Saturday, September 29, 2007

Delhi has emerged on top among 48 Indian cities

Riding on its high quality of life, transportation infrastructure and overall labour force contributing to its economic growth, Delhi has emerged on top among 48 Indian cities, including Mumbai, as the best place to reside, according to a report by Ernst & Young.
The report, which took into consideration 57 parameters before arriving at the conclusion, said between Delhi and Greater Mumbai, the former takes the lead on city prosperity index due to its lower population and hence higher per capita income. The national capital also indicates greater propensity to save earnings and lower credit growth.

The constancy firm's findings were unveiled by Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy at the Ficci-organised International Real Estate Summit which was held on September 27th in Mumbai.. On the business environment index as well, Delhi out scored all other cities as it has a large workforce and more number of management graduates, people employed in trade and services and other business activity as compared to most of the other major cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

However, on the urban governance index, Greater Mumbai top-scored, leaving Delhi at the second spot. "Delhi has arguably the best infrastructure in India. It has outperformed almost all cities on all the indicators that comprised the infrastructure index," the report said lauding its road network and social infrastructure, including hospital and educational institutes.
The Ernst and Young report places both Delhi and Greater Mumbai in the same bracket when it comes to quality of life index. "They have a large supply of hotel rooms as well as huge and elaborate multi-modal public transport system. These cities have the best possible leisure activities available in the country," the report said.

The success of Navi Mumbai and proposed mega Special Economic Zones (SEZs) such as NMSEZ indicates that Mumbai's status as the commercial capital of the country remains unchanged, it. said.

However, the city's infrastructure has lagged far behind its economic growth, the report pointed out."With several mega infrastrcuture projects such as Mumbai Urban Transport Project and Bandra-Worli Sea Link initiated, their implementation would determine Mumbai's ability to compete with Delhi in the near future," it added.

Source: The Free Press Journal

Sangeet Kumar

Contributed By : Sangeet Kumar

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why is India building hotels like mad!

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the hospitality sector, which has been growing at an annual rate of 8.8%, has the potential to earn $24 billion in annual foreign exchange by 2015, which is awesome amount of money contributing to the India Inc Growth Story.

Demand for hotel rooms is towering in India with the growth of the Indian Economy. Foreigners & NRIs are visiting India for both Business and Vacation which is the big reason for the need for hotel rooms. The rise of low-fare airlines is also bringing domestic air travel within reach of more Indians, who, until recently, had little chance of ever boarding a jet, is again another factor pushing the hospitality industry to its edges.

For all the accounted travelers, India offers only 110,000 hotel rooms. China has 10 times as many, and the United States 40 times as many. The New York metropolitan region alone has about as many rooms as all of India.

The shortage is pushing peak season rates for basic rooms into the stratosphere, by Indian standards, and attracting some of the world’s best-known names in hotels — Accor, Hilton, Wyndham, EMaar, Pan Pacific etc to invest heavily in India.

In Bangalore, rooms are so costly that traveling salespeople and other professionals often commute from as far away as Mumbai, 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, away, to save the cost of staying in Bangalore. Many corporates are making sales people plan one day trips and fly in the morning and back in the evening so as to save on the hotel Bill. The domestic airline fair is getting cheaper and cheaper hence making traveling in and out of a metro a more viable option than staying in a hotel.

According to New York Times, “The high prices are all the more striking in a low-wage country like India. At a $500 rack rate for the five-star rooms favored by business travelers, a hotel employee earning minimum wage here would have to work about a year to pay for one night’s stay, versus about two and a half weeks’ work for an American earning minimum wage… Even though the Chinese earn twice as much as Indians on average, India has the more expensive rooms, according to a recent edition of Travel Business Analyst, an industry newsletter. Comparing rooms of similar quality, suitable for business travelers, a room in Delhi cost $187 on average this year, versus $122 in Beijing; a room in Mumbai was $178, versus $150 in Shanghai.”

Indian software giants Wipro and Infosys are taking steps to provide their guests with accommodation. Infosys, the Indian software giant with 66,000 employees worldwide and they get 40-50 visitors every day and also valued overseas clients and not only getting the right type of a room in an issue but the time taken to commute from the hotel to their offices is also too high looking at the maddening traffic conditions in Bangalore.

