One can opt for raw silk fabrics in various colours to spruce up the home’s décor. The right size and mix of colours, can make the space inviting,” states Saheba Singh, director, This is it Designs Pvt Ltd, Delhi. The walls can be given a quick makeover, with some acrylic emulsion and block print patterns on the entire wall, adds Singh. “You can opt for a single colour or use multiple tones of two chosen colours. Embellish it with crystals, shimmer, or whatever else you might fancy,” suggests Singh.

Plea to link property with Aadhaar: HC seeks UIDAI’s response

October 16, 2019 Ref -

The Delhi HC has sought the response of the UIDAI, on a plea seeking linking of movable and immovable property documents of citizens with their Aadhaar number.

The Delhi High Court, on October 15, 2019, sought the response of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), on a plea seeking linking of movable and immovable property documents of citizens with their Aadhaar number, to curb corruption, black money generation and ‘benami’ transactions. A bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the UIDAI, which issues the 12-digit unique identification number called Aadhaar and sought its response in the matter before November 20, 2019, the next date of hearing. The court also asked the centre and the Delhi government to file their response, which they had not, despite the issuance of a notice to them on July 16, 2019.

The Authority was impleaded in the petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, after it moved the court seeking to be heard in the matter. Upadhyay, also a lawyer, in his plea has said it was the duty of the state to take appropriate steps, to curb corruption and seize ‘benami’ properties made by illegal means, to give a strong message that the government was determined to fight against corruption and black money generation.

84% of delayed residential projects in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai: Report

October 15, 2019 Ref -

Delays in residential real estate projects is not a pan-India phenomenon but limited to major metropolitan cities of Delhi NCR and Mumbai which account for 84 percent of the total project delays in the upper-mid and premium categories, says a new report.

In monetary terms, the delayed/stalled projects stand at a whopping Rs 4.62 lakh crore and Delhi NCR and Mumbai again account for nearly 90 percent of this value, says the report.

JLL Research’s data indicates that the total number of residential units classified as delayed or stalled in the top seven cites stands at 4.54 lakh. However, 84 per cent of these units are present in two major metro cities of Delhi NCR (62%) and Mumbai (22%). The percentage share of rest of the cities is in single digit.

The delay in project completion is concentrated in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai and is not a trend across all the top seven cities. In Delhi, around 3/4th of the residential units are delayed or stalled and one out of every three residential units in Mumbai falls in the same category.

The slowdown in completion of projects is not across the entire spectrum of housing categories but significantly visible in upper-mid and premium categories. What is needed is perhaps a push from the government and funding agencies along with a strict code of conduct among developers which will improve the situation, the report said.

The delay is not endemic across all categories of residential projects. Houses priced up to Rs 75 lakh are categorised as affordable and mid segment except for Mumbai where the threshold of affordable and mid segment in Mumbai is Rs 1 crore. The average price of delayed residential units stands at Rs 1.99 crore for Mumbai as compared to Rs 95 lakh in Bengaluru, Rs 94 lakh in Hyderabad and Rs 87 lakh in Chennai.

Although it is the affordable and mid segment categories which form a substantial proportion of the residential sector activity, they do not account for much of the delayed projects except in select cities like Kolkata and Pune, it said.

Residential projects launched on or before 2014 and still ‘under-construction’ have been referred to as delayed or stalled projects.

DLF clocks ₹700 crore of home bookings in its ready New Gurugram project

October 14, 2019 Ref -

BENGALURU : DLF Ltd, India’s largest real estate developer, said it has clocked bookings of 376 residential apartments for ₹700 crore in its project in New Gurugram, in line with its strategy to sell ready-to-move-in inventory to attract homebuyers.

The bookings were registered on the first day earlier this week, in the second phase of its premium Ultima project, which has a total of 504 apartments.

Nearly three years back, the real estate firm had said that it will construct and complete its residential projects before selling, given the tepid sentiment among homebuyers to risk buying into under-construction projects.

“...We are humbled and overwhelmed by the response to "The Ultima" and we thank our customers wholeheartedly. This immense response is a testimony of the brand value of DLF," said Aakash Ohri, Senior Executive Director, DLF Home Developers Ltd.

Ultima’s first phase was launched around 2013 with a total inventory of 400 units. The second phase comprises of ready-to-move in 3-4 bedroom apartments priced at ₹1.6 crore upwards.

Samir Jasuja, founder, PropEquity said, “The Ultima sale of ₹700 crore has brought good news for the entire real estate sector and indicates the fact that high quality ready to move in projects of leading developers at right prices will do exceedingly well."

DLF has set a sales target of ₹2700 crore for 2019-2020. The developer is currently on its way to make the residential business debt free.

In October, DLF said it has settled the entire ₹8,700 crore dues payable to DLF Cyber City Developers Limited (DCCDL), its joint venture with Singapore-based GIC, through transfer of certain commercial properties and land parcels in the group.

FM assures PMC depositors of necessary steps for better cooperative banks’ governance

October 11, 2019 Ref -

The government has announced that it will set up a panel, which will recommend changes in the laws, if necessary, to prevent scams like the one at PMC Bank.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who faced angry depositors of scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank on October 10, 2019, announced the setting up of a panel to recommend legislative changes, to ensure better governance at cooperative banks. If necessary, the government will amend the laws governing cooperative banks in the winter session of parliament, she said at a press conference.

Sitharaman said a committee of secretaries of Economic Affairs and Financial Services, Rural Affairs and Urban Development ministries and a deputy governor of the RBI would be formed. Through this committee, the government intends to ‘understand and take necessary legislative steps, to prevent such things from happening in the future and empower the regulator better’, she said. Concerns exist about cooperative banks often becoming fiefdoms of politicians or other influential persons, giving a go-by to banking regulations and leading to soaring bad loans and putting in peril depositors’ money. Irate depositors gathered outside the BJP’s office in south Mumbai ahead of Sitharaman’s press conference. “Sixteen lakh depositors are in distress. What is our fault? You have got Rs 4,000 crores assets. Sell it and start the bank and then, go ahead with whatever action you want against the accused,” said Harbans Singh, a bank customer.


Average apartment size shrinks by more than a fourth since 2014

September 23, 2019 Ref -

New Delhi: Real estate developers are not leaving any stone unturned to attract homebuyers. High ticket size of buying an apartment is one of the biggest reasons that restrict many homebuyers. But to make the offering look attractive, developers over the years have reduced the apartment sizes, which ultimately brought down the total purchasing price. According to an estimate by ANAROCK Property Consultants, “Recent data indicates that average apartment sizes in the top seven cities have shrunk by 27% over the last five years—from 1,400 sq.ft in 2014 to nearly 1,020 sq.ft in 2019 so far." The seven cities include—Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), National Capital Region (NCR), Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

With no surprise, the city with most expensive real estate market in India witnessed highest fall in average apartment sizes. According to ANAROCK’s estimate, “MMR already has the least average apartment size among all top cities and also recorded the highest drop of 45%—from 960 sq.ft in 2014 to 530 sq.ft in 2019. Pune followed with a 38% reduction in sizes during this period, with the average apartment size currently at 600 sq.ft.

Surprisingly, NCR, one of the worst-hit residential markets in recent years, has seen the least decline of merely 6% during this period. The current average size of apartments in NCR is nearly 1,390 sq. ft, pulling ahead of Bangalore where average flat sizes reduced to 1,300 sq. ft. in 2019.

Besides that, the main southern cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad have seen size reduction of 8%, 9% and 12% respectively over the last five years, while Kolkata saw sizes reduce by 9% during the same period, the Anarock findings indicate.

The reason behind reducing the apartment size can also be attributed to the incentives the government offers to developers and homebuyers. For instance, goods and service tax (GST) is charged at the rate of 1% in case of under-construction affordable houses whereas it is 5% in case of regular housing projects. Government also provides subsidies and additional tax deduction for homebuyers in the affordable segment.

In short, “buyers get reduced costs and added benefits, but lose out on space. Developers get to attract more buyers, but many have had to shed their cherished 'luxury' market categorization and stoop to conquer," said Anuj Puri, chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

Noida developer loses land lease over pending dues of Rs 157 crores

September 20, 2019 Ref -

The Noida Authority has cancelled the land lease given to Dwelling Star Developers, for a property in the Sports City of Sector 98, over pending dues of Rs 157 crores.

The land lease of a private developer in Noida was cancelled, on September 19, 2019, over non-payment of over Rs 157 crores dues towards the Noida Authority, officials said. The property in the Sports City of Sector 98 was allotted to the Dwelling Star Developers, which was issued multiple recovery notices and reminders over the non-payment, since November 2017, the officials said.

Noida Authority CEO Ritu Maheshwari had called for a review of major defaulters and entities, which have dues pending towards it and accordingly, initiate action against them, they said. “During the ongoing review, it was found that Dwelling Star Developers is among the major defaulters. It was allotted a property in Sports City H Block of Sector 98 in Noida but the developer’s dues have accumulated to Rs 157,07,60,007 over the years,” a Noida Authority official said.

“Multiple notices and reminders were issued in 2017 and 2019 after which it was decided today that the developer’s lease should be cancelled over the non-payment,” the official added. When asked, the Noida Authority did not share the details on the area of land that was allotted to Dwelling Star Developers.

All you need to know about last mile funding of Rs 10,000cr for the real estate sector

September 17, 2019 Ref -

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 14 announced a special window worth Rs 10,000 crore for last-mile funding to networth positive projects.

Other measures announced include relaxation of External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) guidelines for financing of homebuyers under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and reduction of interest charged on housing building advance via linkage to 10-year G-Sec yields.

The size of the stressed asset fund would be Rs 10,000 crore and would be contributed by the Centre. A similar sum would be contributed by outside investors: private capital from banks, sovereign funds and development finance institutions.

The creation of a Rs. 20,000-crore fund is for last-mile funding of affordable and mid-segment housing projects only. Most of these projects should have achieved around 60 percent completion, but lack cash flows for the balance amount.

The fund, which is proposed, to be created as a category-II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF), would support projects that are networth positive and have not been classified as an non-performing asset (NPA) or referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

This last mile funding is expected to provide relief to homebuyers stuck in nearly 3.5 lakh incomplete projects across India.

The fund would be professionally run by experts from housing and the banking sector. These specialists will need to identify affordable and middle-income projects that are in need of last-mile funding for completion.

What homebuyers should know

Rs 10,000 crore would at least ensure that healthy projects are not pushed into a bad debt like situation for want of working capital.

Projects that are stuck on account of last mile funding are likely to benefit, especially those that are facing liquidity issues after the NBFC crisis.

“Until last year, NBFCs contributed 60-65 percent funding to real estate developers. After the IL&FS crisis, this funding source reduced drastically. This last mile funding, as announced by the Finance Minister, would bridge the gap. However, this is not enough,” says Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research & REIS, JLL India.

Is the amount enough?

“While the initiative provides a structured method of infusing liquidity into stuck projects, and thereby seeks to address the key issues of project funding, completion and delivery, the adequacy of the fund, as well as the establishment of funding sources, are issues which are expected to pose certain challenges in implementation,” Mahi Agarwal, Assistant Vice President and Associate Head at ICRA, said.

As per government estimates, around 3.5 lakh dwelling units would be eligible for funding support under this scheme. Most constructed units have largely been in the 80-110 square metre range. Considering this as the typical unit size range and assuming an average construction cost of around Rs 1,700 per square foot and 60 percent completion, the amount required for funding the balance project construction cost may work out to around Rs 20,500-28,200 crore.

Depending on the actual size of the individual dwelling units, the fund size of around Rs. 20,000 crore may be sufficient to cover the construction cost for only some eligible houses.

“While the government is committed to providing Rs 10,000 crore, the balance is proposed to be funded by other investors. However, given the prevailing macro-economic weakness, both domestically and internationally, investor ability and appetite to contribute to the fund remains to be seen,” she said.

As per Prop Equity’s estimates, however, a fund of at least Rs 90,000 crore is required for completion of stressed projects. There are approximately 13.8 lakh units in the mid to affordable category that are approximately 60 percent complete and due for completion in the next two years.

The online data, risk management and analytics platform estimates that 7.4 lakh units are stressed and in need of aid. Of these, 4.4 lakh units of the 13.8 lakh units are already on hold due to lack of funds and have been delayed for more than five years. Most developers have been taken to NCLT or are NPAs with banks. Hence, these units do not qualify for this aid.

Additionally, 3 lakh more units will be in the stressed category of the balance 9.4 lakh units that are under construction and more than 60 percent complete and scheduled to be completed over the next two years.

Of these, approximately  7.4 lakh units, over 80 percent are in Tier 1 cities where the total cost of construction to construct a unit is around Rs 2,500 per sq ft. PropEquity estimates that last mile funding  of approximately 800 psf out of the Rs 2,500 per sq ft will be required to complete the unfinished projects. The weighted average size per unit is 1500 sq ft. Thus, approximately Rs 12 lakh per unit will be required to complete each unit.

Thus, a Rs 90,000 crore fund would be required to complete a total of 7.4 lakh stressed units, says PropEquity.

Unlikely to assist projects under litigation

It is unlikely to help resolve problems being faced by homebuyers stuck in projects like Jaypee or Amrapali. The government has concentrated on projects that are not subjudice. Projects, which are before courts, such as Jaypee, Unitech or Amrapali will be kept out of its ambit.

Avnish Sharma, partner at Khaitan & Co is of the view that given that there is a specific exclusion for non-NPA and non-NCLT projects, it would appear that intent is only to exclude non-NPA and non-NCLT real estate projects and not matters that are otherwise in RERA or for that matter in NCDRC. However, one will have to see the fine print on the detailing of this provision.

The announcement is a “half-hearted attempt by the government to revive the real estate sector that is now showing long-term recessionary trend. Even the government’s fund of 10,000 crore for affordable middle income housing projects (non-NPA and non-NCLT) will have a limited impact since majority of the stalled projects are due to lack of liquidity and thus will be NPAs,” said Satish Magar, President, CREDAI.

Fund only for affordable and mid-segment housing projects: To this effect homebuyers within the luxury segment may have to wait even further.

No clarity yet on the price or definition of mid-segment homes that will be included in this. But one thing is clear – the government is looking to address concerns of ‘middle-income’ homes and is looking beyond affordable homes or units below Rs 45 lakh.

Issues that remain unanswered include the process by which the committee comprising housing and banking experts will select the projects. The sector is awaiting clarity on the fine print of rules to avail of the credit scheme. Clarity on return on investment for the private sector is also awaited.

Steps to be taken going forward

Overall, experts see it is a welcome measure from the supply side. For consumption to rise, buyers have to have the confidence to invest in the property market. Experts feel these steps would result in some improvement in sales this festive season.

During the limitation period, legal heirs can object to asset transfer

September 13, 2019 Ref -

Person A, wife of B, gave an irrevocable general power of attorney to C on 30 April 1982. C sold the property to D on 6 October 2001 through a valid sale deed. D, in turn, sold the property to X on 7 May 2007 through a valid sale deed. I am planning to purchase this property from X. My lawyer has asked me to execute the release deed confirming the sale deed executed by C in favour of D in 2001 because all the legal heirs of B (the original owner) have a right in the property (A and B had seven children who didn’t sign the sale deed in 2001). Is it necessary to execute the release deed? Can the legal heirs of B file objection?

—Ashwil Ahammed

We assume that there is no fraud involved in any of the previous transactions between the parties in respect of the transfer of the property. If a transaction is originally founded on fraud, then not only the person who has committed the fraud but even an innocent person cannot claim or derive any benefit under it except for monetary claims, if he is a bonafide purchaser for valuable consideration.

We have also assumed that the husband (B) was a Hindu and died intestate. So, Hindu Succession Act will apply, where the wife (A) along with the seven children will have equal undivided share in the property of the deceased.

Further, the lawyer has asked the querist for ratification. In order to be effective, ratification will have to fulfil certain conditions which includes that the person ratifying should have the absolute knowledge of the facts and the ratification must take place at a time, when and under the circumstances where the ratifying party might himself have lawfully done the act which he ratifies.In the present case, in view of the mentioned conditions, you cannot ratify or confirm the sale deed executed by C in 2001.

Note that the legal heirs have every right to object to the transfer and make the sale invalid, provided the same is filed under the limitation period, i.e. within three years from the date the legal heirs of B becoming aware of the same. In the event that they (or any one of them) were minors at the time of execution of the sale deed, the limitation period will be calculated from the day they attain the age of majority or 18 years. Those children who had attained majority will be deemed to have waived their right to object.

Mumbai ranked fifth in Asia Pacific Co-living Index; New Delhi at 11

September 9, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai occupies the fifth position in the Asia Pacific Co-living Index by Knight Frank while New Delhi is ranked 11th and Bengaluru 19th.

Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong occupy the top four slots.

The report titled 'Insights on Co-living – An Asia-Pacific Perspective' covers 20 major Asia-Pacific cities classified into six key attributes likely to contribute in fostering the growth of co-living within each Asia-Pacific city: Tech & Financial Hub, Venture Capital Deals & Growth, Housing Affordability, University Population, General Population & Human Development Index, and Quality of Life.

With a weighted average score of 65.94 across six basic parameters, Mumbai has emerged as the top potential market for co-living in India due to higher prices, rapid and continuous gentrification as well as its unchallenged position as India's top economic centre, offering vast opportunities for growth of the co-living sector, the report said.

As compared to 2010-2012, the venture capital deal flow in Mumbai spiked by 288 percent in the period between 2015-17. The rise in deal flow is a key indicator of the quality of job opportunities which are being created in the financial hub and a ready demographic pool which the co-living operators can cater to, given the omnipresent shortage of quality rental housing dwellings near employment hubs, the report said.

Despite a relatively higher housing affordability than Mumbai, the general population and human development index in New Delhi is much higher than that of Mumbai, making it an apt choice for co-living operators to expand in as this is a key demand driver. Being the national capital of India, New Delhi attracts both the internal and external migration of capital and people, which bodes well for co-living sector's expansion going forward.

Being a prime technological hub, Bengaluru not only has access to talent but also a conducive and self-sustaining business environment and a vibrant start-up ecosystem supporting the gig economy due to which the city features at 19th position on the said index where the co-living sector can thrive.

Co-living operators in India, having recognized Bengaluru’s relevance to attract digital nomads early on, are continually augmenting capacities in their co-living communities and are also expanding in suburban and peripheral locations to cater to the burgeoning demand from this growing talent pool, the report said.

"In India, the co-living concept is gaining widespread acceptance and has brought to the forefront some new models in the private rental sector. With a vast globalised workforce and lack of affordable housing, co-living has become an ideal choice to many millennials.

"The growing interest for co-living spaces in cities has been instrumental in many investors sitting up and taking notice of this emerging sector to diversify their portfolio and risk. Further, the proposed Model Tenancy Act will provide the right legal framework for the growth of co-Living in Indian cities, which already has a strong demand base," said Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India.

Co-living, the new mantra within the ambit of alternative asset classes, is a form of housing which combines private living spaces with shared communal facilities. The idea of co-living is to create a community-centred environment that not only provides privacy in living arrangements but also promotes social contact through community events.

As an asset class, co-living seeks to build a community centred around 'real socialising' in a world where social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are the virtual alternatives for socialising for millennials.

The biggest driving force behind the rising popularity of co-living spaces are the young renters moving to new cities for job prospects who are looking to meet and connect with new people. In India, the co-living concept is gaining widespread acceptance and has brought to the fore some new models in the private rental sector. Though the concept is novel, it is here to stay, as India’s millennial population currently accounts for 440 million.

RBI rate cuts not enough to re-fire damp India housing market: Reuters poll

August 28, 2019 Ref -

Bengaluru: India's liquidity-starved economy will restrain housing market activity and price rises in coming months and into 2020, according to a Reuters poll of property market experts who were skeptical aggressive interest rate cuts will revive it.

House prices are expected to rise just 1% on average this year and 2% in 2020, the lowest median predictions since polling began for the two years, and well below the current 3.15% rate of consumer price inflation.

A majority of respondents in the August 13-27 survey said risks to those already-modest predictions were skewed more to the downside.

That comes despite the Reserve Bank of India having slashed its repo rate by 110 basis points so far this year, to 5.40%. It is also expected to cut it further to 5.15% over the coming months to revive a slowing economy.

However, much of that easing has not reached borrowers as banking and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) are still grappling with very large bad loans on their balance sheets, which has led to a liquidity crunch.

The government's own assessment is that the lack of available credit is the worst in over 70 years.

"It is my expectation that we will continue to see more defaults over the next few years as developers are still facing liquidity issues due to slow sales and lack of refinancing options," said Siddhart Goel, principal consultant and founder at ARAIS Consulting.

"Even the recent rate cuts will not have a positive impact on the situation as easing by the Reserve Bank of India (is) seldom passed on by the banks to the loan seekers and never in the same quantum."

Indeed, nearly three-fourths of 18 analysts who answered an additional question said the RBI's interest rate cuts this year would have no impact on the housing market. Five said it would be stimulative and none said very stimulative.

All 18 analysts who answered a separate question unanimously said the impact of the liquidity crunch would last for at least another six months and would either be severe or very severe.

A continued deceleration in housing activity will have serious repercussions for the overall economy as the real estate market provides jobs to large swathes of people migrating from rural areas to cities looking for employment.

"The problem of low job creation looms large in India, even though the economic growth rate is predicted to be the highest," said Anuj Puri, chairman at ANAROCK property consultants.

"A stagnant formal job market has a direct impact on the sentiment of homebuyers who have to make large investments in buying a residential property. The situation will eventually improve, but not overnight."

While the Indian government has taken steps to provide stimulus to the slowing economy, analysts say those measures are too little to prop up demand significantly in the housing market, at least for now.

"Though the government has announced to help NBFCs up to first loss of 10%, it is limited to sound NBFCs and is a limited period move to help the sector sail through the crisis," said Aashish Agarwal, head of consulting services at Colliers International.

"The RBI's rate cuts are expected to lend some relief to housing market activity, but it is not expected to help usher in 'achche din' ('good days are here') for home buyers very soon, given the existing liquidity crunch in the sector."

High prices are not helping in clearing up inventories in most major cities, either.

A majority of analysts have rated both the Delhi and Mumbai markets as over-valued or extremely over-valued and predict property prices there either to drop or stay flat over the next few years.

Cities in the south of India - Bengaluru and Chennai - have been termed fairly valued and the consensus showed property prices there are expected to outperform other cities by rising between 0.25% and 3.5% over the next three years.

"End-user demand markets like Bengaluru and Chennai along with their lower floor prices are likely to see better growth with demand continuing to remain healthy backed by job creation," said Rohan Sharma, head of research at Cushman Wakefield.

"Mumbai and Delhi, with high inventory levels and delivery pressure due to lack of funding, could see muted growth."

Only 23 housing projects launched during April-June quarter under subvention scheme: Report

August 19, 2019 Ref -

Only 23 housing projects comprising 7,620 units were launched during April-June quarter under the subvention scheme, which has been banned recently by the National Housing Bank (NHB), according to property consultant Anarock.

Worried over frauds by builders, last month, the NHB asked housing finance companies (HFCs) to "desist" from offering loans under subvention scheme wherein real estate developers pay interest on behalf of home buyers for a certain period of time.

Generally, builders bear the interest till possession of flats so that homebuyers do not have to pay rent and their monthly installments together.

After the NHB directive, industry body CREDAI demanded a rollback of this decision as it would affect housing demand as well as liquidity of developers.

"The ban on subvention schemes will doubtlessly contribute to the sector's overall liquidity issues as players can no longer use them to attract customers. However, only a limited number of developers were affected by this move," Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said in a report.

The NHB's directive was not as crippling as was initially assumed, the consulting firm said.

As per the research report, out of the total 280 projects launched in the April-June quarter of 2019, only about 23 projects (or 8 per cent) were marketed under subvention schemes.

These 23 projects comprised of 7,620 units – about 11 per cent of the total 69,000 units launched in the quarter.

"Our data also reveals that among the affected projects, those by larger players, strongly backed by financial lenders while offering such schemes, outnumbered projects by smaller developers," Puri said.

In city-wise analysis, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has the maximum number of projects affected by the subvention scheme ban, with as many as 17 projects comprising 5,310 new units being launched under this plan.

Bengaluru came a distant second with just four new housing projects being marketed with subvention schemes.

Interestingly, both NCR and Pune had only one project each being sold under such schemes.

Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad had no new project launches offering subvention schemes.

"With subvention schemes off the table, developers will have to get creative with differentiated unique selling points to market their projects and boost sales. There seems to be no relief from the protracted pain the market has been experiencing in recent years," Anarock said.

Weaving an eco-friendly future with paper yarn: Neerja Palisetty of Sutraakar Creations

August 16, 2019 Ref -

Neerja Palisetty of Sutraakar creations spins waste and recycled paper into yarn, from which she creates eco-friendly home and fashion accessories.

Jaipur-based Neerja Palisetty is a master weaver with a difference. She believes that contemporary design can be ethical and sustainable and so, makes products by recycling waste paper in an innovative way. Palisetty, the founder and owner of Sutraakar Creations, weaves waste paper into yarn to make attractive utility and décor products. She uses old discarded newspapers and focuses on eco-textile creations made from paper and natural materials. “Paper is considered as delicate but once woven, it is a strong and versatile material, which has vast scope. I did a lot of research, before I started weaving paper,” says Palisetty, who is a a graduate in clothing and textiles (home science) from MSU Baroda and has a post-graduate certificate in higher education from Nottingham Trent University, in the UK.

Allianz Real Estate to invest $150 million in office platform managed by Godrej

August 13, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: Allianz Real Estate, part of Munich-based Allianz SE, said on Tuesday it has committed $150 million to an office development platform managed by Godrej Group as part its expansion plan in India.

The investment is part of Allianz's strategy to allocate 50-60% to its real estate exposure within the Asia Pacific to fast growing markets such as China and India, the company said in a statement.

Under the platform Godrej BTC, the Mumbai-based real estate firm would be developing two office projects spanning around 2 million sqft and apart from a current pipeline of 1.3 million sqft in Benguluru. While the platform is managed by Godrej Fund Management, Allianz, Godrej and a European pension manager each own a third of of it.

"We continue to believe in the long-term growth prospects of the Indian economy. Strong demographic trends and improving transparency are supporting real estate occupier as well as investor demand, in particular the office sector, which is ideal for long-term institutional investors such as Allianz," said Rushabh Desai, Asia-Pacific CEO of Allianz Real Estate in the statement.

In 2017, Allianz made its first investment in India through an office investment platform with Shapoorji Pallonji, followed by a logistics development venture with ESR in 2018.

“We are excited about this new partnership. Godrej is one of the most trusted brands in India with a successful track record in office. We are confident that the platform will deliver upon completion a premium office product that is increasingly sought after by multinational tenants operating in India," said Karan Bolaria, Managing Director and CEO, Godrej Fund Management.

Check these Vastu Shastra norms, before moving into a rental home

August 10, 2019 Ref -

While it may be relatively easy for home owners to modify their homes or apply corrections to address Vastu Shastra defects, tenants may not have the same flexibility. In view of this, we look at some of the Vastu factors that tenants should look for before renting a property.

Vastu Shastra compliance, is nowadays an important factor that influences the decision of home buyers and tenants, alike. “One of the main difficulties of living in a rented flat or apartment, is that you cannot make a lot of changes in the flat, without taking the prior approval of the owner. If a house is made by keeping Vastu principles in mind, then, the people living in such flats will not face any difficulties,” says Ateet Vengurlekar, principal architect and interior designer of Blue Arch.

As people living in rented homes cannot undertake any civil work, if so required by Vastu, this may often force tenants to vacate such homes frequently, in order to avoid Vastu faults.

10 important Vastu points for tenants looking for a rented home

Vikash Sethi, CEO and founder, explains: “While opting for a rental home, we suggest a few points that should be kept in mind:

  1. Vastu in the rented house, works for the space that has been occupied by the tenant.
  2. The direction of the house or the ‘facing’ of the house, is the direction you face, while coming out of the house.
  3. The direction of the main entrance is the most important aspect, while taking a rental home. The best entry is north-east, followed by north-west, east, north and west.
  4. Avoid homes with south, south-east and south-west entries.
  5. The kitchen should be in the south-east or north-west.
  6. The master bedroom should be in the south-west.
  7. There should be no kitchen, toilets or shoe racks in the north-east.
  8. The shape of the house should be square or rectangular and there should not be any cut or extension in any direction.
  9. Avoid homes having a balcony in the south-west direction.
  10. If it is a duplex home, then, avoid staircases in the north-east direction.”

Supreme Court upholds flat buyers’ rights in builder bankruptcies

August 9, 2019 Ref -

The Supreme Court today upheld the ability of homebuyers to drag property developers into bankruptcy proceedings as several real estate firms are going bust in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Once a homebuyer establishes default before a bankruptcy court, the onus is on the builders to prove that the consumer does not wish to take possession of their house to avoid proceedings, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman said on Friday. The court ruled homebuyers’ rights will remain at par with lenders.

The verdict paves the way for resumption of several insolvency cases that had been put on hold pending a decision, and could potentially free up billions of rupees locked up in stalled projects. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had amended the bankruptcy law last year to protect homebuyers rights in bankruptcy proceedings.

Homebuyers have the option to avail legal remedies before consumer court, real estate regulatory authorities, as well as bankruptcy courts, said Justice Rohinton F. Nariman. In case of conflicts with other laws, provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will prevail.

Troubled Sectors

The verdict came on petitions by 181 builders including the Trump Organization’s partner in India, Ireo Pvt Ltd., and some of the country’s once-biggest builders such a Parsvnath Developers Ltd, Ansal Housing Ltd, and Supertech Ltd.

A series of economic shocks in the past three years, from the unexpected withdrawal of high-value rupee notes in 2016 to the sales tax introduced the following year, have dented property-market sentiment and caused funding for developers to dry up. That has left hundreds of thousands of homebuyers in the lurch as their life savings were locked away in half-completed apartments.

Rejection of builders’ petitions by the court also denies banks more independence in resolving stressed assets. Several companies, such as Jaypee Infratech Ltd., failed to reach a resolution as banks and homebuyers differed on the best acquirer for the bankrupt developer.

Property builders hope the current rate cut would translate into lower EMIs on housing loans and will aid the sluggish property market.

August 7, 2019 Ref -

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on August 7, 2019, cut the key interest rate for the fourth consecutive time, as it reduced the repo rate by 35 basis points (0.35%) to 5.40%, to boost the slowing economy. The six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) also maintained the accommodative stance on the monetary policy. In the earlier three policies, it reduced the repo rate by 25 basis points, each time.

The fourth consecutive rate cut, is expected to lower equated monthly instalments (EMIs) for home and auto buyers and borrowing costs for corporates. The 35 basis points (bps) cut in repo is unusual, as the RBI has been changing the interest rate by 25 or 50 bps, in the past. When asked why the RBI opted for a 35-basis point rate cut, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said it is not unprecedented and added that a 25-basis point reduction was inadequate, while 50 bps was excessive. So, the MPC took a balanced callm he said.

Noting that inflation was currently projected to remain within the target, over a 12-month horizon, the MPC said since the last (June 2019) policy, domestic economic activity continued to be weak, with the global slowdown and escalating trade tensions posed downside risks. It said that even as the past rate cuts were being gradually transmitted to the real economy, the benign inflation outlook provided headroom for policy action, to close the negative output gap.

The RBI also revised real GDP growth for 2019-20 downwards, to 6.9% from 7% in the June policy. CPI inflation is projected at 3.1% for the second quarter of FY20 and 3.5%-3.7% for second half of FY20, with risks evenly balanced, it said.

Article 35A scrapped: Can outsiders now invest in J&K real estate?

August 6, 2019 Ref -

The Narendra Modi government on Monday scrapped Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution which gave “special status" to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). After the announcement, the state has now been bifurcated into two union territories. Now that Article 35A has been revoked (a law that debarred non-residents from buying properties), will it open doors for non-Kashmiris and outsiders to invest in immovable property within the union territory?

Article 35A gave J&K government the right to decide who qualifies as a permanent resident of the state and only these individuals were allowed to acquire or own land, settle and seek government jobs in J&K region. This means non-Kashmiris and the rest of the country did not have the right to invest or buy immovable property or even settle down in the state. However, revoking Article 35A would most likely open gates for real estate investments in J&K from across the country. “It is too early to predict the real impact of abolishing Article 35A on Kashmir’s real estate market. It is a highly sensitive region and it will take a long time for all the ambiguities to clear up. The fact that the region has been an area of contention for decades will keep any parties interested in investing there in wait-and-watch mode. Much depends on how the political scenario there unfolds," said the chairman of a leading property consultancy firm who did not want to be named.

Experts said that the real estate activity has been very limited in the J&K region since the state has always been in a vulnerable situation due to conflicts between India and Pakistan. Until now, non-residents were not allowed to purchase property and hence, investors never gave it a second thought. “Even with the scrapping of Article 370, this region will remain politically contentious for quite a while, and this fact will keep any investment sentiment in abeyance until much more clarity and certainty emerges," said the chairman quoted above.

Shubhranshu Pani, managing director-retail services at JLL India said, “We have shopping centres in Jammu and what we’ve seen is, as soon as there is a spark of any violence or disturbance, it is the shopping centres that are shut first. After this move (revoking Article 35A), Jammu will hopefully get a fresher life but I am not very sure about Kashmir."

Pani said that there are enough people in the state who’ve been very cautious about investing in real estate because the militancy and the political scenario are not very favourable. “Before the outsiders, I think it will be the residents of the state who would like to take the advantage first and will perhaps not be afraid of investing anymore," said Pani.

Experts we spoke to also said that it would take some time for investors to gain confidence in J&K. For now, only those people who are okay with taking risk and see potential in the region will take the plunge. “I think it will start off with developers typing up with established local players to build the ecosystem. This is how most cities and states grow. I see it as a great opportunity for localites first," said Pani.

Parliament approves amendments to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

August 2, 2019 Ref -

In a bid to bring greater clarity on various provisions, including distribution of auctioned proceeds of defaulting companies, the Parliament has passed amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

The Indian Parliament, on August 1, 2019, approved changes in the three-year old Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), with the Lok Sabha passing the Bill by a voice vote. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 29, 2019. Piloted by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill 2019, gives the committee of creditors of a loan defaulting company explicit authority, over the distribution of proceeds in the resolution process and fixes a firm timeline of 330 days, for resolving cases referred to the IBC. The amendments, she added, would also bring in more clarity on various provisions, including time-bound disposal at the application stage for resolution plan and treatment of financial creditors.

As many as seven sections of the Code are being amended. Once the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) begins, it has to be completed in 330 days, including litigation stages and judicial process, the minister said, citing the proposed amendments. Among others, the approved resolution plan would be binding on central and state governments, as well as various statutory authorities. She stressed that the intent of IBC amendments is not to liquidate a stressed company but find ways to make it a going concern.

Sitharaman said the proposed amendments also responds to issues pertaining to financial creditors, in the wake of a recent ruling with respect to financial and operational creditors. Recently, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had ruled in the Essar Steel Ltd’s case that the Committee of Creditors (CoC) had no role, in distribution of claims and brought lenders (financial creditors) and vendors (operational creditors) on par.

Referring to the issue of home buyers raised by some opposition members, the minister said the provisions of the bill strengthen the hands of home buyers and the government would endeavour to do full justice to them. The government, she added, was also looking at ways to resolve the issue concerning buyers of flat from JP Group companies. Earlier, participating in the debate, Gaurav Gogoi (Congress) said the performance of the IBC had been a mixed bag. Gogoi also raised concern about liquidation of companies, especially the ones in the real estate sector that also puts home buyers’ life savings at risk.

