Archive by category "Consumer/Market"

Villa Developments see a surge in Gurgaon

An important factor that fuelled the ambition to live an extravagant life was the exposure to international trends and lifestyles through the media explosion from the mid-80s onwards. It triggered higher aspirations among vast sections of the Indian populace, including the nouveau riche. Watching the uber-rich in foreign destinations, India’s elite aspired to lead luxurious lifestyles themselves. The aspirations inevitably spawned the rise of luxury homes, including villas, across the country with strong footprint in cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Gurgaon, among others.

Over the past decade, however, Gurgaon has stolen a march over other metros in developing luxury homes. Today, villas are the epitome of desire with developers in Gurgaon at the forefront of premium developments, replete with world-class features and facilities.

Gurgaon’s demand is fueled by the fact that the Millennium City hosts most Fortune 500 companies and Indian blue chips. Their head honchos naturally wish to live in the best places money can buy. Presently, the prime destinations for luxury developments are Golf Course Road and Golf Course Extension. Fast-rising locales such as Sohna Road and New Gurgaon also offer luxury habitats.

Although the real estate market has been impacted by the general economic slowdown after 2008, the luxury segment seems impervious to these uncertainties. In fact, the luxury housing segment has seen steady price appreciation recently. This is because the target group for luxury villas are HNIs (high net-worth individuals), NRIs, expats and other sections of the super-rich. Being financially secure, such individuals do not depend upon loans, but on the power of their net worth. Rather than being a deterrent, high prices are a means for them to flaunt their edge and add to the overall exclusivity of the address. Price tags of such villas are in the multi-crore rupee domain.

As India’s GDP growth improves, the rise in the luxury segment is slowly surpassing that of 2008, with Gurgaon reportedly registering 20-25 per cent growth. A KPMG report states luxury has been the fastest-growing segment in residential housing. Not surprisingly, around 182 luxury projects worth $30 billion were launched in seven top cities between 2008 and 2012.

For luxury offerings, the key factors buyers note are the developer’s brand and credibility, the location, recreational facilities as well as the quality of fittings and furnishings, among other things. Many projects are villas-only gated communities replete with 24×7 security systems. Most villas typically have four or five bedrooms, a lounge zone, terrace gardens, plunge pools and private elevators in case of multiple stores. Select developers even offer internal accessories and devices with smart technologies based upon trends and latest innovation. World-class designs and lush landscaping are also a part of the course, in some cases via tie-ups with international architects.

Developers of luxury villas are confident that the premium market will go from strength to strength. An Ernst & Young and Kotak Wealth Management report reveals ultra-high net-worth individuals are expected to triple to 343,000 by 2018-19 from 117,000 in 2013-14. There is no reason to doubt that the luxury villa segment is bound to burgeon because increasing number of Indians display an irresistible desire to own their own piece of land with their individual patch of green which is embellished and accessorized with the best features, fittings and facilities – a demand India’s luxury developers are eager to fulfill.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Rising Importance in Real Estate

In view of the rapid advancements in the real estate domain, with regard to increasing numbers of developers, customers, projects, locations, trends & practices, the secret to building long term equity for a brand rests in creating a competitive advantage through value-added and differentiated service of the customer. Strategic tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) play an important role in fulfillment of such an objective.

With the entry of renowned names in realty sector and increasing FDI, the competition is becoming stiff. The rising spending power of the working population, demand for premium & luxury housing, heavy NRI investments in Indian realty market, and the rising importance of the ‘Service’ aspect is making the real estate developers go for high standards of professionalism.

Relationship management is a customer-oriented feature with service response based on customer input, one-to-one solutions to customers’ requirements, direct online communications with customer and customer service centers. This function can also deliver sales effectiveness such as sales promotion analysis, automate tracking of a client’s account history for repeat sales, and also сo-ordinate sales-marketing-call centers-retail outlets in order to realize the salesforce automation. It can also track and measure marketing campaigns over multiple networks. These systems can track customer analysis by customer clicks and sales.

Across functions, it uses technology to make “up-to-the-second” customer data available. It applies data warehouse technology in order to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM products, and to provide KPI (key performance indicators).

In the world of real estate, every project is unique in terms of location, project features, pricing, post sales services and other offerings. With every developer managing a number of projects, the main challenge is to identify the target segment through data from primary and secondary sources, manage lead generation campaigns for different projects effectively, analyze the leads scientifically, find cross-selling (offering customers complimentary products based on their previous purchases) and up-selling (offering customers, premium products in the same category) opportunities and sustained follow-up efforts that convert the footfalls into business. Also based on analysis of past sales success and various metrics related to it, it becomes easier to define strategies for the future. The facility to create a variety of reports and dashboards with critical sales data becomes the basis for effective decision making.