Infosys, has now built a 500-room, in-house hotel next to its headquarters in Bangalore. By June, it expects to have 15,000 company- owned rooms across India — an eighth of all the rooms in the country and more than any Indian hotel chain. They think doing it in-house works better for them in India.

If we have a close look at the recent investments made in the India Hospitality Industry,

Emaar MGF – India’s leading real estate developer today announced a 50:50 Joint Venture with Premier Travel Inn – a subsidiary of Whitbread PLC, UK’s largest hospitality company. In the past Emaar MGF has tied up with Accor – global leaders in economy & budget Hotels to bring 100 Formule 1 hotels across India with an investment of US$ 300 million.

DLF Forms JV With Hilton For Hotels In India to develop and own 75 hotels and serviced apartments over the next seven years, beginning with 20 hotels in Chandigarh, Chennai and Kolkata. The hotels will cover several Hilton brands, including Hilton Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Residences. DLF will hold 74 percent and Hilton will hold the remaining stake. The JV plans to invest up to $143 million.

Also in line line, Singapore-based Meuse Hotels and Hospitality Ltd will invest Rs 1,000 crore over the next two years to set up 100 hotels mostly targeting tourist and emerging destinations in the country.

UK-based Dawnay, Day Group is to invest $200 million in India over the next few years to build hotels.

The Leela Group of Hotels will invest a whopping Rs 2,200 crore in the next three years to develop six hotel projects in different Indian cities who will come up with five new hotels and service apartments by 2010. It will bring the hotel in cities including Hyderabad, Chennai, Udaipur, Pune, and Delhi whereas service apartments will be developed in Gurgaon.

India does still need budget hotels, B&Bs otherwise for a foreseeable future, the shortage of viable options in hospitality in India might still continue the same. By some experts, it is predicted that 15-20% reduction in premium hotels might be observed as a result of more availability of hotels in the near future.

Recognizing that hotels employ 180 people for every 100 rooms, by some industry estimates, the Indian government is now matching up and working hard to expand supply. According to an online news agency, it recently paid for half-page advertisements in Delhi newspapers that urged families to convert their homes into bed-and-breakfast operations, which can charge about $35 a night. The government's goal is to approve enough homes turned hostels to offer another 10,000 rooms in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. This way, not only does the problem with tourism and hospitality sorts out, but employment opportunities in abundant help fight poverty and can keep India going steady with its economic graph on a steady rise.

Kaustubh Jarag

Contributed By : Kaustubh Jarag

Monday, September 24, 2007

Biotechnology to contribute to the Indian Realty boom!!

Biotechnology is the next. After the Information technology, the industry that is fast thriving is the bio-technology sector. Bio-technology sector is all set to bring another boom in Indian property market.

According to the data showcased by real estate consultant, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj the biotechnology industry is expected to need around 100 million sq ft of space in the future. Thus the real estate industry is believed to gain a lot by the development of biotech parks and manufacturing units as per the report.

Currently there are six biotech parks in India and around nineteen are to be developed. Indian realty is growing at tremendously and also attracting large investments with a market size currently being $12 billion (Rs 47,880 crore). The biotechnology industry furthermore is giving a hard push to the demand for quality commercial spaces as the estimated demand from the technology sector alone is likely to be 150 million sq ft of space by 2010.

To add to the fact that few years down the line demand creation for commercial space by the technology sector will be huge, the overall investment in the sector has also seen escalation. The investment has grown from $ 137.2 million in 2003 to $366 million in 2006. Out of the huge investment being made in the bio technology sector will go in setting infrastructure facilities and development centers. The major areas where the potential is and is needed to be tapped are cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and National Capital Region.

India for quite sometime has been one of the most sought after destinations in terms of real estate investments and now it is to become a center of biotechnology industries.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

SEZ – A New Dimension in Real Estate Development in India

SEZ – A New Dimension in Real Estate Development
Part 1

The Government of India had announced a SEZ scheme in April, 2000 with a view to provide an internationally competitive environment for exports. The objectives of SEZs include making available goods and services free of taxes and duties supported by integrated infrastructure for export production, expeditious and single window approval mechanism and a package of incentives to attract foreign and domestic investments for promoting export-led growth.

In order to give a long term and stable policy framework with minimum regulatory regime and to provide expeditious and single window clearance mechanism, the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 has been brought into effect along with the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006 from 10 February 2006. The same was further amended on March 16,2007.