How to keep home prices low — India can take a lesson from this Chinese city

August 1, 2019 Ref -

Dalian, one of the most developed cities in China’s north, is going to unprecedented lengths to keep a lid on home prices.

According to an official news agency report Wednesday that quoted a local-government statement, all home builders in the city must now seek sales approval by inputting an apartment’s proposed price into a centralized computer system. Prices must be lower than the bottom price for similar dwellings sold in May and June, and any higher prices won’t be be entertained.

There’s also a limit on what’s too low — selling an apartment for more than 5% cheaper is prohibited as well. Dalian’s government will even bring in a third-party appraisal firm to help developers do their math, and those that don’t follow the system will be banned from the city.

Residential home prices in Dalian have gained 6.1% this year, official data show.

It’s yet another example of the sometimes extreme lengths authorities in China will go to to control the nation’s real-estate sector. Other restrictions have included banning anyone not born in a particular city from purchasing property there, or barring anyone who’s single or even just getting a divorce.

The measures come as China’s top leadership vowed Tuesday that property loosening will never feature in any economy-rescue package, reiterating a stance that housing is for “habitation, not for speculation."

Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project gets infrastructure status

July 31, 2019 Ref -

The Maharashtra government, on July 30, 2019, accorded ‘infrastructure status’ to the Mumbai-Pune ultra-fast Hyperloop transport project that seeks to reduce the travel time between the two cities to just 23 minutes. The state cabinet approved a proposal to give infrastructure status to the project, at a meeting in Mumbai. The cabinet also approved the formation of a consortium of DP World FZE and Hyperloop Technologies, as proponents of the original project, according to a statement from the chief minister’s office.

Hyperloop is an ultra-modern, superfast transport project, which is being implemented to link Mumbai and Pune, which are located around 200 kms apart. It will run from BKC in Mumbai to Wakad in Pune, covering a distance of 117.5 kms. The Hyperloop train will run at a speed of 496 kms per hour and cover the distance between the two cities in just 23 minutes, the statement said. At present, the travel time taken by trains between the two cities is three-and-a-half to four hours.

The FDI in the entire project, which will take seven years for completion, is to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores, the statement said. In the first phase, the project will be run on a pilot basis for 11.8 kms in the Pune Metropolitan region, at a cost of Rs 5,000 crores, it added.

CAIT demands action against M S Dhoni for endorsing realtor Amrapali

July 26, 2019 Ref -

Traders' body CAIT on July 25 wrote to Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan seeking action against cricketer M S Dhoni for his endorsement and advertisements promoting realtor Amrapali Group, whose registration has been cancelled by the Supreme Court.

Court-appointed forensic auditors have told the Supreme Court that Amrapali Group had entered into "sham agreements" with Rhiti Sports Management Pvt Ltd (RSMPL), which promotes brand of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to "illegally divert" home buyers money.

The forensic audit report accepted by the top court on Tuesday said that Amrapali Sapphire Developers Pvt Ltd had paid Rs 6.52 crore, out of the total amount of Rs 42.22 crore, to RSMPL during 2009-2015.

In a release, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that in a communication sent to Paswan it has demanded action against former Indian cricket team captain Dhoni for his endorsement and advertisements promoting Amrapali Group which has been found guilty by the Supreme Court in a decision made a day before.

The CAIT has said that endorsements by Dhoni have "greatly influenced" people to buy flats in Amrapali projects and since the builder is found guilty an accountability also falls on Dhoni.

Asking for a stern action against Dhoni, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal also urged Paswan to ensure passage of the Consumer Protection Bill in the current session of Parliament so that people could be saved from misleading and deceptive endorsements and advertisements by celebrities without verifying the facts whether the goods or services they are endorsing are worth of it or not.

On Tuesday, cracking its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers, the top court cancelled registration of Amrapali under the real estate law RERA, and ousted it from its prime properties in NCR by nixing the land leases.

The SC, which directed a probe by the ED into alleged money laundering by realtors, provided relief to over 42,000 home buyers of Amrapali Group with the verdict. It directed the state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation to complete stalled projects of the realtor, whose directors Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar are behind the bars on top court's order.

Zara founder holds real estate assets worth nearly 10 billion euros

July 25, 2019 Ref -

Amancio Ortega, Europe's richest man and founder of retailer Inditex, had commercial property assets worth nearly 10 billion euros ($11 billion) at the end of 2018, up 11.5% from the previous year according to his investment firm on Wednesday.

Using the huge dividend payouts from Inditex, octogenarian Ortega has made largely debt-free purchases of buildings ranging from prime shopping real estate in London and New York to office buildings in central Madrid.

Most of Ortega's commercial holdings have been consolidated into a company called Pontegadea Inversiones which owns a 50.01 percent stake in Inditex alongside billions of euros in real estate investments.

Pontegadea's annual results showed real estate assets of 9.767 billion euros at the end of 2018.

Earlier this year, Pontegadea completed the purchase of two Seattle office blocks, currently leased to Amazon, in the Spanish fund's biggest ever deal in the United States.

Pontegadea carried out real estate investments to the tune of 416 million euros during 2018 in addition to the purchase of 9.99 percent of Spanish telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius for 378 million euros, Pontegadea said.

Stripping out the Inditex shareholding, Pontegadea's revenues, mostly related to real estate activity, increased 5.2 percent on year in 2018 to 405 million euros.

Inditex announced a 17 percent dividend increase in March.

North Mumbai: A growing hub for affordable housing

July 24, 2019 Ref -

We look at how infrastructure developments are paving the way for new affordable and luxury real estate developments in north Mumbai.

North Mumbai has seen rapid development in recent years. Infrastructure has played a crucial role, in driving the growth of the real estate sector. The required push from the state government, towards infrastructure development, has resulted in making north Mumbai a hotspot for real estate activities. Enhanced connectivity to different parts of Mumbai, is one of the prime reasons that has led to increased housing demand in locations such as Kandivali, Kurla, Tilak Nagar, Virar and Dahisar in north Mumbai. According to JLL, north Mumbai has about 15 million sq ft of Grade A office space and more companies are choosing to move to this area, which will further strengthen demand in this region. Moreover, planned infrastructure developments, like the Coastal Road connecting Kandivali to Nariman Point, will also boost connectivity to Mumbai, to a great extent and ease traffic, especially on the Western Express Highway.

Improving connectivity and its impact on real estate in north Mumbai

Furthermore, infra projects to improve the connectivity between the eastern and western suburbs, such as the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, elevated roads, Dahisar to DN Nagar and Dahisar east to Andheri metro, Mulund-Goregaon Link Road and Colaba-Seepz connectivity, will strengthen the demand for housing in north Mumbai, owing to its location and land price.

It is a proven fact that improvement in transportation infrastructure, has a positive impact on real estate. There is immense optimism in Mumbai’s northern micro-markets that the development of the metro rail, will bring about a transformation and boost the real estate sector. Real estate developers are showing greater interest in projects near the metro routes. Owing to the space crunch in south Mumbai and unavailability of smaller ticket size apartments with sufficient space, home buyers now prefer homes towards north Mumbai.

This region is witnessing an emergence of affordable homes. We may also witness greater interest towards the peripheral micro-markets of the city, from home buyers in the near future.

Regions that are likely to emerge as hotspots for real estate

The proposed sea link between Versova and Virar, implementation of the Metro Line 2 and Mumbai Coastal Road, are making Kandivali an attractive destination for home buyers. It has undergone enormous transformation and development in the last two decades. Being well-connected to Mumbai and with commercial projects coming up, the area assures good returns in the long term. Additionally, Kurla has become a very suitable neighbourhood, for businesses. Considering the ease of living and growing job opportunities, there has been a growing demand for housing in the area. Also, Tilak Nagar and Chembur are witnessing immense growth in demand for housing, owing to improved connectivity to the business hubs through the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) and the Eastern Freeway. The demand is coming from working professionals, who are looking for residential investments.

Bengaluru’s office developers now want a pan-India portfolio

July 22, 2019 Ref -

At a time when most residential firms are shrinking their markets of operations, top office developers in Bengaluru, mostly backed by large global investors, are doing just the opposite. They are pulling out all the stops to build a multi-city portfolio of projects.

These developers, which are well-funded and have a strong multinational client or tenant base, are eyeing new places such as Mumbai, National Capital Region (NCR) and Pune - outside their core markets in southern India.

The Embassy Group, backed by Blackstone Group LP, is set to buy around 39 percent stake of promoters in Mumbai’s Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd (IBREL) for Rs 2,700 crore. One of the largest deals of 2019, it gives Embassy control of IBREL’s assets in Mumbai and NCR and an entry into these markets where it also plans to acquire more assets.

Similarly, Embassy Office Parks - a partnership between Embassy and Blackstone - launched India’s first real estate investment trust (REIT), housing 33 million sq ft of office and hospitality assets. The REIT issue was launched in March and raised Rs 4,750 crore.

“Leading corporate occupiers are often present in multiple cities across India. The top tier developers/owners have been responding to this customer-driven demand and planning a pan-India presence,” said Mike Holland, CEO of Embassy Office Parks REIT. “The real estate market has also been maturing, resulting in fewer, larger developers, many of whom have access to international investment capital. Such global investors will always have an eye on any perceived concentration risk, preferring diversity, and prefer to see large-scale investment potential in order to justify investment returns.” Embassy REIT has the capability to acquire new office assets worth $1.5-2 billion without diluting more equity.

Prestige Group, present in many southern cities, is set to launch its first residential project in Mumbai. But it plans to predominantly build an office portfolio in both Mumbai and NCR. “There is good demand for office space in these markets and the number of developers is limited. We are in discussions to sign up projects in Gurgaon and Mumbai,” said CEO Venkat K. Narayana. “The plan is to enter one location and do multiple projects, and be a developer who can cater to local needs.”

Many of these developers don’t plan to buy expensive land. Instead, they are exploring the joint development route by tying up with landowners and developers that are seeking partners.

Juggy Marwaha, executive managing director at property advisory JLL India, said Bengaluru-based developers have proved their execution capability over the years and know how to deal with multinational tenants. “These developers have displayed financial discipline in building large office portfolios and most of them are backed by strong investors, who want them to de-risk and expand beyond their core geographies. This is the right time to do that,” added Marwaha.

Knight Frank India’s half-yearly report, India Real Estate, in July said the office space market experienced a decade-high volume in supply and transactions between January and June.

Office supply increased by 31 percent year-on-year to 23.9 million sq ft during the period, the highest this decade.

DivyaSree Developers, along with Kotak Realty Fund, has launched the $400 million India Office Assets Fund I, anchored by a unit of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, to develop and acquire commercial office assets across India.

DivyaSree managing director Bhaskar Raju said that after gathering 15 years of experience in building an office portfolio in the south, they decided to venture into other cities. “We aim to serve 15 percent of the annual (office space) absorption capacity in cities like Mumbai, Pune and NCR and if we are building a portfolio, which will ultimately go for a REIT, then there needs to be across geographies,” Raju said.

In June, Bengaluru’s RMZ Corp. signed an agreement with DB Realty to redevelop Kamalistan Studio in suburban Mumbai into a large office park and is in talks to acquire more projects in the financial capital. It is also close to signing a large deal in Gurugram for another office project.

RMZ co-chairman Raj Menda said the firm is entering Pune, apart from actively building projects in Hyderabad and other southern cities.

Trial runs on Delhi Metro’s Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor begin

July 17, 2019 Ref -

The Delhi Metro has commenced trial runs on the Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor, which is scheduled to be opened to passengers by September 2019.

Trial runs on the over 4.2-km-long Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor of the Delhi Metro have started, officials said, on July 16, 2019. “Trial runs have been started on the 4.295-km Dwarka-Najafgarh Metro corridor. The line is targeted for completion by September 2019,” the DMRC said.

Of the three stations in this corridor, Dwarka and Nangli are elevated ones, while Najafgarh station is underground. The DMRC also said that the corridor is being extended by another 1.18 kms till Dhansa Stand and is slated for completion by December 2020. “During the trial runs, the interaction of the metro train with physical infringements (civil structure) will be checked, to ensure that there is no physical blockage during the movement of the train on the track. Signalling trials are expected to begin in the days to come,” the DMRC said.

The Delhi Metro’s total operational network at present stands at over 343 kms, with multiple corridors, and 250 stations, with its footprints in various cities neighbouring Delhi. An average of about 28 lakh commuters use the Delhi Metro every day.

Draw for Delhi Development Authority 2019 Housing Scheme on July 23

July 16, 2019 Ref -

The much-awaited Delhi Development Authority's Housing Scheme 2019 draw is expected to take place on July 23, sources said.

The scheme has received 47,000 applications, with Vasant Kunj being the top choice for a majority and Narela coming in second, sources added.

Launched on March 25, the DDA Housing Scheme was to close on May 10, 2019. The Authority later decided to extend the closing date for registration by a month.

Of the 17,922 flats, Vasant Kunj has 1,286, including 336 three-bedroom ones. Most of the flats on offer are located in Narela, maximum of them being one-bedroom ones (8,164).

The three-bedroom flats are being offered in the range of Rs 1.4 crore to Rs 1.7 crore; two-bedroom flats will cost between Rs 66 lakh and Rs 1.4 crore, and one-bedroom flats are priced between Rs 22.5 lakh to Rs 56.3 lakh.

"The housing draw will be held on July 23. We generally invite a retired judge to oversee the draw and the date depends on his availability," DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor told Moneycontrol.

"We have received 47,000 applications so far, across categories. The idea is to be able to sell all the flats and the response has not been bad. Earlier we thought we would only receive applications for Vasant Kunj. While applications for Vasant Kunj have certainly been oversubscribed, people have opted for HIG (high-income group) houses in Narela as a second choice," he said.

"People from LIG (low-income group) category have also selected Narela as their second choice. The number of applications may appear to be small but that is because people have filled choices for various locations. Other than EWS (economically weaker sections), we are hopeful that we will be able to sell all the flats in other categories," he added.

For first-time homebuyers, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) benefit was also available under the Scheme.

The application process this year was done online, with no offline form. This included payment of the fee, uploading of scanned photograph and scanned signature.

The Delhi housing body had empanelled about 13 banks. The registration fee, too, was higher this time, with the maximum being Rs 2 lakh for two and three-bedroom flats. Those applying for one-bedroom LIG and EWS category flats had to shell out Rs 1 lakh and Rs 25,000, respectively.

The registration fee will be refunded to unsuccessful applicants after the draw. "It should not take more than five to 10 days after the draw to refund the amount, but we are targeting five days," Kapoor said.

Five lessons from DHFL’s slow death by default

July 15, 2019 Ref -

There is a subprime market in India and it is not retail. It is formed of risky realtors with dodgy credit who got loans from lenders greedy enough to take risks they were not meant to take.

The first possible casualty is Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), a large mortgage lender that happened to have lent unwisely to developers.

DHFL now feels it may not be able to survive because no one wants to give it funds. “These developments may raise a significant doubt on the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern," the company said citing financial stress, downgrades besides lack of funding as factors behind its fear. DHFL shares were trading 31% lower at 11:20 am at ₹47.4 a piece. The reason funding has dried up for the housing finance company is that investors are no longer confident of its risk management and lending practices.

There are valuable lessons to learn from this debacle:

Risk is risk

Risk cannot be substituted by anything. Risky loans are in any other form still risky. DHFL’s book was largely loans to developers and the prolonged slowdown in real estate should have made the lender more cautious. But DHFL doesn’t seem to have priced this rising risk appropriately. Hence, its gross bad loans have surged to 2.74% although stressed assets would ideally be as high as 21%.

Pooled risk is still risk

Investors are now realising that the pooled loans DHFL has sold to raise money from banks may not be kosher. DHFL in its results said that there is no documentation in the case of₹20,750 crore worth of loans. It is not clear whether part of these loans were sold or are still on the lender’s books. Brickwork Ratings had downgraded a pooled loan transaction of DHFL to C from BBB last month.

Equity is as equity does

DHFL’s March quarter loss is ₹2223 crore, greater than its market capitalisation that stood at ₹2149.53 crore on Friday. That is now down more as the stock plummeted 10% today. There is worry that the company has not stated the full extent of stress on its books. Then there is the case of missing documentation on its loans. All in all, equity investors are perhaps the hardest hit.

The big short

Non-bank lenders especially those like DHFL believed that they would be able to roll over their short term borrowings endlessly. This emboldened them to get into a risky asset liability mismatches. Now they know better that this condition hinges on trust which is fragile in a slowing economy.

Speed is of essence

There is still a chance for DHFL to survive. The biggest lesson for lenders now seeking to keep DHFL alive through a resolution plan is that they need to move quickly. This is hard given that the company’s lenders comprise of thousands of bond holders apart from banks and mutual fund houses. Building consensus around a resolution plan is a tall ask but DHFL’s survival may depend on it.

Finally, the regulator needs to pull up its socks and begin to examine non-bank lenders more closely. National Housing Bank (NHB) noted that DHFL’s capital adequacy ratio was below regulatory minimum in FY18. Why the regulator did not take any action is bizarre.

Opinion | Relief for tenants and property owners

July 13, 2019 Ref -

The Central government’s The Model Tenancy Act, 2019, the draft of which has been put out for public consultations, is an important piece of legislation that promises to ease the burden on civil courts, unlock rental properties stuck in legal disputes, and prevent future tangles by balancing the interests of tenants and landlords. Young, educated job seekers migrating to large metropolises such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai often complain of onerous tenancy conditions and obscene sums of money as security deposits that they are asked to fork out to lease accommodation. In some cities, tenants are asked to pay security deposits amounting to 11 months of rent. Also, some house owners routinely breach tenants’ right to privacy by visiting the premises unannounced for sundry repair works. Whimsical rent raises are another problem for tenants, many of whom complain of being squeezed as “captive customers".

It’s not as if landlords have nothing to groan about. Tenants are often accused of “squatting" on the rented premises, or trying to grab the property. “Occupancy is two-thirds ownership," cynics have long said, given the difficulty in ejecting errant tenants who either quit paying rent or cite old rent-freezing rules in refusing to allow even inflation-attuned hikes. It’s little wonder that property has been a matter of much dispute across the country. This has resulted in a distorted market for rental property in many cities, with low supply of earlier-built spaces.

The proposed legislation is a “model law", as land is a state subject and states may or may not adopt these rules. This new law proposes to cap security deposits at two months of rent for residential properties. It also provides for the setting up of a rent authority to be headed by an officer of deputy collector rank. The authority will have a website to host the details of rent agreements. The landlord will be required to give a three-month notice to the tenant before raising the rent. If adopted by Indian states, the law would have them set up rent courts and tribunals, as civil courts will no longer hear lessor-lessee disputes. Further, it intends to impose hefty penalties on squatters. If the law is able to bridge a trust deficit between owners and tenants, it would help turn the tenancy market dynamic. That would be a good thing.

At last, a model tenancy law for tenants and landlords

July 12, 2019 Ref -

The Narendra Modi government has come out with the much-awaited draft model tenancy law that proposes to establish an independent authority in every state and Union Territory for registration of tenancy agreements and even a separate court to take up all tenancy-related disputes.

The draft model tenancy law has proposed limiting the advance security deposits to two months’ rent and has also suggested heavy penalties for tenants who decide to overstay. Those who do may have to shell out double the rent for two months and even four times.

It must be noted that this is only a model act because since land is a state subject, states have the right to either adopt it or reject it. Also, the laws to be notified by the states will not have a retrospective effect.

The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has put the draft law in public domain for stakeholder consultation and will seek Cabinet approval on it later.

These provisions, once implemented by states, could reduce reluctance to rent and enhance the supply of rental homes, making productive use of vacant houses.

Why was a need felt to bring this on

The document notes that the need to introduce the model tenancy law was felt because the existing rent control laws are restricting the growth of rental housing segment and discouraging the landowners from renting out their vacant premises.

Its aim is to balance the interests of landowner and tenant and to create an accountable and transparent environment for renting the premises in disciplined and efficient manner to promote inclusive and sustainable ecosystem to various segments of society including migrants, formal and informal sector workers, professionals, students and urban poor, says the document.

Its intention is also to notify the rules for residential and non-residential premises and further to develop the policies to promote balanced rental housing by developing different options of rental housing like individual units, dormitories, hostels, co-living, co-housing, paying guest and employee housing and outline the roles of various stakeholders in order to ensure housing for all.

It excludes premises owned or promoted by the Centre, state, Union Territory, local authority, government undertaking, enterprise, statutory body or cantonment board. It also excludes premises owned by a company, university or organisation given on rent to its employees as part of service contract or those owned by religious or charitable institutions, any trust registered under the Public Trust Act of the state and those owned by Wakfs registered under the Wakf Act, 1995.

The work cut out for the rent authority

The rent authority after receiving information about tenancy agreement will provide a unique identification number to the parties and upload the details of tenancy agreement on its website compulsorily in local vernacular or state language in the format that has been prescribed in the model law within seven days from date of receipt of tenancy agreement along with the documents.

The rent payable for the unit to be let out will be the amount agreed between the landowner and the tenant as per the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Appointment of the rent authority: The district collector with the approval of the State/UT government can appoint an officer, not below the rank of Deputy Collector, to be the rent authority for the area within his jurisdiction to which this Act applies. The state/UT government may, by notification, constitute such number of Rent Tribunals at such places as may be deemed necessary by it and notify a Rent Tribunal as Principal Rent Tribunal, where more than one Tribunal is constituted.

Only the rent court and no civil court will have the jurisdiction to hear and decide the applications relating to disputes between landowner and tenant and matters connected with it.

The rent court or the rent tribunal will have to try and dispose of the case within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application or appeal. If there is a delay, then the rent court will have to record its reasons in writing for not disposing of the application or appeal within that period.

Rights and duties of landlords and tenants

In case the landowner decides to revise the rent, he would have to give a notice in writing three months before the revised rent becomes due.

Even the security deposit to be paid by the tenant in advance shall be as determined by the agreement and as agreed mutually between ‘the landowner and the tenant’ subject to a maximum of two months’ rent in case of residential property and, minimum of one month’s rent in case of non-residential property. The security deposit shall be refunded to the tenant at the time of taking over vacant possession of the premises, after making due deduction of any liability of the tenant.

The draft rules also state that if the landowner does not accept the rent and other charges payable or refuses to give a receipt, the rent and other charges shall be sent to the landowner by postal money order or any other method as prescribed under the rules consecutively for two months. If the landowner does not accept the rent and other charges within this period, then the tenant may deposit the same with the rent authority. Once the rent has been deposited with the Authority, it can investigate the case and pass an order.

Even in case where the landowner refuses to carry out repairs, the tenant can get the work done and deduct the same from the rent provided that the deduction by tenant from the monthly rent on account of repair of the premises exceeds fifty percent of agreed monthly rent.

Also, if the premises become uninhabitable in the absence of repairs and the landowner refuses to carry out the repairs even after being called upon to do so in writing by the tenant, the tenant can have the right to vacate the premises and handover the possession to landowner after sending him a 15 days’ notice in writing or with the permission of the rent authority.

A landowner or the property manager may enter a premise in accordance with written notice or notice through electronic medium.

No landowner or property manager or tenant either by himself or through any person shall cut-off or withhold any essential supply or service in the premises occupied by the tenant or the landowner. Essential services include supply of water, electricity, piped cooking gas supply, lights in passages, lifts and on staircase, conservancy, parking, communication links and sanitary services etc.

If this is done then on the application from the tenant or the landowner, the rent authority after examining the matter may pass an interim order directing the restoration of supply of essential services immediately pending the inquiry.

This inquiry would have to be completed within one month of filing such an application.

The rent authority may even direct that a penalty be paid to the landowner or tenant if it finds that the application was made frivolously or vexatiously, says the draft.

Repossession of the premises by the landowner

The rent court may, on an application made to it, order for the recovery of possession of the premises on the grounds that the landowner and tenant have failed to agree to the rent payable, that the tenant has not paid the arrears in full of rent payable and other charges for two months, including interest for delayed payment as decided in the tenancy agreement.

No order for eviction of the tenant on account of default of payment of rent shall be passed, if the tenant makes payment to the landowner or deposits with the rent court all arrears of rent including interest within one month of notice being served on him: But this relief will not be available again to the tenant if he defaults in payments of rent consecutively for two months in any one year subsequent to getting relief.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5 while presenting Budget 2019 had proposed that several reforms will be taken up for rental housing. A modern tenancy reform will be floated among the states. The FM called out the old rental laws archaic and stated that the government will soon formalise a modern tenancy policy and share it with all states.

Real estate experts say that clear-cut incentives to boost rental housing via a sound policy will positively help the government to further strengthen its Housing for All initiative. “Steps like revising tenancy laws would add more confidence in the housing sector. As per Census 2011, there were 11 million vacant houses that were found locked up. They too can be explored on this front,” said Pankaj Kapoor of Liases Foras.

"The new model tenancy is expected to balance the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants that will make the rental market more efficient and streamlined across the country,” says Megha Maan, Senior Associate Director, Research at Colliers International India.

A national urban rental housing policy had been in the pipeline ever since the Modi government assumed charge in 2014. The first draft was put out in public domain in October 2015 and sought to promote various types of public-private partnerships for promotion of rental housing in the country and making good the growing housing shortage as a result of increasing urbanisation.

The aim of the policy was to bring 11 million vacant unsold houses onto the rental market, to further encourage demand and reduce housing shortage. According to a KPMG report, the rental market in India is currently dominated by two major segments – increased demand from the migrated working class and rising demand-supply gaps in student housing.

Here’s why you should submit your IT returns (ITR) if you want a home loan

July 11, 2019 Ref -

The income tax documents that you submit to the bank, for obtaining a home loan, have a very important bearing on your eligibility. We give you a lowdown of what banks look for, in these papers.

In addition to your basic KYC documents (like your proof of address and identity) and property documents (like chain of documents and title deeds of the land), the home loan lender asks you to submit your income tax documents, such as copies of your income tax returns (ITR).

Form No 16 for salaried individuals

Even though it is mandatory for every individual, whose gross salary exceeds the basic exemption limit, to file his income tax return under the Indian income tax laws, not all salaried employees do so. Lenders who are only interested in verifying the applicant’s repayment capacity, accept Form No 16 as proof of one’s income and do not insist on your income tax return.

Form No 16 has details of the salary paid and tax deducted from it. From Form No 16, the lender comes to know about your employer. If the Form No 16 is issued by a listed company or a government department or any reputed employer, it gives the lender an assurance about the genuineness of the home loan applicant’s salary and continuity of income. Form No 16 also has details of tax deducted at source (TDS). Based on the frequency of tax deduction, which is evident from Form No 16, the lender can derive comfort about the salary being genuine. The quantum of TDS and other deductions towards provident fund contribution, etc., establish you gross emoluments.

If the tax deducted at source (TDS) is not regular or if the salary is also not paid regularly, it may raise doubts over the genuineness of the salary, unless the income is evidenced by concrete savings, like investments in shares, mutual funds, bank deposits, etc. Form No 16 also has the details of the items, against which you have claimed tax benefits under Section 80C. If there is sufficient income but investments under Section 80C are not fully made, the lender may infer that you have liabilities that are not reflected in the income tax return or you have an extravagant lifestyle. This, in turn, may impact your home loan eligibility. It also has details about deduction allowed to you by the employer, with respect to any home loan being serviced, which will be helpful to the lender in determining your overall eligibility.

Non-salaried people have to submit income tax returns

If you are not a salaried person, the lender will insist that you submit your income tax return, along with supporting documents, like computation of total income, profit and loss account and balance sheet of your business. These documents, will help the lender to understand your business, the nature and extent of existing borrowings, profitability of the business and quantum of own investment. These documents, will also help the lender to understand your saving habits.

Based on the nature of your business or profession, the lender will decide the income multiple for granting your home loan. For chartered accountants and doctors, some foreign banks provide home loans, as a multiple of your gross receipt and not the net profit shown in the profit and loss account. For businessmen, it is generally a multiple of your net profit, which determines your loan eligibility. The amount of depreciation claimed can be found from the income tax papers, which is added to your income and considered for determining your loan eligibility.

Even the punctuality with which you file your income tax returns, has a bearing on your chances of getting a loan. If the ITR is filed for the first time, the lender may feel that it has been filed, only for the purpose of making the home application. For example if one ITR is filed during the month of March and the other is filed in April or May, it may create some doubt in the mind of the lender that the ITRs have merely been filed to obtain the home loan.

Luxury realty braces for impact from higher taxes on ultra-rich

July 10, 2019 Ref -

MUMBAI: The long slump in luxury home sales, already weighed down by a crackdown on black money, may extend further into this year and the next, as higher tax on top income earners is likely to discourage buyers, say property developers.

Developers fear the decision to increase a surcharge on individuals with taxable income of more than ₹2 crore will reduce demand further and increase the already high inventory pile-up.

“Continuously taxing the rich is not positive for us. The overall impact is not going to be good for high-end homes. How negative it may get, it depends on the price points of where you are," said Boman R. Irani, chairman and managing director of Rustomjee Group, a Mumbai-based real estate firm building several luxury residential projects in the city with ticket sizes beyond ₹10 crore.

Demand for top-end homes was hit the hardest by the ban on high-value currency notes in 2016, as property investments, much of it in cash, were long used to park black money. The cocktail of tax increases, glut in supply and the crackdown on illicit money means that developers’ long wait for a rebound in sales will continue.

In the quarter ended 30 June, unsold inventories of luxury homes priced between ₹2 crore and ₹5 crore rose by 4% to around 32,840 apartments across the top seven cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru and National Capital region.

Inventory of ultra-luxury homes costing more than ₹5 crore also increased by 4% during the period at 8,175 units, according to data by property brokerage firm ANAROCK Property Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

“Those who are looking to buy ultra-luxury homes beyond ₹40-50 crore, an increase in tax rate of 3-7% may not matter to them. But what matters most are those looking to buy premium homes costing beyond ₹2 crore to ₹5 crore as it could impact sentiments in the short term," said Anuj Puri, chairman of ANAROCK.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, lin her maiden budget on Friday, proposed to increase income tax surcharge by 3% on individuals earning between ₹2 crore and ₹5 crore and by 7% on those earning more than ₹5 crore, effectively raising the tax rate on the two highest slabs of income earners at 39% and 42.7%, respectively.

While the government has continued to focus on boosting demand for affordable housing, it has not provided much relief to the luxury housing market, which has seen rising inventory in major markets including Delhi and Mumbai.

Developers are concerned that increasing the tax rate may lead to buyers holding back purchases of luxury homes in the short term. With many homebuyers increasingly opting for mid-income homes, priced below ₹1 crore, large luxury residential projects have suffered with many getting stalled midway or completed after a prolonged delay. “The impact is definitely negative, even if it may not lead to significant drop. Three-to-four bedroom apartments costing within the price bracket of around ₹6-7 crore to ₹12 crore may get affected to some extent," Venkatesh Gopalakrishnan, chief executive officer of real estate developer Shapoorji Pallonji.

Embassy Group’s senior vice-president (residential business), Reeza Sebastian agreed that the additional surcharge may dampen sentiments of luxury homebuyers at a time when the residential market was seeing signs of improvement.

“Luxury home sales could get affected in the short to medium time frame. Additional surcharge will force home buyers to keep a longer time frame in perspective before buying property," said Sebastian.

Real estate market consolidates with top developers replacing small players: PropEquity

July 9, 2019 Ref -

Financial distress, regulatory compliances, oversupply of inventory is forcing unorganised and small real estate developers to either exit the market or join hands with large developers who have a positive track record and have demonstrated their execution capabilities. This has led to consolidation in the market, with more than half of the developers that were active in 2011-12 leaving the market in 2017-18, says a recent report.

Consolidation of developers in Gurugram, Noida and Chennai has been to the tune of 70 percent , respectively, since 2011 to date. A considerable reduction in total number of developers by more than 65 percent was also witnessed in Kolkata and Bengaluru in the last six years, respectively.

The total number of projects launched across the cities also declined substantially during the same period, says a report by PropEquity, an online subscription based real estate data and analytics platform owned and operated by P.E. Analytics.

As a result of the consolidation, the projects share of the top 10 developers has increased across cities from 2011 to 2018.

Total number of projects launched by the top 10 developers in Gurugram and Noida today stands at 55 percent and 78 percent, as against 28 percent and 52 percent in 2011, respectively. This clearly indicates that Noida and Gurugram have witnessed an increase of 27 percent in the number of projects being launched by top 10 developers since 2011, the report stated.

“Consumers are now looking for developers with excellent track records in terms of quality and execution. This will further refine the developer market based on their sustainability in terms of deliveries and fair practices,” says Samir Jasuja, founder and Managing Director at PropEquity.

The real estate storm started building way back in 2010. Maximum launches in India were witnessed during 2010 to 2013 leading to a situation of high supply and consequent absorption being largely led by investors. This illusion of demand led to more launches and a huge demand-supply mismatch was created, especially in Tier 1 cities and most specifically in NCR.

“Today the effects of this perfect storm has led to the consolidation of developer numbers across India. The unorganised players have been unable to cope with all these year-on-year mounting market issues, with the final impact of RERA that insists on regulatory compliances,” Jasuja adds.

This Is Staging on Steroids

July 8, 2019 Ref -

One possible avenue toward selling your listing is to make it a “show house,” which would give interior designers access to redecorate each room in the latest trends and then open the property to the public as part of neighborhood events. Such a selling strategy, which more real estate professionals across the country are trying, according to The Wall Street Journal, can give designers a platform to showcase their work while also attracting potential buyers to your listing.

Typically, each room in a show house is redone by a different designer; each designer covers the cost of his or her project. Visitors at community events pay an admission fee to tour show homes, and the proceeds usually go toward a charity. Following the event, designers take back any items that are removable from their designs. In the end, the seller is left with a freshly designed home to promote on the market without the cost of remodeling.

“This is staging on steroids,” Margaret von Werssowetz, a sales associate with Handsome Properties in Charleston, S.C., told the Journal. She’s selling a show house for $1.65 million.

The annual Decorator Show House in Wichita Falls, Texas, has had nine of its homes sell during its 11-year history. “Attracting buyers through this prestigious event and showing them a house decorated in this way can help them feel that it’s a high-end home worth the price,” Allison Gray, a sales associate with Briko Realty Services in Wichita Falls, told the Journal.

The Journal notes that a five-bedroom home near the local college, Midwestern State University, was listed for $240,000 and lingered on the market for two years before becoming a show house in 2014. In the home, designers painted the living room a light mint green with a darker green trim that continued into the dining room, where the trim was paired with wallpaper that featured a medallion pattern. The home needed some additional work that designers addressed, such as refinishing the floors and updating the kitchen and bathrooms.

“Being a show house helped sell that house [to me],” says Britt Milstead, who purchased the property shortly after the show home event. “It provided touches that needed to be done that the seller wasn’t willing to make.”

In Topeka, Kan., a 7,300-square-foot home was not attracting any buyers when it was first listed in the spring of 2014. It became the Designers’ Show House for Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas, which is a nonprofit to help parents with child care and education. Local designers installed new kitchen cabinets, removed dated wallpaper, and repainted walls in a neutral color. After being a show home, the property was bought for $514,000.

Without the upgrades, home buyers Kristina and John Dietrick say they wouldn’t have purchased the property. “It would have been too much work,” Kristina Dietrick told the Journal. “The cool thing with a designer show house is that they do the heavy lifting.”

But show houses don’t always lead to a sale. Some real estate pros say they can actually hinder a sale if the designs vary too much from room to room. “The problem with designer showcase homes is they don’t flow,” John Valley, broker-owner of Valley, Inc., in Topeka, told the Journal. “One room looks this way, one room looks that way. It doesn’t have any continuity.”