It thus helps in improving segmentation scalability for targeting millions of prospects. This also helps in enhancing marketing productivity, increasing conversion rates and reduces campaign execution costs.

From a buyer viewpoint, property related decisions whether buying or leasing are capital-intensive and involve a number of interactions with the developers before finalizing. Keeping a record of all these interactions and analyzing the outcome of each interaction and taking appropriate action to facilitate the lead-to-customer conversion is a vital element of CRM principles.

CRM enables a holistic, disciplined approach to planning and budgeting. With world-class CRM it is possible to create a marketing calendar integrated with the financials, providing a centralized view to manage and schedule all relevant enterprise marketing plans and campaigns.

In a typical real estate sales lifecycle, the real estate company has to communicate with the customer on numerous occasions such as milestone completion, demand letters for payment, maintenance related communications etc. Any errors/redundancy here can cause a serious damage to customer relationships. With CRM systems, it is possible to configure and trigger automated communications through email/mobile messages, based on transactions taking place in the customer/prospect account. An example would be to send out birthday greetings, wishing on special memorable occasions and so on. For an existing customer, this could also mean sending out updates on new properties coming up, sending out referral scheme details etc.

CRM is imperative in today’s business and consumer context, especially in the real estate industry. For companies which adopt it on a holistic scale, it spells the strong possibility of building strong and enduring customer relationships, thereby reflecting shine on brand value metrics.

The luxury Housing Segment – A wealth of opportunity for both developers & buyers

Rise above the necessary and then above the premium. When you have done that, you are in the lap of luxury. The luxury connotation varies at an individual level; and its perceived value varies with one’s specific needs and aspirations. Luxury living involves creating an overall experience that not just meets the expectations of customers but attempts to exceed it. In India, luxury housing has picked up the most in the luxury segment. Modern homes today pack features that meet the growing aspirations of people who want their houses to reflecttheir social and financial standing. Depending upon the city and suburb, these come as apartments, penthouses, suburban villas and bungalows, and are often close to a golf course or a green expanse. Industry experts attribute the rise in luxury housing projects to the over-supply in the premium segment during the 2008 economic slowdown.

Luxury and ultra-luxury residential projects in leading cities have witnessed ten-fold appreciation over their launch prices, over the last decade. Cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, NOIDA and Chennai, have been topping the charts in the luxury housing segment. This implies that there have been more than 100 per cent annual returns on investment. In fact, there has been a tremendous response to these projects; so much so that most of the projects are declared sold-out in a very short span of time. The response in cities like Gurgaon, where demand has outpaced supply, has encouraged developers to shift their focus to this segment due to high profit margins and good volumes that help in securing significant fund flows, to capitalise on the completion of their projects. Tier-II cities such as Ahmedabad and Lucknow have also shown encouraging market developments under this segment. The areas adjacent to the NCR such as Noida offer locational advantage coupled with world class infrastructure.

From a customer and category viewpoint, luxury housing is projected to register maximum growth, owing to the increasing HNI (high networth individuals) population and growing aspirations of people, changing lifestyles and the affluent young with high disposable incomes looking for a luxury lifestyle. As per industry reports the sector is expected to give India a 13.9% of CAGR by 2028 and the HNI segment is expected to grow at 27% by 2017-18. Also luxury properties in India are highly discounted when compared to those in other parts of the world. Additionally, large number of NRIs who have completed their high paying tenures abroad are coming back to India every year and accelerating the growth of the luxury real estate market. The expected returns from investment in premium properties are higher in comparison to investments in bullion and stock markets. The luxury housing segment is also not prone to the ripple effect of recession as the target audience is not dependent on home loans but operates on the basis on net worth.

Most of the luxury housing projects typically entail a prime location with great access and a spectacular view. Additionally, top quality architecture & interior design, modern amenities, premium construction material, landscape design, concierge services and high-end security arrangements are vital elements of the package. Despite the high input costs, the developer enjoys visibility of his brand among highly affluent and top-end clients. The evolving mindset of the buyers is also changing the dynamics of ‘luxury homes’. While there is still a focus on spacious living, an increased emphasis on ‘smart home’ accouterments, high-end common amenities and technologically evolved security. These were certainly not the factors that went into the definition of luxury living a couple of decades back.

The luxury housing segment is undoubtedly a great promise for the buyers and sellers alike, and with the real estate sector witnessing some important and industry-friendly policy-making due to the new Govt.’s positive intent, the goods of the luxury housing segment are in the process of being realized and experienced.