The Act and the Rules together aim to provide a single self contained legislation governing the operations of SEZs and replaces the hitherto applicable legislations and rules governing the operations of SEZ in India.

Under the Act, SEZ could be set up either jointly or severally by the Central Government, State Government, or any person (including a private or public limited company, partnership or proprietorship) for:

1) Manufacture of goods
2) Rendering services
3) Both manufacturing of goods and for rendering services
4) Free trade and warehousing

The Act provides for certain exemptions, drawbacks and concessions and other fiscal incentives to developers of SEZ and units established in SEZs. Exemptions, drawbacks and concessions .

Exemptions & Concessions are :

a) Exemption from customs duty on goods imported into the SEZ by the Developer or SEZ Unit to carry on the authorised operations

b) Exemption from customs duty on goods exported from the SEZ by the Developer or SEZ Unit to any place outside India

c) Exemption from excise duty on goods brought from Domestic Tariff Area ("DTA") to the SEZ by the Developer or SEZ unit to carry on the authorized operations

d) Drawback or such other benefits (as may be admissible from time to time) on goods brought from the DTA into a SEZ by the Developer or Unit to carry on the authorized operationse) Exemption from service tax on taxable services provided to a Developer or Unit to carry on the authorized operations in a SEZf) Exemption from the securities transaction tax in case the taxable securities transactions are entered into by a non-resident through the International Financial Services Centre ("IFSC")g) Exemption from levy of Central Sales Tax on the sale or purchase of goods by the Developer or SEZ unit if such goods are meant to carry on the authorized operations

Fiscal incentives are :

a) Tax Holiday for SEZ units engaged in manufacture or providing services - A new section 10AA has been inserted in the IT Act by SEZ Act, 2005 which provides that the units in SEZ which start manufacturing or producing articles/ things or which start providing services on or after April 1, 2005 will be eligible for a deduction of 100 percent of export profits for the first five years from the year in which such manufacture/ provision of services commences and 50 percent of the export profits for the next five years. Further, for the next five years a deduction shall be allowed of upto 50 percent of the profit as is debited to the profit and loss account and credited to the Special Economic Zone Reinvestment Reserve Account (subject to conditions). Tax Holiday for Offshore Banking units in SEZ

b) Deduction in respect of certain incomes - Under the new section 80LA, to scheduled banks or foreign banks having an Offshore Banking unit in SEZ or to a unit of IFSC would be allowed deduction in respect of certian incomes. The deduction shall be for 100 percent of income for five consecutive years beginning from the year in which permission/ registration has been obtained under the Banking Regulation Act or the SEBI Act or any other relevant law and 50 percent of income for next five years. Interest received by non-residents and not ordinary residents on deposits made with an Offshore Banking Unit on or after April 1, 2005 shall be exempt from tax.

c) Exemption from Minimum Alternate Tax ("MAT") - Income arising or accruing on or after April 1, 2005 from any business carried on, or services rendered by SEZ unit would be exempt from MAT under section 115JB.

d) Exemption from Capital Gains - Capital gains arising on transfer of assets (machinery, plant, building, land or any rights in buildings or land) on shifting of the industrial undertaking from an urban area to any SEZ would be exempt from capital gains tax. The exemption would be allowable if within one year before or three years after such transfer. The amount of exemption for capital gains would be restricted to the costs and expenses incurred in relation to all or any of the purposes mentioned above.

e) Tax holiday for SEZ developers - A new section 80-IAB has been introduced in the IT Act vide SEZ Act, 2005 whereby a deduction of 100 percent of profits derived from the business of developing SEZ (notified on or after April 1, 2005) would be available to developer of SEZ for any 10 consecutive years out of 15 years beginning from the year in which SEZ has been notified. Exemption under section 10(23G) that was available to infrastructure capital fund or a cooperative bank on interest and long term capital gains investment had been extended to investment made by SEZ developers qualifying for tax holiday under section 80-IAB of the IT Act. However, this exemption has been withdrawn with effect from assessment year 2007-08.

f) Exemption from Dividend Distribution Tax ("DDT") - No DDT would be payable by a developer of SEZ on dividend declared, distributed or paid on or after April 1, 2005 out of current income. g) Exemption from MAT - Any income earned on or after April 1, 2005 by a SEZ developer would be exempt from MAT under section 115JB of the Act.