Realty stocks down despite thrust on affordable housing in the Union Budget

July 5, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: Shares of realty companies were down despite thrust on affordable housing in the Union Budget. Realty Index fell over 1% in noon trade on Friday. Among stocks, Oberoi Realty fell 3.3%, Prestige Estate 2.2%, Sunteck declined 2.1%, DLF 1%, Indiabulls Real Estate 0.5%.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget said the government plans to build 19.5 million rural houses in the second phase of its “Housing for All" programme. In the last five years, the government has built 15 million rural houses, she said.

Analyst are focusing fiscal deficit and borrowing targets with focus on any tax reforms. According to a Bloomberg survey government will widen the budget deficit target to 3.5% of GDP at upcoming budget, up from a February estimate of 3.4%.

"Given the clear-cut mandate, the government has never before opportunity to make bold announcements in this budget. Apart from privatization or corporatization of the government institutions to limit the drag on the balance sheet, measures to drive investments, which have been under pressure, would be welcome. Reforms in the agriculture sector to boost the income of the farmers could be a major focus. To further stimulate economic growth and accelerate corporate earnings, the government should also consider a reduction in the corporate tax rate for all the companies" said Arun Thukral, MD & CEO at Axis Securities .

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting her maiden budget at a time when the economy is showing signs of slowing down amid tepid tax collection. Consumer demand which has been the only engine so far driving the economy also looks vulnerable now.

Earlier on Thursday, chief economic adviser said the government will keep its fiscal deficit under control as it sees a rebound in economic growth from a five-year low. The Finance Ministry said growth will probably reach 7% in the current fiscal year that began on April 1. The government will seek to avoid undermining private investment by widening the fiscal deficit, Krishnamurthy Subramanian, author of the Economic Survey report and chief economic adviser, told reporters Thursday.

So far this year, Sensex and Nifty have gained nearly 10% each while foreign investors bought $11 billion and domestic institutional investors sold ₹7173 crore in equities.

Nifty Realty index rallies as customers and investors conclude 'size matters'

July 4, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: In spite of turbulent times for the real estate sector in the post-RERA (Real Estate Regulation & Development Act)regime, the Nifty realty index has rallied by 25% over the last one year.

Have investors ignored weak home sales, large inventories and the drop in new launches that portray the pain in the sector? Not quite.

The answer is that the listed realty firms focused on financial discipline, before pushing sales. For instance, DLF Ltd nearly froze home sales to align with RERA. Through restructuring and stake sales, it brought down its huge ₹25,000 crore debt to negligible levels in the parent balance sheet.

Meanwhile, listed entities that are well-known names in the sector, were able to garner customers due to higher credibility. Unlike small developers who were stranded for even working capital during the recent banking crisis, large listed firms pushed sales through marketing incentives.

According to Motilal Oswal Service Ltd, pre-sales volumes of Godrej Properties Ltd and Oberoi Realty Ltd rose by 68% and 20% respectively in the two years between FY17 and FY19. Southern developers such as Sobha Ltd and Brigade Enterprises Ltd fared well, too, with some even titling towards government incentivized affordable housing.

In other words, the movement of the Nifty Realty index is a reflection of investor confidence in large property developers. They are better placed to comply with regulatory changes.

A report by property market consultant JLL says sales of residential units across India rose 22% year-on-year in the first half of 2019 to 78,247 units.

That said, the housing market is still languishing with low sales in most metros especially the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and National Capital Region, where inventory levels are still high.

In this backdrop, large firms have had to tap in to a greater extent to the commercial property market in the last three years. This has bolstered revenue and profits, when piling home inventory and sticky prices were weighing on company performance and balance sheets.

SC to hear plea next week on preventing Jaypee Infratech’s liquidation

July 3, 2019 Ref -

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea filed by a home buyer, who has sought a forensic audit of Jaypee Infratech Ltd and has asked that the company not be sent into liquidation.

The Supreme Court will hear, in the second week of July 2019, a plea seeking that Jaypee Infratech Ltd not be sent into liquidation, although the deadline for the corporate insolvency resolution process was over, as it would cause ‘irreparable loss’ to thousands of home buyers. The apex court had, on August 9, 2018, ordered re-commencement of the resolution process against JIL and barred the firm, its holding company and promoters from participating in the fresh bidding process. It had also allowed the Reserve Bank of India to direct banks to initiate corporate insolvency resolution proceedings (CIRP) against Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL), the holding company of JIL, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

However, a fresh application in the matter came up for hearing on July 2, 2019, before a bench comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari. The plea, filed by one of the home buyers through advocate Ashwarya Sinha, sought direction that an ‘independent and thorough forensic audit’ of JIL should be conducted, from the date of its incorporation. Referring to the apex court’s 2018 order, the plea said, “The court had made a conscious effort to avoid liquidation of Jaypee Infratech Limited. However, the events as have unfolded subsequent to the passing of the judgment have frustrated the efforts as made by the court.”

As per the apex court’s direction, the 270 days for completion of CIRP have concluded on May 6, 2019, it said. “Till date only two serious bids have been received by the committee of creditors. One bid has been submitted by National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, whereas the other has been submitted by Suraksha ARC. None of the said bids have been accepted by the committee of creditors till date,” the plea said, claiming that the threat of JIL going into liquidation was ‘turning into a reality with each passing day’.

“Liquidation of the company will only be in the interest of the banks, who will be able to recover the money lent by them to the corporate debtor,” it said, adding, “However, the ultimate sufferers of the same will be the home buyers.” Seeking forensic audit of JIL, the plea alleged that ‘diversion of funds in the present case is on an even larger scale than that of projects developed by Amrapali Group of Companies’. “However, without a forensic audit, none of the persons responsible for the said diversion will ever be made accountable. Furthermore, it will be impossible to bring back the hard earned monies of the home buyers, without the said diversion being traced to the ultimate beneficiary,” it said.

Water crisis: West Bengal CM urges people to stop wastage, as groundwater dips in some blocks

July 1, 2019 Ref -

Referring to the severe water crisis in Chennai, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the state too was affected and stressed on the need to stop wastage of water.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on June 28, 2019, said the groundwater level had gone down in some blocks of West Bengal and it was happening because of global warming. “Chennai is facing a major water crisis and people are not getting water there. We have conducted a survey and found that groundwater level has gone down in some blocks in West Bengal,” she said at the state assembly.

The Trinamool Congress chief laid emphasis on projects like ‘Jal Dharo-Jal Bharo’ and check dams, to increase the groundwater level. The Jal Dharo-Jal Bharo project was launched in 2011-12, to preserve water resources by large-scale harvesting of rainwater, as well as arresting runoff of surface water. “I believe that this is another big problem of the society. Each people’s representative, should spend at least one minute to speak on this issue during their speeches and appeal to the people to save the environment,” she added.

The chief minister said people misuse several things like water and electricity and they have to stop that practice. “While passing through the streets, I have seen how water is wasted. People are not bothered to turn the tap off. I think we all should take the initiative, in putting a stop to such a wastage. Save energy, save earth, save environment, save water because water is life,” Banerjee said. She urged farmers to choose cultivating crops or vegetables that require less water, in areas where the groundwater level had gone down.

DLF’s promoters infuse last tranche of ₹2,250 crore

June 29, 2019 Ref -

BENGALURU: he promoters of DLF Ltd have infused the last tranche of ₹2,250 crore into the company, a move that will help India’s largest real estate developer pare its debt and strengthen its cash reserves.

The infusion was made by allotting equity shares against warrants that were issued to the promoters in 2017.

DLF has allotted around 138.1 million shares to promoter group companies Rajdhani Investments and Agencies Ltd and DLF Urva Real Estate Developers and Services Pvt. Ltd at ₹217.25 apiece.

In December 2017, the promoters had infused ₹9,000 crore into the company and promised to invest an additional ₹2,250 crore.

The fund infusion was made after the promoters sold their entire stake in DLF’s rental arm DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd for ₹11,900 crore.

This big-ticket deal, which DLF had said would be a “game-changer" for the company, saw a 33.34% stake sale in DCCDL to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd for ₹8,900 crore and buyback of shares worth ₹3,000 crore by DLF Cyber City Developers from the promoters.

“…Upon receipt of ₹2,249.90 crore now and the allotment of equity shares upon exercise of warrants, the induction of capital of ₹11,250 crore by the promoter/promoter group stands completed," DLF said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

In the March quarter, DLF said it had reduced its net debt to₹4,483 crore with the help of funds raised from selling shares to institutional investors, from ₹7,224 crore in the December quarter.

The developer has an unsold inventory of around ₹11,650 crore and is targeting sales of ₹2,700 crore in fiscal year 2020.

In March, DLF raised ₹3,173 crore by selling shares to institutional investors through a qualified institutional placement offer.

“The infusion of ₹2,250 crore gives DLF an option to further reduce its debt or to keep it as cash reserve. Anyhow, the infusion will reduce the interest outflow of the company," said a person familiar with the development, who didn’t wish to be named.

“...Upon allotment of the aforesaid equity shares, the paid-up equity share capital of the company stands increased to ₹495.06 crore comprising 2,475,311,706 equity shares having a face value of ₹2 each.The total shareholding of the promoter/ promoter group entities would stand increased to 74.95% from 73.47% and will remain within the minimum public shareholding limits as prescribed under the Securities Contracts Regulation Act, 1956," according to the filing.

Why should you obtain a credit report before buying a house?

June 28, 2019 Ref -

An individual’s credit history plays a major role in determining his loan eligibility. We look at the importance of obtaining this credit report in advance, before applying for a loan

When you buy a property or book a property, it is necessary for you to have sufficient funds at your disposal. These liquid assets can be in the form of bank balance or investments in shares or mutual funds. In case you do not have liquidity at the time of buying the property, you should be confident of borrowing the money, either from your friends and relatives or from the credit system. A housing loan is the major source of funding a house purchase in India. Hence, it is essential for you to assess your ability to get a home loan, beforehand. Lenders, on their part, also verify the applicant’s credit history from the credit information bureau (CIB), before disbursing the housing loan. Presently there are four CIBs, authorised to operate in India. CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau of India) was the pioneer CIB and hence, these CIB reports are also referred to as CIBIL reports.

What is a credit report?

The government has enacted the ‘Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act’, under which four CIBs – CIBIL, Equifax, CRIF High Mark and Experian – have been established. Based on the details provided by the financial institutions, of the credit transactions of their customers, the CIBs maintain records of all the borrowers who have borrowed from the financial system. Data reported by the financial institutions, is collated by the CIBs and made available in the form of a report and a score. Details of all your credit transactions, including credit card transactions, loans and credit enquiries, are reported by these financial institutions and reflected in a single credit report from such bureaus.

Before sanctioning a home loan, the lender will verify your credentials and creditworthiness from the CIBs, to assess the probability of the applicant defaulting on the housing loan. The creditworthiness is assessed from the ‘credit score’ and ‘credit reports’ issued by the CIBs, to minimise the risk of the housing loan becoming bad.

Importance of obtaining a credit report in advance, for home buyers

As the lender will invariably obtain the details of your credit profile from the CIB, it is in your own interest to know in advance, the particulars about you that will be available to the prospective lender. This will help you in finding out whether, prima facie, you will be able to get a home loan or not. For example, people with a CIBIL score of more than 750, have a better chance of getting a home loan than those with a lower score.

Reasons for a home loan getting rejected, based on the credit report

There may be various reasons for your home loan application being rejected by the prospective lender, based on your credit score and credit history. Sometimes, it may be due to defaults in payment of credit cards or in servicing other loans, which affect the credit score. It may also happen due to the adverse transactions of someone else being included under your profile accidentally, because of similarity in the fields like address, name, city, etc.

A bad credit history/score may also be due to carelessness on the part of the financial institutions in reporting your financial transactions or on the part of the CIBs in collating the data received. So, if you become ineligible for a home loan, due to bad credit history or low credit score, your plans to buy a property may go haywire. In such cases, if you have already partly implemented your plan to purchase a house, by either paying token money or advance, you may end up losing the earnest money paid to the seller or the builder. Hence, it is advisable to obtain your credit report in advance, to ensure that there are no erroneous transactions reflecting in your profile. If there are any, you can take corrective actions to get it rectified, before the lender accesses your credit report. As per the RBI mandate, all the CIBs are required to provide the credit score and credit report, free of cost, once in a year.

PE investment in real estate up 26% during in first six months of 2019

June 27, 2019 Ref -

New Delhi: Private equity investment in real estate rose 26% in the first half of this year to nearly ₹28,000 crore ($3.9 billion) driven by higher inflow in commercial and warehousing projects, according to property consultant Colliers.

Private equity (PE) inflows from foreign investors increased 28% during the first six months of the 2019 calendar year.

"During the first six months of 2019, the real estate sector witnessed private-equity (PE) inflows of $3.9 billion ( ₹27,767 crore), eclipsing the first halves of previous years," Colliers International said in a report.

The increase in PE inflow signals rising confidence of institutional investors in India's premium office spaces, retail properties and warehousing sector, it said.

"Foreign funds remain active in the real estate market, with inflows from such investors rising 28% in H1 2019. While foreign funds continue to be active in the commercial office space, they are also investing into the logistics sector," the report said.

"The sector is at an inflection given the 3Rs - Reforms, REITs, and Results of the recently concluded elections. The year 2019 will see the bulls at play, with phenomenal capital influx in the office and logistics space," said Suresh Castellino, Executive National Director, Capital Markets & Investment Services at Colliers International India.

Mumbai attracted maximum (27%) of the total PE inflows, garnering around $1.05 billion of investments.

Pune saw 10-fold increase in PE inflow to $237 million in January-June period of this year.

During the first six months of the year, investments in commercial office assets accounted for 42% share of total investments. Investors pumped in $1.2 billion into the retail sector, accounting for 31% share.

"We foresee the current year to create a new record for investments in real estate, with investors viewing retail and logistics assets favourably in addition to commercial office assets," said Megha Maan, Senior Associate Director, Research at Colliers International India.

Blackstone-backed Embassy Office Parks REIT wins over investors amid low rates

June 18, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: India’s first ever real estate investment trust has outperformed peers since its debut in late March, helped by a low interest rate environment that’s forcing investors to look elsewhere for yield.

Blackstone Group LP-backed Embassy Office Parks REIT has risen 21% since its listing, beating indexes that track REITs in Singapore and Japan.

“This kind of return isn’t usual from a REIT," said K.V. S Manian, an executive director at Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. “A large part has to do with the benign interest rate environment in India now."

Interest rates in India are on a downward trajectory after the central bank cut borrowing costs three times since January. Economists say further easing is expected. REITs offer a fixed return from a pool of rent-yielding assets, along with the prospect of capital appreciation.

Embassy operates around 33 million square feet of office space and has marquee tenants including Microsoft Corp. and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc. The REIT should see compound annual growth in rental income of around 16% through 2023, analysts at Kotak Securities Ltd. wrote in a report last month.

Sobha voted top national real estate brand for the 5th consecutive year: Track2Realty BrandXReport 2018-19

June 17, 2019 Ref -

Sobha has emerged as the ‘Brand Leader of Indian real estate’ for the 5th consecutive year, with Embassy very close behind at 2nd, according to Track2Realty’s BrandXReport 2018-19, with five of the top 10 brands from Bengaluru.

Sobha Limited has been recognised as the Top National Realty Brand across asset class in India, by Track2Realty’s BrandXReport 2018-19. This is the 5th consecutive year that Sobha has been conferred with the National Brand Leadership of Indian real estate. Embassy has jumped from its last fiscal ranking at number 5 to number 2 now, with a brand score of just 0.4 behind Sobha. Godrej Properties has retained its brand rank as 3rd-best brand at the national level. Bengaluru-based Prestige Group not only loses its 2nd ranking to Embassy but drops two places to number 4 this fiscal. K Raheja Corp jumped from 8th position to 5th position.

Brigade Group was at the 6th position from its previous rank at 9. Mumbai-based Oberoi Realty and Piramal Realty were at 8th and 10th places, respectively. Piramal Realty entered the elite list of brand leaders for the first time. DLF Limited was the only brand from north India to figure among the top 10 national brands, at 7th place. The biggest loss of brand equity at the national level was with Puravankara Limited, which dropped to number 9 this year, after remaining at number 4 in the previous two consecutive years. Lodha Group went out of the list of top 10 national brands, in the wake of consumer complaints. Adani Realty was also very close to the top 10 national brands this fiscal year but could not make it.

The comprehensive Brand Perception Audit Report recognised Sobha as the top national realty brand, top brand in south India, top brand in residential space, top brand in super luxury segment and its compact luxury sub-brand Sobha Dream Series as the top brand in affordable homes. Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Menon, chairman of Sobha Limited said, “We are delighted to be recognised as the top brand nationally by Track2Realty – BrandXReport for the 5th consecutive year. Over the last five years, we have been continuously improving our brand leadership score and consolidating our position. It is a rare achievement. There is still a lot to do and we are committed to taking right steps in that direction.” JC Sharma, vice-chairman and managing director of Sobha Limited added: “While the market continues to face tough conditions due to liquidity issues, Sobha has been able to improve its performance significantly. Our ability to maintain the leadership position in any given situation, exhibits our solid foundation and resilience. It is this quality that has helped us become one of the most admired brands in the Indian real estate sector.”

Real estate index gains the most as sales volume picks up pace

June 14, 2019 Ref -

Who would have thought that real estate stocks would lead returns in 2019. Nearly halfway into the year, the Nifty Realty index delivered returns of 19%, making it the biggest gainer among NSE’s sectoral indices this calendar year. The Nifty 500 index, in comparison, has risen about 6% so far this year.

In fact, most investors did not pencil the real estate sector as having a good year. The liquidity crunch post-September 2018 was expected to dash the chances of recovery. But the sector has shown resilience, thanks to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) that has helped larger real estate firms.

The once unorganized real estate sector is now getting legitimacy, with organized developers launching more properties under the legislation. In fact, new launches under RERA have seen a sharp rise, leading to a strong increase in sales volumes.

“Sales growth for the coverage universe was 38% YoY in 4QFY19 at ₹5,800 crore in 4QFY19...Strong improvement in pre-sales was evident across all geographies, while the decline in realizations was largely due to the increased contribution of lower-ticket housing in overall sales volumes," says Kotak Institutional Equities in a note to clients.

Sales volume in FY19 increased 7% over the previous year to 443 million sq. ft, point out analysts at Kotak. This, coupled with a decline in new launches, has been helpful in cutting back inventory.

“Declining launches and improving sales momentum have continued to aid draw-down of inventory, with all-India inventory declining 11% YoY to ~1.23 bn sq. ft from 1.4 bn sq. ft in March 2019," notes Kotak.

Further, the latest cut in the repo rate, which has resulted in a cumulative decline of 75 basis points since August 2018, is expected to bring relief to the sector. Of course, with some housing finance companies still under the weather, problems related to the liquidity crisis are still pinching. But things are clearly better compared to a few months ago.

It is also worth noting that some of the stocks in the Nifty Realty index are up considerably this year. This has driven up their valuations and made them a tad more expensive. Returns of the Godrej Properties Ltd stock stand at around 41.1% in 2019. Sunteck Realty Ltd, too, gained 36.81% in 2019. So, from that perspective, investors must watch their steps while investing in these stocks.

NCDRC directs Unitech to refund over ₹53 lakh to 2 home buyersNCDRC directs Unitech to refund over ₹53 lakh to 2 home buyers

June 7, 2019 Ref -

NEW DELHI: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked real estate giant Unitech to refund over₹53 lakh to two home buyers for failing to hand over the possession of an apartment.

The apex consumer commission asked the company to refund within three months ₹53,73,561 and give a compensation of simple interest at 10 per cent per annum to Gurgaon residents Abhishek and Mani Agarwal for a delay of over seven years in handing over the possession of the apartment.

"Refund the entire principal amount of ₹53,73,561 to the complainants along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 10 per cent per annum with effect from the date of each payment till the date of full refund," Presiding Member of the Commission Justice V K Jain said.

The Commission also asked the firm to pay ₹25,000 as litigation cost to the home buyers.

The Agarwals had booked a residential apartment with Unitech Reliable Projects Limited in a project namely 'Capella' in Uniworld City, which was to be developed in Greater Noida.

According to the allotment letter, the apartment was to be delivered to them by November 30, 2011.

However, their allotment was shifted to another project, namely, 'Unitech Verve', the possession of which was to be delivered within 15 months, that is, June 29, 2012.

Though the real estate giant assured the home buyers of the possession of the apartment, the Agarwals failed to get their house even after a lapse of more than seven years after which they filed a complaint.

You need not have a lump sum to start investing

June 4, 2019 Ref -

Ankit Khandelwal and his wife Sonali, both 34, wanted to get their financial life on track for a very long time but didn’t know whom to consult or how to go about it. About five months ago, they met Shweta Jain and Nithin Sasikumar, who are the co-founders of Investography, a Bengaluru-based financial planning firm, thanks to a financial literacy workshop that was held at Ankit’s office. “Earlier our investment planning was not structured and we were not sure about where we must invest our money," said Ankit, a finance professional.

One misconception which the couple had was that you need a large amount of money to start investing but Jain explained to them why that wasn’t true. “Middle-aged individuals’ investments should be targeted towards their goals, growth for the long term and liquidity and safety in the short term," said Jain.

Sonali and Ankit were initially hesitant about exploring investment options other than Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and real estate. Ankit said their investments were not planned through and the little that was invested was done only to get some tax benefits.

Once they started working with a planner, they figured out how investment options such as mutual funds could help their money grow better. Getting the couple to start saving was not the real challenge but increasing savings to match their requirements was hard. However, five months into the financial plan, they’re now saving about 25% of their total income. What most of us don’t realise is that one of the biggest leaks is the money we spend on shopping. “We had to help them get things in order. While the couple did mention what they saved, the numbers were not matching up to what they should have actually saved," said Jain. the mismatch was because of the unaccounted expenses.

Sonali and Ankit have their long-, medium- and short-term goals chalked out. Their priority is to ensure that their one-and a-half-year-old son Tiyansh gets the best education and they’ve already started putting aside money to meet this goal. They also wish to buy a house of their own in the next five years which is their medium-term goal. Planning for retirement and having a contingency fund are other goals. The couple has started regular investment in equities to meet their long-term goals. For other goals, they have a significant debt exposure.

“We should have started earlier and planned well. But now we are carefully selecting our investment avenues based on our needs. Better late than never," said Sonali, a marketing and sales professional.

Jain said most people tend to take decisions such as buying a house or going on vacations without really considering what impact it could have on their other goals. “It is worthwhile to figure out what is important to you and the implications your money decisions could have on your future goals," said the financial planner.

Their son and Ankit’s parents are financially dependant on the couple. In terms of money lessons, the couple said they’ve learnt a lot. Starting early was their biggest takeaway and this is one thing they’d like to pass on to their son as well. “Another thing I learnt was that it doesn’t matter whether you start with a small amount or a big amount. Saving in whatever quantity is okay and investing the same will only help your money grow," said Ankit.

Having a financial plan is very important. Jain said it is the foundation and if you don’t have a foundation, how successful and tall a building can you build? Most people end up spending a lot in their early years and regret it only much later. “Putting a plan in place and saving for the goals gives a person focus and clarity which is important. A financial plan is like Google Maps, it shows you various routes to get to your destination—you can choose which one serves you the best," said Jain.

What can home buyers do, under RERA, if agreements don’t mention possession dates

June 3, 2019 Ref -

In the recent past, several developers have avoided mentioning the possession date in the agreement. We look at what home buyers can do, under RERA, in such cases, and recent judgements in favour of home buyers.

There have been cases galore, where home buyers have faced delays in getting the possession of their flats. In many cases, the delays have been for more than five to six years. Some developers have even gone to the extent of not mentioning the date of possession in the agreement, leading to mental and financial trauma for the home buyers.

While taking a serious note of the issue, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), in a recent judgement, directed Skyline Construction Company to refund Rs 1.06 crores, along with an interest of 10.55 per cent to actor Vrajesh Hirjee, for failing to hand over possession and keeping the date of possession clause empty in the registered agreement. The Authority also asked the builder to refund tax deducted at source (TDS) and stamp duty paid by Hirjee. In another case, Aparna Singh, who had purchased a flat in a residential project in Thane, was not able to claim interest relief under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) rules, due to the absence of the possession date in the sale agreement. In her case, the RERA tribunal ordered the developer to pay interest to her, even though the date was not mentioned in the agreement.

Prime office realty rentals on the rise

May 31, 2019 Ref -

MUMBAI: Demand for commercial real estate, led by sustained occupiers’ interest to expand businesses in India, is pushing prime office rentals in main cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru upwards.

During the first quarter, prime office rentals in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi rose 17%, 5% and 1.4%, respectively, from a year ago. The growth has made New Delhi’s Connaught Place the fourth-most expensive office market in the Asia-Pacific region, showed data from Knight Frank. 

Connaught Place recorded gross effective monthly rents of $82.5 per sq metre (Rs 330 per sq ft) that stacked up just behind Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), with effective monthly rents of $75.1 per sq metre (Rs 300 per sq ft), was the seventh-most expensive office location. 

“The office space demand witnessed record growth in 2018 with over 47 million square feet (msf) of leasing, while new office space supply rose 13% in the same period. Prime office markets are already operating with very low vacancy, which is slowing down new transactions. Strong demand trends have put upward pressure on rentals, especially in prime markets, a trend that is expected to continue,” said Shishir Baijal, CMD of Knight Frank India.

Knight Frank’s Asia-Pacific Prime Office Rental Index for the first quarter of 2019 recorded a decline of 0.4% sequential growth in rentals, though it remained up 6.2% year-on-year basis. The sequential decline in the index was attributed to continued heightened global uncertainties led by re-escalation of US-China trade tension, Brexit and various major elections across the region.

UAE's new permanent residency rule to help property market

May 30, 2019 Ref -

Dubai: The UAE's recently-launched permanent residency scheme could be a game changer and provide a fillip to the real estate market by encouraging expatriates to invest in property and settle in the Gulf nation, industry experts said.

The United Arab Emirates last week launched a permanent residency scheme to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents, a move that could attract more Indian professionalsand businessmen to the country.

The "Gold Card" programme unveiled by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum is open to investors and "exceptional talents" such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.

Sameer Barakat, Executive Director at Provis, a real estate and property management company in UAE, said the permanent residency scheme is a significant step towards realizing the economic diversification and sustainable development goals of the country.

“This initiative further positions the UAE as an innovative destination for business leaders, providing millions of people with high-quality opportunities in a tolerant, safe and productive environment," he said.

Lewis Allsopp, CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp, Dubai estate agents, said this is a huge milestone for the UAE and for the Dubai property market.

“Over the last few years, we have seen continual steps to enhance the property market and to add longevity to the UAE with five-year retirement visas, long-term visas and ten-year visas," he said.

“Most expats have a money-making mindset when they move to Dubai with a short-term plan. The UAE Cabinet's decision to enforce a Gold Card for permanent residency, now allows expats to look at Dubai as a home rather than a temporary plan," he added.

The permanent residency is a good step forward and likely to boost the fortunes of its property market, a statement from the Property Finder said.

It said that around 6,800 people have been granted permanent residency and a ‘Gold Card’ in the first round of applications.

“This is a game changer for the real estate industry in Dubai. We are yet to get full details of the Gold Card program, such as who can qualify, the terms, etc. However, it's definitely a step in the right direction and very much needed to stimulate investment," Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data, Property Finder, said.

Currently, short-term visas linked to employment hold back expatriates from investing and owning real estate in the UAE. They prefer to remit savings to their home countries instead. The Gold Card scheme will encourage expats to make long-term investment goals, including owning a property.

The UAE already offers long-term visas valid for five to 10 years to property investors, entrepreneurs and people with exceptional talents without the need for a local sponsor.

A minimum investment of AED 5 million (USD 13,61,225) is needed to obtain a five-year visa, and double that amount is necessary for a decade-long visa.

“Initiatives and new regulations like these are expected to have a positive impact on the real estate market in Dubai. The more the government offers to entice talent and companies, the easier it will be for them to settle here and call Dubai home. Then, the investment should follow suit," Abad said.

The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 per cent of the country's population of around nine million.


Surat fire: Preliminary probe finds lapses on part of civic body, builder

May 29, 2019 Ref -

A preliminary probe into the fire in Surat, at a coaching class, which killed 22 students shows several lapses by the builder and local municipality officials.

A preliminary probe into the causes of the devastating fire in Surat at a coaching class, which claimed the lives of 22 students last week, has highlighted various lapses on the part of officials of the local municipal corporation as well as the builders. The probe also found that the structure where the coaching class was operated was prone to fire incidents. It had low ceilings, and tyres were used for sitting in place of chairs.

The builders had hidden the fact that they had added a fourth floor to the three-storey Takshashila Complex while seeking regularisation of the structure in 2013 by paying ‘impact fee.’ According to a top bureaucrat, the officials concerned did not conduct a physical inspection of the building before approving the proposal of the builder. The fire was triggered by a spark in the compressor of the air-conditioner fixed between the first and second floors of the Takshashila Complex and spread through a vertical display panel to the top floor with a dome structure where the coaching centre was located, as per a preliminary report submitted by Urban Development Department principal secretary Mukesh Puri, to the state government. He said access to an RCC staircase connecting the fourth floor to the lower floor was blocked due to which the students could not escape out of the building. “Another escape route through an iron staircase could not be accessed due to the fire,” he said.

Puri said three officials have been suspended for various lapses. They are identified as SK Acharya and Krti Mod, both with the fire department in Surat Municipal Corporation, and deputy engineer VK Parmar. Chief minister Vijay Rupani had directed Puri to conduct an inquiry and submit a report in three days. “In 2013, four owners of the complex had applied for the regularisation of the structure by paying an impact fee. Their application was approved in 2015. It is learned now that they had applied for approval of a building with only three floors, and with no mention of a fourth floor. The responsible engineer did not conduct a physical inspection of the building. Declaration by the builders was false and approval by the engineers was wrong. Officials who carried out the survey for the impact fee for the building and approved it without conducting physical verification are also responsible,” Puri stated.

“The builders or the tenants using such a structure like the one on the fourth floor of the building are also responsible. Also, there is a big lapse on the part of the person who blocked access to the RCC staircase,” he said. Puri also said that certain fire department officials were also responsible as they did not carry out a survey of the building even after they were directed to do so in the wake of a similar incident in a tuition class in the city’s Vesu area, in November last year. Two persons were killed in that incident. The structure where the coaching class operated was prone to fire incidents, with low ceilings, tyres for sitting in place of chairs, and an iron staircase attached to it placed on a wooden structure which collapsed. Puri said the smoke caused due to the blaze could not escape as the structure had no ventilator.

As per the report, as many as 918 sensitive establishments were surveyed and 450 have been asked to comply while 39 properties have been sealed. “Fire officials were supposed to carry out the survey. How the building remained to be surveyed is a big lapse,” he said. Puri also said there were three teachers in the coaching centre at the time of the incident. While one of them died, another received serious head injuries while jumping off the building. The third also sustained injury while escaping but has been arrested.

Puri said the findings are a result of a three-day investigation and a detailed investigation will continue further in the case. He shared that Surat has two vehicles with hydraulic ladders but one of these arrived 45 minutes after the fire erupted and was of not much use. The police have so far arrested three people, namely Harshul Vekaria, Jignesh Paghdal, and Bhargav Butani. While Vekaria is the builder, Paghdal used to handle the overall management of the complex and Butani is the owner of the coaching class.

DLF transfers ₹330 crore land to JV with GIC for settlement of dues.

May 28, 2019 Ref -

New Delhi: Realty major DLF has transferred a three acre land worth ₹330 crore in Gurugram to its joint venture with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and is in process to hand over a Noida shopping mall to settle dues.

DLF owed ₹8,700 crore to DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd (DCCDL) as on 31 December, 2018.

In December 2017, the realty firm DLF entered into this joint venture with GIC when DLF promoters sold their entire 40% stake in DCCDL for nearly ₹12,000 crore.

This deal included sale of 33.34% stake in the DCCDL to GIC for about ₹9,000 crore and buyback of remaining shares worth about ₹3,000 crore by the DCCDL.

DLF holds 66.66% while GIC holds 33.34% stake in the JV firm DCCDL.

In its latest analyst presentation, DLF has informed that the company has transferred 3.05 acre land parcel near Mall of India, Gurugram for ₹330 crore.

The 2 million sq ft Mall of India project at Noida in Uttar Pradesh is in process to be transferred to DCCDL at a valuation of ₹2,950 crore, it added.

Post this transaction, the outstanding amount would come down to around ₹5,450 crore.

To settle this balance amount by next year, DLF has proposed to sell its stake in its prime commercial project Horizon Centre in Gurugram, Haryana for about ₹850 crore.

That apart, it plans to transfer its mall at Saket in South Delhi at a valuation of ₹1,050 crore. Another ₹1,000 crore is proposed to be settled through transfer of DLF's commercial land in Chennai, while ₹1,100 crore would be settled as per the previous contract with group firm DLF Assets Ltd.

DLF is in discussion with the DCCDL for identifying other assets to settle the remaining ₹1,450 crore dues.

DCCDL currently holds about 28 million sq ft of rent-yielding commercial assets, largely in Gurugram, with annual rental income of about ₹2,800 crore.

BKC-Eastern Express Highway elevated corridor likely to be ready by July 2019

May 24, 2019 Ref -

A team from the MMRDA, the Railways and contractors, have successfully launched six girders along the 1.6-km-long elevated BKC- Eastern Express Highway corridor in Mumbai, paving the way for the opening of the route by July 2019.

Update on May 23, 2019: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) launched 6 major girders each, over the Sion rail over-bridge (ROB) and Chunabhatti ROB during the wee hours of May 17-19, 2019 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The 52-metre-long 6 girders launched at Sion ROB weighed 480 tonnes and the 60-metre-long 6 girders launched over Chunabhatti ROB weighed 600 tonnes, the agency said, in a statement. The BKC-EEH connector is expected to be launched soon.

March 20, 2019: A team of a hundred people, which included 21 engineers, two railway officials and 80 workers, launched six major girders weighing 80 tonnes each for the much-awaited 1.6-km-long four-lane elevated connector from Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) to the Eastern Express Highway (EEH). The heavy-duty activity took place in the wee hours of March 17-19, 2019, during the different blocks allotted by the Railways. This will help the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) construct a bridge across the Mithi River and a rail overbridge on the Central Railway near Sion station and another rail overbridge on the Harbour Line, near Chunabhatti station.

“This was a very complex task but great team work was put up by the MMRDA, Railways and contractors, to showcase progress on the project of this magnitude. The Rs 155-crore elevated connector from BKC to EEH is expected to decongest traffic in the Sion-Dharavi area, reduce journey by three km and travel time by 30 minutes, in turn, helping the environment,” said RA Rajeev, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.

The 53-metre-long girders were launched in three operations, each comprising two girders at a time. While the first two girders were launched between 1.06 am and 1.34 am on March 17, the next two girders were launched between 2 am and 2.46 am on March 18. The remaining set of two girders were launched between 2.22 am and 3.18 am on March 19, 2019. The launching operations were carried out under the supervision of the consultants recommended by the Railways, M/s RITES Ltd and Railway officials.

Bank of Baroda Q4 loss narrows to ₹991 crore as asset quality improves

May 22, 2019 Ref -

MUMBAI: Bank of Baroda reported on Wednesday that its net loss narrowed to ₹991 crore for the quarter ended March 2019 as against net loss of ₹3,102 crore in March 2018.

