Financial Incentives Enhances Demand for Affordable Housing in Mumbai

Mumbai being India’s most expensive real estate market, has long encountered a dearth of affordable homes. Market trends including population growth, urbanization and the reluctance of real estate developers to cater to this target sector have been the long-term drivers of this trend. Now, with incentives from both the public and private sector increasing the affordability of homeownership, demand from this sector of the market is set to increase by a further 25% coming exclusively from Mumbai Metro Region.

A significant driver of this increased demand is the government’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme, which provides a credit linked subsidy of Rs. 2.43 lacs to home buyers purchasing residences below 60 sq. meters. This scheme has significantly reduced the costs of buying a house and expanded the possibilities of homeownership to a greater number of individuals and families.

The impact of this policy is set to be compounded by the recent slashing of interest rates by banks. Many PSU and Private sector banks have reduced benchmark lending rates from 9.1% to 8.6% in response to the recent cash inflow from demonetization. In conjunction with favorable demographics and rising disposable incomes, a rise in affordable housing demand is predicted to rise steeply.

The tenacious challenge now is to create enough stock to supply this increased demand in affordable housing. As India’s current affordable housing leader, Xrbia has long recognized the potential demand in this sector. Since then, they have heightened their focus on affordable housing sector. Having already sold 6,776 houses in the last 3 months, they are now marching up the scale of their operations with a focus on the Mumbai region. In the next quarter, 3 new projects are set to be launched in Ghatkopar, Kandivli and Thane, the latter of which will be an extensive project covering 60 acres of land.

For a market segment that has been neglected for a very long time, this comes as a welcome news. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme represents a tangible commitment from the government to its mission in achieving “Housing for All by 2020”, and is also sending positive signals to the real estate market that the demand for affordable housing is simply too great to ignore.

Demand has gone through the roof!

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana creates unusual demand in the affordable housing segment

  • The subsidy of INR 2.20 lacs for a house costing 7 lacs is equivalent to 25% discount .
  • Home loans have seen a sharp surge, as benchmark lending rates have come down significantly.
  • Xrbia’s innovative” No-income-document-financing-scheme” has received an overwhelming response.

If there is one thing that every single Mumbaikar will agree on, is the housing crisis in Mumbai. There are too few homes, usually costing a lot, often in the wrong places, and often of poor quality. The crisis damages lives, blights employment prospects, reduces mobility and reduces productivity.

The Pradhan MantriAwas Yojana, which offers a subsidy of 2.2 lacs per house, and meant to boost the affordable housing sector has its own budgetary limitations. The INR 5,400 crore allocated in the budget of 2016-17 already appears to be falling short with more than 1.6 lakh houses so far being offered under the scheme. The demand for subsidy in affordable housing, is far greater than the budget allotted.

The INR 2.2 lakh given as subsidy for a typical 250 sq ft house , is equivalent to a 20% discount on the sale price of 7 lacs. This scheme is enabling such products to sell like hot cakes.

This staggering response to the subsidy is leading to inventory shortage. The shortage is further caused as the space has only three organized players namely Xrbia Developers, Tata Value Housing and VBHC that operate on scale. Xrbia Developers, one of the leading player in the affordable housing segment has registered a jump to monthly sales of 2000 units from a normal average of 500 units per month.

The pressure on inventory is further triggered with housing loans becoming cheaper. This is seen as the best time to apply for loans, as half a dozen PSU and Private sector banks have reduced benchmark lending rates after demonetization. Xrbia Developers have further benefitted by an innovative financing scheme that was introduced last month. The ‘No income proof scheme’ is largely appealingto people belonging to informal sector.

The squeeze in inventory, can also be credited to the surge in manufacturing and IT sector in cities like Mumbai and Pune. The highest demand is in areas which are on the suburban transport networks sometimes as far as Dhanu in the west, Shahapur in the Central and Karjat in the Eastern zones of Mumbai. The migrants pouring into the city has put pressure on house prices and also accelerated demand in development of right infrastructure. There are additional pressures on the reasonable costs of housing, transportation services, health provision, schools and social security benefits. Thus making the case for affordable housing that is self-sufficient.

The gap between the demand for new homes and the supply coming onto the market, which we’ve dubbed “the new housing crisis,” has caused prices to soar and priced out many first-time homebuyers.

Technology: The Driving Force In Housing Innovation

“You can have any colour you want, so long as it’s black”. Henry Ford’s playful remark regarding the single colour offered to customers of the T Ford in 1909 was not a question of personal taste, but necessity. The T Ford was the world’s first car to be manufactured on a moving assembly line, leading to an eightfold increase in productivity and ensuring a new T-Ford came of the line every 15 minutes. This revolution in production is now heralded as the innovation which opened up car ownership to the masses – an assembly line worker suddenly could buy a Model T with four months’ pay – however, there was one catch. The paint couldn’t dry fast enough. Only fast-dry black paint could keep up with full-speed assembly, and thus the iconic black T-Ford was born.

