Housing sales decline 2.2 per cent to 1.58 lakh units in FY16

On the road ahead, JLL said trends are beginning to change on hopes of good monsoon, revival in economy, reducing inflation and residential prices being bottomed out.
“Also, the improving regulatory environment in real estate sector and the decrease in interest rates by the RBI, coupled with schemes such as Smart Cities, AMRUT and ‘Housing for All by 2022’ are beginning to have a positive influence,” JLL India CEO – Residential Services Ashwinder Raj Singh said.

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Sky Villas: Taking luxury living to the final level

The luxury segment in the Indian real estate sector is an ever-evolving one. Everything that money can buy is now being made available to buyers who want to live life king size. Sky villas are one of the latest developments on this front. The concept is not new, but borrowed from the more evolved western real estate markets. It has been around in the country for a few years now, and it has gained wide-spread acceptance in recent times.

What Is A Sky Villa?

Villas and penthouses have for long been marketed to HNI home buyers, but sky villas combine the benefits of both penthouses and villas – along with some additional unique features. Unlike a villa, which is basically a standalone bungalow or a penthouse which is just an apartment on the top-most floor of a high-rise, a sky villa is a humungous multi-level apartment which often covers 2-3 floors. It combines the luxuries of a sprawling bungalow with the advantages of secure living and integrated facilities in an apartment complex.

Though the focus in sky villas is on exclusivity and the individuality of the buyer, the services and amenities are shared by every member of the tower comprising sky villas – unlike a penthouse, where the luxury is limited to the residents of the penthouse.

Sky Villas – Exclusive Luxury At A Price

The amenities being offered by various developers who create sky villas involve private gardens, private plunge pools, sundecks, private elevators, home theatre lounges, mini gyms, master suites with walk-in closets, advanced electronic surveillance, concierge on call, etc.

The target clientele for sky villas is High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs). Since it is a relatively new and growing sector, there are no benchmark prices. Suffice it to say that sky villas cost upwards of Rs. 5 crore; in major metros like Mumbai and Delhi-NCR, they can command prices starting from Rs. 40 crore.

The Place Of Sky Villas In India’s Luxury Homes Market

The luxury home segment in most developed markets accounts for 7-8% of the total real estate, while in India its contribution is currently a mere 2%. However, it has been growing in double digits over the past couple of years, thanks to the rise in High Net-worth Individuals. Indian HNIs are slated to cross a headcount of 3.5 lakh by 2018-19 owing to growth in economy and an astonishing rise in income levels.

With more and more Indians getting global exposure to avant-garde lifestyles, the demand for options which replicate such living experiences in India is mounting. In the more evolved and mature western markets, the concept of sky villas is already quite popular – in Las Vegas, USA, there are sky villas which compete to be part of the top 10 most expensive homes in the world. With the same kind of luxury coming to Indian consumers, this niche luxury segment is attracting increasing investments from builders who have charted the course for its future demand.

It is by no means an easy category to develop, as it demands the right locations and right neighbours apart from world-class luxuries. Inevitably, they also need to tie up with international designer brands to add the final layer of exclusivity to their sky villa projects. However, builders who create such dwellings don’t have to work too hard to find buyers among the country’s ultra-rich.

Authored By: Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO – Residential Services, JLL India

Buying a home within municipal limits vs gram panchayat areas

The decision of whether to purchase a home within a city’s municipal limits or in one of the gaothan / gram panchayat localities can be a perplexing one. There is usually a significant cost arbitrage implied in the second option, but it often does come with drawbacks as well. Let us examine both options.

Investing within ­municipal limits

There are definitely distinct advantages to buying a property which falls within the city’s municipal limits. For instance, such properties can usually depend on a more regular water supply from the municipality. Infrastructure is another function for which the municipality is responsible, so projects within the municipality limits tend to have better roads. There will usually be a very decent saturation of shopping outlets and hospitals in such localities.

Also, the population residing within the municipal limits is usually of a more cosmopolitan nature. The downside is that properties in such areas tend to be expensive with high property tax as well as maintenance charges when compared to gram panchayat areas.

Investing in a gaothan/gram panchayat area

Gram panchayats or gaothans are basically village areas. Though many of them have seen rapid development, the fact is that this development is largely opportunistic. Developers are attracted by two aspects – the lower cost of land, which they or the original land owners generally get converted from agricultural to non-agricultural usage, and the growth prospects of such areas, which can be quite considerable.

Because of the lower land costs, the property prices also tend to be lower. This attracts many buyers who have budget constraints and do not mind the inherent drawbacks which projects in gram panchayat areas often have. To begin with, these areas are not connected to the municipal water supply – in most cases, developers will make their own arrangements via tankers or bore wells. Though these provisions may suffice for a while, especially in the case of smaller projects, they are much less reliable.

Provision of infrastructure such as roads is also vested solely in the gram panchayat authorities, so it tends to be of a much lower quality than in municipal areas. The population in such areas tends to lean heavily towards the original inhabitants, which means that the cosmopolitan flavour is usually missing. Shopping outlets, healthcare and schools may be of a visibly lower grade – though this is not always the case. Much depends on how a particular gram panchayat is juxtaposed with better-established and therefore more upgrade localities in the municipal limits.

To sum up…

For investors and end-users, properties falling in gram panchayats can be a very lucrative opportunity. The initial investment is invariably lower, the growth potential can be quite high if the locality is slated to be included within the municipal limits in future. When that happens, the quality of services will star improving rapidly and the property prices will surge steeply upwards. However, this is probably not a route that end users intent on securing the highest grade of comforts immediately should take. Investing in a home within a city’s municipal limits usually costs more, but it will usually be preferable for those who are looking for a ‘what you see is what you get’ deal.

The author is CEO – Residential Services, JLL India

Rera to shape up Indian realty

“The Indian real estate market is going through a complete transformation with the advent of the bill. It is testimony to how the country is taking required measures to iron out the concerns of today’s home buyer,” Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO of residential services, JLL India, told Khaleej Times. He said this transformation will not only help buyers in India but also NRIs as they make purchases in their home country.

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