How Indian Real Estate industry is gaining from integration of property & Financial Markets

India’s real estate industry is going through a metamorphosis – it is transforming into a more transparent, competitive and accessible real estate market. The past few months have witnessed clarity in the regulatory environment, FDI and growth of private equity and demand for high quality real estate.

Over the years, the industry has seen a marked emergence of more institutional investors, leading to substantial infusion of capital, including PE and FDI in real estate. For instance, during the past 10 years, an estimated USD 15 billion was invested in the real estate sector by way of PE capital alone. Though it still has to come up to the levels of markets in Australia, Singapore, UK and America, Indian real estate industry is fast adopting global standards and processes. Today, many cities apart from Delhi & Mumbai such as Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai are leading in terms of availability of market intelligence and quality of real estate development.

With the government showing serious intent and purpose in pursuing reforms, easier availability and accessibility of reliable information in areas such as financial reporting, property taxation, planning regulations is required. A stronger focus should also be directed on the provisions that govern the application of tax and building codes, licensing, permissions, land purchase, development activities, leasing, and land titles. Enforceability of contract and land registry information should be made more consistent across cities. Transacting in property and putting it up for lease, sublease, mortgage and other purposes should be made simpler and more efficient.

The impending notification of the Real Estate Regulatory Bill and proposed modifications to the new land acquisition law are expected to help resolve many of these issues. The recent relaxation of FDI norms is particularly welcome as it will certainly help the industry become better organized and transparent. Similarly, the launch of REITs will enable the industry to tap into structured, institutional sources of funding. Being publicly traded investible units, they will nudge real estate companies to move away from private to public financing, bolster the concept of public ownership, and provide the framework for real estate companies to become more transparent and better managed.

As we move closer to another new year, many of the above-mentioned steps and anticipated measures will push India’s real estate industry to flourish. But more than the new rules and regulations, it will be their implementation and execution that will hold the key to ensuring that the industry benefits from these reforms. If the standing and new measures are implemented purposefully and if compliance to the rules is made more stringent, the real estate sector in India is destined to grow from strength to strength.

Yamuna Expressway: NCR’s best bet for Affordable Housing

Going down the stretch from Pari Chowk in Greater Noida towards Agra used to be a test of your driving endurance until a few years ago. Switch to the present and a ride on this same stretch feels like a pleasure cruise. The opening of the Buddh International Circuit placed the Yamuna Expressway on the world map and has transformed the real estate profile of the whole region.

Today this whole stretch along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and further down the Yamuna Expressway is buzzing with real estate activity. For people who are unable to find housing options in Delhi and the adjoining cities of Noida and Gurgaon, the corridor along Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Yamuna Expressway has emerged as a favourable hub. There are projects for high-end housing, mid-ticket homes and mass housing, apart from commercial, institutional and hospitality projects.

It’s proven that highways and expressways help to unlock the real estate potential of its adjoining region and accelerate development. People want to live in well-planned projects, which have rapid commuting infrastructure that cuts down on travelling time while making it convenient to move around.

In the case of Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Yamuna Expressway, it is amongst the best in the country. There are excellent roads that provide speedy connectivity to the capital city and other parts of the NCR. The region is also set to get Metro rail connectivity, which would propel demand further.

Besides, the Yamuna Expressway also enjoys strategic locational advantage of being close to the DMIC corridor. The Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad node is expected to cover an area of 200 sq. km east of Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) and targets a population of 2 million. This industrial city is proposed to have a multi modal logistics hub, including a truck terminal, cold storage, warehouses and Boraki Railway Station. The station will come up on 160 hectare land North West of Boraki and has been visualized as a world class passenger hub which will integrate with an inter-state bus terminal and Metro.

No wonder that the region is pulling in big investment and a slew of infrastructure projects, which are helping in rapid development of real estate. A 285-km Agra Lucknow Expressway Project has been proposed with an estimated budget of Rs.15,000 crore, which would extend Yamuna Expressway to Lucknow, enabling faster transit. Also, land has been allotted in the master plan for 40 educational institutions and for retail development. Planned Export Promotion Zones, together with the Taj Economic Zone along the Yamuna Expressway, are likely to boost the economic development of this region. On its part the Greater Noida Authority, which is the parent agency for YEIDA, has announced several projects and initiatives. These include construction of an exposition mart, developing a transport hub and Night Safari for the region.

In recent years, the UP government has further stepped up efforts to lure industrial investment to the region. This business focus has helped Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway emerge as the preferred destinations for IT, electronics and semiconductor industries. Greater Noida has already emerged as a self-sufficient industrial township that is home to about 3,000 industrial units, including 100 big players like Yamaha Motors, Hero Honda, New Holland, and Asian Paints among others. The Yamuna Expressway is likewise expected to grow into a major logistics and warehousing hub in the country, given its proximity to the eastern and western parts of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. Today, there is huge interest and response for industrial plot schemes floated by the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority from automobiles, textiles and agrotech players.