According to 19 Bloomberg analysts, the bank was expected to post a profit of ₹913 crore.

Provisions and contingencies surged 93% to ₹5,399.29 crore in the quarter from ₹2,794 crore a quarter ago. On annual basis, it was down 19% from ₹6,672 crore.

The provisions for non-performing assets (NPAs) during the March quarter declined to ₹5,550 crore as compared to ₹7,053 crore in March 2018.

Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) fell 33.5% to ₹15,609 crore at the end of the March quarter from ₹23,482 crore in the same quarter last year.

As a percentage of total loans, gross NPAs stood at 9.6% as compared to 11% in the previous quarter and 12.26% in the same quarter a year ago. Net NPAs were at 3.3% in the March quarter as compared to 4.26% in the previous quarter and 5.49% in the same quarter a year ago.

The lender also got shareholders' nod to raise additional capital up to ₹19,400 crore.

Net interest income (NII), or the core income a bank earns by giving loans, increased 27% to ₹5,066.96 crore versus ₹4,002.26 crore last year. Other income was at ₹1,970.41 crore, up 16% from ₹1,695.90 crore in the same period a year ago.

Fresh slippages for the quarter and the 2018-19 financial year stood at ₹3,192 crore and ₹10,138 crore respectively

The net interest margin in March quarter was at 2.9%.

On Wednesday, Bank of Baroda's stock on BSE closed 0.7% higher at ₹126.

No environment clearance needed for construction on 20,000-50,000 sq metre area: Environment Ministry’s notification

May 20, 2019 Ref -

The centre’s new notification, exempting constructions in areas between 20,000 and 50,000 sq metres from obtaining environment clearance, has invited criticism from activists, who have claimed that the move will benefit builders.

Construction in areas between 20,000 and 50,000 sq metres will not require environment clearance from the government anymore, the centre has said, in its modified notification on the environment impact assessment (EIA). The notification, recently issued by the Ministry of Environment, states that it has decided to ‘re-engineer’ the EIA rules, based on amendments and the experience over the years in its implementation. “As the principal notification has undergone substantial changes over the years, the ministry has decided to re-engineer the entire notification, in line with the amendments issued and circulars issued from time to time and experience gained over the years in implementation of the EIA notification,” it said.

Under the new notification, the process of clearances granted for sand mining and construction activities have been eased out, a decision that has not gone down well with environmental activists, who claim that the EIA notification compromises on public hearings. The draft allows district-level authorities, headed by the district magistrate, to seek exemption from public hearing, while granting green clearance for sand mining in areas up to five hectares of land.

Lawyer and environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said that through the notification, the government was trying to give benefit to builders and mining companies, which in turn, was weakening the EIA. “Under the modified EIA, building and construction in areas between 20,000 sq metres and 50,000 sq metres do not require environmental clearance, which has been taking place all this while. In the sand mining sector, no public hearing will now take place for mining in an area of 0-5 hectares. It is a wrong move and public hearing must take place,” Tongad said. He said, the government was ‘trying to give benefit to builders, mining companies and industries, by weakening the EIA notification of 2006, which would increase pollution and corruption in India’.

EIA is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

Sharing his view, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) deputy director general Chandra Bhushan, said this draft has weakened the existing EIA. “My first impression is that this draft, if it is converted into the final law, will weaken the environment assessment. EIA needs substantial strengthening. Public participation part has been weakened,” he said.

Bhushan said that the entire process has become meaningless and will not help in bringing down corruption. “This notification does not set up right institution for compliance of the conditions under which clearance is given. The entire process becomes meaningless. Corruption remains a major issue. The draft is a status quo draft,” he said. The activists were also of the view that this new notification would violate court and National Green Tribunal orders, by which several amendments included in the EIA draft have been quashed already. “The kind of changes which are being brought in, is a violation of court/NGT orders,” Tongad said. No comment was available from the Environment Ministry.

Odisha seeks 5 lakh PMAY houses for cyclone Fani-hit people

May 14, 2019 Ref -

The Odisha government has asked the centre to sanction five lakh houses under the PMAY, to reconstruct houses that were damaged by cyclone Fani.

The Odisha government, on May 13, 2019, urged the centre to sanction at least five lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), as the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone ‘Fani’, which hit the state on May 3, 2019, damaged lakhs of kutcha houses in the state’s coastal region. According to preliminary estimates, five lakh houses have been completely or substantially damaged across 14 districts, with the major loss occurring in Puri district.

In a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote, “I would request you to kindly consider sanctioning five lakh PMAY special houses, initially, for the state of Odisha.” Stating that the state government had mentioned about the housing damage during the prime minister’s visit on May 6, 2019, Patnaik wrote, “I reiterate our request for waiver of the permanent wait list (PWL) criteria for this particular allocation and also consider a centre-state fund sharing pattern of 90:10, as a special case.”

A copy of the letter was released to the media, a day after the chief minister announced that those whose houses have been damaged fully or substantially, will be given pucca houses. Noting that the monsoon is likely to reach Odisha around June 10, Patnaik said that keeping in view the urgency of providing pucca houses to the affected people, the state government is going ahead with issuing of work orders from June 1, 2019, in anticipation of the centre’s approval of the proposal. “Your good self had personally witnessed the damage in the cyclone-affected areas during your visit to the state on May 6. A presentation on the extent of damage was also made by the state administration, highlighting the dire need for building disaster-resilient housing along the coastal belt of Odisha, vulnerable to cyclonic storm,” he said.

The state government is undertaking a detailed assessment of houses damaged, which would be completed soon, Patnaik said, adding the exact number of houses damaged completely or substantially will be arrived at, after the survey. Meanwhile, union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan assured the Odisha government that an additional 1,000 kilo-litre of kerosene will be arranged for distribution among the cyclone-affected people. In a letter to the chief minister, Pradhan mentioned, “I wish to inform that I have advised one of the PSUs under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, to contribute around Rs 3.2 crores (equivalent to the cost of 1000 kl of kerosene on cost basis) through CSR fund to the CM Relief Fund/state exchequer, to meet the requirement.”

Logistic firm Bhumika enters real estate market, to invest ₹300 crore

May 13, 2019 Ref -

Logistic firm Bhumika group has forayed into real estate and is developing a mixed use project at Udaipur, Rajasthan with an investment of ₹300 crore. The company is developing over 10 lakh sq ft area in the first phase of this project named Urban Square.

"We are developing our first real estate project at Udaipur. The total area in this project will be 18 lakh sq ft. But, we are currently developing the first phase comprising over 10 lakh sq ft," Bhumika group Director and chief executive officer Uddhav Poddar said.

The project cost for the first phase in ₹300 crore, he said. Urban Square project is being financed with a mix of equity, sales advances, internal accruals and debt which has been secured from Aditya Birla Finance Ltd, Poddar added.

The construction work has already started and the first phase will be delivered in the next three years. In the first phase, the company is constructing a 5star hotel with 200 keys and has roped in Holiday Inn for the management purpose.

Bhumika group is also developing a shopping mall, high-street retail and office space and serviced apartments in the first phase. The company is giving retail space in shopping malls on lease, while office space, high-street retail and service apartments are on sale model.

The project is being designed by shopping mall specialist architect from South Africa - Bentel Associates.

Bhumika Group is planning to develop more commercial projects in Rajasthan, Haryana and the national capital market.

In its logistic business, the group handles transportation and warehousing for cement manufacturers.

Ghaziabad: An end-user-driven housing market in the NCR

May 9, 2019 Ref -

With improving infrastructure and connectivity, Ghaziabad’s housing market has become a hub for end-users, owing to its varied offerings and competitive pricing, as compared to its nearby hubs like Greater Noida West

From being a densely-packed suburban city in the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad has come a long way, aided by infrastructure development and improving connectivity. Besides the metro rail network, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway connects it radially with the other highways in the north and south of the national capital. This micro-market, hence, has become a hub for end-users in the residential real estate space.


A manager who saw India credit crisis now warns of realty stress

May 8, 2019 Ref -

Mumbai: The next flash point in India’s credit markets could be real-estate debt.

That’s the view of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co., a major corporate bond buyer and one of India’s top life insurers. The firm avoided investing in debt of stressed companies before credit market strains spread last year.

That crisis was triggered by shock defaults by major infrastructure financier IL&FS Group, and its fallout pushed up financing costs for a range of borrowers including wealthy property tycoons struggling to roll over debt. The country hardly needs more stresses now just as credit markets regain some normalcy after policy makers took steps to inject more liquidity into the financial system.

“While most of the credit market is healthy, one needs to be cautious on NBFCs having large exposure to the real-estate sector," said Chief Investment Officer Manish Kumar, who oversees 1.1 trillion rupees ($15.8 billion) at ICICI Prudential Life. Pressure may rise at non-bank firms, raising the need for lenders to liquidate assets or for stronger developers to buy up projects, he said.

Indian shadow banks lent heavily to the property industry in recent years, helping to fuel a construction boom. They now face rising risks that weaker developers may struggle to repay those borrowings, as housing sales have failed to keep pace with debt expansion. Teetering economic activity also isn’t helping.

Earlier this year, troubles for mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. were among factors that pushed up financing costs.

An analysis of about 11,000 home builders by research firm Liases Foras in February showed that developers on average have to repay twice as much in debt each year as the income they generate that can be used to service it. Property prices in India’s biggest cities have been flagging -- home values in Mumbai sank 11 percent last year.

That all means property debt investors need to be extra cautious, but there are still pockets of opportunity, according to ICICI Prudential. The firm has raised corporate bond holdings to 33 percent from 31 percent since the IL&FS crisis, mainly by increasing investments in notes issued by top-rated housing finance firms and bonds that will be serviced by the government.

Peninsula Land logs sales of 1,200 apartments worth Rs 300 crores at addressOne, Pune

May 7, 2019 Ref -

Peninsula Land Limited has announced that it has sold over 1,200 apartments at its affordable luxury project, ‘addressOne’ in Gahunje, Pune.

Peninsula Land Limited, a part of the Ashok Piramal Group, on May 7, 2019, announced that it has sold over 1,200 apartments at its affordable luxury project, ‘addressOne’, in Gahunje, Pune. The value of the apartments sold is close to Rs 300 crores. In its first four phases, the company launched approximately 900 units for sale, of which it sold 800 apartments.

Commenting on the success of the project, Nandan Piramal, director – sales and marketing, Peninsula Land Ltd, said, “We are thrilled with the customer response received for our project addressOne in Gahunje, Pune. The project saw an 18% rise in prices, since its project launch. Gahunje as a destination is fast emerging as the next big realty hotspot for Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC’s) residential needs, thereby, making it the next growth precinct of Pune. The Pune market overall holds great promise, given its proximity to Mumbai and the thriving IT/ITeS industry in Pune. The saturated regions of the city have pushed spillover residential demand to more affordable areas like Gahunje in Pune, which is witnessing rapid infrastructure upgrades.”

To provide financial assistance to home buyers, Peninsula Land has tied up with Home Capital, to provide interest-free loans on stamp duty and registration. “Around 350 home buyers have availed of the benefits of this offer,” Piramal added.

How does nomination affect property inheritance

May 4, 2019 Ref -

While nominations can be given for shares, bank deposits, mutual fund investments, bank lockers, the rules and implications for immovable properties are different. Here’s how they operate.

The reply to a question raised in the Indian parliament revealed that deposits worth Rs 5,124.98 crores were lying unclaimed for 10 years or more, with scheduled banks. This is a huge amount, considering the fact that banking facilities are generally availed of by educated people. These unclaimed deposits could have been significantly lower, if the depositor had appointed a nominee for his bank account/deposit. Here’s a look at what nomination is and its effect on succession.

What is nomination?

Nomination is a process, whereby, a person authorises someone to receive the assets on his/her behalf, after death. It comes into operation, after the death of the owner. The specified asset is transferred in the name of the nominee.

Rights of nominees and legal heirs

There is a general perception, that the nominee becomes the owner of the asset, once it is transferred in his name or is handed over to him. However, the rule is subject to a few exceptions, that the nominee becomes a trustee to hold the property on behalf of the legal heir.

Under the Insurance Act, an insurance company is discharged of its liability, once it pays the amount of claim to the nominee. It is the responsibility of the nominee, to hand over the claim amount to the legal heir/s. The judiciary has made this amply clear. The Supreme Court, in the case of Sarbati Devi, which was decided in 1983, held that the nominee is a trustee of the property and is liable to hand it over to the legal heirs. This applies to deposits in bank accounts, as well.

Those who reside in cities, often have their residential properties in cooperative housing societies. Such properties are governed by the cooperative society laws that are applicable in each state. According to Section 30 of the Maharashtra Cooperatives Societies Act, for instance, the society is legally allowed to transfer the property in the name of the nominee, in case the owner has submitted the nomination form to the society, in respect of that property. However, such a nominee, who is registered as the owner of the property in the records of the housing society, represents the legal heir/s. It is only the legal heir/s, who have the beneficial ownership rights of the flat, ruled the Bombay High Court, in the celebrated case of Ramdas Shivram Sattur in 2009, which dragged on for 25 years.

In the case of provident fund dues and shares in companies, the law provides that the nominee becomes the legal and beneficial owner of such property. Therefore, in case of shares in a demat account, the nominee shall become its absolute owner, as decided by the Bombay High Court in the case of Saraswat Bank Limited.

Importance of nominating

Home owners should make nominations for all their assets, wherever such a facility is available. As the nominee/s are also the legal heir/s in most of the cases, the making of such nominations, will help transfer of the asset to the legal heir/s. Even in other cases, it will ensure that that the property does not remain unclaimed or become subject to litigation. While making a nomination for shares and provident fund dues, one needs to remember that the nominee will become the owner of these assets.

Home sales in new launches see slight revival

May 3, 2019 Ref -

It seems that the rapid decline in sales of residential properties has finally come to a halt. Over the last few quarters, sales numbers have either remained stagnant or improved marginally, but did not fall, according to various real estate reports. One of the major reasons that is likely driving the slight revival in sales is the increasing demand for affordable and low-cost housing. Other contributing factors are — confidence generated by the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 among homebuyers when it comes to buying apartments in new launched projects, and relaxation in goods and services tax (GST) on under-construction property.

Increase in sales

“Sales across Tier I cities have grown by 5% during FY2019 as compared to FY2018. MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) has posted highest sales of 70,794 units (25.5% of total sales in Tier I cities), followed by NCR (National Capital Region) with 54,174 units contributing 19.5% of total sales," according to the Residential Market Report for the quarter ending March 2019 by Liases Foras, a Mumbai-based real estate research and advisory firm.

Among the eight cities covered by the report—MMR, NCR, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai—seven cities witnessed sales growth between 6% and 20%. While Hyderabad and Kolkata witnessed maximum growth of 20% each, followed by Bengaluru with 14% increase in sales numbers, NCR witnessed a 13% decline in sales when compared to last year.

While revival in sales will bring some respite to developers, home buyers warming up to newly launched projects is a big plus for them. However, the latter trend is just picking up and most homebuyers still prefer ready-to-move-in houses.

According to a recent report, Consumer Sentiment Survey H1 2019, by Anarock Property Consultants Pvt. Ltd, “While ready-to-move-in homes remained the preferred choice for several homebuyers, new launches (which drew the least consumer interest in the previous survey) saw a decent revival. Over 18% of respondents now prefer newly launched properties as against a mere 5% in the previous survey."

The reasons behind the increase in preference for newly launched projects are “implementation of RERA and lower GST rates", said the Anarock report.

Meanwhile, affordable housing witnessed higher demand compared with other segments, thanks to government incentives. “Like last quarter, close to 54% of the sales of this quarter were contributed by sub- ₹50 lakh segment. Growth in this segment is supported by government initiatives," said the Liases Foras report. About “70% of prospective buyers prefer properties under ₹80 lakh," added the Anarock report.

Taking cues from the trends, developers have been focusing on affordable and mid-range segments. “Over the past five years, developers have been actively focusing on the affordable and mid-range housing segments. The share of new supply in the affordable and mid-segment combined (within ₹80 lakh) stood at 77% between 2017 and 2018—39% in affordable housing and 37% in the mid-range segment," according to the Anarock report.

High Inventories

An increase in sales notwithstanding, inventory of unsold units continues to remain high. “Unsold stock in Tier I cities increased by 4% on year-on-year basis, while the number of unsold units currently across top eight cities is 9,66,591 units," according to the Liases Foras report. Hyderabad witnessed a 16% increase, the highest, followed by Chennai, Kolkata and Pune, showing a rise of 15%, 12% and 10%, respectively. Single-digit growth was observed in MMR (7%), Bengaluru (5%) and Ahmedabad (1%). NCR witnessed a decline of 8%.

High inventory at developers’ end has kept a lid on property prices. According to the Liases Foras report, “Prices have remained unchanged largely across the top cities with some upward movement being recorded only in Hyderabad."

Prices are expected to remain stagnant till there is a significant increase in sales. So if you are planning to buy a house, take your time to mull options.

SC asks Amrapali Group to explain details of transactions, agreements with MS Dhoni

May 2, 2019 Ref -

After cricketer MS Dhoni moved the SC, seeking protection of his ownership over a penthouse in Amrapali Group’s project, the court has asked the company to explain its monetary transactions and agreements with the cricketer.

The Supreme Court, on April 30, 2019, directed the embattled Amrapali Group to explain its monetary transactions and agreements with Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was the realty firm’s brand ambassador between 2009 and 2015. The top court said it wants the entire picture to be placed before it and also sought an explanation of each and every transaction and dealings with Dhoni. It said the Group might have ‘cheated’ Dhoni, as well and that is the reason some media houses have reported about his case.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, asked the firm to submit the details, as to how much money was transacted between Amrapali Group and Dhoni. “We want entire picture before us. How much money was transacted between you and Dhoni and what were your agreements with him. How much money you have paid for the advertisements (branding). We want entire details. You might have cheated him also, that’s why media houses have recently reported about his case,” the bench said.

At the outset, the court-appointed forensic auditors, Pawan Agrawal and Ravi Bhatia, told the bench that they had detected 24 transactions between Amrapali Group and M/s Rhiti Sports Management Pvt Ltd, which manages the endorsement and advertisement rights of Dhoni. Agrawal told the bench that in one of the transactions, around Rs 25 crores was given by Dhoni to Amrapali and there were several transactions between different group companies.

Rhiti Sports told the court that it was an operational creditor of Amrapali Group and had entered into various agreements, for endorsement and promotion of brand ‘Amrapali’, between the year 2009 and 2015. It had said that the endorsements’ agreements and various MOUs were executed between Amrapali Group CMD for and on behalf of all the companies, partnership firms, joint ventures doing their business under the brand umbrella of Amrapali Group and M/s Rhiti Sports Management Pvt Ltd. “That the respondent builder Amrapali Group owes an amount in excess of Rs 38.95 crores, out of which Rs 22.53 crores is towards the principal amount and Rs 16.42 crores towards the interest calculated at 18% simple interest per annum,” Rhiti Sports said in its affidavit. The sports management company had told the court that two agreements were entered between Amrapali Group and Dhoni in 2009 and 2012, for three years each, for the brand endorsements of the real estate firm and it was agreed that all the amount payable to Dhoni was to be done through it only.

The bench asked senior advocates Geeta Luthra and Gaurav Bhatia, appearing for Amrapali, to furnish all the details by May 1, 2019. Dhoni, in an earlier affidavit filed in the apex court, had said that he was a creditor of Amrapali Homes Projects Pvt Ltd and had entered into a joint venture agreement with it, on June 14, 2011. Under the agreement they were to create a joint venture company to develop a residential complex in Ranchi and adjoining areas in Jharkhand, he said. Dhoni said that for creating the JV an MOU was executed between Amrapali Group CMD Anil Kumar Sharma and him and had contributed Rs 25 crores, as initial capital. He said he was guaranteed and assured payment of a minimum sum of Rs 75 crores to him, by Amrapali. In another affidavit, Dhoni had sought protection of his ownership rights over a 5,800-sq ft penthouse he had booked 10 years ago, in an Amrapali Group project.

Residents stage protest following 29-hour-long power outage in Ghaziabad’s Trans Hindan area

April 30, 2019 Ref -

Residents of the Trans Hindan area in Ghaziabad staged a protest following a 29-hour-long power outage, which has been blamed on damage to the underground cables, caused by the Water Works Department.

Residents of 17 colonies in the Trans Hindan area, protested against the Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) in Ghaziabad, on April 29, 2019, for a near 29-hour-long power outage in their neigbourhood. The protestors alleged negligence on the part of the Water Works Department of Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam. The power outage lasted from 9.00 pm on Saturday (April 27, 2019) to 2.00 am on Monday (April 29, 2019).

The PVVNL said that it would will lodge a FIR against the Water Works Department, for allegedly damaging underground cable while laying water pipes, officials said. Chief engineer Rakesh Kumar Rana said the case will be lodged under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Property brokerage firm 360 Realtors to hire 1,000 people this fiscal

April 29, 2019 Ref -

NEW DELHI: Property brokerage firm 360 Realtors will hire 1,000 employees this fiscal year and is actively looking for acquisition in the US market to grow its business in India and overseas, a top company official said.

Gurugram-based 360 realtors currently has over 50 offices across India and overseas with a sales force of more than 1,000 people. Its revenue grew by 46 per cent to ₹152 crore during the last fiscal. The company sold 6,000 units worth ₹4,100 crore during 2018-19.

"We have set a target to sell 12,000 units this fiscal. To achieve this, we need people. We will be hiring about 1,000 people this financial year," the company's founder and MD Ankit Kansal told PTI.

With 30 per cent of sales in value terms coming from non-resident Indians (NRIs), he said, the company is actively looking to acquire a brokerage firm in the US to market Indian properties.

The discussions are underway with some of the US-based brokerage houses that are marketing Indian properties in America.

360 Realtors competes with the likes of, ANAROCK, Square Yards, Investor Clinic and Wealth Clinic in the organised property brokerage business, which has now come under the ambit of new realty law RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority).

On the overall real estate market, Kansal said, it has once again started turning bullish on the back of regulatory reforms and healthy economic growth.

"Developers are also coming up with numerous attractive schemes such as developer subvention, attractive prices and freebies, thereby giving a buying boost," he added.

Kansal said, housing prices are likely to remain stable for at least another 6-8 months. Over the last year, the company has incubated verticals such as a unique broker aggregation platform, strategic advisory services for developers and a media house to achieve higher growth, he said.


BMC chief cannot frame rules on capital value of property: Bombay HC

April 26, 2019 Ref -

The Bombay HC has struck down the powers of the BMC commissioner to frame rules for laying down guidelines for determining the capital value of a property, saying that such rules are ultra vires to the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act

The Bombay High Court has said that there was no provision for Mumbai’s civic chief, to frame rules for laying down guidelines for determining the capital value of a property, based on which tax could be levied on it. The high court made the observation, while striking down certain rules enacted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for assessment of capital value of a property based on which tax could be levied on it.

A division bench of justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla had, on April 24, 2019, struck down Rules 20, 21 and 22 of the Capital Value Rules of 2010 and 2015, saying they are ultra vires to the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act (MMC Act). The high court said all the assessments and bills issued under these rules stand quashed. “There is no provision which enables the civic body commissioner to frame rules for laying down guidelines for determining capital value,” the bench said in its order made available on April 25.

The order noted that the Corporation, while assessing capital value of a property, will have to consider factors like nature of land, type of land or structure, area, user category (residential or commercial) and its age. “In fact, framing rules for laying down the method of calculating the capital value is itself ultra vires, beyond one’s legal authority,” the bench noted. The court said the civic body will have to give a fresh hearing to the complaints filed before it.

The bench, however, upheld the constitutional validity of the 2009 amendment to the MMC Act that had changed the levying of property tax basis in Mumbai, from rateable value on standard rent to capital value. Rateable value of a property is derived from its rent, while capital value is based on a host of factors, such as the property’s market value, its location and use, among others. “By adopting capital value as the basis for levy of property tax, only the measure of computing of property tax has undergone a change,” the court said in its order. “Only the basis of charging the property tax has changed. Instead of calculating hypothetical rent, now, the hypothetical market value of the property will have to be worked out,” the court said.

The bench had stayed the striking down of the rules part of the judgement till August 31, to enable the BMC to approach the Supreme Court in an appeal. The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by an association of property owners, builders’ associations and charitable institutions, including religious bodies, against the BMC and the Maharashtra government, challenging the levy of property tax on the basis of capital value. In 2009, the MMC Act was amended and a concept of levying property tax on capital value system, was brought into force.

The petitioners challenged the constitutional validity of the amended property tax based on capital value of land, as opposed to the earlier rateable value based on standard rents. There were a series of constitutional challenges raised by the Property Owners Association and developers, to an amendment to the MMC Act and rules framed in 2010 and 2015, for fixation of capital value of lands and buildings. The rules are void and unconstitutional, the developers had argued.

Mumbai property tax exemption: BJP clarifies that all components will be waived

April 22, 2019 Ref -

Following the Congress’ allegations that the Shiv Sena-BJP government had ‘fooled the people of Mumbai’, by waiving only 0.110 per cent of the property tax for houses up to 500 sq ft, the BJP clarified that all components of the levy would be waived

After the Congress accused the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance of misleading Mumbaikars on the property tax waiver, the BJP has clarified that all components of the levy would be waived in future bills. The process to change the rules, to facilitate the waiver is on, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said, on April 18, 2019.

“In case of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, civic rules have been changed to waive general component of property tax for houses up to 500 sq ft. However, to waive other components of property tax, you need to change the state rules. The process of issuing an ordinance in this regard is on,” said Shelar.

The Shiv Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had earlier announced that the property tax for houses up to 500 sq ft will be waived. However, Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora, on April 17, said that the Maharashtra government’s waiver of the tax was a joke.

The Maharashtra ordinance number 11 of 2019 is a ‘farce’ as it waives only 0.110 per cent of the property tax. Therefore, all Mumbai residents who live in houses not bigger than 500 sq ft ‘should NOT pay their property tax for the year 2017-18’, Deora tweeted.

“The Sena-BJP alliance has fooled the people of Mumbai and failed to fulfil its promise. The financial position of the BMC is robust and it can easily afford to waive property tax for owners of properties up to 500 sq ft carpet area,” he said.

The Mumbai Congress chief said that following the Sena’s promise to waive property tax, the BMC asked the state government to implement it and the latter issued an ordinance last month. However, the government resolution of March 8, 2019, only amended section 140 (C) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and only the general tax component – which varies from 10-30% of total tax slab – was exempted, he alleged. Further, the GR said the exemption would come into effect from January 1, 2019, but the BMC issued bills for up to March 31 (without exemption), Deora alleged.

Birla Estates launches residential realty project

April 18, 2019 Ref -

Bengaluru: Birla Estates Pvt. Ltd, part of BK Birla Group, has ventured into residential property development with its first project launch in Kalyan, in suburban Mumbai. With a focus on premium housing projects, the firm also plans to build homes in Pune, Bengaluru and the National Capital Region (NCR), said a top company executive.

The Kalyan project, Birla Vanya, which has one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments priced between ₹43 lakh and ₹1.2 crore, was launched in April. It has sold over 400 of the 530 units in Phase I within three days of its launch. It will start its next project in Bengaluru spread across eight acres in the IT suburb of Whitefield.

Birla Estates started operations as an independent company from January, and is a subsidiary of Century Textiles and Industries Ltd (CTIL). It has also developed a couple of commercial office spaces in Mumbai, as a real estate division of CTIL.

“The main focus of the company will be on the residential segment. The ‘Birla’ brand resonates in the consumers’ mind and our aim now is to build a strong real estate brand and develop residential spaces," said K.T. Jithendran, chief executive officer, Birla Estates.

The customer plays a critical role today, Jithendran said, and “how well we are focused as a company in serving the customer will be a challenge". “Product design and execution of a project are important, just as the pricing of a product is."

Corporate real estate developers, many of them new entrants, have embarked upon expansion plans to take advantage of the changing regulatory environment amid rising distressed assets in the property market. Large corporate houses clearly see an opportunity in the stressed realty market and are out to acquire land and explore development opportunities.

Birla Estates is actively looking at several joint development deals with partners in Bengaluru and Pune, and plans to sign new projects. It already has around 200 acres, mostly industrial land, in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which it intends to develop.

In the last few years, land acquisition has slowed down in India and, as a result, many real estate companies have signed joint development agreements with land owners or other developers, in a bid to either monetize their own land parcels, or in some cases, to take over the development rights themselves.

Hyderabad surpasses Bangalore to emerge as dominant office market in Q1

April 17, 2019 Ref -

MUMBAI | BANGALORE: Hyderabad property market has overtaken Bangalore for the first time to be the dominant office market driving quarterly space take-up, on the back of culmination of several pre-commitments. In the first quarter of 2019, gross leasing touched 12.8 million sq. ft., recording a growth of 3% on a quarterly basis with Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR accounting for more than 75% of the leasing activity, showed data from CBRE South Asia. 

In the first quarter, Hyderabad witnessed leasing of 3.5 million sq ft against 1.1 millon sq ft a year ago, while leasing in Bangalore declined to 2.5 million sq ft from 5.5 million sq ft. 

Small sized deals with less than 10,000 sq ft and medium-sized transactions ranging between 10,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft dominated space take up accounted for 33% and 48% of the transaction activity respectively. The share of large-sized deals greater than 1 lakh sq ft increased from 7% in fourth quarter of 2018 to 10% during this quarter. Hyderabad followed by Bangalore, dominated large-sized deal closures in the first quarter of 2019, while a few such deals were also reported in Mumbai, Noida and Chennai. 

Tech corporates and flexible space operators mainly dominated large-scale deal closures. A few large-sized deals were also closed by e-commerce, BFSI, engineering & manufacturing and research, consulting & analysis companies. 

“Office leasing activity is expected to remain stable in the short term, backed by corporates looking to expand or consolidate their operations. While interest from American corporates is expected to sustain, we anticipate that India’s position as a preferred outsourcing destination would continue to attract corporates from other geographies such as EMEA and APAC,” said Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, CBRE. 

Magazine believes policy initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India etc., along with the emphasis on smart cities and industrial corridors, will likely boost operations of both Indian and multinational corporates. 

Tech corporates continued to drive office space take-up in the country, with their share in total leasing rising to 33% during the quarter from 22% a year ago. The share of key flexible space operators rose from 5% to 16% during the same time period. Other sectors such as engineering & manufacturing (10%), BFSI (9%) and research, consulting & analytics (7%) also contributed to the leasing activity during the quarter. 

“Bolstered by several policy initiatives to ease out liquidity pressures and promote construction activity and the listing of India’s first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), the real estate services (along with financial and professional services) grew at 7.3% during the review period,” said Ram Chandnani, Managing Director, Advisory & Transaction Services, India, CBRE South Asia. 

Driven by tech, BFSI and e-commerce firms, quarterly pre-leasing activity rose marginally on an annual basis, largely led by Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. 

Supply addition in during the quarter rose by 23% sequentially to touch 13.4 million sq. ft. Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai accounted for about 80% of the quarterly supply addition. Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore reported a rise in development completions on a quarterly basis. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) continued to account for a third of the quarter’s supply, rising by almost 40% as compared to a year ago period. Almost the entire SEZ supply in Hyderabad, in particular, was pre-committed as developers refrained from investing in speculative development in this segment. 

Singapore investors bet big on India's real estate sector

April 17, 2019 Ref -

Singapore-based investors are betting big on India’s commercial realty and other sunshine sectors, including logistics and warehousing, real estate consulting firm ANAROCK said in a report.

Top Singapore-based private equity (PE) firms such as GIC, Ascendas-Singbridge and Xander are funnelling billions of dollars into India’s realty sector, particularly in South Indian cities, according to the report.

About one-third of the total $14.01 billion PE investment in India’s realty sector between 2015 and 2018 was made by Singaporean firms, the highest among both domestic and foreign investors, according to ANAROCK’s report Private Equity in Indian Real Estate.

“With funding from banks and non-banking financial companies drying up, Indian developers are being forced to explore debt and equity funding from various PE firms. Singapore investors were on top of the list, followed by PE players from US and Canada. After establishing a strong base in China, India was their next destination of preference," said Shobhit Agarwal, managing director and chief executive officer at ANAROCK Capital.

Singapore-based investors and developers have gained a substantial foothold in India’s property market over the last four years, with their more patient and long-term outlook, he said. They pumped $1.15 billion into Indian real estate in 2015 and 2016, and nearly $3.5 billion in 2017 and 2018. In recent years, they have also started diversifying their portfolios and eyeing sunshine sectors such as logistics and warehousing. In the past four years, GIC has invested close to $2.5 billion, mainly in cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and NCR.

For Ascendas, the preferred regions have been Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Meanwhile, US-based investors such as Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Hines, Warburg Pincus and Proprium Capital have invested nearly $4 billion in India in the last four years. Blackstone infused $2.9 billion in this period. PE firms from Canada, led by Brookefield and CPPIB were the third largest investors with capital infusion of close to $2.3 billion in four years.

Total 5.6 lakh housing units delayed across India's top 7 cities: Report

April 9, 2019 Ref -

Top seven property markets of India have a total stock of 5.6 lakh delayed housing units worth Rs 451,750 crore, showed data from ANAROCK Property Consultants.

MUMBAI: Homebuyers across top property markets, including the Delhi-National Capital Region and Mumbai, continue to await delivery of their apartments which has made buyers wary of under-construction properties. 

Top seven property markets of India have a total stock of 5.6 lakh delayed housing units worth Rs 451,750 crore, showed data from ANAROCK Property Consultants. These units were launched either in 2013 or before that. 

Top cities such as the NCR and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) collectively account for 72% of the total stuck housing units across the top 7 cities worth Rs 349,010 crore, nearly 77% of the total worth of the stuck projects. In comparison, the main southern cities -- Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad -- together account for a mere 10% of the overall stuck housing units of a total worth of Rs 41,770 crore. 

Interestingly, among the two major IT destinations, Bengaluru is far better off than Pune in terms of the total number of delayed or stuck projects. Chennai has the least project delays during this period, with around 8,650 units worth Rs 5,620 crore, the data showed. 

“Besides some developers' lack of real will to complete their projects and preference for funds diversion, the tightening credit crunch has been one major factor contributing to this mounting problem. It has become a 'chicken and egg' situation -- buyers have understandably stopped releasing funds to builders, and builders claim they have no funds to complete construction,” said Anuj Puri, chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultant. 

Also, every delayed project results in cost overruns that compound the funding crunch even further. Lack of project clearances for whatever reason also contributes to the piling up of housing stock. In the pre-RERA era, many builders launched green field projects without the requisite approvals in place, resulting in their projects getting stuck.

By amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and treating buyers at par with banks and other creditors, the government has further protected the interests of the affected buyers. With this provision, even when builders opt for bankruptcy, the state authorities will intervene to safeguard homebuyers' investments. 

Besides monitoring cash inflows of the concerned entity, the government will try and ensure that the project is completed either by the developer himself or by outsourcing its completion to a third party. However, buyers are still waiting for the final outcome of these interventions.

Mumbai bridge collapse: BMC union condemns arrest of engineers

April 5, 2019 Ref -

A union of engineers of the BMC has condemned the arrest of two civic engineers in connection with the collapse of the foot overbridge near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

In a letter addressed to civic chief Ajoy Mehta, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Engineers’ Union (BMEU) said that the engineers working in the bridge department could not be held solely responsible for the collapse of the foot overbridge (FOB) at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) that had left six people dead. So far, two engineers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – assistant engineer SF Kakulte and executive engineer AR Patil – have been arrested by the Mumbai police, in connection with the FOB collapse.