Sangeet Kumar

Contributed By : Sangeet Kumar

Friday, September 21, 2007

High on Indian Government’s agenda is ‘Housing For Urban Poor’!!

To provide the urban poor is one goal which if successfully achieved can be beneficial for those who have been suffering and will bring loads of praises to the government. Thus the government is motivated to think hard about the ways to accommodate urban poor and find solutions for the urban housing is struck in between the outdated policies and bureaucracy.

Finding housing for poor a prime responsibility, the government has been working dedicatedly and has worked out things like development of large number of houses and allotted them to the poor. Funds have been collected and allocated for development of such units.

With increase in urbanization demand for residential property among urban poor has increased. Government needs to have an effective urban policy which could bring into effect to optimum use of land and overcome the issue of shortage of land to some extent.

Delineated below are a few suggestions for drafting housing policies for poor:

Housing policies should also have a hidden goal of broader economic growth which in turn will ensure regulated urban development.

Urban poor are the ones who actually run the urban growth engine thus the policy should have urban poor as the first and foremost priority and should not end up being just another futile policy that promotes indiscriminate migration and does nothing to solve the issues being created by it.

Instead of transferring the ownership to inhabitants government should look towards developing enough stock of rented housing for the poor.

The rents will hardly pose to be an additional burden on the poor, as they pay Rs 500 – 1,000 per month for dingy huts in slum, without access to basic facilities whereas here they will get the basic facilities and wont even face the uncertainty in tenure

Since housing arrangements for the urban poor means building lower income units and long term finances, these ventures can be of great benefits to the builders which in turn will help government to have full support of builders. A contract can be signed with private builders to develop these housing units for poor. A build-operate-transfer contract for tenure of 15-20 years can be an attractive proposal.

Shivang Prabhakar

Contributed By : Shivang Prabhakar

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dope on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a kind of real estate company or an association that offers common shares to the public. REIT is a kin to any other stock that represents ownership in an operating business. A Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT is an organisation that helps corporation investing in real estate reduce or eliminate corporate income taxes. The REIT structure has been designed to provide a similar structure for investment in real estate as mutual funds provide for investment in stocks.

Like other corporations, REITs can be publicly or privately held. Public REITs may be listed on public stock exchanges like shares of common stock in other firms. REITs can be classified as equity, mortgage or hybrid.

REIT has two unique features:
1) Its primary business is to manage and maintain groups of properties that yeild good income
2) It distributes most of its profits as dividends.

After this small introduction to REIT below are the various advantages of REITs.

1) REITs boost and help to stabilize capital access, and reduce capital costs. Capital, especially long-term capital, is a vital resource for the property business, and REITs have proved effective in attracting it. Their ability to pull chunks of capital is nothing but undoubtedly a reflection of their public status and their tax efficiency. Unsecured debt, the most flexible debt type has been a hallmark of REITs, and has helped them in improving both their strategic and financial flexibility.

2) REITs are all about integrated property businesses. Say for, most REITs in the leading national markets are internally managed, and have diverse skills in property development, redevelopment, acquisitions, divestitures, leasing and management. This in turn helps in creating long-term, value-added ongoing enterprises, and not just assemblages of assets or "deals".

3) REITs also help in attracting foreign capital. Transparent, liquid entities such as REITs are trusted by foreign firms eager to invest and thus help in bringing this huge amount of foreign capital in the country. This is another feature that proves REIT's financial flexibility.

4) REITs help in developing and growing the nation’s economy. With emergence of REITs comes better transparency and efficiency, and access to stable, global and more competitively priced capital, as well as stronger and more professional property businesses and all this helps in the growth of economy.

Despite of REITs being incredibly beneficial, assurance for a broader economy and a platform for institutional and retail investors, still have certain issues associated with them which are needed to be resolved.

1) If interest rates rise, this hike might instigate people to invest in Treasury securities thus drawing funds away from REITs and lowering their share prices.

2) It is mandatory for REITs to pay property taxes, which can make up to 25% of total operating expenses which leads to reduced cash flows to shareholders.