Even as the Authority is trying to attract more industries to set up shop, housing and other ancillary services such as tourism, hospitality and education facilities are already making their presence felt, drawn by the region’s investment appeal and growth potential. As Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Yamuna Expressway transport corridor also connects two major international tourist destinations – Delhi and Agra – there is strong tourism activity along the corridor, abetted by the presence of smaller tourist hubs located along this stretch such as Brindavan and Mathura. Understandably, the region has also sparked the interest of a lot of hotel chains and resort operators who are planning development in the region.

What is creating a huge appetite for housing in the region are factors such as availability of huge land parcels, affordability of real estate and the region’s proximity and superb connectivity to already established industrial and corporate hubs of Noida and Greater Noida, which employ a large number of people. To meet the anticipated demand for housing, the state government has notified a stretch of 10-15 km to the left of Yamuna Expressway, up to the Yamuna on the right side, for organized and well-planned development. Several leading real estate developers have bought lands from YEIDA and GNIDA and are coming up with their projects ranging from townships, plotted and villa developments and apartment complexes along Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Yamuna Expressway.

Currently, the biggest attraction that this region offers to end-users as well as investors is good quality modern apartments at affordable prices. In mid-segment price range, one can find a decent two-bedroom apartment in Rs. 28-30 lakh. Also, as average home prices in Yamuna Expressway locations are significantly lower compared not only with Noida but other regions in the NCR as well, the region offers investors the promise of good price appreciation in the coming years.

Going forward, the demand for housing in the region is set to explode given the fact that the projected population growth by 2031 is about 1.5 million in Noida and about 1.2 million in Greater Noida. Once the number of industries, institutions and commercial/retail hubs reach a critical mass, as is widely expected in the next few years, the region will witness a remarkable social and economic transformation.

New Gurgaon: On the cusp of a Property Boom

Over the last couple of years, New Gurgaon – an area encompassing Sectors from 76 to 95 – has come to acquire great potential for property buying and investment. Thanks to its strategic location at the intersection of NH-8 and Dwarka Expressway, its proximity to thriving industrial and business corridors and by virtue of its seamless connectivity to the townships of Manesar and Dwarka, the region is attracting a frenetic pace of real estate development. Also, with nearby pockets located along Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Sohna Road and Golf Course Road left with scarce land for new projects, New Gurgaon has emerged as a favorite hotspot on the Delhi-NCR real estate radar.

For potential home buyers in the NCR, and for the multitudes of professionals who work in Gurgaon, Dharuhera, Bhiwadi and Manesar, along an industrial belt of large and small industrial units and vast number of offices and commercial establishments, New Gurgaon is an ideal hub to live in. Apart from its proximity to NH-8 and the 150-metre-wide Dwarka-Gurgaon Expressway, a Metro line and Inter State Bus Terminus have also been planned near the Gurgaon-Pataudi road, which will add to the connectivity. The likely operationalization of Dwarka Expressway in the near future and the proposed expansion of Rapid Metro deeper into Gurgaon will ensure greater traction to real estate development in the area. The Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway (likely to be completed by next year) will also boost the investment levels. The 1,483 km-long Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor along NH-8, is another factor helping to attract buyers and investors. The area also offers excellent connectivity to the International Airport, and holiday getaways like Jaipur and Sultanpur National Park.

Property buyers also see immense potential in New Gurgaon due to its well-developed neighboring areas and planned development. The region enjoys good infrastructure, attractive pricing and good-quality well-planned projects, of which many are in an advanced stage of construction. Arterial roads to different sectors in the region are already present or are under construction at a relatively fast pace.

The Master Plan-2031 of Gurgaon-Manesar Urban Complex stipulates that residential areas would be developed along the lines of the Community Living concept i.e. there would be adequate provision for all community facilities and services within the sectors. These sectors will be self-sustaining, each constructed over an area of 200-300 acres and will house, apart from residential units, boarding houses, social, community & educational buildings, health institutions, cinemas, commercial centres & offices, retail shops & restaurants, petrol/CNG stations, bus stops, nurseries , hotels, cyber and IT parks.

To add to the region’s locational and connectivity appeal, developers are coming up with projects that integrate open green areas, social spaces and infrastructure in an environmentally sustainable way. It may perhaps be difficult to currently find any other place in the NCR with such a profusion of green-themed apartments and villas set amidst green expanses. Not surprisingly, many of these projects, including Lotus Greens’ Woodview Residences in sector 89-90, are SVAGRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) certified.