The BMC engineers are ‘civil servants’ carrying out their ‘specified duties’, the BMEU said. “Municipal engineers are always overloaded with work, due to the shortage of staff. In this case, the exact cause of the bridge collapse is yet to be established. Further, a consultant was also appointed to give structural a stability report of the bridge. It is also understood that some cosmetic changes were carried out, under the control of assistant commissioner in ‘A’ ward, in 2016. In such cases, only engineers working in the bridge department cannot be held responsible,” the letter said.

“If there are any lapses in the supervision or any other service, punishment for that should be given as per the Municipal Service Rules,” the union said. Referring to the collapse of a British-era bridge on Savitri river at Mahad in Raigad district of Maharashtra, during the 2016 monsoon, it said it was appropriate that no action was taken against engineers in that case, as it was an ‘accident’. “The arrest of engineers, who are civic servants, gives a very bad message to the engineers working in the BMC. In future, such action will definitely prevent the entry of good engineers in the BMC,” it said.

4 reasons why home loan lenders ask for your bank account statement

April 3, 2019 Ref -

The bank account statement that home loan lenders ask for, is used to ascertain your financial activities during the period and will bare your saving and spending habits to the prospective lender

While granting a home loan, lenders generally ask the applicants to submit a copy of their bank’s account statement, for six months to a few years. These are very important documents from the lender’s perspective, for determining the applicant’s home loan eligibility. Here’s what the lenders look for, in a bank account statement.

1. The existence of any loan being serviced

From the bank statements, the lender can easily find out the existence of any loan(s) being serviced, in case identical amounts are debited at regular intervals. The existence of any such loan, will help the lender in deciding your loan eligibility amount. An existing loan, will reduce your overall home loan eligibility.

2. The level and nature of activity

For self-employed persons, the lender asks for bank statements of the account, where the business or professional income is credited. These statements, will help the lender in verifying the level of business activity like sales/receipts and compare it, with the one declared in the income tax returns or in the loan application form.

It will also help the lender to identify huge cash deposits or withdrawals. Huge cash deposits in the account, will create doubt, unless the nature of the business warrants such deposits.

For salaried people, bank statements enable the lender to verify that the salary purported to be shown in the income tax return, is in fact credited in the bank account. In case the salary is credited month after month and the amount is also similar, it points to the salary being genuine. In case the amount of salary, as shown in the income tax return, is not credited month after month in the bank statement, it is sufficient for the lender to view such credits with suspicion.

3. Inward and outward cheque returns

Bank charges that are debited for bounced cheques or those that are returned unpaid, help the lender to know the volume of cheques returned, which are either deposited in your account or are issued by you. The volume and value of the cheques deposited or returned, will point towards the profile of the customer, his financial discipline and the strength of his business.

Isolated cases of cheque returns, will not impact your chances of getting a loan. However, repeated instances of cheque returns, could impact your chances of getting a loan, because the lender will tend to avoid a person who issues cheques, without ensuring that adequate balance in maintained in the bank account.

4. Account balance and nature of debits

The balance amount in your bank account, reflects your financial health, as well your saving habits. Regular debits (for example, in a Systematic Investment Plan) in mutual funds, will show your financial discipline and good saving habits.

There is a growing trend of using credit cards or internet banking, for making payments for online purchases. The quantum of credit card payments or debits for online payments, will help the prospective lender to understand your spending habits and pattern. This will help the lender, in determining your loan eligibility in relation to your income. Higher payments or debits in your bank account, are likely to reduce your overall loan eligibility.

UP RERA issues show-cause notices to Ansal API over alleged fraud

April 2, 2019 Ref -

UP RERA issues show-cause notices to Ansal API over alleged fraud

The UP RERA has said that it has issued show-cause notices to Ansal API over alleged fraud and diversion of funds

The Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UP RERA), on April 1, 2019, said that it has issued show-cause notices to Ansal Properties and Infrastructure, following a report submitted by a forensic auditor that had investigated 91 projects of the company over the last three months, for financial misappropriation. In October 2018, the Authority ordered forensic audit in registered projects with a view to investigate into the affairs, especially the accounts of Ansal API to find out the possible diversion of funds, and causes of inordinate delays, among others.

The Authority had appointed Currie and Brown (C&B) for conducting the forensic audit, it said in a statement. “The auditor had submitted its report, where it has stated that under Ansal API, the projects have found to be in breach of RERA compliances, managing separate accounts, half-yearly project account audit and a possible diversion of over Rs 600 crores from the projects to other purposes,” the statement said.

Consequently, its four projects in Lucknow were finalised for notices. These projects are EWS/LIG-PKT 2-Sec K-SGC, Bliss Delight, Block 1, 2, 3 & 4, GH-2, Sec, Pocket-2, Sector-J, Sushant Golf City and Pocket 3 Sector A, Sushant Golf City. “A large number of complaints were filed against these projects before us, in respect of non-delivery of units/plots, failure to refund money advanced by buyers, violation of various approvals, etc. Further, some serious allegations of mismanagement, diversion of funds, etc., were also made by the complainants. Hence, this was needed to protect the interests of the allottee(s) and to identify the ways and means to ensure the requisite fund flow for the completion of the projects,” UP RERA chairman, Rajive Kumar said.

The first of its kind action by RERA has been taken under Section 35 along with Section 7 (2), for violation of Section 4, 7 and 11 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, the Authority said in a statement.

It would give the developer 30 days’ time to reply and deposit the amount in the concerned separate account, UP RERA member Balwinder Kumar said, adding “If the developer fails to respond, we might revoke the project registration with the Authority, impose penalties and other necessary restrictions.” Abrar Ahmed, UP RERA secretary, said the notices have been issued to Ansal API’s full-time directors Sushil Ansal, Pranav Ansal and managing director Anil Kumar.

Mumbai Metro: Human chain formed, to protest against tree-cutting

April 1, 2019 Ref -

Environmental activists formed a human chain at Marine Drive in south Mumbai, to protest against the tree-cutting in the city, for the ongoing metro rail construction

Wildlife conservation activists, students and representatives of those displaced because of various development projects, were among those who took part in a human chain, which extended for almost a kilometre on Marine Drive, on March 30, 2019, to protest against tree-felling for the various metro rail projects in Mumbai. They also demanded that political parties include environmental issues, in their manifestos for the Lok Sabha elections.

“This chain is the city’s way of declaring that its citizens will not vote for any party that does not address environmental concerns, in its manifesto for Lok Sabha elections,” said Amrita Bhattacharjee, a senior member of the Aarey Conservation Group (ACG). “We want to save the only green lungs of the city,” Bhattacharjee said, referring to Aarey Colony in north Mumbai. “Why only Mumbai city, environment-related issues in the entire country should be addressed with top priority,” Bhattacharjee said.

The ACG is agitating to protect the green cover in Aarey Colony, where around 2,700 trees are to be cut, to make way for a car-shed for the Mumbai Metro. Trees are being chopped down arbitrarily for the metro and activists are not allowed to be present when the trees are cut, Bhattacharjee said. Advocate Abhishek Bhatt, another activist, said, “Measures for protection of the ecology do not feature in any political agenda across the country.” Tribals and kolis (fishermen), the original inhabitants of Mumbai, were being driven out from their lands for so-called development, the activists said in a statement.

MahaRERA releases SOP to remove delaying developers

March 29, 2019 Ref -

The panel would prepare a blueprint for project completion. The blueprint would consist financial details and a detailed roadmap towards arranging the said finances.

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) on Thursday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to allow home buyers to remove a developer in case the project was delayed. The project would then be handed over to an expert panel for completion.

The authority, however, clarified that it could initiate such action only against non-litigated projects.

“It will help complete all delayed projects in the state. This is an unique move, probably the first in the country, under the Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016, which will help the association of allottees (homebuyers) take control of the situation,’’ Vasant Prabhu, MahaRERA secretary, told TOI.

In case of revocation orders, the developer will lose rights to the project and his bank accounts will stay frozen, the order said, adding that the authority would then set up a panel of experts to prepare a project report within four months to decide on future course of action.

The panel would prepare a blueprint for project completion. The blueprint would consist financial details and a detailed roadmap towards arranging the said finances.

The SOP has been issued under section 37 of the RERA Act, 2016, with reference to sections 7 and 8. MahaRERA officials said the authority will only consider complaints received from an association of allottees and not from single home buyers for such action. “The complainants should not be less than 51% of the total allottees,” they said.

Mumbai, Pune Metro: Alstom to provide train control and signalling solutions

March 29, 2019 Ref -

Alstom has bagged two contracts worth over 90 million Euros, to provide Communications-Based Train Control technology for five metro rail routes in Mumbai and Pune

Alstom has been awarded contracts to equip Mumbai Metro lines 2A, 2B and 7 and Pune Metro lines 1 and 2, with Urbalis 400, Alstom’s latest generation of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology. The combined value of the two contracts comes to over 90 million Euros. The Urbalis 400 system is presently in service in over 30 cities across the world, a statement from the company said.

The contract for Mumbai Metro, awarded by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC), is to provide the CBTC signalling system, as well as a state-of-the-art telecommunications system for the three elevated lines. The combined lengths of lines 2A, 2B and 7, make it one of the most extensive signalling projects in the country. The signalling scope includes design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of Urbalis 400 and includes supply and commissioning of on-board equipment for 63 trains. The telecommunications scope includes public address systems, passenger information display systems, fibre optic transmission systems, CCTV and access control systems. The contract for Pune Metro, awarded by the Maha Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL), will see Alstom provide Urbalis 400 for Corridors 1 and 2, to control 31 trains on the 32-km-long stretch, allowing them to run at higher frequencies and speeds in total safety.

Speaking about the contract, Alain Spohr, Alstom’s managing director for India and south Asia said “We are proud to have been selected by our customers for these prestigious projects. Our cutting-edge technologies will help enhance the quality of life of the citizens of both, Mumbai and Pune and will contribute to the overall development of the cities. We are also proud to be a key partner, via these projects, in the growth of sustainable transportation in the region.”

Politician involved in real estate in Karnataka arrested for defaulting on tax: I-T Department

March 28, 2019 Ref -

A politician, who had contested the May 2018 Karnataka elections on a prominent political party’s ticket and involved in the real estate business, has been arrested for defaulting on tax of Rs 5.4 crores

A politician involved in the real estate business in Karnataka, has been arrested for defaulting on tax of Rs 5.4 crores, the Income Tax (I-T) Department said, on March 27, 2019. The politician, who was arrested recently, had contested the May 2018 assembly election on a prominent political party’s ticket, it said. Without revealing his identity, the department said in a release that it carried out searches and seizures at various places, during which he admitted to defaulting on taxes of Rs 5.4 crores.

The department said it made several attempts to recover the tax, by issuing notices and recovery proceedings. The politician was involved in various land transactions as reflected from the affidavit filed by him during elections. Yet, he did not use the transaction to clear the tax dues. Subsequently, various prosecution proceedings were initiated before the Economic Offences Court. However, he did not pay anything, the release said. A final notice was issued but he did not pay up, compelling the income tax officials to arrest him with the help of the Bengaluru police, it said.

19 housing societies in Mumbai’s Vasai get notices for denying membership rights to non-Catholics

March 27, 2019 Ref -

The sub-registrar of societies in Vasai division has served notices to 19 cooperative housing societies, for allegedly not admitting non-Catholics as their members or allowing them to buy flats

The sub-registrar of societies in Vasai division, has served notices to 19 cooperative housing societies, after receiving a complaint that these housing societies were preventing non-Catholics from renting, purchasing flats or becoming members. These cooperative housing societies are a part of the Citizen Housing Complex at Naigaon, in Palghar district of Maharashtra, neighbouring Mumbai.

The sub-registrar has sought their replies and warned them of action under the Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act, 1960, if the complaint is found to be true. The 19 societies that received the notices, consist of a total of 57 wings, having 912 flats and were constructed almost 15 years ago.

“I came to know from my friends that since the last 15 years, when this housing complex came up, only members of the Catholic community get entry into the society. People belonging to other religions or communities, are not allowed to buy or rent flats in the complex,” Jitu Yadav, the complainant, said. Yadav is the president of the Real Estate Agents Welfare Association in the locality and had filed the complaint in the first week of February 2019.

When contacted, an official from the sub-registrar office, on March 26, 2019, confirmed receiving the complaint and said they were still waiting for a reply from the housing societies. “We would like to wait for a few more days. After that, we will initiate action under the relevant sections of the Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act, 1960,” the official said. When contacted, an office-bearer of one of the housing societies denied having such a rule and claimed people from all castes and communities are welcome in the complex.

According to experts dealing with cooperative society laws, individuals cannot be barred from entering into a housing society, on the basis of their caste, community, food preference or any other ground. Advocate Vinod Sampat, president of the Cooperative Societies Residents Welfare Association, said, “Nobody can be restricted from purchasing, renting or leasing a property by a society, on the basis of their caste, community or food preferences.”

MS Dhoni moves Supreme Court to get Rs 40 crore from Amrapali

March 27, 2019 Ref -

Dhoni became the brand ambassador of the Amrapali Group in 2009 and continued to feature in its marketing and public relations activities till 2016.

Former Indian cricket team captain, MS Dhoni has moved the Supreme Court to get Rs 40 crore from the Amrapali group for for using his services for branding and marketing activities.

Dhoni became the brand ambassador of the Amrapali Group in 2009 and continued to feature in its marketing and public relations activities till 2016.

Last year, Dhoni had sued the real estate group for over Rs 150 crores.

The real estate group is currently in dock for duping 46,000 homebuyers.The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed arrest of Amrapali Group Chairman and Managing Director Anil Kumar Sharma as well as two other directors, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar, by the Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in an alleged criminal case involving cheating.

In 2016, Amrapali had even announced gifting each member of the cricket team with an exquisitely designed independent villa at its Amrapali Dream Valley Project at Noida Extension worth Rs 9 crore after India’s victory in the World Cup in 2011. While Dhoni was presented with a villa worth Rs 1 crore, the other team members were gifted villas worth Rs 55 lakh each covering an area of 1690 sq ft. A person familiar with the situation said those villas were never built or gifted to the cricketers.

No clear definition of 'ongoing project' may lead to disputes under new GST rates for real estate

March 26, 2019 Ref -

Lack of clear guidelines and apprehension of possible controversy around transition of unutilised input tax credit as on 31 March 2019, has been a key issue for the sector.

The GST Council at its 34th meeting on 19 March 2019 laid down the roadmap for implementation of the recommendations made in the previous meeting, towards rate rationalisation for real estate. These recommendations attempt to address the apprehensions of the sector on multiple issues including loss of unutilised input credit, exemptions and rate applicability.

Ongoing projects

A one-time option has been proposed for on-going projects not completed by 31 March 2019, to continue to pay tax at the existing GST rates (effective rate of 8 percent for affordable housing and 12 percent for others). Ongoing projects have been referred to as buildings where both construction and actual booking started before 1 April 2019 and which have not been completed by 31 March 2019. The option has to be exercised once within prescribed time frame. It is quite interesting that this option has been allowed at a project level instead of at the individual residential unit level. Complexity arises in interpreting the term 'ongoing project', particularly in cases where the construction is undertaken in a phase-wise manner consisting of cluster of buildings in a large township project. Absence of clear definition of 'ongoing project' would leave room for interpretation and may invite unwarranted disputes.

As far as choice of option is concerned, from the viewpoint of home buyers, the existing higher GST rate may not be acceptable. From the developers' standpoint, continuing with the existing rate structure may seem to be beneficial where input credits for the project would have been factored into the pricing of units, and also where benefits under anti-profiteering have already been passed on to customers. The process of selection of alternative would not only entail determination of benefit which could be derived by the developer, but may also have to be balanced with the part of such benefit which the home buyer would bargain to continue with the existing rate.

New Projects

New projects for which the construction would start after 1 April 2019 shall attract the revised lower GST rate (1 percent for affordable residential units and 5 percent for other residential units). As far as mixed use projects are concerned, the GST Council has clarified that residential projects having commercial space such as shops, offices etc., up to 15 percent of total carpet area, shall also be eligible for lower GST rate of 5 percent.

These rates are coupled with conditions that input tax credit shall not be available and 80 percent of procurements, except procurements of capital goods, Transferable Development Rights (TDR) / development rights under Joint Development Arrangement, long term lease (premiums), are made from GST-registered persons. This would require developers' to revisit budgeting and costing of their new projects to factor the potential tax cost towards non-creditable taxes. Also this requirement requires clarity in the enabling notification in terms of timing and manner of compliance.

Further, the compliance with the condition of 80 percent procurement from registered persons in case of ongoing projects opting to pay tax as per new rates, requires clarity as to whether it should be computed from 01 April 2019 onwards or even for the past period. This would also require re-visiting the existing procurements and selection of vendors given the fact that value chain in the sector comprises of unorganised suppliers. This would also entail applying internal controls as well as checks and balances by developers to avoid potential violation of this condition.

Considering the peculiar nature of the sector, to avert any possible complexity and controversy around determination of eligible credit, it has been proposed that the Credit Rules shall be amended to provide requisite procedure and guidelines for mixed use projects (residential and commercial use).

Realty hot spot series: Sea-facing properties a big draw of this Mumbai suburb

March 25, 2019 Ref -

Bandra (West)- Linking Road is sought after for its good schools, hospitals and retail outlets. The social infrastructure is a highlight, as is the availability of premium sea-facing properties.

In this edition's realty hot spot series, we look at yet another Mumbai area, a quite popular one too. Bandra (West)- Linking Road is a n affluent residential area, it has a lot to offer- from all the basic and even fancy amenities, to an elaborate connectivity system.

Properties are available starting from Rs 26,480 per sq ft and go up to Rs 54,270 per sq ft. The social infrastructure here is a major highlight, as is the availability of premium sea-facing properties.

It is safe to say that this is one wholesome suburb offering a good lifestyle to the residents.

Vastu Tips For Bedroom

March 23, 2019 Ref -

Sometimes, the smallest things can turn your fortunes around. Vastu Shastra shows you how tweaking your bedroom can enhance positive energy and even bring couples closer to each other

Sunaina Mehta, a homemaker from Mumbai, had been quarreling with her husband a lot. These were trivial issues but they sometimes ballooned into heated arguments. Then Sunaina did something unusual – she rearranged their bedroom and tossed out a stack of broken CDs and a DVD player she had stored in the bed box. Mehta shares how marital bliss soon returned to their home.

Sunaina’s house cleaning was no random act. She had followed the laws of Vastu Shastra while rearranging their bedroom. “I even got rid of an oil painting of a weeping woman on the wall,” she says.

“Vastu Shatra is the Indian cosmic science of architecture and it helps create a harmonious environment to set up one’s life for wealth, happiness and harmony. It’s all about creating a rhythm and balance to ensure a better life,” reveals Mumbai-based Nitien Parmar, a Vastu consultant and author of books on the subject.

Here’s how Vastu can help you optimise your bedroom as a place of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Which direction?

“Ideally, the bedroom at south-west brings good health and prosperity for the home owner and enhances longevity. Avoid a bedroom in the north-east or south-east zone of the house. In the south-east, it may result in quarrels among the couple. The bedroom in the north-east may cause a health issue. The children‘s bedroom is best in the east or north-west zone of the house,” says Parmar.

Bed placement

According to Vastu, your bed should be placed with the head towards the east or south.

The bed in the guest room can have its head towards the west. Also, it is best if your bed is made of wood. Metal can create negative vibrations. To encourage togetherness, a couple should sleep on one single mattress and not join two separate mattresses.

Mirror, mirror

Careful where you fix your dressing table, assuming it has a mirror.

According to Vastu, avoid a mirror in front of your bed as the reflection of one’s sleeping body in a mirror is inauspicious.

Banish devices

Anything that disturbs the calm of the bedroom has no place here. Hence, no television. If you must have one, make sure it is placed at a reasonable distance from your bed. “The TV screen should not work as a mirror opposite the bed.

“Avoid a computer in the bedroom, or at least distance it with a partition. Computers and mobile phones are high electro stress instruments and the frequencies from cell phones, computers and TVs emit harmful radiation, advises Parmar.

What colour paint?

Colours don’t just brighten our world; they also affect our mood, health and happiness.

Ideally, paint your bedroom off-white, baby pink or cream. Avoid dark colours. The room should be well-organised. Keep your bedroom clean and clutter-free, says Snehal Deshpande, an expert in Classical Vastu and Feng Shui.

Toss them out

Also, do not keep things that have not been used for years such as clocks, watches, electronic equipment, broken artefacts or machinery, in your bedroom. Clutter disturbs the energy flow and creates disharmony in the house, she explains. “In the bedroom, avoid water fountains, aquariums and paintings of war scenes and single women.”


Smells and aromas can be very powerful and can uplift the mood and spirit. So, make sure your room smells fresh; keep aromatic candles, diffusers or potpourri in your bedroom. Use refreshing jasmine or lavender fragrances.

Courtesy Desphande, couples might want to heed this advice – keep two rose quartz hearts in the south-west corner of your bedroom. It will add happy energy to your life.

SILA Group to invest Rs 70 crore to develop housing project in Mumbai.

March 23, 2019 Ref -

The Mumbai-based firm commenced operations in 2010 as an integrated facility management company, but later ventured into project and construction management as well as real estate advisory and consulting services.

NEW DELHI: Real estate consultant SILA group has entered into the property development business and is constructing a luxury housing project near Mumbai with an investment of about Rs 70 crore, a top company official said.

The Mumbai-based firm commenced operations in 2010 as an integrated facility management company, but later ventured into project and construction management as well as real estate advisory and consulting services.

"We see an unique opportunity in getting into real estate development business. With new realty law RERA and the GST, there is level playing field for new players," SILA group founder and MD Sahil Vora said.

"We have tied up with land owners to develop this luxury project at Alibaug comprising 64 units. The prices will be in the range of Rs 1.2-2 crore," he said.

Can’t feed birds from flat’s balcony and create nuisance for others, says SC

March 19, 2019 Ref -

A person cannot feed birds from a flat’s balcony, creating nuisance due to droppings and filth for other occupants in a residential society, the Supreme Court has said

The Supreme Court has refused to interfere with an order restraining a woman from feeding birds from her balcony flat, in a high rise building in Mumbai. “If you are living in a residential society, then, you have to conduct yourself according to the norms,” said a bench of justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra.

The bench said in a recent order that the Bombay City Civil Court, on September 27, 2013, had granted interim injunction by which it had restrained the petitioner Jigeesha Thakore, from feeding the birds from the balcony of her flat. It noted that when the civil court order was challenged by the woman before the Bombay High Court, it had refused to interfere and made the interim injunction as absolute, by dismissing the appeal on July 12, 2016. “In the circumstances, we see no reason to interfere in the matter. The special leave petitions are dismissed,” the bench said, while directing the civil court to dispose of the pending suit as expeditiously as possible.

In 2011, Dilip Sumanlal Shah and Meena Shah, residing in the 10th floor of an apartment in Worli, moved the civil court against Thakore and her family members residing on the 14th floor. The Shah family sought injunction against the Thakore family, for creating nuisance for them and other occupants of the building, by feeding birds with water and grains from her balcony. The 20-storey cooperative housing society had also moved court against the Thakore family, seeking direction to restrain them from feeding the birds from the balcony of their flat.

In their plea before the civil court, the Shah family contended that the Thakore family has installed a metal platform outside their balcony window. They argued that a large number of birds flocked the platform, causing nuisance due to droppings and filth. The Shah family argued that Thakores start bird feeding at 6.30 am in the morning, which is done several times in the day till evening.

The society had requested the Thakores to use the public places designated for feeding birds and passed a resolution that no member will be allowed to feed birds from their balconies or windows.

The Thakores, in their reply to the civil suit by Shah, had contended that they were animal welfare activists and associated with an NGO since 1998 and ran a dog shelter. They said that the Shahs used to be regular suppliers of medical and surgical equipment to the NGO but their relations turned sour. They said it was not possible to feed birds on the ground level, as they could come under a car or be attacked by some cats and dogs.

What is a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) and how to invest in one?

March 19, 2019 Ref -

Real estate investment trusts are intended to enable more people to invest in the Indian property market and boost funding in the sector. How does it work and why haven’t more people flocked to this investment avenue? We examine The Indian real estate sector has been lucrative for savvy investors over the last decade, but it has not been without accompanying uncertainties. The introduction of real estate investment trusts (REITs), will provide a platform that will allow all kinds of investors (even those with smaller budgets) to make safe and rewarding investments in the Indian property market.

With REITs, investors can start with as small a sum as Rs 2 lakhs, 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 initial public offering (IPO). REIT units will have to be listed with exchanges and consequently, traded as securities.

The SEBI board has kept the minimum asset sizes to be invested in, at Rs 500 crores. However, the minimum issue size would have to be less than Rs 250 crores. As with stocks, the investors will 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 properties like offices, residential units, hotels, shopping centers, warehouses, etc. All REITs will be listed with the stock exchanges, as they would be structured like trusts. Consequently, REIT assets will be held with independent trustees for unit holders/investors.

GST Council to issue new tax norms for real estate

March 18, 2019 Ref -

NEW DELHI: Federal indirect tax body the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will on Tuesday announce new rules on how far builders can make use of credit for taxes paid on raw materials and services in settling their final tax liability as the sector moves to a new tax regime from 1 April.

The Council has designed a formula to allow builders to take advantage of the tax credits on their books as best as GST principles will allow. Policymakers want to give relief to builders to the extent possible as unused credit will either push up the cost of property or impact the bottom line of builders, explained a government official, who asked not to be named.

The GST Council had decided on 24 February to lower the tax rate on under-construction residential properties from an effective 12% to 5% and on under-construction affordable houses from an effective 8% to 1%. The new tax structure does not allow builders to use credits for taxes paid on raw materials to be used for settling part of their final tax liability.

The new rules to be announced on Tuesday will specify under what circumstances sale transactions initiated in the current tax regime but concluded after 1 April will be eligible for credits on taxes paid on raw materials and services. It will clarify on the tax rates applicable and the availability of tax credits in a host of scenarios including where the builder has paid taxes on raw materials but has either not started construction or has only half-completed the construction. These rules were necessitated as home buying is often a lengthy affair while the new tax rate kicks in from a specific date. The move is significant considering that many builders are grappling with project delays which are likely to continue beyond 1 April.

“We had extensive discussions on the impact of the new tax regime on the real estate industry. The new formula for utilization of credit during the transition period takes into account the fact that unlike other industries, real estate projects have a long gestation time," the official quoted above said on condition of anonymity.

For builders, the change in the tax regime is a challenging situation. Currently, unutilized tax credit is an asset on the builder’s books. The moment that becomes unusable, it becomes an expense and has to be shown accordingly, explained Ved Jain, former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Disallowed tax credits could thus affect builders’ bottom line and even valuation.

Also, under property sale deals, customers are liable to pay the property price plus GST at the applicable rate. In the case where houses were booked earlier but sale is to be completed after 1 April, buyers will insist on paying only 5% GST, while developers may prefer to utilize the input tax credit available to them and charge the higher tax rate prevailing now.

“Rules on transition to the new tax regime should address such scenarios to prevent civil disputes," said Jain. “It is essential to frame modalities for the rate reductions in the real estate sector in a manner that is beneficial to both the real estate business and the consumers with clarity on transition provisions," said M.S. Mani, Partner, Deloitte India.

Realty hot spot series: South Mumbai offers premium residential homes

March 18, 2019 Ref -

South Mumbai offers high-end homes as well as key amenities like schools, hospitals and markets.

This week’s realty hot spot South Mumbai offers a range of properties: 1BHK (640 sq ft), 2BHK (1130 sq ft), 3BHK ( 1800 sq ft) and 4BHK (2740 sq ft). The locality boasts of over 12 hospitals, more than 14 restaurants, 12 plus grocery store, and more than 15 petrol pumps.

This premium residential area has more than ten schools which include the Cathedral & John Connon School. Also, amenities include several markets and malls and hospitals including Breach Candy Hospital and Bombay Gymkhana Club.

The high-end homes prices range between Rs 30,720-80 and Rs 80,790 per square feet. South Mumbai is 19 KM away from the airport, 4 KM from the nearest railway station and 2 KM from the highway.

6 dead, 31 injured, as foot overbridge collapses in Mumbai

March 16, 2019 Ref -

In the second incident of bridge collapse in Mumbai in eight months, six persons were killed, when a section of a foot overbridge connected to the busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai, collapsed on March 14, 2019

Six persons were killed and 31 injured, after a section of a foot overbridge near a busy train station in south Mumbai collapsed during evening rush hour on March 14, 2019, officials said. The bridge connected the area near the Times of India building with the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station. The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals, a disaster management cell official said.

Just after the incident, Mumbai Police had tweeted: “Foot overbridge connecting CST platform 1 north end with BT Lane near Times of India building has collapsed. Injured persons are being shifted to hospitals. Traffic affected. Commuters to use alternate routes. Senior officers are on spot.” A case has been registered against officials of the Central Railway and the BMC in connection with the incident, police said. “We have registered an offence under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC at the Azaad Maidan police station,” said Manjunath Singe, spokesperson of the Mumbai Police.

Civic authorities started dismantling the remaining portion of the overbridge late night, after the collapse. Additional municipal commissioner of the BMC, Vijay Singhal, said the remaining portion of the damaged bridge is being dismantled manually. He said action will be taken against the firm that conducted the structural audit of the bridge. Deven Bharti, joint commissioner (law and order), said that police ‘will, for sure, launch an inquiry into the incident’. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said a high-level committee will probe the circumstances under which the 40-year-old overbridge collapsed.

An eyewitness said the south Mumbai overbridge was being used by pedestrians, even as repair works were ongoing. Several motorists were also under the bridge when it came down, which led to an increase in the number of injured, an official said. Another eyewitness said most of the victims were walking on the overbridge, on their way to the CST station, when it collapsed. “Thankfully, when the bridge collapsed, it was red signal at the nearby road, otherwise several people would definitely have been crushed under the rubble,” said a taxi driver, who escaped the tragedy.

Lawmakers and local party leaders rushed to the spot as a political blame-game ensued. Arvind Sawant, the local Shiv Sena MP, said, “This bridge was under minor repairs after the audit of all bridges in the city. Action will be initiated against the responsible officials.” Local BJP MLA Raj Purohit also visited the spot and demanded immediate action against the engineer who had declared the bridge as ‘safe’. “He should be arrested right now. He is responsible for the entire disaster.” Local Shiv Sena corporator Sujata Sanap said she had alerted officials about the structure, but they did not act in time. “I have been pursuing the issue of this unsafe bridge for long and also wrote so many letters to officials but they were ignored.” Congress leader Milind Deora said murder charges should be slapped on auditors who inspected the bridge and the BMC officers who appointed them. The collapse will be jointly probed by BMC and Central Railways, said Vinod Tawde, district guardian minister of Mumbai.

The tragedy comes eight months after another bridge collapsed in suburban Andheri, in which five persons were killed. In July 2018, a portion of a road overbridge had collapsed in suburban Andheri. Railway minister Piyush Goyal had then announced a joint safety audit of all 445 bridges in Mumbai. Following the order, the railways, the BMC and IIT-Bombay had conducted a safety audit.

Design tips for elderly-friendly homes

March 16, 2019 Ref -

As the inhabitants of a house age, the décor of the home may need to be modified to suit their needs. We look at some simple design dos and don’ts, vis-à-vis safety, accessibility and aesthetics that can make the home comfortable for senior citizens As one ages, simple chores like reaching high shelves, climbing the stairs or getting up from the chair with ease, can become a task. Home owners who are ageing or have elderly parents or grandparents living with them, may need a home décor that is suitable for senior citizens. As comfort, safety and accessibility become key concerns, incorporating simple design changes that do not hinder the aesthetics, is essential.

“Studies have found that doing household chores, gives seniors a sense of purpose and contributes to both, their physical and mental well-being. In terms of design, one has to focus on helping active seniors to be as independent as they can. This means ensuring that they can carry out their activities with ease, simplicity in maintenance and housekeeping, reducing everyday risks and creating a safe home that supports active aging,” explains Nagesh Battula, founder and managing director, FHD (Fountainhead Design Group).

Many seniors continue to contribute to their professions, through advisory or consultancy, even after their retirement. In such cases, a spare room can double-up as a home office, as well as a guest bedroom for visitors or extended family. “Interior decorations should, ideally, reflect the family’s aspirations and preferences. The overall décor of the room should be positive, relaxing and not remind one of ill health,” adds Battula.

Canada home prices drop in February for fifth straight month: Teranet

March 15, 2019 Ref -

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices fell 0.4 percent last month from January.

TORONTO: Canadian home prices fell in February for the fifth straight month as most major markets weakened, data showed on Wednesday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices fell 0.4 percent last month from January.

Except for 2009, when there was a global financial crisis, the decline was the largest for February in 19 years of index history, said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank of Canada.

Prices fell in nine of the 11 markets in the index. It included a 2 percent drop in Victoria, British Columbia's capital city. In Hamilton, a city in Ontario where much of Canada's steel is produced, prices were down 1.4 percent.

Canada's once-hot housing market has softened since the start of last year, weighed by tighter mortgage rules and five interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada since July 2017.

Prices rose 1.9 percent in February on an annual basis, led by a 6 percent increase in the capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau. In Montreal, prices were up 5.2 percent year-over-year.

Noida Draft Master Plan 2031: SC allows NGO to raise objections to alteration in plan

March 15, 2019 Ref -

The SC has allowed an NGO, which alleged that the draft master plan for Noida was altered, to convert a forest in Noida’s Sector 91 to a biodiversity park, to raise objections before the authorities concerned.

A Supreme Court bench, comprising justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, has granted liberty to the NGO, ‘Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness’, to point its objections to the proposed change of the Noida Draft Master Plan of 2031. “Thereafter, if the appellant is aggrieved by the Master Plan as finalised, it would be open to it to adopt appropriate proceedings, in accordance with law,” the bench said.

The NGO had approached the apex court against a November 14, 2018, order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which disposed of the plea after taking note of the report by the Division Forest Officer (DFO) of Gautam Buddh Nagar. The NGO had moved the tribunal against the development of a biodiversity park in Sector 91, Noida, on the ground that illegal felling of trees was taking place. The apex court also clarified that the NGT order ‘will not come in the way of the appellant in pursuing its remedies under the law, including before the tribunal afresh’. The NGO had claimed before the NGT that although the DFO granted permission to the Noida Authority only for removal of eucalyptus trees, the authority ordered a private contractor to remove 3,000 trees of different species, which was in violation of the permission granted under the UP Trees Protection Act, 1976 and hence, the permission is liable to be quashed.

The NGO had sought prohibition on further felling of trees at the biodiversity park site and plantation of 10 times the number of trees felled by the Noida Authority, in and around the site. The Noida Authority plans to develop the biodiversity park on about 75 acres in Sector 91. The Authority has mandated it to be developed as ‘Noida Biodiversity Park’, as per the plan.

Budget-friendly apartments become 17% smaller over 5 years: Report

March 14, 2019 Ref -

In the last five years, the real estate sector saw the average size of budget apartments in major cities, shrinking by 17 per cent to match affordability, a study has found.

The top seven Indian cities collectively saw the average size of budget-friendly apartments shrink by almost 17 per cent, between 2014 and 2018, according to a study. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) topped with a 27 per cent squeeze, followed by Kolkata with 23 per cent reduction, the report by ANAROCK Property Consultants showed. Bengaluru saw the least decline in average property size, at roughly 12 per cent during the period. The average size dip for Pune was 22 per cent, Delhi NCR 16 per cent, Chennai 15 per cent and Hyderabad 13 per cent.