3) One of the downsides to the high yield of REITs is that the dividend is distributed from Net Income Before Tax and the taxes get due on dividends. It goes even worse as tax rates are typically higher than the 15% on dividends, as this chunk of a REIT's dividends considered ordinary income, which is usually taxed at a higher rate.

Pankaj Thukral

Contributed By : Pankaj Thukral

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dubai Sports City - Another wonder in the making!

Dubai Sports City, the world's first purpose-built sports city, by late 2007, is on its way to open new horizons for sports and hold hands to walk the future of sports into a new era.

Dubai Sports City, will incorporate state-of-the-art sporting venues and academies along with residential and commercial developments. These will combine to offer a world class venue for sports events and activities at all levels with a residential lifestyle unrivalled in the region and possibly the world.

A place where sport is life, champions live, and legends are made. With over 50 million square feet of sporting venues, academies, exceptional homes, cultural activities and retail opportunities, Dubai Sports City is inspired by the greatest cities in the world, but at its heart beats the very essence of sport.

The state-of-the-art venues at the heart of Dubai Sports City will form a new international arena for world-class competition. The venues, each built to the specifications of the global governing bodies for the relevant sports, will host major events in football, cricket, rugby, golf, field hockey, tennis and other sports.


Dubai Sports City is home to a range of world-class sporting academies which will offer customized training programmes to participants of all ages and abilities.

Being a part of the city…living in it

Luxurious Luving

This is what Luxury finds its meaning. Here, life is surrounded by infinite options from restaurants, cafes, shopping opportunities, hotels, parks and family activities. In short, everything the modern metropolis has to offer is located in Dubai Sports City.

With Victory Heights, Gallery Villas & Canal Residence all set to redefine the definition of stylish and luxurious living set beside The Dunes, the 18-hole golf course designed by champion Ernie Els and each of them providing a masterpiece and architectural wonder ranmging ftiom Arabian to Spanish, one who has deep pockets will have what they could never have imaged before.

Community Facilities

Dubai Sports City is a carefully master planned community offering all vital facilities such as schools, medical facilities, emergency services, restaurants, cafes, entertainment venues, shops, community centres, mosques and a multitude of other facilities and services.

Retail & Leisure

Dubai Sports City offers an unprecedented shopping experience, from one of the largest malls in the region to an array of retail plazas and boutiques. With such a multitude of shops, everyone can find anything they need at Dubai Sports City.

Located just 20 minutes outskirts of Dubai, the entire development is under the ownership of Dubai Properties, the Sports City is expected to be in a unique entertainment complex and not to mention that the world is eyeing for this amazing city to be felt and lived for its wonders.

Source: Official website of Dubai Sports City

Rejoy Thomas

Contributed By : Rejoy Thomas

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

IT Companies eyeing Tier II and Tier III cities

IT companies are voicing a big ‘NO’ to tier I cities as the prices of commercial properties going through the roof and the increasing attrition rate in tier I cities.

As per a report by renowned manpower consultant the average attrition rate in the IT companies operating from Tier I metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai etc is as high as 25-40 per cent annually.

On the contrary the same at a Tier II city like Chandigarh and Pune for instance is comparatively low at 10-25 per cent and is expected to be far less than this in Tier III cities.

A ballpark estimation says that nearly 95% of the IT outsourcing activity (both domestic and international) is concentrated in the six, tier-I cities. Now, cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and tier III cities like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Mysore and Ahmedabad are to make the mark in BPO sector, says the data showcased by India Executive Report 2007.

Whereas in tier II and III cities high salaries, vibrant work culture and environment are the main highlights luring more and more people to look forward to BPO jobs. On the other hand since the rates of commercial properties are less in those tiers II cities and the retention of manpower easier IT companies finding is a prudent effort to mark their presence in tier II and tier III cities.

Talent getting skimmed in metros is another reason for these companies to ponder over moving their stations to tier II and III cities but at the same time the problem these IT companies can come across is the unavailability of proper and adequate infrastructure.

However, there is a win-win situation for IT companies if they move to smaller cities. The reports nevertheless corroborate that IT giants like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Satyam have openly launched their operations in Tier II and Tier III cities like Mysore, Goa, Chandigarh, Indore and Bhopal in the recent times.

Kaustubh Jarag

Contributed By : Kaustubh Jarag

Indian Realty - Good news pours all the way

Recently, when my impression was that Indian Realty sector is on a slowdown, I got some reports, which made me to beleive it isnt really the case.