The car industry has always pioneered the use of emerging technologies. From standardised parts which have made cars easier to fix, to energy efficient designs which are reducing their harmful impact on the environment, technological innovation in the car industry is relentless. While the pace of change in the automobile industry has meant cars are unrecognisable from their predecessors in the early 20th century, innovations in housing have typically progressed at a frustratingly glacial pace. The housing sector needs to take lessons from the car industry if the the global housing crisis is to be stopped in its tracks.

Fortunately, there are signs that the housing sector is now catching up. Starting with construction technology, the benefits of standardisation and pre-assembly methods are reflecting the efficiency revolution produced by Ford’s flow production line. At Xrbia, steel-framing dry technology is being employed to build three times faster. 90 per cent of the buildings are built offsite, and then simply assembled onsite, guaranteeing quality and reducing waste. Multiple-level buildings can now be built within 90 days and use approximately 20 per cent less material and space than traditional construction techniques. With rapid urbanisation placing ever greater strain on space in city centres, construction techniques which save time and space will become increasingly important in the coming years.

In the same way that the automobile industry has made great strides to reduce the amount of energy needed to power the vehicles it creates, the housing sector must also ask how much energy is needed to power a house.

Sustainability concerns should not halt with construction, and a holistic approach to house design that takes into account how housing projects interact with the wider environment in which they are situated must become an integral part of the design process. Xrbia’s renewable energy system reflects our commitment to building sustainable and functionable communities, not just answering the need to build more homes.

Combining the latest technological advances across electricity, water and waste management, Xrbia has generated a renewable energy system which ensures that the energy that powers each township is generated and managed using sustainable resources. In doing so, Xrbia will expand access to clean water and sanitation to those in need of decent affordable accommodation. This holistic approach is the key to creating houses that are sustainable in the long-term.

Finally, while we are being told that self-driving cars will soon be commonplace across our roads, the internet of things revolution is already here in housing and promises to revolutionise the way we live, as well as travel. Indeed, this may be one area of technology in which the housing sector is leading the way. IoT technology refers to the increasing interconnectivity between our online and physical worlds – think apps that can turn on your heating remotely and fridges that know when you need to buy milk. While “smart” technology has conventionally been associated with expensive products for an exclusive customer base,

Xrbia is incorporating IoT technology into its developments to cut costs for residents. Each room at Xrbia will be fitted with a microbot, which transmits information about residents’ utility usage to an online platform. Guests are then able to check their utility usage and pay for maintenance bills via the Xrbia Smart City app. With IoT technology rapidly expanding in the realty market, Xrbia hopes to lead the industry into this new digital era.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the demand for housing in the 21st century is unprecedented. If current trends in housing construction continue, one-third of urban humanity will occupy crowded, inadequate and unsafe housing by 2025. In the same way that technology has driven the challenges faced by the car industry, including those related to construction, costs, safety and the environment, Xrbia believes that technology will be the driver of change desperately needed in housing.

Indian expats look at London as a hot realty destination

Many Indian investors are exploring opportunities to invest in the United Kingdom, especially in London, primarily due to the devaluation of the Pound and the fall in property prices post Britain’s exit(BREXIT) from the European Union.

During a speech in December 2012, Theresa May (the present British Prime Minister) claimed that more than a third of all new housing demand in Britain was caused by immigration. “And there is evidence that without the demand caused by mass immigration, house prices could be 10% lower over a 20-year period.”

The housing crisis in London has emerged to a level that the 2011 census revealed that “the indigenous had become a minority in their own capital.” London (with just 12% of the national population) was associated with 40% of the inflows, 30% of the outflows, and absorbed 67% of the net balance of the overseas immigration.

Additional demand from migrants and foreign investors has put pressure on house prices and also accelerated the demand for development of the right infrastructure. Additional pressures exist on the costs of housing, transportation services, health provisions, schools and social security benefits to be reasonable. Thus the importance of affordable housing that is self-sufficient.

The only savior to London’s housing crisis can be new self-sufficient cities far from the existing cities, where the cost of the land is not a significant fraction of the total developmental costs itself. However, mostly, these lands should be accessible by major railways and highways. These international markets being easily accessible to major transportation networks are appealing to developers.

Usually in Mumbai, in the projects where the cost is viable, the land is far away from any source of infrastructure. This is seen across cities in India. This infrastructure deficit is a key challenge, as well as the costs of getting approvals. However in the case of London, the infrastructure is comparatively better and hence it offers a better opportunity for the emergence of the affordable housing segment.