“A major element contributing to the shrinking apartment sizes across most metros, is the rising demand for budget-friendly housing. With property prices going overboard in most metros, developers have been reducing sizes, to align their offerings more with the actual home buyer demand,” ANAROCK Property Consultants’ chairman, Anuj Puri said. Compact housing is the fastest seller in the resale market. So, such homes give millennials both, locational and financial flexibility, he said.

Among the factors leading to the shrinkage are the not-so-healthy job market and income in the last five years, a realty analyst said. The report also said that most home buyers are averse to the higher maintenance costs that larger properties entail.

“Live-in relationships are becoming more popular and socially acceptable and more and more young people give high priority to career growth, before deciding to marry and settle down,” Puri said. The mean age of marriage in India has increased from 21-25 years to 30-35 years, the report said.

Flexible workspaces to emerge as the new normal in the office space sector: Report

March 14, 2019 Ref -

82% of companies/businesses in India are introducing flexible working, to help attract and retain employees, finds a new study by IWG Global Workspace Survey

Businesses that do not have a flexible workspace policy, risk losing out on top talent, according to the findings by IWG Global Workspace Survey. For the majority of those surveyed, the definition of a flexible workspace policy is the ability to choose and change their workplace location. The research by IWG revealed that 83% of people globally would choose a job which offered flexible working, over a job that did not and almost a third (28%) of people value being able to choose their work location, over an increase in holiday allowance.

IWG released the study based on insights of over 15,000 professionals from a range of different industries in over 80 countries. The survey was independently managed by MindMetre Research. The sample was highly representative of senior managers and owners in businesses across the globe, spanning a variety of industries.

RERA yet to resolve malpractices in real estate sector: Experts

March 13, 2019 Ref -

PUNE: Experts have said that the RERA, which was envisaged to usher in more transparency in the real estate industry, is yet to be an effective deterrent against malpractices.

As the RERA is a small quasi-judicial and administrative body (with three members and a few adjudicating officers for the entire state), it does not have the bandwidth to look into the details of over 19,000 registrations that were granted by the body in the state, so far.

The adjudicating officers themselves have powers to look at only certain sections of the act, while the main powers are bestowed only upon the members.

Experts have advised that even though disputes can be entertained later in courts, it is better for consumers to get conduct more due diligence. This can be done by consulting a lawyer on their own or perusing the documents for minute details and verifying the facts on the ground before investing.

Real estate lawyers said false and misleading information about control of open spaces, use of floor space index and completion of services creep into bilateral agreements due to the absence of checks and balances. “It is not uncommon for developers to easily eke out completion and occupancy certificates from the municipal corporation, irrespective of the status of work. People should themselves verify if all civic works have been completed,” said a Chinchwad-based property lawyer.

These malpractices, though common, now fall under section Section 7 of the RERA Act. “Consumers who have been allotted property can demand a refund if they are impacted by false information and exit the project. There is also a provision to impose a fine on the developers,” said property lawyer Harshal Jadhav.

So far, there is little evidence of people exercising this option as most of the complaints received by the RERA relate to just inordinate delay in the projects. The consumers can approach the RERA forum or the courts when the developer defaults on key promises. But it is a time-consuming process.

“Legally, buyers of properties where builders have defaulted (on the provision of promised services) can exercise their legal rights and drag the builder to court. They can issue a notice to the builder and/or approach consumer forums. The consumers can also issue legal notices to officials from corporations, in a case where the corporations have defaulted. In fact, there are many instances wherein both builders and corporations were involved in wrongdoings and the consumers had to suffer,” said Anuj Puri, the chairman of Anarock Property Consultants.

What can home buyers do, under RERA, if agreements don’t mention possession dates?

March 13, 2019 Ref -

In the recent past, several developers have avoided mentioning the possession date in the agreement. We look at what home buyers can do, under RERA, in such cases, and recent judgements in favour of home buyers.

There have been cases galore, where home buyers have faced delays in getting the possession of their flats. In many cases, the delays have been for more than five to six years. Some developers have even gone to the extent of not mentioning the date of possession in the agreement, leading to mental and financial trauma for the home buyers.

While taking a serious note of the issue, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), in a recent judgement, directed Skyline Construction Company to refund Rs 1.06 crores, along with an interest of 10.55 per cent to actor Vrajesh Hirjee, for failing to hand over possession and keeping the date of possession clause empty in the registered agreement. The Authority also asked the builder to refund tax deducted at source (TDS) and stamp duty paid by Hirjee. In another case, Aparna Singh, who had purchased a flat in a residential project in Thane, was not able to claim interest relief under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) rules, due to the absence of the possession date in the sale agreement. In her case, the RERA tribunal ordered the developer to pay interest to her, even though the date was not mentioned in the agreement.

What is possession date?

The possession date, in case of a home purchase agreement, is the date on which the unit’s possession is to be handed over to the buyer. This date should be clearly mentioned in the agreement and is well-defined under the RERA norms and rules. “The possession date, generally known as completion date, is usually a few months or years from the date of entering into or executing the agreement in favour of the flat purchaser. It is the date when the developer completes the construction work of the building and obtains the requisite permissions from the local body/authority, for permitting the flat purchasers to occupy the same. In other words, it is the date from which the buyer has the right to demand the possession of the flat from the developer,” explains Parth Mehta, managing director of Paradigm Realty.

Demonetisation would hit economy, have no material effect on black money: RBI board had warned

March 12, 2019 Ref -

The RBI board had warned of the short-term negative impact of demonetisation on the country’s economic growth and observed that the unprecedented move will not have any material impact on tackling the black money menace.

Although demonetisation is ‘a commendable measure’, it would have ‘short-term negative effect on the GDP for the current year’, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board had said, as per the minutes of the meeting, posted by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak on the website of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “Most of the black money is held, not in the form of cash but in the form of real sector assets such as gold or real estate and that this move would not have a material impact on those assets,” the board observed, in its 561st meeting held in Delhi.

The board, according to minutes of the meeting revealed by the central bank in an RTI reply, had met just two-and-a-half hours before prime minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation, announced the demonetisation decision on November 8, 2016.

The minutes of the crucial board meeting, which approved the government’s request for demonetisation, recorded the presence of the then RBI governor Urjit Patel and the then economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das. Others at the board meeting included the then financial services secretary Anjuli Chib Duggal and RBI deputy governors R Gandhi and SS Mundra. Both, Gandhi and Mundra, are not part of the board now, while Das was appointed as the RBI governor in December 2018. Curbing black money was one of the prime objectives of the shock move to junk old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which saw 86 per cent of high-value currency going out of circulation.

The prime minister had announced demonetisation of high-value currency notes with the aim to curb the black money, check counterfeit currency and stop terror finance, among others. While any incidence of counterfeiting is a concern, the minutes said, Rs 400 crores as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation in the country, is not very significant.

Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crores worth of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crores came back during the 50-day window for depositing junk notes given to resident Indians and till June 2017 for non-resident Indians. Only Rs 10,720 crores of the junked currency notes did not return to the banking system, while the rest 99.9% was deposited, raising a question mark over the government’s effort of curbing black money through demonetisation.

The minutes pointed that “The growth rate of economy mentioned is the real rate while the growth in currency in circulation is nominal. Adjusted for inflation, the difference may not be so stark. Hence, this argument does not adequately support the recommendation (in favour of demonetisation)”. The government has always maintained that the decision did not have much impact on the GDP growth. The board was assured that the government would take mitigating measures to contain the use of cash, it said.

In another reply, the RBI has said it has no data on the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes used to pay for utility bills such as fuel at petrol pumps – payments that are anonymous and are believed to have formed a good part of the demonetised currency that returned to the banking system. The government had allowed the exchange of the junked notes, as well as they being used for payment of utility bills for 23 services. Old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes could be used at government hospitals, railway ticketing, public transport, airline ticketing at airports, milk booths, crematoria/burial grounds, petrol pumps, metro rail tickets, purchase of medicines on doctor prescription from the government and private pharmacies, LPG gas cylinders, railway catering, electricity and water bills, ASI monument entry tickets and highway toll.

On November 25, 2016, the exchange of old notes was stopped and the government allowed the use of only old 500 rupee notes at these utilities, till December 15, 2016. The government, however, stopped the use of even this currency at petrol pumps and for the purchase of air tickets at airports abruptly, with effect from December 2, 2016, after reports that they were becoming fronts for laundering of old currency notes.

Realty hot spot series: Proximity to commercial areas is the main draw of this Pune locality.

March 11, 2019 Ref -

A developing micro-market comprising several residential options, government offices and research institutes.

This week’s realty hot spot is Pashan-Sus Road, Pune. The main draws of this well-developed area are its good connectivity to commercial areas and presence of good infrastructure. It is well-connected through the Pashan-Sus Road, Baner Road, Mumbai Highway (NH-48) and Shivaji Nagar Railway Station.

It is a micro-market with property prices ranging between Rs 4680 and Rs 8980 per square feet. Pashan-Sus Road is 19 KM away from the airport, 8 KM from the nearest railway station and 1 KM from the National Highway 48.

Centre issues guidelines to states on regulation of ‘retirement homes’

March 7, 2019 Ref -

With senior citizens projected to form nearly 34 per cent of the population of the country by the end of the century, the centre has issued guidelines for the regulation and redevelopment of retirement homes.

To protect the rights of senior citizens and address the special needs, the government, on March 6, 2019, said that it has issued guidelines for the regulation and redevelopment of retirement homes. According to a statement, a task force for constant dialogue with states and other stakeholders will be constituted by the union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, to ensure implementation of these guidelines.

A developer can build and manage the ‘retirement homes’ or engage a ‘service provider’ or ‘retirement home operator’ for the management of these homes, the guidelines say. Such service providers will be required to be registered with appropriate state authorities. “The model guidelines provide for the disclosure of technical skills of the service provider at the time of executing the ‘Agreement to Sale’ in the form of a ‘Tri-Partite Agreement’ to be executed among the developer, service provider/retirement home operators and the allottee,” the statement says.

Retirement homes should be aligned with the principles, guidelines and norms prescribed in the National Building Code (NBC), Model Building Bye Laws and Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for Persons with Disability and Elderly Persons. Retirement home apartments can only be sold, after registration under the respective Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) of the states, the government also said.

“From approximately 7.6 crores in 2001, the number of senior citizens in India has increased to 10.4 crores in 2011. This number is expected to grow to 17.3 crores by 2025 and about 24 crores by 2050. By the end of the century, senior citizens will constitute nearly 34 per cent of the total population of the country,” said the statement.

Delhi Metro Blue Line: PM Modi likely to inaugurate Blue Line extension on March 8, 2019

March 6, 2019 Ref -

Prime minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the 6.6-km Noida City Centre-Noida Electronic City section of the Delhi Metro’s Blue Line, as well as the 9.4-km-long Dilshad Garden-New Bus Adda section of the Red Line, on March 8, 2019

Prime minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the 6.6-km Noida City Centre-Noida Electronic City section, an extension of the Delhi Metro’s Blue Line, on March 8, 2019, official sources said. On the same day, the prime minister is also slated to inaugurate the 9.4-km-long Dilshad Garden-New Bus Adda section, an extension of the Red Line.

According to officials, Prime Minister Modi will launch civilian flight operations at Hindon airbase and inaugurate the Dilshad Garden-New Bus Adda section of the Delhi Metro’s Red Line on March 8. After inaugurating the metro corridor, the prime minister will return to the airbase, where he will launch the civilian flight operations and will then address a public meeting, at an adjacent ground. Sources said, the prime minister is likely to inaugurate the extension of the Blue Line during the public meeting, along with a few other projects. After opening of the two corridors, the Delhi Metro’s span will extend to over 342 kms, with 250 stations.

Safety tips for home buyers, to avoid fire hazards in new projects

March 5, 2019 Ref -

We look at some of the basic fire safety provisions that home buyers can check for, in high-rise buildings, to ascertain whether it is safe for occupation

Fire is undoubtedly a big hazard that people moving into high-rise apartments in megacities, need to consider. The aftermath of gruesome infernos at Kamala Mills in Mumbai’s Lower Parel business district and the fires at high-rises like the ultra-posh Beau Monde Apartments in Prabhadevi or the slum rehabilitation buildings of Samrat Ashok SRA CHS in Mahalakshmi, show that fire is a common enemy to all – rich or poor. Hence, it has become imperative for anyone who is buying an apartment today to ascertain whether his dream house is fire-compliant.

In the fire at Crystal Tower, there were allegations that the electrical ducts were not sealed properly at each floor. Further footage of the fire revealed that the residents were trapped at the upper floors and the fire brigade had to use ladders and hydraulic platforms, to rescue the trapped residents. In the Samrat Ashok SRA fire at Mahalakshmi, the inferno broke out in the rehabilitation buildings constructed for the erstwhile slum-dwellers. Here too, the allegations were that the fire broke out in the electrical duct on the third floor and travelled all the way to the top of the 18-storey building, trapping many and killing one in the process.

While a fire has many causes and the authorities are quick to pin the blame on the society and residents for poor upkeep and storage of hazardous goods on the premises, seldom are fingers pointed at the fire officials who issued permits to such hazardous structures in the first place. It is no secret that such buildings are in essence ‘vertical slums’, with 20-storey towers cooped closely together, leaving no room for ventilation, sunlight, open space or enough access space for heavy fire engines. The final outcome is a death trap, which, tragically in a crowded city like Mumbai, is turning into an inferno with frightening regularity.

After China, Actis planning to set up data centres in India

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Actis is building the world’s largest non-governmental data centre outside Beijing and is eyeing similar opportunity in India amid implementation of RBI norms on data localization

Hero Realty has forayed into the Delhi-NCR property market and will invest about Rs 900 crore over the next four years to develop a premium housing project in Gurugram, a top company official said

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Hero Realty, the real estate arm of Sunil Kant Munjal-led Hero Enterprise, has completed many projects in Haridwar and is currently developing projects in Mohali and Ludhiana. It builds and markets projects under the brand Hero Homes. “We are coming up with a 9-acre housing project in Sector 104 on Dwarka Expressway named ‘Hero Homes - World of Wellness’ This is our first project in Delhi-NCR,” Hero Realty CEO Nagaraju Routhu told PTI. He said the company would develop about 1,000 flats in this project, of which 300 units have been launched in the first phase. It is selling flats at a starting price of Rs 68 lakh. “We have achieved best carpet area efficiency and effective space utilisation in this project without compromising on the green area which is 85 per cent,” he said. The apartment sizes vary from 1,100 sq ft to nearly 1,700 sq ft. On investment, he said the total project cost is estimated at over Rs 900 crore. The construction work would commence soon and the project would be completed in four years.

It’s the worst time to make money in markets since 1972

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Nothing’s working, not large or small-cap stocks in the US, not international or emerging equities, not Treasuries, bonds, commodities or real estate. Most of them are down, and the ones that are up are doing so by percentages in the low single-digits

Commercial real estate in India: Adapting to the changing trends and preferences

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Over the last decade, the commercial real estate market has transformed and matured, in the backdrop of policy reforms, institutional investments, foreign partnerships and growth in the services sector.

Griha Pravesh in 2018-2019: A shubh muhurat guide

February 15, 2019 Ref -

A Griha Pravesh ceremony is believed to bring in positivity and good fortune, for the people who live in the house. We look at the auspicious dates and how home owners can plan in advance, for a perfect Griha Pravesh in 2019 A ‘Griha Pravesh’ or a house warming ceremony is a one-time ritual that is performed, when one enters a new home for the first time, for living in it. Experts recommend that the entire Griha Pravesh ceremony should be performed smoothly, as this ceremony marks the beginning of one’s residence in the property. Hence, it is especially important to ensure that there is no mistake, while deciding the Griha Pravesh date and the timing for entering the home and timing of the puja.

Sale of flats after issue of completion certificate not to attract GST: FinMin

February 15, 2019 Ref -

However, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applicable on sale of under-construction property or ready to move in flats where completion certificate is not issued at the time of sale, it said.

Realty hot spot series: What makes this residential area a sought-after address in Mumbai

February 15, 2019 Ref -

This sought-after Mumbai address has a good connectivity through Western Express Highway, JVLR, SV Road and Goregaon Railway Station.

US markets climb 1% on trade optimism.

February 15, 2019 Ref -

US stocks rose 1%, boosted by technology stocks, as a report about China planning to increase access for foreign firms added to optimism fuelled by Trump’s upbeat comments on trade

Noida: Online bidding of 442 residential plots to begin today

February 15, 2019 Ref -

According to officials, 505 people have applied for the 442 plots. The e-bidding will be held from December 13 to 21, where each plot will be auctioned separately.

Opinion | The bubble is losing air. Get ready for a crisis

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The shift to tighter monetary policies in the West is weakening credit markets. Over-indebted emerging markets face headwinds from rising borrowing costs and dollar shortages

Colour therapy for your home

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Colours have a profound effect on individuals and can affect us on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. We look at how you can choose the right colours for your home, to create a positive and happy environment.

Colour or chroma therapy is an alternative method of healing, through the use of colours. When we gaze at colours, different energies are absorbed, as each colour has its own frequency and vibration. "We are constantly surrounded by a free flow of colours, through nature, the clothes that we wear and the space where we live or work. At different stages of our lives, we feel attracted to or repelled by different colours, depending on our emotional and mental needs," says Amisha Mehta, an artist and colour therapist.

Realty hot spot series: Connectivity is the key selling point of this NCR locality

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Noida Expressway enjoys proximity to markets, offices and schools and this makes the NCR locality attractive to all kinds of home buyers.

DDA may launch next housing scheme in two phases

February 15, 2019 Ref -

DDA vice chairman Tarun Kapoor at a press conference here said several flats are under construction and by the "next six months, about 25,000 flats would be ready".

GST on completed properties without completion certificate, to hit real estate sector

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The Finance Ministry recently clarified that GST will not be applicable on real estate properties that have obtained the completion certificate at the time of sale. We examine how this will impact various segments and stakeholders in the sector.

The applicability of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Indian taxation system, was a move aimed towards ‘one nation, one tax’. After land abetment, the applicable GST for under-construction properties was 12 per cent, while ready-to-move-in flats were kept out of the ambit of GST. Even for under-construction properties, there was a ruling to provide input tax credit (ITC) pass-over to the buyer, to ensure that it becomes a tax-neutral proposition.

Homebuyers' body seeks audit of projects delayed by over 2 years

February 15, 2019 Ref -

RERA initiate a census of all delayed projects and pass seizure order along with auction of seized assets if it finds that funds have been diverted.

MUMBAI: The Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), a pan-India body of homebuyers, has sought forensic audit of all housing projects that have been delayed by more than two years to find out whether funds have been diverted, as turned out to be the case with Amrapali Group’s projects.

It has suggested that the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) initiate a census of all delayed projects and pass seizure order along with auction of seized assets if it finds that funds have been diverted. The body has also sought that RERA authorities constitute flying squads to keep a check on builders adhering to RERA provisions such as maintenance of escrow account, check exact status of project completion and compare that with declaration given by the builders, deviation from sanctioned plan, specifications and layout.

Handover of flats without occupancy certificate illegal, say experts

February 15, 2019 Ref -

NOIDA: Getting a house on the basis of a ‘lease agreement’ by simply paying 5% stamp duty may not be a solution after all, feel real estate experts.

Issues in the long-term related to the sale of property and fire safety norms, water, etc could be highly compromised by builders in this method as they will try to hastily exit projects. Buyers, meanwhile, are livid as they feel victimised.

"The proper route for handing over flats to buyers is through occupancy certificates after the houses get completion certificates. Handing over flats is not just a matter of securing revenues for the state, but there are other issues that should be kept in mind. Suppose if a lift falls or there is some other kind of problem in maintenance or construction, who will be held accountable?" said Balwinder Kumar, member of Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UP-Rera).

Another tough year for property market as prices remain static

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Ready-to-move-in properties saw more buyer interest than under-constructed projects

Mumbai: This year was a buyers’ market for real estate. "Real estate prices remained static, which didn’t work well for developers and investors," said Pankaj Kapoor, founder and managing director of Liases Foras, a realty research company. "It was a tough time for the sellers because they could not increase the prices on the back of high inventories and were also stuck with low liquidity."

Actor Sonu Sood: My home is the heaven I share with my family

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Sonu Sood is a huge star not just in Bollywood but in southern cinema as well. Yet, in his luxurious home in Mumbai, it is his humility that shines through its decor of function and aesthetics, combined with tranquil tones and beautiful textures

"Home is the best place to relax," says actor and producer, Sonu Sood. The luxurious 2,600-sq ft, four-bedroom hall apartment in Mumbai, successfully combines function and aesthetics. Sood's house is located in Yamuna Nagar (Lokhandwala), Andheri west. This place is a hub for the film fraternity, says Sood. "I have been living in Andheri for many years, even before my career took off and I love this place. All my friends are close by. My gym, my children's schools, good restaurants, various shopping malls and multiplexes, are all in the vicinity," explains Sood.

Sood designed his house, along with ZZ Architects (Zubin Zainuddin and Krupa Zubin, principal architects).

Realty hot spot series: Key school, hospitals within reach of this Mumbai locality

February 15, 2019 Ref -

This Mumbai location hosts several business centres namely One BKC, Godrej BKC, Parinee Crescenzo, IL&FS Financial Centre, etc.

In this week's realty hotspot series we turn the spotlight on BKC Mumbai which has excellent connectivity through SCLR, Western Express Highway, Bandra-Worli Sea Link & Bandra Terminus.

The location boasts good amenities nearby such as Asian Heart Institute, Lilavati Hospital, Phoenix Market City Mall, etc.

Realty firms bank on commercial real estate to bring home the bacon

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The BSE Realty Index had a roller-coaster ride in 2018. It is now more or less where it began the year, which pales in comparison with a 106% surge in 2017 on investor hopes that reforms would usher greater transparency in the sector.

While the reforms are a long-term positive, stringent regulations and the time taken for firms to account for policy changes have caused near-term stress. Along with the liquidity crunch at non-banking financial companies, this impacted volume. Inventory levels eased only marginally, deterring new launches. Prices have been stagnant too.

"Average property prices at the pan-India level rose by only 1% in 2018 from the previous year to ₹5,545 per sq.ft," said Anarock Property Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

Surprisingly, despite tardy growth through the year, the office property segment has done well. According to Anarock, office space absorption rose by about 19% in 2018, crossing 39 million sq.ft. So, realty developers with a greater mix of commercial rental assets and retail shopping malls posted better results in the first two quarters of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate (Regulatory and Development) Act, 2016 has ushered in more transparency. Leading listed firms that were debt-laden have trimmed borrowings considerably, with some tying in private equity investments too. Yet, weak sales due to sluggish market conditions kept the ratio of interest cost to sales at elevated levels, especially for firms with a higher residential portfolio mix.

The trend of better income expansion for those with commercial (annuity) assets comprising office, retail and hotel, mix in their portfolio is expected to continue. Developers with residential projects are likely to shift towards affordable housing given 41% share of this segment in total home sales in 2018.

Adhidhev Chhattopadhyay, an analyst at ICICI Securities Ltd, argues that companies with annuity assets and those investing in capex to add more such assets, will have a sizeable revenue stream in the next two to three years. This will account for 60-70% of their enterprise value. "These annuity assets would act as a cushion for valuations in all these companies through cycles," he says. On the other hand, a gradual reduction in housing inventory and the new percentage completion method of accounting will make revenue and earnings accretion lumpy. This could weigh on stock valuations of such firms.

Opinion | Why this year was a difficult one for real estate?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The year 2018 was uncomfortable for Indian real estate as it underwent the maturing process which had begun in 2017 with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 (RERA) and the goods and services tax (GST). Though introduced in the previous year, these regulatory changes had their maximum impact in 2019. While the housing market was severely hit by the combined effect of demonetisation, RERA and GST, it began recovering in 2018, albeit gradually. Anarock data for 2017 indicates that while 2017 saw a huge decline of 70% in project launches, 2018 saw new launches pick up by over 30% as against 2017.

Similarly, while 2017 saw housing sales decline by 13% over 2016, 2018 brought a notable quarter-on-quarter sales growth with as many as 178,470 homes finding purchasers in the first three quarters of the year in seven top Indian cities-Bengaluru, National Capital Region, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Hyderabad. While Q4 sales numbers are not yet in, if we extrapolate Q4 housing sales from the preceding quarters, 2018 will have witnessed a rise of 15% in overall housing sales when compared to the preceding year. In 2018, the housing sector's most vibrant segment was affordable housing.

The problem of stalled housing projects continued to plague the market and acted as a stumbling block to future growth. Definitely, this issue needs to be strongly addressed in 2019 and the incumbent government is actively pursuing solutions. What progress is made on the ground remains to be seen.

In spite of a slew of policy announcements, data indicates that the government's much-touted PMAY scheme saw dismal progress in 2018. In 2015, the government had set its sights on deploying as many as 1 crore urban homes in less than 10 years. The available data, however, indicates that a mere 15% new low-income group (LIG)/economic weaker section (EWS) homes have been built so far under PMAY.

GST: Focus shifts to enforcement actions, returns, refund simplification

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Throughout 2018, a broad rationalisation of rates was carried out and after the last round last week only about two dozen goods were left in the top 28% bracket.

New Delhi: It faced a huge political backlash and became the butt of jokes with opponents calling it 'Gabbar Singh Tax', but weathered all of it in 2018 and its proponents are confident the GST (Goods and Services Tax)is fast emerging as a strong tax-compliance tool and may eventually evolve into a single-slab taxation rate.

Dismissing the criticism that it was a 'good law, badly implemented', the those in support point out it took two years for a GST to be implemented in Malaysia - the last country before India to have introduced such a tax - but only to be scrapped in the end by a new government there.

Year-end trends: Does real estate still offer lucrative ROI?

DECEMBER 26, 2018
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Will real estate continue to be a preferred investment class in 2019? We speak to some experts, to gauge how real estate compares to other assets like stocks, gold, etc., to get some answers.

Real estate is often considered as one of the best assets globally, vis-à-vis return on investments. In India, recent policy reforms like the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 (RERA), real estate investment trust (REIT), the Benami Act and the Good and Services Tax (GST), have helped to transform the sector into a more organised one.

Aditya Kedia, managing director of Transcon Developers, maintains that the present real estate market offers a win-win situation, for potential buyers and developers alike. "With RERA in place, developers are bound to deliver projects within the stipulated period of time," he says.

Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of the Nahar Group, adds that "The sector has witnessed growth in recent times, with a rise in the demand for commercial, as well as residential spaces. Private equity investment in real estate is estimated to grow in the coming years."

Year-end trends: Indian realty’s expectations from Q1 2019

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Rationalisation of the GST regime and easier finance for the real estate sector, are some of the measures that the fraternity is hoping for in the new year, to make it easier for home buyers to get their dream homes.

The Indian real estate sector has witnessed a sea change, over the last couple of years. However, in spite of the advancements in construction, the use of high-end technology, the advent of smart homes and flexible apartment configurations being made available according to the evolving market, the industry is going through a lull. Real estate experts maintain that with all the major policies having been implemented in the last five years, 2019 could be the year that the property market bounces back. Nevertheless, they add that several niggling issues also need to be addressed, so that all the stakeholders in the sector can reap the benefits of a bright first quarter in 2019.

Real Estate Basics: What is a Completion Certificate?

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A completion certificate is an important document that states a property has been built, according to standards and proves the legitimacy of a real estate project. We explain its importance, for developers and buyers.

A completion certificate is a document that is awarded, after the inspection of a real estate project, stating that it has been constructed according to the approved building plan and that it meets all the necessary standards set by the local development authority or municipal corporation. This certificate needs to be obtained by developers, as well as owners of standalone properties. It is required, to ensure the supply of utilities like water, electricity and drainage system.

Year-end trends: Small is big as developers aim for smaller projects in tier-1 cities

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An increasing number of developers are launching smaller projects in metropolitan cities. We look at the reasons for the emergence of this trend and whether it is likely to continue in the year ahead.

The metropolitan and large cities in India, have several real estate micro-markets that are reasonably priced and offer good returns for end-users and investors alike. As these cities tend to have limited supply of land, developers need feasible options, to meet the increasing demand for housing. Consequently, smaller projects are an option that is being explored. Moreover, the general reduction in the sizes of flats, has also contributed to affordability.

Rahul Shah, CEO of Sumer Group, points out that "While smaller projects are an attractive target for developers, given the smaller gestation period and quick returns, luxury housing projects have a niche following that gives it a sizeable market share. People in the metro cities are more concerned about the location of the house than the size of it and are, hence, are willing to opt for houses with sizes that fit their budgets."

India's robust economic growth to continue in 2019: CII

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CII believes the government will continue to place high priority on simplifying business procedures in 2019, especially in terms of working with states for grassroots improvements

New Delhi: The country is expected to witness strong economic growth in 2019, after it has emerged as the fastest growing major world economy this year despite growing global vulnerabilities, industry body CII said Sunday.

The positive outlook is buttressed by strong drivers emanating from services sector and better demand conditions arising out of poll spend, with the general elections slated next year, according to the chamber.

"Better demand conditions, settled GST implementation, capacity expansion from growing investments in infrastructure, continuing positive effects of reform policies and improved credit offtake especially in the services sector at 24 per cent will sustain the robust GDP growth in the range of 7.5 per cent in 2019," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

The industry body observed that despite 2018 being filled with external vulnerabilities arising out of rising oil prices, trade wars between major global trading partners and US monetary tightening, India outshined as the world’s fastest growing major economy.

It has identified seven key drivers for growth that need to be fostered and suggested policy actions for robust GDP growth to continue in 2019. Among key growth drivers, CII hopes the GST Council will consider extending the tax to currently exempted sectors such as fuel, real estate, electricity and alcohol.

The chamber outlined that credit availability has been a challenge, particularly for the micro, small and medium enterprises, as credit flow to industry grew by a mere 2.3 per cent in first half of the current financial year. "CII submits that the RBI should introduce measures such as revisiting lending restrictions of PCA (Prompt Corrective Action) banks, opening of a limited special liquidity window to meet emergencies of financial institutions, including Mutual Funds besides others to improve liquidity in the system," it said.

Besides, the process of insolvency resolution has taken shape, the chamber feels the government should consider setting up additional benches of the National Company Law Tribunal to strengthen the judicial infrastructure for easier and faster exit of distressed businesses.

The chamber believes the government will continue to place high priority on simplifying business procedures in 2019, especially in terms of working with states for grassroots improvements.

"We look forward to digitisation of land records, online single window systems in states, and enforcing contracts for even more improvements in ease of doing business," said Banerjee.

On agriculture reforms, CII suggested that it is important to persuade states to implement the Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing Model Act, which has been implemented in just four states, to strengthen agriculture produce marketing.

Going ahead, it opined that India also needs to increase domestic production of oil, providing a special window for oil marketing companies to procure fuel and stepping up diplomacy with the US to continue to secure purchase from Iran.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

Deals cross $100 billion mark in record-breaking 2018

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The year saw increased buyouts and high activity in sectors like infrastructure, realty.

Deal-making in 2018 was one for the record books. All previous records were broken by crossing the $100 billion mark in terms of deal value across both private equity (PE) and strategic (M&A) transactions. India proved to be an investor magnet, attracting close to $35 billion during the year by way of private equity, which has now clearly entered a phase of maturity led by a steady stream of investments, record levels of exits and mounting levels of dry powder.

Year-end trends: Technology to be a big factor in Indian real estate in 2019

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We examine the various ways in which technological advancements are likely to positively benefit the various stakeholders in the real estate sector, in the coming year.

Various innovative technologies have made inroads into the real estate sector in India, right from property search to construction and signing of contracts. Leveraging of these technologies, is likely to reshape the future of the real estate industry in 2019. For a buyer, the changes are welcoming but for property developers and consultants, these changes could prove disruptive and challenging. "The needs of millennial home owners, are likely to revolve around intelligent buildings with advanced technology. Thus, buildings with modern designs are likely to command a premium in the cost-conscious Indian property market. For developers, the early adoption and investment in technologies, will prove to be the best defence against disruptions," states Surabhi Arora, senior associate director - research, Colliers International.

Technologies that facilitate property discovery, map-based location services, amenities-based searches, dynamic pricing models, marketing, online credit score and EMI services, online agreements, 360-degree videos, online token payment facilities for property bookings, etc., are some of the developments that are likely to have a profound impact on the real estate sector in 2019.

No need to queue up as host of DDA services go online

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DDA is also in the process of setting up a call centre having specialised agents, who would ensure that people don’t have to visit its offices for any queries.

NEW DELHI: You can now book a community centre, apply for a sports complex membership and transfer leasehold property to freehold without queuing up at Delhi Development Authority (DDA) offices.

A spokesperson said 33 forms are now available online for various DDA services, including sports complex membership, RWA requests, booking of sites, conversion of different types of properties, staff-related schemes etc. "These forms are available at the public forms section of the DDA website. For allotment of one-bedroom flat to government agencies, the online application has been designed and developed, also available on the website in the online services corner. The auction of various types of plots is being done online," he said.

The spokesperson added, "For lodging complaints about unauthorized construction or encroachment on government land, for Special Task Force and for monitoring the same, an online portal,, has also been designed and developed for general public, and nodal and grid officers of various organizations".

Car sales grew 6% in 2018 on low base, string of new launches

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Car sales were robust in the first half of 2018 but weakened since July due to the Kerala floods and high petrol and diesel prices.

Mumbai: Domestic passenger car sales rose by 6.05% during a volatile 2018 to over 2.55 million units on the back of a low base before July and a string of new launches after the Auto Expo in February. The trend in car sales was robust during the first half of the calendar year on the back of new launches, expectations of a healthy monsoon and a low base, but weakened since July due to factors such as the devastating floods in Kerala, unfavourable macroeconomic scenario, as well as regulatory changes and high fuel prices, which increased the cost of ownership.

The hardest blow came during the 42-day festive season, which ended with Diwali in early November, when retail sales of passenger vehicles fell 14%, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association, which attributed the dip in sales primarily to the liquidity crunch faced by financiers.

The festive season is crucial for auto makers as buyers consider it auspicious to make big-ticket purchases such as cars, gold and real estate. About 30% of annual car sales happen during this period.

In December, the country’s top six carmakers—Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd and Honda Cars India Ltd—sold a total of 200,367 vehicles, compared with 200,456 units a year earlier.

GST rate cut to hike cost of low, mid-priced houses

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Following the latest GST council meet, finance minister Arun Jaitely had announced that the proposal to reduce the rate may be taken up in the forthcoming meeting this month.

NAGPUR: Contrary to the perception that reduction of GST rate from the present 12% to 5% on under-construction homes would make houses cheaper, the move may, in fact, hit the interest of low and mid-priced home buyers.

Reason: The input tax credit (ITC) is likely to be done away with if such properties are brought under the 5% composite tax slab of GST.

Last week, following the latest GST council meet, finance minister Arun Jaitely had announced that the proposal to reduce the rate may be taken up in the forthcoming meeting this month.

The segment to be affected would be buyers of homes costing up to Rs7,000 per square feet. Considering the current cost of construction, which more or less is standard, and the rate of tax applicable on the material, having 12% GST along with ITC makes a better deal rather than 5% on composite basis (without ITC).

ITC is a rebate available to every taxpayer in a chain-based system like GST. The tax paid at the time of purchase of any input or raw material for making the end product is deducted from final liability.

This prevents cascading effect. The anti-profiteering laws under GST regime call for passing on ITC benefit to consumers.