The Indian Realty Sector is doing wonders. Though there are certain factors that pose to damp the sector like fluctuating interest rates on home loans, saturation in development phase, and schedule of implementation of the projects derailing sometimes yet there are factors that are undoubtedly pushing the realty sector to that cloud nine.

Good GDP growth, increasing affordability, conducive demographics, rapid urbanization, and increasing mortgage penetration, besides an improving regulatory framework are some of the factors that are incessantly fuelling the growth and are the long-term drivers too.

The list of factors that are responsible for the growth of the realty sector are not limited to the above mentioned ones but the list has a lot more and is expected to go lengthier with every passing day.

The National Housing Bank indicates that there is a shortage of 4.5 million residential units in urban India as the urban housing shortage is determined at 22 million units.

The commercial property market in India is largely benefited by a high proliferation of IT companies which are accountable for 60-70 per cent of the total demand unprecedented hike in prices. To add on this the commercial sector is expected to grow with much higher pace as the information provided by Nasscom, the IT/ITes sector employs 1.63 million people and this number will grow by 0.67 million professional by 2010.
In order to meet the demand created by IT sector, 95-110 million sq ft will be needed by 2010.

As far as Indian retail industry is concerned, its size is believed to be $250 billion and the sector is likely to grow at the rate of 10% per annum which will too have a considerable impact on the realty sector.

Taking into account all the above mentioned factors that realty sector will add another feather to the hat of India.

Karan Vinayak

Contributed By : Karan Vinayak

Friday, September 14, 2007

Commercial Property in Mumbai sees unprecedented hike!

Mumbai is now not just another metro but much more than that. With acquiring seventh position, behind Moscow and a number ahead of Paris in the list of top 10 cities with expensive office market, and after leaving Manhattan behind in terms of rentals Mumbai has become a haute spot.

Mumbai rentals are escalating beyond imagination. The analysis of Knight Frank says that it is cheaper to lease 1 lakh sq ft of commercial space for $55 per sq ft per annum abroad than to pay $90 for the same in Mumbai. The average per sq ft cost in Nariman Point and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) are 1.5 times higher than Manhattan and not only this according to the market trend, the rentals in BKC will rise higher than the existing rates.

Nariman Point is also fetching rentals which are around 1.5 times higher than Manhattan, where the weighted average rental in Manhattan hovers around $60, according to the latest survey.

This game of hiking the rates started a year ago and it seems to be going on forever. The recent lease transaction done by the ABN AMRO Bank is the most expensive in India. The Bank has renewed its lease agreement for commercial space located on the third floor of 12-storey at Nariman Point in Mumbai, at an exorbitant monthly rental of Rs 500 per sq ft.

There are various factors that have contributed to this situation in Mumbai. Few being the bullish attitude on to buy or rent office space in Mumbai of various firms, another factor which has fuelled the prices of commercial property in the city is the is a sharp increase in value of rupee. Also, the shortage of ‘A’ grade office space in Mumbai is another factor pushing the rates.

Indian Real Estate gone from strength to strength, commercial rentals in other cities has increased too, for instance it is Rs 150-200 per sq ft in Bangalore and Rs 60-100 a sq ft in Hyderabad but the growth Mumbai is showing leaves you speechless.

Sumit Patel

Contributed By : Sumit Patel

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bangalore on the verge of a makeover!

The cyber city of India is soon to witness a major facelift. The city is looking forward to a massive investment of Rs. 25000 crores for the development of a number of integrated townships.

Karnataka realty sector is escalating at a good pace and government seems to be enthusiastic. The state high level committee has lately approved 59 construction projects worth over Rs 60,000 crores. Also, the committee has also shown a green signal to various IT related projects that are expected to come up at Sarajpur Road, Whitefield, Magadi, and Bidadi.

Bangalore has always been an apple of the eye of various IT companies and the construction of massive IT campuses a boon for the city’s growth in terms of real estate. But at the same time, the lack of infrastructure facilities in Bangalore forced a number of IT companies to take route to cities such as Hyderabad and Chennai for setting up their operation centers. However, now with the upcoming self contained townships, the problem of infrastructure will find its solution which in turn will be an invitation to various IT companies.

The intentions now are to develop Satellite Townships in Bangalore. The project is to be created on 9684 acres of private land, in Ramanagaram constituency. Indeed, the list of bidders who are trying hard to grab the project includes the names of major construction consortiums such as Shanghai Urban Construction Corporation and Singapore based Jurong Construction Company.

These projects have been inspired from the countries like China, Singapore, and the US. On completion, these would enjoy the status of being modern township projects with international standards in the country. These projects are all the more unique as they promise to make life easy for the residents by offering a host of amenities, less of congestion and traffic in a serene atmosphere.

Pankaj Thukral

Contributed By : Pankaj Thukral

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Various Forms of Funding Available to Developers

Initial Public Offer (IPO) : Over the last one year, for large and reputed developers especially, IPOs had emerged as an attractive source of funding. Every developer who could pass muster at the regulatory level was trying to do an IPO since their offerings were getting a good response. But the picture changed with the Puravankara Projects IPO where the promoter had to both lower the offer price and extend the offer period.In future, pulling off a successful IPO will become more difficult. With sentiments on the stock market not so bullish anymore, only developers with a good reputation and a track record will succeed. Their offer price too will have to be more realistic.

Private Equity (PE): This was already a popular option, and now, with IPOs becoming difficult, it will become even more attractive in the days to come. It is believed that more PE investments both at the SPV (special purpose vehicle) and the entity level are alraedy making its way into the real estate market. It is learnt from reliable sources that anywhere between $10-20 billion private equity money are or would be in the pipeline for investment in the Indian real estate sector.It is a known fact that earlier, Indian developers were reluctant to part with equity. But now that raising funds from debt sources and through IPOs has become difficult, the mindset is changing.

Bank Loans: RBI regulations do not allow bank loans to be used for land acquisition, though it is available for construction. But the interest rate is high at 13-15 per cent. Besides the higher cost, availability has become an issue because of RBI imposing a cap on individual banks' exposure to the real estate sector.

External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) : was earlier available for townships of 100 acres or more. At an interest rate of 6-7 per cent, this was an attractive source till the RBI banned it completely.

Mezzanine Capital: This is a form of bridge loan offered for a limited period. Foreign mezzanine has been banned completely by RBI. Domestic mezzanine is available from non banking finance companies (NBFCs). But one, there are very few NBFCs, and two, the interest cost demanded by them is high at 16-20 per cent.

Alternative Investment Market (AIM): Listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London had emerged as a popular option for real estate developers about a year ago.This option has dried up in recent times because most of the funds listed there are trading at a discount. Investors are now wanting want to see the performance of Indian companies listed earlier on AIM before investing further.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) : Reits still on the cards, is expected to be operational in India in the next few months.Reits would allow developers to sell off their ready assets,and in turn would free up capital and allow developers to start new projects.

Sangeet Kumar

Contributed By : Sangeet Kumar

Emerging Investment Opportunties in Real Estate in India

Realty is a low-risk, high yield investment avenue with a long-term appreciation value.
It is not a volatile domain like the stock market. If 2002 was the year for debt, 2003-2004 for equity 2006-2007 could well be called the year of realty investment.

Newer opportunities are arising for the discerning investor.

(1) Investment in Preleased Properties

The tremendous growth of the retailing industry coupled with entry and success of multinational companies in India, has led to commercial premises being leased out by the developers & property owners on long lease.

With rate of interest on savings & bank deposits falling to 6%, investment in pre-leased properties are now becoming a better option for investors as return on investment in properties yield a 10% to 12% of return on investment.

Easy facilitation of loan by banks & financial institution and choice of property leased to retailers & multinationals are all making investment in realty a profitable proposition.

The Union Government has considerably eased entry norms for investment in real estate by non-resident Indians. As the Indian Rupee is slowly but surely getting stronger and the desire to buy property in their homeland, the non-resident Indians are eyeing to heavily invest in India.

The residential market has been bullish, as has the retail market, owing to increasing demand from retailers, higher disposable incomes and increasing consumerism.

When it comes to leasing out flats, investors can rely on the increasing number of IT/ITES companies that have raised the demand for modern, sophisticated and hi-tech rented space. The two most active investor segments are High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs) and Financial Institutions and Non Indian Residents.