New real estate trends expected to emerge in 2019

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Even though the real estate sector is likely to have a tough year, new trends are expected to emerge

New Delhi: For potential homebuyers, the year 2019 is not expected to be any different from the last few years. Prices are likely to remain stagnant and developers will continue to focus on clearing existing inventory rather than launching new projects as they continue to grapple with regulatory changes like Real estate (regulation and development) Act, 2016 (RERA), goods and services tax (GST) and overall subdued demand.

In fact, 2019 is expected to be another tough year for real estate developers, given the ongoing liquidity problem, owing to the NBFC crisis.

New real estate trends expected to emerge in 2019

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Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu send defamation notice to builder

Actor Dilip Kumar and his wife Saira Banu have sent a defamation notice to a builder accused of trying to grab the actor's bungalow in Mumbai's upscale Pali Hill area of Bandra.

Veteran actor Dilip Kumar and his wife Saira Banu have sent a defamation notice to builder Sameer Bhojwani, for making false claims of ownership to their Rs 250-crore property in suburban Bandra. In the notice, they have sought an apology from Bhojwani and Rs 200 crores in damages, for defaming them in public with their statements.

On December 21, 2018, Bhojwani had issued a public notice claiming he was the ‘rightful owner’ of the said property. He had further claimed that the 96-year-old thespian was only a ‘lessee’ of the property. Taking objection to this, Kumar and his actress-wife, on December 31, 2018, sent a defamation notice to Bhojwani, for misleading the public with false and defamatory statements.

“Bhojwani has damaged the reputation of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu in public, by making false and defamatory statement against them,” said the notice sent to Bhojwani by the star couple’s advocate, Chirag Shah. “Bhojwani issued the public notice on December 21, 2018, with a criminal intention to grab/encroach the legitimate rights of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu, by creating a perception in public that he (Bhojwani) is the owner of the property,” it said.

“On the basis of forged and fabricated documents, Bhojwani is claiming ownership of a property, originally owned by Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu are the legitimate owners of the property situated at Pali Hill in Bandra and have acquired the same in September 1953,” the notice said.

Consumers’ body wants govt to bring projects for revamp under MahaRERA

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Mumbai Grahak Panchayat on Dec 31, 2018 wrote to CM Devendra Fadnavis to bring more than 6,000 redevelopment projects in the three cities under MahaRERA as assured by him.

PUNE: For over a lakh families in Pune, Mumbai and Thane waiting endlessly for developers to complete projects under redevelopment, the only hope is to bring these units under the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (MahaRERA) purview.

The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) on December 31, 2018, wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to bring more than 6,000 redevelopment projects in the three cities under Maha RERA as assured by him in May last year.

“The government had assured that all these projects will come under the purview of MahaRERA, which will set a deadline for these re-development projects and settle the rehabilitation components, including rent payment for the affected people,” MGP president Shirish Deshpande said.

“Though the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act cannot be touched, the state government can make necessary amendments to the MahaRERA rules to help the redevelopment projects. Several citizens associated with such projects are affected. They are neither getting rent nor alternative places to stay till the developers complete the redevelopment projects,” he said.

Meet the new urban minimalists

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Ready for a zero-waste life? Let these green warriors inspire you to live more mindfully, intentionally and ethically this year.

Tender coconut water and paani puri are a few of Sahar Mansoor’s favourite things. As popular street food across India, these items may cost little, but they exact a steep ecological price. Their immediate by-product is usually a plastic straw that cannot be recycled or plates often disposed of carelessly, leading to clogged drainage. The empty coconut shell has a better chance of being turned into coir.

“For a long time, I would try to drink the coconut water without the plastic straw and end up pouring most of it all over myself,” says Mansoor, 27, who lives in Bengaluru. “Until I finally made the switch.” A couple of years ago, she began carrying a stainless steel straw and an empty lunch box everywhere so that she could enjoy her beloved snacks without adding to the burden of urban waste. Soon Mansoor was buying foodgrains only from a city store that sold them loose, free of packaging. She began to use home-grown personal care products made with ingredients her grandmother once used—multani mitti (Fuller’s earth), shikakai and reetha (soapnut). That led to further reduction of plastic waste. By the time Mansoor started her venture, Bare Necessities, in 2016, the amount of non-biodegradable dry waste she produced in over two years fitted into a 500ml jar.

Bare Necessities makes a range of products with ethically sourced and zero-waste ingredients, supplying them in eco-friendly packages using recyclable material. Sold from select outlets in Bengaluru, items such as the compostable bamboo toothbrush or the Boondh menstrual cup are steadily attracting buyers. “Our customer base is mostly women between the ages of 18 and 40,” says Mansoor. “Many of them are young mothers and millennials who want to consume more mindfully and associate with ethical brands that reflect their personal values.”

How to make your home pet-friendly

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Home owners who wish to keep pets at home, need to ensure that their house caters to its needs and provides a safe environment for all. We explain the dos and donts

Besides providing companionship, there are also therapeutic benefits of owning a pet. Nevertheless, owning a pet is also a commitment and a responsibility. Consequently, home owners should ensure that the house is safe and comfortable for their pets. Although a pet can turn your house upside-down, things generally change as the pet grows up and you learn to adjust to its behaviour and needs.

The most common change that home owners make to the décor, is to remove all rugs. If you have cats or dogs at home, the carpets can turn into breeding grounds for fleas, cautions Lekha Gupta, senior architect, LAB (Language Architecture Body).

“Wooden flooring is usually slippery. Pets love to run around and wooden flooring may cause serious injury. So, avoid it,” adds Gupta.

All staircases must be barricaded, to prevent small pets from rolling down or trying to climb up, unattended. “Also barricade all grills that overlook lower floors, as your puppy may try to jump down. All balconies and windows with wide grills, must be meshed so that puppies cannot go through them,” advises Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels in Bengaluru, a well-known pet groomer, who along with her two daughters, Rishya and Radhiya, offers various pet related services.

Defaulting builders’ cases should go to RERA regulators before NCLT: Realtors’ body

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Realtors’ body NAREDCO also recommended that any dispute regarding new projects should only be heard by state regulators called RERA, and not consumer courts

New Delhi: Cases related to defaulting builders should be first taken up by regulators under the new real estate law RERA before being referred to the NCLT for insolvency proceedings, realtors’ body NAREDCO has suggested.

The association also recommended that any dispute regarding new projects should only be heard by state regulators set up under the Real Estate (Regulations and Development) Act, called RERA, and not consumer courts.

These suggestions were made by NAREDCO to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs during a meeting that was called last week to seek suggestions from stakeholders for removing any difficulties under RERA, being implemented from May 2017.

This law was brought in to make the real estate sector transparent and eliminate fly-by-night operators.

“At present, complaints against builders are being taken up by consumer courts as well as real estate regulatory authorities established under the RERA. This is creating confusion,” NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani told PTI.

The new projects should only be taken up under RERA, he said, and sought necessary changes in provisions of this law so that builders do not have to face litigation in multiple fora.

Hiranandani said the cases related to defaulting builders should be initially referred to RERA regulators for resolution of dispute before insolvency proceedings are invoked.

“If regulators under RERA fail to resolve, the dispute may be referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for adjudication,” he said.

Hiranandani, the co-founder and MD of Mumbai-based real estate major Hiranandani Group, also wanted uniformity in the implementation of provisions of this law across the country.

On defect liability of promoters till five years of possession of units, the association suggested that it should only be for structural and design defects as well as material used.

However, the defect liability of the promoter should exclude equipment like lifts and generators that carry warranty/guarantee by manufacturers.

Fittings related to plumbing, sanitary ware, electrical and hardware should be excluded as they have natural wear and tear, it said.

Hiranandani also said extension of registration of projects should be decided on case to case basis instead of the current provision of one year extension.

“Sometimes the construction work in projects gets delayed because of court orders or some other issues where builders are not in fault,” he said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

At 18%, Mumbai rent inflation highest among five cities: Report

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The average rent in MMR jumped to Rs 21,168 last year from Rs 17,912 in 2017 followed by Chennai and Bengaluru with 15% and 14% increase, respectively.

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which includes Thane and Navi Mumbai, experienced a maximum rent inflation of 18% in 2018, the highest among five Indian cities, a recent survey reveals.

The average rent in MMR jumped to Rs 21,168 last year from Rs 17,912 in 2017 followed by Chennai and Bengaluru with 15% and 14% increase, respectively. Rent inflation in Gurugram was close to 11% while Pune experienced the lowest rate of 7%.

The India Rent Report 2018 (Residential) stated that the 18% inflation in MMR is based on the 2.5 lakh properties listed in this region with a website which conducted the survey. “We took data of 2017 for reference when rent was more or less stagnant across cities as demonetization had hit in towards the end of 2016,” it said.

Across the country, Mumbai follows Bangalore and Chennai in terms of the size of the security deposit. In Mumbai, the average deposit last year was Rs 89,850 while in Bengaluru it was Rs 1.3 lakh and Chennai Rs 1 lakh.

Among those surveyed in Mumbai, the top-most priority of those who wished to rent a place was water supply (85%), followed by security (76%), lift (61%) and parking (48%). Merely 20% wanted a swimming pool facility.

The survey found that 70% of tenants in Mumbai prefer no brokerage, followed by 16% who find houses through friends or family, 20% who find rental houses through real estate websites and 12% through brokers.

Opinion | Why it’s time to end regulatory capture in realty sector

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Real estate is the most undeserving of sectors for any largesse. It is one hell of a rigged market

Few sectors in the economy have the kind of positive impact on jobs and livelihoods as real estate. Arguably, few customer segments are more deserving of price relief than homebuyers. However, despite interest rate subventions, tax deductions under sections 24, 80C and 80EE, and tax-free profits for builders who concentrate on affordable housing, urban property is simply unaffordable to most city dwellers. The only two viable options are slums or commutes from distant peripheries.

So, if the GST Council, at its next meeting on 10 January, cuts rates on under-construction properties to 5%, and duties on cement are additionally brought down from an extortionate 28% to 18%, it will help more people buy properties.

However, consider a counterpoint. Real estate is also the most undeserving of sectors for any largesse. It is one hell of a rigged market, rigged by builders, babus and mantris at the state and central levels, because the corrupt hold a lot of their ill-gotten black wealth in real estate. They have a vested interest in keeping prices high, by artificially restricting supplies of land. No sector epitomises the term “regulatory capture” better than real estate, for land and property prices are rigged through opaque mechanisms such as building permits and zoning laws, and control of available land supplies by artificially limiting vertical building and making related infrastructure investment.

So, while there is a strong case for bringing down GST rates in general, including on real estate and its supply chain, if we don’t simultaneously reform the land markets, any tax relief will end up benefiting the wrong parties. Just as farm loan waivers benefit the richer sections among farmers, tax and other benefits for real estate will benefit the undeserving more than the deserving.

If you don’t believe that the land markets are rigged, just look at one statistic: between the last peak in January 2008 and now, the Sensex has risen around 78%; the S&P BSE Realty index, on the other hand, crashed, destroying 86% of its value. If this index value reflects the underlying profits in real estate, we should have seen real estate prices crashing by at least 50-60% over the last 11 years, but that has not happened. The only obvious takeaway is this: real value in real estate is captured outside balance sheets. This is how crooked the business is. So, any relief is going to largely protect the profitability of the builder-politician-bureaucrat conglomerate, not the real homebuyer.

In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, between 2013 and now, unsold property inventories rose from 140,000 flats to 220,000, according to Anarock Property Consultants. Builders are announcing easy payment plans titled 20:80, 10:90 and even 1:99, where the buyer has to pay only 1% of the sale price upfront. But it is less about the consumer and more about generating short-term cash flows for those stuck with large inventories.

Another bit of data should clinch the argument. Rental yields computed for 14 cities by a property website average just 3%. Even a savings bank account pays more than that. So much for the argument that property is always a good investment.

This brings us to the larger question: why is the property market weak despite all the sops already directed at it by the Modi government? The answer, apart from demonetization, GST, RERA, et al, is that the market is targeted at a very small segment of the upper middle classes and the only way to expand the market to at least 10-15% of the population is to bring down prices, which means the builders, politicians, bureaucrats and “investors” who are sitting on loss-making illegal inventories have to take sharp haircuts of 30-50% at least.

Till this correction happens, whether through formal cuts, or through time-period adjustments facilitated by holding prices for, say, 5-10 years, the housing markets will not be freed. This means that a sector that should create millions of jobs in urban and rural areas is being held hostage by benami owners and investors who control the land markets through their vice-like grip on urban development policies, building permits, and infrastructure plans.

It is also important to mention two other parties with interests in keeping prices high —those who already own properties and have loans pending on them, and banks, which are striving frenetically to expand their retail loan offerings after having burnt their fingers with very large corporate loans that went bad. However, these segments can be protected by giving them some kind of regulatory forbearance on EMIs or easier provisioning against properties whose values may depreciate if market prices of property fall as a result of reforms and greater transparency.

We can’t avoid facing the elephant in the room. It is not possible to create millions of jobs and house our homeless without first reforming the factor market that needs it the most: land, especially urban land. We need to create a proper urban land market, and bring down its prices by adopting sensible policies to increase its potential supply so that our urbanisation is concentrated and capable of optimising commutes and collaborative networks of talented workers. Developing colonies of workers in distant suburbs is not the best way to create smart cities. Smart cities emerge from smart utilization of available spaces, not antiseptically designed satellite towns far away from workplaces.

How much of your salary should you spend on rent?

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With so many properties available at different rates, what is the ideal amount that a tenant should spend as rent? We suggest a few guidelines, to ensure that you can manage your rental outgo easily.

The rental housing market has many options, available at various rates. Consequently, it may be difficult for a prospective tenant to figure out how much to spend as rent. The answer to this, depends on one’s salary/income.

“Ideally, you should not be paying more than 30% of your salary towards rent and utilities (such as maintenance/water/electricity expenses). If you consider a monthly take-home salary of Rs 60,000, ideally, your rent should not be more than Rs 15,000,” advises Adhil Shetty, CEO of

Shetty suggests you first determine where you want to live, as well as the security in the region, its accessibility and the commute to your workplace.

“Factor in all these aspects, before taking a call. For instance, you might get a good house in a reasonably-priced locality. However, it might make your commute lengthier and more expensive. So, a slightly smaller but expensive house closer to your workplace, might be a better trade-off,” says Shetty.

‘In hindsight, my approach to build wealth was short term’

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Analysing the mistakes and getting rid of his portfolio’s shortcomings set in motion Iqbal Mohammed’s long-term journey

Iqbal Mohammed felt that the engineer in him was getting lost in the typical IT job he held for over 10 years when he decided to go his own way and focus on what he knows and loves best. Semnox Solutions Pvt. Ltd was born in 2008 and is a global revenue solutions provider for the entertainment industry. Even though he was confident of making a success of his business venture, he was not as sure that his financial life was on the right track.

While there was not much to save in the initial years of employment, once his finances stabilised and there was a surplus, like all young people, he gravitated towards the two asset classes with the most bragging rights: equity and real estate. His portfolio was a motley collection of products that were sold to him with no alignment to goals or needs. “There was a lot of needless activity in my portfolio with funds being moved from one product to another without any reason,” said Iqbal.

He was perceptive enough to identify where he was going wrong: there was no disciplined approach to investing and the portfolio was skewed towards risky asset classes. “In hindsight, it feels as though the entire approach was short term. If some of my investments were held till date, I think there would have been tremendous gains on most of them.” With the realisation of the errors came the feeling that his financial situation would be better served with professional management and that is when he got in touch with Naveen Julian Rego, registered investment advisor and certified financial planner.

Iqbal’s brief to Naveen was clear. He wanted to address the risks in the portfolio and set it on a growth path with focus on goals. Iqbal and his wife Sarwath want to provide the best possible education to their two children Sahim, 15, and Shahan, 11, and a retirement with no compromise on their comforts or desires. Iqbal and Sarwath want to give back to society too in a significant way and are still searching for a cause that speaks to them.

Rego did a thorough analysis of Iqbal’s holdings and classified the investments to give Iqbal a good perspective of the risks and shortcomings in the portfolio. “The lack of a coherent asset allocation in the portfolio and significant concentration in asset classes and securities was what struck me immediately,” said Rego.

Rego also focused on de-risking the portfolio from the effects of a downturn in equity and real estate markets and bringing balance.

As a first step, Rego advised terminating a slew of Ulips that were not adding any value either to the protection needs or to the investment needs of the family. The next was to reduce the proportion of real estate and equity in the portfolio and to make allocations to debt to diversify the portfolio and protect downside risks. Since exiting real estate cannot be done at short notice, it was proposed to be done in a phased manner as was the exit from ESOPs to reduce the concentration of equity allocation in the portfolio to a particular security. Rego created a model portfolio that was suited to Iqbal’s financial needs and set in motion a long-term systematic investment that would get Iqbal to his desired allocation.

A good income and prudent spending habits of Sarwath and Iqbal meant that the household did not have to cut back on current expenses to find the savings for the goals. Mutual funds are the preferred investment vehicle for equity and debt investments, though there are some direct equity investments being made too.

“He spoke less about returns and more about building wealth over a long run by appropriate asset allocation. It was simple to understand and yet had the maturity and wisdom,” said Iqbal about Rego’s approach. All investment decisions are mutually decided between them after discussions in two reviews each year.

“It is important to get good financial advice early in life and someone in the family can play the role initially,” said Iqbal. “Knowing that my finances are in professional hands gave me peace of mind. I feel secure in the hands of an able advisor,” said Iqbal.

Around 40% property owners in Bengaluru don't pay tax

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While the civic body’s GIS-enabled property tax information system has identified 19 lakh properties in its limits, only 11.5 lakh properties pay the levy.

BENGALURU: Owners of two out of every five properties in the city continue to avoid paying the stipulated property tax promptly, according to BBMP officials.

While the civic body’s GIS-enabled property tax information system has identified 19 lakh properties in its limits, only 11.5 lakh properties pay the levy. If every property is tax compliant, then the BBMP can mop up over Rs 4,000 crore, officials said.

The BBMP is racing against time to meet its tax target of Rs 3,100 crore. With less than three months left in the financial year, the agency has collected Rs 2,220 crore in taxes. Parks, playgrounds, shrines, BBMP properties and traffic circles are not assessed for property taxes. BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad told TOI: “A large number of properties, especially vacant plots in new BBMP areas, are regular defaulters.”

Metals: Slowdown triggers earnings cuts with no bottom in sight yet

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Falling prices should ideally lead to production cuts by high-cost producers, bringing equilibrium to the market.

Even as the stimulus by China is yet to take effect, concerns are being raised about its impact and the possible support it can provide to commodities, especially metals.

Some brokers, including CGS-CIMB Securities International Pte. Ltd, are even advising investors to stay away from steel stocks for the next two years. “Falling steel prices in the domestic market, rising steel production in China, depreciating CIS currencies which make exports viable at much lower US$ prices and entry of new players in the Indian steel market are some of the headwinds for Indian steel players. It is not too late to sell steel stocks, in our view,” CGS-CIMB said in a note. CIS is Commonwealth of Independent States.

The impact of the price erosion could reflect in the December quarter earnings. Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd forecasts a significant contraction in earnings of the metal companies on a sequential basis. Worryingly, the earnings contraction is projected to continue through the current quarter (Q4 FY19) as well, as the firms face the full impact of the fall in prices. “Full impact should come through in 4Q. Domestic HRC (hot rolled coil) prices are around ₹2,800 per tonne below 3Q average. With domestic ex-mill prices at a premium to import parity and mill inventories rising, further correction is likely. Aluminium LME is down 5% versus 3Q average,” Jefferies said in a note. LME is London Metal Exchange.

Panvel: Upcoming infrastructure makes it a sought-after affordable housing market

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Panvel has emerged as Navi Mumbai's key real estate market, on account of its comparatively affordable prices, infrastructure development and prospects of good future returns, by way of appreciation.

Recently, Navi Mumbai was graded the second-best city to reside, in the ‘Ease of Living Index 2018’, launched by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs (MoHUA).

Also, JLL India, in their report ‘Livability Quotient – A Paradigm Shift in India’s Emerging Cities’ had identified Navi Mumbai as one of the best satellite towns, offering relief from the growing densification problems of Mumbai. This reinstates the fact that Navi Mumbai is a well-planned and managed city, at par with international and national standards.

Navi Mumbai was developed with an intent to decongest Mumbai and one node in Navi Mumbai that is developing in a similar manner, is Panvel.

“Paucity of land and rapid urbanisation in Mumbai, are resulting in a roll-on effect and directing investors to turn towards emerging areas, which could ‘peak’ in the coming years. As more locations continue to go out of the reach of a certain cross-segment of buyers, Panvel is emerging as a favourite for buyers. The government has already taken several initiatives, to build quality infrastructure in Navi Mumbai, especially in and around Panvel. This has helped developers to set up projects here,” says Navin Makhija, MD of the Wadhwa Group, which is bringing quality affordable homes to Panvel with an integrated township project, to be developed in multiple phases.

Vastu Shastra tips for a temple at home

February 15, 2019 Ref -

When it comes to the temple or prayer area in a home, there are several Vastu Shastra guidelines that should be followed, to ensure maximum positive effects for the home’s inhabitants. We examine the dos and don’ts

The temple at home, is a sacred place where we worship God. So, naturally, it must be a positive and peaceful place. The temple area, when placed according to Vastu Shastra, can bring health, prosperity and happiness to the house and its occupants. Although a separate puja room would be ideal, this is not always possible in metropolitan cities, where there is space crunch.

The temple area, should be a zone of tranquility that is full of divine energy, says Mumbai-based Nitien Parmar of VastuPlus. “This is a space where one surrenders to the Almighty and gains strength. If one does not have the space to allocate an entire room for the temple, one can set up a small altar on the east wall, towards the north-east zone of the house. Avoid placing the temple in the south, south-west or south-east zones of house,” adds Parmar.

Online property deeds face glitches

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More cities are looking to opt for online property registration. The latest attempt to consider the online route was in Noida.

“In an endeavour to make property registration and related services more transparent and efficient, the Noida Authority has decided to completely get rid of the manual process. Earlier, consumers had the option of taking the online route of property registration since November 2018, or take the offline route. But from 2019, all property registrations and transfers of properties can be done only online. All payments must also be done solely online,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.

According to experts, online transaction indicates transparency.

“Undoubtedly, there will be greater transparency and efficiency, provided the website is up and running and the process is user-friendly,” said Puri.

However, the implementation is unlikely to happen anytime soon. According to Sunny Katyal, director, Investors Clinic, Noidabased property brokerage firm, like RERA and GST, in case of online property registration there is still no clarity.

“There is no formal communication yet from the authorities on how to implement it in terms of website or transaction process. I don’t think it is even practical to go the online way because the paper work is complicated for real estate. Also execution is difficult due to lack of communication,” said Katyal.

In fact, online registration has not been successful in other parts of the country. Tamil Nadu, for instance, implemented online registrations but there were several critical issues which ultimately forced buyers and sellers to visit the registrar office.

“Thus, for them the online route was far more inconvenient than the offline one. Having said this, any new major overhaul does have initial teething issues which ultimately get resolved over time. Moreover, this move will make it much more convenient for property consumers as they will have the convenience to finish this uphill task from home. Earlier, it was a tedious task which could take up a major chunk of a working day,” said Puri. Even for builders, it could bring in some respite as far as time and convenience is concerned.

“Also, the bribes often given to officials at the registrar office for easy commencing of the registration process can be done away with. To all these effects, this process will be far better and a smoother ride for property buyers and builders alike. While there are talks of this process spreading its wings in the entire country, it is still largely the prerogative of the respective states to implement it in letter and spirit,” said Puri.

A few states such as Tamil Nadu and Punjab have already started online registrations and if we go by the reports then online property registrations are seeing a major rise with time.

However, at the moment going fully online for property deeds is farfetched.

Best satellite towns in India to invest in

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Satellite towns, which started emerging around 15 years ago, to ease the mounting pressure on major Indian cities, are fast turning into real estate hotspots. We list some of the major satellite cities in the country, which are worth investing in.

The most important aspect that encourages the development of satellite towns, is the presence of good connectivity. Once easy accessibility is in place, other things like infrastructure, amenities, residential areas, etc., tend to follow. During the growth phase of satellite towns, property rates are lower than the prime areas and when the satellite towns themselves become prime areas, the rates increase.

According to Sunil Aggarwal, associate dean and director, RICS School of Built Environment, “Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have benefitted the most, from the emergence of satellite towns. However, there is a need to utilise the land within cities more effectively. There is a lot of good quality land within cities that is either unutilised or underutilised and this has to change.” Given below, are some of the prominent Indian satellite cities that property investors can consider.

Bringing back the local in the national tax regime.

February 15, 2019 Ref -

A single GST rate of 12% would work if the centre and states share 1/6th of this with local bodies, leading to an urban revolution.

By all accounts, Indian economy today is on a growth turnpike, not very different from the growth miracles experienced by Asian tigers as well as China in earlier decades. India has consistently accelerated its growth rate over the last three decades. Our country has not looked back since 1991 and has, in fact, become one of the best growth performers in the world economy.

The deep determinants of this remarkable growth experience of ours have been institutions, demographic transition, modern technology and accumulation of both human and physical capital. In my view, the most important of these factors has been our democratic framework, a key foundational institution. Our democracy has proved to be sine qua non for effectively formulating key economic policies and conducting policy reforms in a country that is so diverse.

It is also of fundamental importance for maintaining social harmony. I cannot overemphasize the need for maintaining continuous vigilance to safeguard social harmony in our highly diverse society. In this endeavour, the “majoritarianism” will need to be eschewed. As the proverb goes “United we stand and divided we fall.”

In a country as beautifully diverse as ours, federalism as an organising principle is clearly the only way to succeed. In the analytical literature, “coming together” and “holding together” are the recognized forms of federalism. United States is the classic illustration of the first whereas the erstwhile Pakistan or Yugoslavia perhaps could be seen as illustrating the second.

Property rights of a Hindu daughter under the Hindu Succession Act 2005

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The Delhi HC in December 2015, ruled that a daughter can be the Karta of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). We look at the implications of this ruling, on the property rights of daughters in paternal properties.

In December 2015, the Delhi High Court gave a decision, stating that a daughter can be the Karta of an HUF (Hindu Undivided Family). The root of this decision lies in the amendment passed to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, in 2005. The Hindu Succession Act is applicable to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. The amendment drastically changed the rights of daughters in the property of the parental HUF.

Opinion | How not to let your nest egg reduce by a third

February 15, 2019 Ref -

If you are able to identify good mutual funds yourself that consistently beat the benchmark by at least 3 to 4 percentage points, it is worth your time to search for and invest in these schemes.

What would your face look like if you realised that your retirement corpus will lose about a third of its value due to the costs you’ve paid your mutual fund? You’ve begun to invest in mutual funds and collectively are pouring more than ₹1 trillion a year into equity mutual funds through SIPs. A mixture of reasons including successful awareness campaigns, low returns on real estate, gold and fixed deposits, better access through fintech and a big regulatory push towards making mutual funds safer for you caused you to invest almost ₹8,000 crore a month in these funds.

Most of you hopefully understood the magic of compounding and are committed to staying the long haul with the investment, but what you need to know is that compounding can multiply returns as well as costs causing very different outcomes for your money. A quick update on the costs you pay in a mutual fund: you don’t pay any commission on sales to an agent and a ₹100 investment goes to work fully. Unlike a traditional insurance plan, for example, where ₹60-65 goes to work and the rest as commission to the agent, a mutual fund is allowed to put all its costs under one head called the expense ratio and the regulator puts a limit on how much a mutual fund can charge. These expense ratios, therefore, range from about 10 basis points (one-tenth of a percentage point) to about 2%. It matters very much if you are invested in a mutual fund that costs you 10 bps or 2%.

A 10 bps cost over a 10-year period will reduce your total corpus by less than a percentage point. Over a 20-year period, it will reduce your money by just over a percentage point. And over a 30-year period, it will cost you almost 2% overall—in other words a ₹10 crore retirement portfolio will be ₹9.8 crore. Run the same numbers using a 2% cost per year, and your money reduces by 9% over 10 years, 20% over 20 years and a huge 32% over 30 years—or the ₹10 crore corpus will be worth just ₹6.8 crore due to the higher cost.

We know that an exchange-traded fund or an index fund are cheaper mutual funds that mimic an index. Since there is no cost of stock analysis and trading, mutual funds are able to whittle costs down to a wafer thin 10 bps or even lower. But what you get is the index return—say the Sensex or the Nifty. Managed funds, or funds where the fund manager takes a call and picks stocks cost higher—around the 2% mark. But unless they are able to beat the benchmark and give you at least 2 percentage points over the index, they cost you more than they benefit you.

So should you rush into index funds or ETFs? No. Because compounding works both ways. If your fund is able to give 4 percentage points over what the index fund or ETF gives, then over a 30-year period you will have more than double the money you would have had in an index fund. Indian fund managers have done quite well in beating the indices over the past 20 years. However, the extra return that fund managers are able to get in large-cap funds is coming down, but is still quite good in other categories of funds. Don’t look at one-year returns, but at least five-year returns to see the extra return over the benchmark.

If you are able to identify good mutual funds yourself that consistently beat the benchmark by at least 3 to 4 percentage points, it is worth your time to search for and invest in these schemes. Or if you work with a planner, ask to see the returns over time and compare these to the benchmark. Ask to see the pre- and post-cost returns. If you cannot do any of these, then you are better off in an index fund or ETF that just mimics an index. You can build a portfolio that has several kinds of ETFs to give the benefit of diversification. At the minimum, you will have a broad market index-linked fund, a mid-cap and a small-cap-linked fund. Remember to give a larger allocation to the broad market index fund and use the mid- and small-caps as a returns kicker. And do look at the expense ratios carefully—they matter.

Need more money after taking a home loan? Opt for a ‘top-up’

February 15, 2019 Ref -

If you are already paying the EMI on an existing home loan and need more money, you can opt for a top-up loan. Here’s a look at the eligibility criteria, tenure and how you can take this loan

When a person buys any property, it generally involves taking a home loan and also exhausting a substantial amount of one’s savings, to fund the margin money. Moreover, home buyers also try to avail of the maximum possible loan amount, to get the best home. Sometimes, a situation may arise, where you need a substantial amount of money, while you are also servicing an existing home loan. There is an option called a ‘top-up home loan’, to deal with such situations.

To provide relief to Amrapali home buyers, SC favours allowing registration of flats

February 15, 2019 Ref -

To provide relief to the hassled home buyers residing in flats built by the embattled Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court has indicated that it may allow them to register their residences with the authorities concerned.

The Supreme Court, on January 16, 2019, observed that the flat buyers of Amrapali Group were not able to register their flats with the authorities concerned, as they did not have the completion certificate and if the need arises, it may invoke powers of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 of the constitution, to direct for registration of the flats.

“Amrapali home buyers should not suffer due to want of completion certificate and ongoing litigation. We may direct the authorities to register their flats, on payment of proportional amount to the Noida and Greater Noida authorities. If the need arises, we may invoke Article 142 of the constitution, to issue directions,” a bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit told the counsels appearing for the home buyers and Amrapali.

It asked the parties to give their legal suggestions on the next date of hearing, so that directions could be passed to the authorities. Advocate ML Lahoty, appearing for the home buyers, said that it will be a big relief to the flat owners and they would submit the legal suggestion on next date of hearing.

IIFL AMC raises ₹950 crore Category II AIF

February 15, 2019 Ref -

IIFL AMC, which is targeting up to ₹1,100 crore corpus for its Category II AIF, is expecting another ₹50-100 crore from some institutional investors, says CEO Prashasta Seth.

Mumbai: IIFL Asset Management Co. Ltd (IIFL AMC) has raised Rs 950 crore for its IIFL India Private Equity Fund, a senior executive said.

Mint reported in May about the launch of the first private equity fund from IIFL, which manages several funds under its alternative assets platform.

The fund is a close-ended Sebi-registered Category II Alternative Investment Fund.

While the firm has closed active marketing of the fund, it is still in talks with a few institutional investors who are looking at investing in the fund, said Prashasta Seth, chief executive at IIFL AMC.

“We have done bulk of the fundraise that we wanted to do. From an active high networth individual’s marketing point of view, we have closed the fundraise. But we are keeping it open for a few institutional investors that are looking to come into the fund,” said Seth.

IIFL was targeting to raise around ₹1,000-1,100 crore for the fund, he said.

“We have raised ₹950 crore and we are expecting another ₹50-100 crore from some institutional investors,” he added.

The private equity fund focuses on backing professional entrepreneurs and has the ability to invest across multiple life stages of a business.

“We will back professional entrepreneurs from this fund. We can come in at multiple stages right from the inception stage to series A. We have the ability to commit multiple rounds that will help fund across the life cycle of the business which will enable entrepreneurs to focus on the business and not be worried about fund raise every 6-12 months,” said Seth.

The fund has already announced one investment so far.

It is investing around ₹100 crore in Tamil Nadu-based Kadaieshwar Homefin Pvt. Ltd, founded by C. Ilango, former managing director and chief executive of mortgage lender Can Fin Homes.

“We have a couple of more investments which are in different stages and will be done in the next two to three months,” said Seth.

IIFL plans to deploy the fund over the next three years and is looking to build a portfolio of around a dozen investments.

“We will make between 12-15 investments through the fund. We will invest between ₹50-100 crore in these companies. We expect to deploy the fund over the next three years,” said Seth.

The fund will focus on the financial, consumer, healthcare and technology sectors, he added.

IIFL’s alternative assets business is currently managing several funds across various asset classes.

IIFL has raised close to ₹4,700 crore since 2012 across various real estate funds under Sebi’s (Securities and Exchange Board of India) alternative investment fund regime.

Student housing: Indian real estate’s next big segment in 2019?

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With students enrolling for higher education in the country growing at a rate of nine per cent annually, we examine the potential of the student housing segment and whether it can emerge as a viable real estate asset class.

Mobility of students in India is increasing and it is common to see students moving to different cities, for higher education. However, there remains a dearth of good hostels and other amenities, to accommodate this floating population. Consequently, student housing, as a real estate asset class, is slowly gaining importance. “The paying guest (PG) market in India is unorganised, with barely any uniform standard in place. Students are searching for places to stay, without wanting to get into the hassle of renting a flat or an apartment. Hence, there is a high demand for co-living spaces and student housing, unlike before,” says Nikhil Sikri, co-founder and CEO of Zolo.

While student housing co-living spaces are already big segments in the real estate markets in the US and Europe, investors are

now looking at student housing as the next big trend in India.

“Some of the student-centric cities like Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai, cannot accommodate the rising student population. Moreover, students do not want to worry about food or housekeeping. They care about being economical and being a part of a friendly community. This makes co-living spaces or student accommodation the perfect choice, as it provides well-facilitated, serviced spaces, catering only to students and young professionals,” adds Sikri.

Only builder-buyer agreement can protect your rights

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Buyers must read this document carefully as the terms and conditions mentioned will help to ensure that your rights are protected and you get what you have paid for.

The builder-buyer agreement is a very important legal document for home buyers. It is a contract which contains all the terms and conditions which have to be complied by both the buyer and the builder. While buying property, whether for personal use or as an investment, the builder-buyer agreement is important from the legal perspective as well. Buyers must read this document carefully as the terms and conditions mentioned will help to ensure that your rights are protected and you get what you have paid for. This agreement can empower you to stand up for your rights at any legal or non-legal forum.

Should you give up on a good property because of imperfect Vastu?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

To what extent are Vastu Shastra norms important, if all the other aspects of a property meet the home seeker’s requirements? We look at the Vastu principles and remedies, to help buyers arrive at a decision.