In India, returns from real estate investment are usually higher than in other Asian countries.

Mumbai, Bangalore & Delhi have emerged as the top three investor choices for real estate investment in 2006-7.

Investing in Indian cities is on the top of the agenda of the institutional investors across Asia-Pac and North America. It is likely that cross-border capital of $500-700m will be invested here through JVs, wholly-owned subsidiaries, subscriptions to cross-border funds dedicated to India and mezzanine transactions in the next few quarters.

(2) Realty Focused Private Equity Funds

ICICI, Kotak, IndiaReit all who have launced domestic realty focussed private
estate equity fund are now targeting individual investors, with a miimum investment of Rs 25 to Rs 40 lacs. The investor is guaranteed a minium 10% return, with the returns going as high to 24 %.

3) Foreign Direct Investment in Real Estate
Major overseas real estate developers, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and venture funds alraedy opened shop in India.

FDI is expected to touch a figure of $10 billion.

(4) Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

The probable onset of REIT’s in India in the ever-increasing list of significant trends in the property market. REIT or Real Estate Investment Trust once allowed in the Indian market would become a medium of convenient investment for developers and small investors intending to invest in real estate. REIT allows you to buy shares in the property, the trust hold and invest in real estate through them.

There are many distinct advantages of investing in real estate via the REIT route. First, the returns are passed on to the investor with transparency of transaction and regularity, as opposed to direct investment, where a builder may or may not pass the returns on to the investor or delay the procedure for various reasons. These could be for purposes of maintaining liquidity or siphoning the funds to other ongoing project. Second, it takes the cumbersome effort out of investing in a large and diversified real estate portfolio, with the right product mix, that ensures greater returns. Third, the investor need not worry about his/her lack of local property knowledge and can invest in real estate, across cities. Fourth, with this corporate avatar of real estate investment, the Foreign Investor fears of investing in an alien unorganized market will be allayed. Fifth, the advent of the REIT will also help reduce the volatility of the market in general and lastly, they are relatively high yielding when compared to other forms of real estate investment.

Sangeet Kumar

Contributed By : Sangeet Kumar

Fractional Ownership launched at The Vineyards resort, Black Sea Coast Bulgaria

Apartments available from £9290 or 13,866 euros*

Fractional Ownership launched at The Vineyards resort, Black Sea Coast Bulgaria.

*based on 4 owners each with 13 weeks use per year.

Fractional ownership has been available for a number of years to consumers interested in purchasing a share in a yacht or a private jet, as an alternative to the financial responsibility of a complete purchase. In the last couple of years fractional ownership schemes have also become popular in the UK for first-time buyers. Trying to get onto the first rung of the property ladder, in a market that has seen such astronomical growth in the last decade, some first-timers would have effectively been priced out of the market without the availability of shared-ownership schemes. Growing in popularity, the concept has being adopted for a wide array of products, including sports cars, night clubs and even designer hand bags, all keen to attract a new breed of buyer who wants a slice of the action without the cost of full purchase.

For those interested in property overseas, fractional ownership enables investors to build a broader portfolio of properties, spreading their interests across numerous countries, without the same level of financial commitment required for full ownership.

The Vineyards is a 5 Star luxury development with fantastic, panoramic views of the Black Sea and will feature spa and leisure facilities, 4 acres of vineyards and access to golfing, horse-riding and tennis. It is only 15 minutes drive from Bourgas Airport and 10 minutes from Nessebar and Sunny Beach.

Having just launched a fractional ownership scheme it offers buyers the following benefits:

  • Studio apartments from £9,290 / 13,866 euros; 1 bed apartments from £14,298 / 21,341 euros; 2 bed apartments from £19,077 / 28,473 euros

  • Each apartment is shared by a maximum of 4 owners – giving 13 weeks use per year. (More that 1 share of an apartment could be purchased by an owner i.e. 2 shares would equate to 26 weeks use per year)

  • Each apartment is fully furnished and notary taxes and legal fees are included

  • The scheme still enables owner to benefit from any capital increase on the property

  • Owner is fully entitled to sell their property share on at a future date

  • Owner is able to rent property out, to maximise return on investment if they do not envisage being able to use the property for the full duration of their share

For further details please contact 00441525 712030 or visit

Tatyana Kratunova

Contributed By : Tatyana Kratunova