Consider this scenario: after a prolonged search, you get an unbelievable offer on a property. However, you find that the property does not conform to Vastu norms. Should you drop the offer? This is a dilemma that many home buyers face. While some home seekers may persist and purchase a flat despite Vastu faults, others may reject it outright. The question is, to what extent should one heed Vastu norms?

Vastu Shastra is a ‘science of architecture’ and its principles have been followed in India for centuries. It incorporates many Hindu beliefs and the designs are intended to integrate the functional aspects of structures and geometric patterns, with nature and forces like the sun and wind.

“Vastu holds an enormous importance in our culture. While we must check the basic Vastu compliance while buying a home/property, we must also understand that not all the principles of Vastu may be satisfied in any property. However, the science is such that there are modifications and solutions, available for most of the conceivable problems,” says Ricky Doshi, founder of ARD Studio.

Actress Jennifer Winget: My weekend home in Goa rejuvenates me

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Actress Jennifer Winget, who bought a weekend home in Goa, feels that it is the perfect place to relax and buying the home has been one of the best decisions of her life.

“For many years, I wanted to buy a home in Goa. Whenever I went there with my family or friends, I enjoyed my stay. I love the place for its natural beauty, its beaches and the food. Goa makes me feel relaxed. It is an ideal place for a weekend home,” says actress Jennifer Winget, who bought a home in Goa last year.

Winget was hunting for a home for two years and finally zeroed in on her house in Reis Magos, north Goa. Her house is barely 15 minutes away from the beach.

“When my agent showed me this new property, I liked it instantly. There was something positive about this place. It is a contemporary and charming house, with a blend of traditional elements and a small garden too. I called my parents and in just one week, the deal was done. It was one of the best decisions of my life. It is a dream come true,” says the actress, who is currently seen in the television show Beyadh and has also acted in Saraswati Chandra, Karthika, Kumum, Kasuti Zindagi Ki, Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka and also in the movie Phir Se.

Will a composition scheme under GST help the real estate sector?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The scheme may have a detrimental effect on real estate prices due to the blockage of input tax credit.

A ministerial panel headed by Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel will look into the possibility of rationalisation of GST rate for the real sector besides formulating a composition scheme — a preferential scheme under GST extended to consumer centric sectors or industries. The move follows the GST Council meeting on January 10 that referred matters pertaining to the sector to the Group of Ministers due to lack of consensus.

The GoM will now decide on the issue of reducing the current GST levied on real estate which is 12 percent to five percent.

Tax experts say that while composition schemes may look attractive, one needs to do a thorough analysis to weigh whether a reduced GST rate of 5 percent without input tax benefit is better than a standard rate of 12 percent with full input tax credit.

At present, GST is levied at an effective rate of 12 percent (standard rate of 18 percent less a deduction of six percent as land value) on premium housing and effective rate of eight percent (concessional rate of 12 percent less a deduction of four percent as land value) on affordable housing on payments made for under-construction property or ready-to-move-in flats where completion certificate has not been issued at the time of sale.

However, GST is not levied on buyers of real estate properties for which completion certificate has been issued at the time of sale.

“If the government reduces the eight percent GST rate on affordable housing to five percent without extending the benefit of input tax credit, sale prices may increase and real estate developers may pass on the burden/increase in price of apartments for most low and middle income projects. This may impact the government’s affordable housing scheme,” says Harpreet Singh, Partner, KPMG.

Builders are hoping that the government will allow input tax credit on under-construction residential properties even after reducing the GST rate to five percent.

Hyderabad: The most affordable metro in the country

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Hyderabad has emerged as one of the best cities in India, in terms of quality of life. We look at what's on offer in the real estate market in this city and whether it makes sense for a home buyer to invest here.

Hyderabad has always been known as a price-conscious metropolitan city in India. Hyderabad has held the top spot, among all Indian metros, in Mercer’s Quality of Living survey, for four years in a row. The city has also scored well across other aspects, including a relatively low crime rate, good schools, good hospitals, low pollution levels and a flourishing job market. With the increase in the number of jobs being created, there is a corresponding increase in the demand for housing and infrastructure.

Capital gains computation for encroached/litigated properties

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The market value of a property that has been encroached upon or is under litigation, may be significantly lower than its ready reckoner value. We examine the options for buyers and sellers, in terms of computing the capital gains on such properties.

Capital gains under the income tax laws, are computed by deducting the cost of acquisition of the property from sale consideration of the same. Depending on the holding period of the property, one is allowed to enhance the cost of acquisition, by using the cost inflation index notified by the government every year. The sale consideration, as mentioned in the agreement, may not always be considered for income tax purposes. The income tax laws have elaborate provisions to determine sale consideration with respect to land and buildings.

5 expectations that Budget 2019 must address, to uplift the real estate sector’s sentiment

February 15, 2019 Ref -

With the real estate sector facing the problem of high inventory, low liquidity and high input cost, we look at some of the top issues that one hopes the interim budget will address, for a revival of the sector.

The Indian economy is expected to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This is possible, only if India’s realty sector performs well, as it contributes a significant portion to the GDP. Hence, there are hopes that the government will address several challenges faced by the sector, in the interim budget 2019. Some of these pertain to taxes, funding and liquidity, rental housing and project approvals. Experts also maintain that while the affordable housing segment has been granted infrastructure status, it would help if this was extended to other segments of residential housing, as well.

Can homebuyers be deprived of a refund under RERA?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

While Section 18 of RERA Act clearly states that a homebuyer can seek refund and ought to be compensated for ‘undue’ delays in a project, experts said a withdrawal by a handful should not jeopardise completion of an entire project

On January 9, MahaRERA set aside the plea of over 10 flat buyers who had wanted to exit from a project in Mumbai, stating that bulk withdrawal from the project may mean ‘jeopardising completion of the project’ and impact the remaining 500 home buyers.

The 13-odd buyers had booked units worth Rs 7.5 crore each in the 65-storey Island City Centre project in Dadar constructed Bombay Realty, an arm of The Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing Company, way back in 2012. They had alleged that the builder had made ‘false assurances regarding amenities and made changes to the carpet area and overall layout of the project’.

"Keeping in mind the larger interest of approximately 520 allottees of the said project, allowing bulk withdrawal from the MahaRERA registered project to so many complainants at this stage would mean jeopardising the project completion. Money for the refund will have to be taken out from the separate account, which is meant specially for the completion of the project and would eventually slow down the progress of the project work especially at a stage where the project is nearing completion with more than 800 of the super structure work completed," the order said.

In October last year, the Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HRERA) had directed Supertech to refund the amount taken from the buyers of a housing project for cheating the buyers by accepting pre-launch booking before obtaining licences and not handing over the possession of the units on time.

The HRERA bench had ordered that the funds received by the respondent from the complainant by way of advance be refunded along with interest at the rate 10.45 percent per annum as 'he has cheated/defrauded the innocent buyers'.

Interestingly, Chairman of Gurugram Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HARERA) KK Khandelwal had also made it clear at a later date that in projects where construction is 40 percent complete, refund may not be allowed to ensure that the project is completed.

The purpose of RERA is to balance the interests and protect the rights of the key stakeholders: builders, buyers and agents. "But our first priority is to ensure that home buyers get possession of their homes."

While homebuyers are of the view that they are not responsible for pledging their money with the developer 'indefinitely' and that they have every right to seek a refund if the project has been ‘unreasonably’ delayed, builders are of the opinion that refund should not be ‘allowed’ to a few buyers, especially if construction is on, as that would harm the interests of other buyers and make the project ‘unviable’.

Impact of divorce on a property under joint ownership

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Problems between the co-owners of a property, such as the divorce of a couple, have several ramifications on the ownership of the property. We examine the implications on home loans, the division of the property and ways to resolve the issue amicably.

Buying a home involves several legal and financial obligations. To distribute the burden of buying a home, people often opt for joint ownership, with relatives, especially the spouse. “The general view, is that it is a good idea to buy a home in co-ownership. However, each person can enjoy the tax benefits, only if they have separate and genuine sources of income. Also, if any legal dispute arises over the property, then, all the co-owners will be involved in the case. So, home buyers should evaluate all such possibilities, before making a final decision,” cautions Jeevan Kumar KC, head – investment advisory services at Geojit Financial Services. For a house which is under joint ownership between a husband and wife, problems may arise if the couple opt for a divorce. In such situations, it becomes necessary to determine who will get what portion and how the loan responsibility will be distributed.

HC stops work on casting yard related to Bandra-Versova Sea Link project

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The Bombay HC has ordered a temporary stoppage of work on a casting yard being constructed for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link project, following a PIL that alleged that the construction was being done without requisite permissions.

The Bombay High Court, on January 25, 2019, restrained the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) from carrying out any work relating to a casting yard, being constructed for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link project in Mumbai, for two weeks. A casting yard is a confined place where concrete structures like segments, parapets, girders, beams and boundary wall panels, are manufactured.

A bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar, gave the direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL). The plea claimed that the MSRDC was constructing the casting yard on the Juhu Koliwada beach and in the process, was illegally reclaiming a portion of the beach. The petitioner, activist Zoru Bhatena, told the court that the state-run corporation was carrying on the construction without requisite permissions.

His counsel, advocate Gayatri Singh, told the bench that in the process, the MSRDC was dumping mud on the beach, thus, not only reclaiming the area but also restricting the sea water supply to the mangroves in the area.

Around 7.9 hectares of the beach area was being affected due to the casting yard work, the petitioner said.

The MSRDC, however, denied the allegations and said it had all the requisite permissions for the work.

The bench, however, directed the authorities to stop all work for two weeks and directed the Santacruz police station to ensure the court’s order was not violated.

Centre moves SC seeking nod to return 67-acre land around disputed Ayodhya site to original owners

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The Centre on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking its permission to return the 67-acre acquired land around the disputed Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid site to original owners.

In a fresh plea, the Centre said it had acquired 67 acres of land around the 2.77 acre disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

The plea has said that the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (a trust to promote construction of Ram Temple) had sought return of excess land acquired in 1991 to original owners.

Earlier, the apex court had ordered that the status quo be maintained with regard to the acquired 67 acre of land around the disputed site.

The central government in 1991 had acquired 67 acre land around the disputed site.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The Supreme Court had on Sunday cancelled the hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the title dispute case due to non-availability of Justice S A Bobde, one of the five judges of the Constitution bench.

Benami assets worth Rs 6,900 crores confiscated so far: I-T Department

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The Income-Tax Department has said that it has attached and confiscated properties worth more than Rs 6,900 crores so far, as part of its drive against benami properties.

The Income-Tax (I-T) Department has confiscated assets worth Rs 6,900 crores till now, as part of its action under the anti-benami transactions law, the agency said in a public advertisement on January 29, 2019. The message issued in leading dailies, said people who ‘abet and induce’ benami transactions, benamidar (in whose name the benami property is standing) and beneficiaries (who pay money consideration) are prosecutable and may face rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years, besides being liable to pay fine of up to 25 per cent of the fair market value of benami property.

“The Income-Tax Department has already attached and confiscated benami properties worth more than Rs 6,900 crores,” the message said. The message added that people who furnish false information to authorities under the law (Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 2016) are prosecutable and may be imprisoned up to five years, besides being liable to pay fine up to 10 per cent of the fair market value of the benami property.

“We urge every conscientious citizen to help the government in eradicating it,” the message added. “Do not enter into benami transactions. It’s illegal and punishable,” the message said and added that action under the new law will be in addition to the I-T Act, 1961.

Centre, UP plan to complete 3 lakh delayed Noida flats

February 15, 2019 Ref -

According to estimates, the Amrapali group, which alone has to deliver 43,000 apartments, has vacant land and available floor space index for construction of about 10,000 new houses.

NEW DELHI: The Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government are looking to tap the unutilised land available with developers of delayed projects in Noida and Greater Noida, as well as setting up a dedicated fund to release stress and speed up delivery of nearly three lakh apartments.

The issue of setting up a stress fund for the sector was discussed at a meeting between Piyush Goyal, who is officiating as finance minister, and public sector banks on Monday where housing secretary D S Mishra was also present, sources told TOI. Though the corpus of the stress fund is yet to be worked out, the seed capital could be anywhere between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore. The housing ministry, NBCC and banks have been asked to work out a plan that can be implemented quickly.

The other option is to use undeveloped land parcels with developers by transferring them to agencies such as NBCC, the construction PSU, which can leverage them to raise resources or develop them and finance the construction of flats, some of which were booked a decade ago.

Home automation: The next wave of change in the real estate industry

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The real estate industry has been through several transformations, over the past few decades. We look at how home automation could well usher in the next transformation and how it will impact home buyers and developers.

A few decades ago, a home seeker would have been content with any home that was available within his/her budget. It is also likely that this home seeker would have worked for years, to accumulate the funds for the house. Home buying then, was a luxury that very few could afford. The availability of home loans and defined EMIs, in the 1980s, augmented the growth of real estate in the country, especially in the metropolitan and tier-1 cities, as it brought home ownership within the reach of most tax-payers.

With increasing consumer demand and growth in the real estate sector, developers began experimenting, by offering value-added lifestyle amenities like swimming pools, club houses, gymnasiums, imported fittings, Italian marble floorings, video door phones and concierge services, to create stronger demand for their products. With time, such amenities soon became a standard part of their offerings and consumers expected these, as a part of their lifestyle quotient.

5 expectations that Budget 2019 must address, to uplift the real estate sector’s sentiment

February 15, 2019 Ref -

With the real estate sector facing the problem of high inventory, low liquidity and high input cost, we look at some of the top issues that one hopes the interim budget will address, for a revival of the sector.

The Indian economy is expected to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This is possible, only if India’s realty sector performs well, as it contributes a significant portion to the GDP. Hence, there are hopes that the government will address several challenges faced by the sector, in the interim budget 2019. Some of these pertain to taxes, funding and liquidity, rental housing and project approvals. Experts also maintain that while the affordable housing segment has been granted infrastructure status, it would help if this was extended to other segments of residential housing, as well.

According to Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder and MD of the Hiranandani Group, the government should focus on the following concerns, in the interim budget 2019:

1. “Incentives for rental housing, to meet the acute shortage.

2. A clear policy roadmap for the creation of rental housing stock and exemption from the burden of tax on notional rental income.

3. Rationalisation of GST in case of under-construction properties – the GST should be pegged at either eight per cent with an input tax credit or five per cent without the input tax credit.

4. Focus on financial re-engineering concepts, to overcome the NBFC crisis and the challenge caused by the IL&FS default.

5. Incentives for new asset classes in real estate, like affordable housing, warehousing and logistics, co-working spaces, co-living spaces and light industrial spaces.”

Can the ‘design and build’ model transform interior fit-out projects in commercial realty?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

We look at the advantages of the design and build model of executing projects and whether it is likely to become a preferred route for corporates, for their office fit-outs.

‘Design and build’ is a globally popular corporate fit-out delivery method, where both, the design and execution, are entrusted to one single agency. The model has been in existence, as a preferred procurement route for projects of various sizes, in the western and middle-east countries for quite some time. In India, this model has taken time to become a preferred mode of delivering corporate fit-outs. As per an industry research, globally, 85 per cent of interior fit-out projects, with a value of less than USD 57,00,000 are procured through the design and build model.

What is a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and how to invest in one

FEBRUARY 01, 2019
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Real estate investment trusts are intended to enable more people to invest in the Indian property market and boost funding in the sector. How does it work and why haven’t more people flocked to this investment avenue? We examine.

The Indian real estate sector has been lucrative for savvy investors over the last decade, but it has not been without accompanying uncertainties. The introduction of real estate investment trusts (REITs), will provide a platform that will allow all kinds of investors (even those with smaller budgets) to make safe and rewarding investments in the Indian property market.

With REITs, investors can start with as small a sum as Rs 2 lakhs, 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 initial public offering (IPO). REIT units will have to be listed with exchanges and consequently, traded as securities.

Budget 2019: 3 main tax benefits for property owners

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The interim budget 2019 has offered some unexpected benefits for owners of property. We look at the three main announcements that are likely to bring tax relief to home owners.

1. Exemption of notional rent on second self-occupied property:

Tax payers who own and occupy more than one house have to pay tax on notional rent, which the property might fetch. This used to put many tax payers under undue monetary pressure as these tax payers may have a second house in a native place or one that is used by their parents for which no rent is received. Until now, they had to pay notional rent on the second property, as one can claim only one owned house as self-occupied. Now, tax payers will be able to claim two owned houses as self-occupied, without having to pay any tax on such notional rent, provided the same is/are not let-out.

2. Exemption on long-term capital gains when the same is invested in two houses:

Presently, you can claim the tax benefits with respect to long-term capital gains on the sale of residential house, if the indexed long-term capital gains are invested for buying or constructing another one residential house, within the period specified. The interim budget 2019 proposes to expand this benefit to buying or constructing two residential houses, for the purpose of claiming the exemption under Section 54, provided the amount of capital gains does not exceed Rs two crores. Once a tax payer claims the exemption for buying or constructing two house, he cannot claim the exemption for the same year or the subsequent years.

3. Increase in TDS limit for rental income:

The third benefit for property owners is by way of increased limit for rent on which the lessee will deduct tax, before paying the rent to the landlord. Against the present limit of Rs 1.80 lakhs, the lessee will now have to deduct TDS, if the annual rent exceeds Rs 2.40 lakhs. The tax is required to be deducted, if the lessee is other than an individual or an HUF. An individual or an HUF lessee will deduct tax while paying you rent, if and only if he is engaged in business or profession and their books of accounts were subjected to tax audits in the previous year.

Mumbai: Not paid property tax yet? You cannot sell or transfer it now

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sent them several reminder notices and disconnected services for not paying the tax.

MUMBAI: Property tax defaulters in the city will now not be able to sell, transfer or take a loan against the property. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sent them several reminder notices and disconnected services for not paying the tax.

Earlier this week, its assessment and collection department created a charge on property tax cards of defaulting premises. Civic officials said the first charge on property card of a defaulter for a vacant plot in Deonar.

Officials said they approached the district superintendent of land records and a request was made to the city survey officer of Ghatkopar division, as Deonar falls under it. With this, any financial transaction, such as purchase, sale, transfer and borrowing against property will be unlawful. “Deonar Industrial Premises Co-Op Society owes the civic body Rs 2.18 crore as property taxes. Despite repeated notices, they failed to make the payment, so the assessment and collection department of M/East ward executed the warrant of attachment and sought to create a charge on the property card,” said assistant municipal commissioner (assessment and collection department) Devidas Kshirsagar.

Civic officials said they had to take this step as the total outstanding is Rs 13,000 crore. Kshirsagar said out of this, Rs 3,500 is recoverable, which means it is not stuck in any legal dispute.

“The remaining Rs 9,500 crore will be a challenge for us to recover. Similar action is proposed against other defaulters,” he said.

BMC’s property tax collection till January-end for the existing financial year has picked up. Officials said that till January 31, 2019, the property tax collected has been Rs 3,495 crore, while last year, in the same period, the amount was Rs 3,457 crore.

BMC had set a target of Rs 5,400 crore for collection of property tax for the year. Officials said extra efforts would be needed to meet the target.

DATA STORY | Real estate may add 13% to India's GDP by 2025. Here are the hurdles that lie ahead

February 15, 2019 Ref -

While the government has brought in laws such as RERA, over 80 percent of consumers are of the view that there has not been much change in the property buying experience.

The Indian real estate sector is expected to contribute 13 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, according to the 'Indian Real Estate and Construction: Consolidating for growth' report by National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) and Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA).

In 2017, the realty sector contributed about 6-7 percent to India's GDP. The sector is expected to touch $1 trillion by 2030, becoming the third largest globally.

Apart from its contribution to India's GDP, the growth of this sector holds significance as it is the third largest employer, after agriculture and manufacturing, in the country and presently employs over 50 million people.

What is the better investment option: Apartments or plots?

February 15, 2019 Ref -

When it comes to investing in a property, most buyers think of putting their money in an apartment. We look at whether it may be financially more prudent to invest in a plot, rather than an apartment.

Purchasing a house is an important financial decision, particularly for first-time buyers. Home buyers have to be careful as they invest their hard-earned money for a secure future. Nevertheless, a good investment can earn handsome returns. As explained in the words of Russell Sage, “Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security.”

One has to bear in mind that any erroneous or hasty decision while making a big-ticket purchase, for example, during the course of purchasing a property, might yield results that one could regret. Moreover, investors may also be faced with the dilemma of having to decide whether one wants to invest in a plot of land or opt for an apartment, to reap better returns on investment.

Buying an apartment is not the same as purchasing a plot of land. Although both the asset classes are highly lucrative in nature, there are several pros and cons dividing the two types of purchase. Here are some key merits of investing in a plot of land, which could help a buyer to arrive at a final decision.

Rajasthan RERA appellate tribunal yet to see light of day.

February 15, 2019 Ref -

The developers are facing problem as they cannot market their project without procuring a RERA registration number as per the law.

JAIPUR: The state government is continuing to sit on the proposal of constituting authority and appellate tribunal of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Rajasthan much to the chagrin of home buyers and developers.

Almost one year and 10 months after the RERA was enacted, home buyers and builders still do not have a clear road map.

The RERA was introduced with an aim to bring more transparency in the existing system and protect the interests of home buyers. However, in absence of half-hearted attempt of the state government to implement the law, both developers and buyers are facing inconvenience.

Government of India had enacted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and all the provisions of the Act came into force on May 1, 2017 in Rajasthan. However, as the state government failed to constitute full-fledged committee over 650 complaints related to issues over flats and housing schemes in Rajasthan are waiting to be heard.

A senior official at RERA said, “Since May, no case was heard at RERA. Rajasthan government had earlier appointed additional chief secretary (ACS) of urban development and housing (UDH) department as the head the RERA. But as per the act, it is mandatory that after one year complaints can only be heard after constituting full-fledged authority and appellate tribunal,” he said.

It was informed, that court on December 18 has directed to constitute RERA authority in two months and tribunal in three months. The deadline is approaching nearer, however, constitution of authority is no where in sight.

With this , the developers too are facing problem as they cannot market their project without procuring a RERA registration number as per the law.

Gopal Das Gupta, chairman, CREDAI, Rajasthan, said, “The developers cannot give advertisement to sell their project without registering with RERA. We have appeased the minister about the issue and submitted the memorandum. To provide relief to the developers process should be started soon,” he said. As per the mandatory provision, the developers have to register themselves on RERA website.

Once details of all the ongoing projects are uploaded on the website, the aggrieved consumers can register their complaints at RERA office. However, in absence of appellate tribunal that was proposed adjudicate disputes, consumers continue to wait for relief.

Sustainability is as much about traditions, as about the environment: Yatin Pandya of Footprints E.A.R.T.H.

February 15, 2019 Ref -

For any architectural structure to be sustainable, it should take into consideration its surroundings, the people it caters to as well as its purpose, explains architect Yatin Pandya, founder of Footprints E.A.R.T.H.

Architect Yatin Pandya, the founder of Footprints E.A.R.T.H. (Environment Architecture Research Technology Housing), is a multi-faceted personality. The author, activist, academician and researcher, has to his credit urban design, mass housing, architecture, interior design and conservation projects. Pandya, who holds a masters in architecture from McGill University at Montreal, Canada, worked with the Vastu Shilp Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design as an associate director, before starting Footprints E.A.R.T.H. in 2008. “Today, we are a team of about 18 colleagues pursuing, research, practice and publications. Environmental sustainability, socio-cultural appropriateness, timeless aesthetics and economic affordability, are the key principles of our work,” says Pandya.

How will the linking of Aadhaar with immovable properties impact the property market?

FEBRUARY 08, 2019
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What will happen if the government mandates the linking of Aadhaar numbers with immovable properties? We examine how it will affect property owners and whether it will clean up benami transactions.

Whether it is your bank account, life insurance policy, mutual fund investment, demat account, or mobile connection, linking them with one’s Aadhaar number, is becoming all pervasive. The government, in a bid to deal with the menace of corruption and black money, has hinted that it may consider linking immovable properties with Aadhaar numbers, as well. If such a move is implemented, it will have widespread ramifications and make the implementation of the benami transaction law easier. The Benami Transaction Act was notified in November 2016, at almost the same time as the announcement of the demonetisation drive. This law is administered by the Income Tax Department. After the benami law came into force, the I-T Department has attached around 475 properties worth Rs 1,600 crores, till date.

The benami transactions law has wider ramifications for real estate investments, than other investments. The requirement to link your Aadhaar number with your immovable property, may cover the transactions of registrations that are undertaken after the law comes into force. It may also require the furnishing of the Aadhaar number, for immovable properties already owned by you.

In fact, Maharashtra has announced that homebuyers who would use their Aadhaar Card for property registration would not have to produce two witnesses to carry out the transaction. Those who appear at the sub-registrar’s office without the Aadhaar Card would, however, have to come along with two witnesses.

Housing sales in southern cities higher than north and west India in 2018: Anarock

February 15, 2019 Ref -

NEW DELHI: Housing demand and supply were higher in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad as compared to sales and new launches in the north and west regions, property consultant Anarock said.

According to a report, housing sales in the main southern cities collectively rose by 20 per cent as against 18 per cent rise in the north and 15 per cent in the west.

New housing launches increased by 77 per cent in 2018 to 67,850 units over the previous year. National Capital Region (NCR) saw an increase of just 16 per cent in new supply while the main west Indian cities of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune, together, saw a mere 17 per cent jump in new residential supply.

Anarock also found out that the collective unsold stock in these southern cities is a mere 19 per cent of the total 6.73 lakh unsold units across the top seven cities. NCR alone has nearly 28 per cent of the total unsold stock.

“This clearly indicates that the housing markets in the southern cities are exceptionally resilient, and were quick to recover from the overall slowdown in the Indian real estate sector,” said Santhosh Kumar, Vice Chairman of Anarock Property Consultants.

The housing market in southern cities are driven by end-user demand, particularly from people working in IT/ITeS sector, while the NCR market is backed by investors, he said.

During all the ups and downs that the Indian real estate market has witnessed in recent years, the southern cities have displayed remarkable strength and resilience even in the worst phases.

“Year 2018 was a mixed bag of highs and lows for the Indian real estate sector. The initial pangs of policy alterations seemed to fade away with each region seeing visible signs of recovery across segments,” Kumar said.

Not only housing, Anarock said the retail and office segments of the real estate sector also increased activities in southern cities.

As per company data, the main southern cities saw collective office space absorption of nearly 21 million sq ft as against just 6 million sq ft in entire NCR.

“All in all, the southern cities had a very clear edge across sectors in real estate activity in 2018. Their inherent advantage stems from the more professional and organised approach to real estate - not just post RERA (new realty law) implementation but also in the pre-RERA years,” Kumar concluded.

How LTCG tax is charged on real estate and equity investments

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Real estate, gold, bullion, bonds and shares are few examples of capital assets. Any gains that you make from the transfer of these capital assets are known as capital gains and attract income tax.

The tax liability depends on the assets and the period for which that asset was held by the seller.

For instance, in case of real estate, if it was held for less than two years, then gains (sale minus purchase price) from the transfer will be considered short-term capital gains (STCG). It gets added to the seller’s other incomes and is taxed at the applicable slab rate.

If the property was held for more than two years, then the gains are considered long-term capital gains (LTCG) and taxed at 20% with indexation.

Similarly, in case of equity shares, if shares are held for less than a year, gains would be considered as STCGs and in case they were held for more than one year, gains are considered as LTCG.

STCGs on shares where security transaction tax (STT) is paid are taxed at the rate of 15% plus cess.

On the other hand, LTCGs of up to ₹1 lakh in a year from shares or equity investments is exempt from income tax, whereas any gains above ₹1 lakh in a year is taxed at the rate of 10%.

SC suspects cartelisation, as Amrapali’s five-star hotel remains unsold in auction

February 15, 2019 Ref -

Taking strong exception to two prime properties of the embattled Amrapali Group finding no bidders, the Supreme Court has said that it looked like ‘cartelisation is at work’ and sought to know whether banks were a part of the cartels.

The Supreme Court, on February 11, 2019 said that it was ‘shocking and disturbing’ that bankers were not coming forward to finance two prime properties of the embattled Amrapali Group, which remained unsold at an auction. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit said that it was earlier worried over undervaluation of the properties but strangely in the auction held on January 31, 2019, no bidders came to buy the prime properties. “It seems there is a systematic effort that properties go unsold, as no bids have come forward in the auction. Involvement of unforeseen hands cannot be ruled out. Prime facie, it appears that cartelisation is at work. Are the banks part of the cartel?” the bench said.

The top court said that banks are ready to finance projects for National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) but they are not coming forward to finance the Amrapali properties, being sold by the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in an auction. A five-star hotel ‘Amrapali Holiday Inn Tech Park’ constructed in Greater Noida and prime land in Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, were put up for auction on January 31, 2019, by the DRT but no bidder had come forward to bid.

The court allowed the NBCC to issue advertisement for the unsold flats of two Amrapali Projects – Eden Park and Castle – being constructed by it, so that funds could be raised. It said that interests of the home buyers is at the receiving end, as they are the ultimate sufferers. “There were newspaper reports recently that banks are ready to finance the projects constructed by NBCC but they are not ready to finance the bidders, who wanted to buy the Amrapali properties,” the top court said after being told no interested party came forward to purchase the properties worth hundreds of crores, as banks were not willing to finance them. The bench said that it cannot leave the situation like this and if necessary, it can pass necessary orders.

The court-appointed forensic auditor Pawan Kumar Aggarwal told the bench that he had identified 5,229 unsold flats from where around Rs 6,000 crores could be raised, by selling them. Aggarwal told the court that the Amrapali Group’s liability towards Greater Noida Authority was Rs 3,200 crores, around Rs 1,900 crores towards the Noida Authority and around Rs 2,000 crores towards banks. The bench asked the counsel for the Amrapali Group as to how they were planning to settle the liabilities, as unless they cleared the outstanding, nobody would be coming forward to put their money in the projects. “Home buyers’ interest is supreme. You (Amrapali) also have outstanding towards the home buyers, which you will have to pay. You have taken everything from them,” it said.

The forensic auditors also pointed out that multi-national firm JP Morgan Real Estate fund, which had invested Rs 85 crores in Amrapali Zodiac in 2010 by purchasing its shares and later selling them to the sister companies of the realty firm, had violated several then existing norms. Aggarwal pointed out that the shares purchased and agreement of JP Morgan Real Estate fund and Amrapali Group, were in violation of the provisions of law, as out of Rs 85 crores money received for the Zodiac project, Rs 60 crores was transferred to other projects.

“The shares purchased by JP Morgan were later purchased for Rs 140 crore by Amrapali’s two sister companies – Neelkanth and Rudraksh – which were floated by a peon and one office boy, who were working in the office of the statutory auditor of the Group,” he said.

The bench asked the forensic auditors who was the actual beneficiary in the transaction, as prima facie it did not appear to be a bona fide transaction. The auditors replied that they have written to the JP Morgan but they have not yet shared the name of actual beneficiary. The counsel for JP Morgan said that they could submit the name of the actual financier, who had invested in the Amrapali Group to the court but could not share it with other parties, as it was prohibited under the US laws. The bench listing the matter for further hearing to February 14, 2019.

Centre’s National Clean Air Programme gets support from TERI and Bloomberg Philanthropies

February 15, 2019 Ref -

In a major boost for the National Clean Air Programme, the government has announced that it will collaborate with The Energy and Resources Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will offer technical assistance on air quality issues.

The Environment Ministry, on February 12, 2019, found supporters in international organisation Bloomberg Philanthropies and Delhi-based think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), on resolving air quality issues under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). An initiative launched at the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), organised by TERI, would help mitigate air pollution – both at the national level and in a group of Indian cities – a press note issued by TERI said.

The government has collaborated with the TERI, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, aiming to bring together research and civil society organisations, to offer technical assistance on air quality issues in support of the NCAP. “The joint project will help address and mitigate air pollution, both, at the national level and in a group of Indian cities, by working to develop better understanding and awareness of the sources of air pollution, through emissions inventories and source apportionment studies,” the statement said. It added that the initiative would formulate policy recommendations and action plans, to address air pollution on the basis of data, evidence and consultations and increase capacities of key stakeholders to address the challenge through exchange of experiences and good practices.

Speaking at the event, CK Mishra, secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, “We are delighted to be working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, TERI and other partners, on the National Clean Air Programme. Air pollution is a difficult and multi-dimensional challenge and we need to work together across the government, multiple stakeholders and citizens to address this.” Michael R Bloomberg, UN special envoy for climate action and founder of the Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “Air pollution is one of the biggest global problems of our times. India has the unique opportunity to leapfrog and follow a sustainable development pathway, demonstrating solutions to the air pollution challenge that can have relevance all over the world.”

The initiative will work in tandem with the NCAP that was launched in January 2019, with the goal of reducing particulate matters by 20-30 per cent by 2024 from 2017. Lauding the initiative, TERI director-general Ajay Mathur said, “Region-specific actions are needed and this initiative brings together the interested groups to accelerate these actions.” Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world, in areas including arts, education, environment and public health, the press note said.

Another winner of Amazon HQ2 in Queens? Goldman Sachs

November 26, 2018 Ref -

On the very same day Amazon concluded its long, highly publicized search for a second headquarters, placing part of it in Long Island City, Goldman Sachs quietly finalized a deal to provide $83 million for a massive new apartment complex less than a mile away.

Over 4.5 crore allotted for rebuilding flood-hit houses in Kochi

November 23, 2018 Ref -

The district administration has allotted Rs 4.70 crore for reconstructing 485 houses. In the first installment, each house owner would be getting Rs 95,100.

After four-year delay, Yamuna Expressway Authority to hand over 5,000 residential plots in Dec

November 22, 2018 Ref -

14,453 plots having sizes of 200 sqm, 300 sqm and 1,000 sqm were cleared for allotment under the Residential Plot Scheme 1 in 2009 in YEIDA sectors 18 and 20.

Asset Homes comes out with exchange offer for old apartments

November 21, 2018 Ref -

Asset Homes MD, V Sunil Kumar said that the scheme offers an opportunity to exchange current apartment, house or land for a new premium flat or villa of Asset Homes.

Housing prices may fall after govt moves green norms to purview of local bodies

November 20, 2018 Ref -

The central government last week took a decision to delegate powers to local bodies to ensure compliance of environmental conditions for projects between 20,000 and 50,000 square metres.

Amrapali Asked To Disclose Property, Money Transfers Details: 10 Points

November 20, 2018 Ref -

Cracking whip on the embattled Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court warned the developer to reveal, by December 3, details of all its properties in the name of directors, their family members, relatives, chief financial officers and statutory auditors. The top court made it clear that Amrapali Group is required to disclose "in clear terms" every activity involving transfer of money since 2008. It asked the Amrapali Group and its officials to comply with all its directions. The case relates to non-delivery of flats to around 42,000 homebuyers.

Housing prices may fall after govt moves green norms to purview of local bodies

November 20, 2018 Ref -

The central government last week took a decision to delegate powers to local bodies to ensure compliance of environmental conditions for projects between 20,000 and 50,000 square metres.

Total investments in the segment are expected to cross $10 billion-dollar mark by 2020. By Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

November 16, 2018 Ref -

In 2000, Singapore-based scientific researcher Lata Raman, invested in a 1300sq.ft. apartment in Chennai for her parents. Settled abroad for the last two decades, she narrowed down on the apartment for the primary reason that she had other relatives who had purchased apartments in the same complex and it was a safer bet for her ageing parents. “As a Non-Resident India (NRI) I did not have any trouble making the purchase back then, but that was because I had the help of my relatives. But today, I would not want to invest in India again since the rules can be quite confusing," says Raman.

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