Also, the affordable housing business has to be looked from a cash-flow perspective than as a land bank or an asset ownership business. This will impact how the business is valued, and in turn reflect in valuations across the industry. The risk factor is that the costs associated with the scalability of the business cannot be borne by many developers. Expanding the business geographically, understanding the country-specific situations, buying land and then creating a brand in different locations is very challenging, which is not a piece of cake for all developers.

The developer should have the required experience, the credentials as well as an attitude that affordable housing, apart from being a scalable business is also a social requirement. The developer has to ensure that his organization is extremely transparent, as the market rewards less complicated and highly transparent companies, with earnings and cash flows.

The city of London with a huge Indian population offers the required base to an Indian developer. HNIs perceive Indian developers with projects abroad to be sophisticated with global know-how, which helps the developer with the required brand credibility.

The expertise of Indian developers in the affordable housing segment, added to the fact that London is an international city, brings an added advantage to the table.

We must think bigger to solve housing poverty

The UK’s already started to think beyond constructing tower blocks to alleviate the urban housing crisis. Garden villages are to be built across England, offering 48,000 new homes.

These ready-made communities will have their own identities and facilities – from village greens and halls to pubs, bike trails and shops.

But there are already concerns over levels of affordable housing within these garden villages. In Cornwall those campaigning against an eco town at West Carclaze say they were originally promised 40% to 50% affordable housing, a figure that has since plummeted to less than a third.

These schemes are failing some before they’ve even been built.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. I firmly believe the UK is languishing from an old fashioned building philosophy and legacy processes that are keeping construction costs high. Naturally, these costs are passed on to homeowners and tenants.

I know from experience it’s possible to build a four-storey apartment block in 90 days – around three times faster than current industry timeframes – and deliver huge savings on materials and labour.

This can be done by using prefab modular components made of aluminium or steel as moulds for casting structural components of the building from Reinforced Cement Concrete.

Compared to conventional formwork practices in which timber is used to support until it attains the design strength, using aluminium/steel formwork results in achieving a superior casting quality in terms of strength and finishes in a dramatically shorter time.

This technique can be used to make beams, columns, walls, floors and ceilings. After the concrete within the forms attains the required strength, the series of panels are dismantled revealing a highly uniform, monolithic concrete structure with accurate tolerances and plumb levels.

No further plastering is required on these surfaces due to them being highly finished with metal panels in Light Gauge Steel, which provides excellent sound, thermal and fire insulation.

It results in building, construction and eco-friendly housing solutions of requisite quality and price, within the shortest of time periods known in the industry.

Structures built using this process can be erected either by prefabrication of the component units at a factory with the final assembly done on site, or prefabricated from material inputs at site with subsequent assembly by men on the ground with minimal skills.

In either case, this method of construction and erection, when compared to conventional hollow concrete blocks, or bricks and mortar, results in a significant decrease in the overall time taken for construction, and so a reduction overall labour costs

Though the time advantage varies, in some cases, this method of construction has been completed within 30-40% of the time for an equivalent structure using conventional methods. This is largely due to the reduction in labour on tasks like plastering and curing.

The technique has been validated in customised construction projects. Worldwide, we’ve completed more than 2,000 residential units and I believe it’s possible to deliver affordable London homes for around £80,000. But it’s a construction technique that’s being massively under-utilised.

The UK’s ambition to build standalone villages and towns is a worthy one, but relying on archaic construction methods won’t offer affordability. There needs to be a sea change in the industry to deliver homes at the right price, and plenty of them.

 

Creating an Inclusive Economy: Why Housing Finance Must Innovate

The informal sector is the backbone of the Indian economy. Estimated to generate up to fifty percent of national income, this so-called shadow economy is the hidden secret behind India’s economic boom. Yet, for the 400 million people employed informally in this sector, the benefits of this economic success are not being felt. With no access to workplace benefits, such as social security and unemployment insurance, these individuals exist outside of government regulation, and beyond formal protection.

Those employed in the informal sector are some of the most vulnerable in our economy. To make matters worse, these vulnerabilities are not confined to the workplace, but extend to every aspect of these individuals’ lives. The housing sector is no exception. Conventional lenders in the real estate industry typically require work contracts from those seeking access to finance. This has effectively prevented those in the informal sector from owning their own home – and the stability and security this brings – despite applicants having the financial means to take on a loan. Denying a family the opportunity to homeownership is both unfair, and unsustainable, in an economy driven by the informal sector.

This problem is set to worsen as the pace of urbanisation in India shows no signs of abating. Across South Asia, the urban population growth rate is predicted to average 2.7% annually until 2050, a percentage rivalled by only that of Sub-Saharan Africa globally. This will put pressure on an already fledging affordable housing industry and place homeownership beyond the reaches of a growing number of families.

Developing housing finance to extend loans to those in the informal sector is vital to ensure every family has access to an affordable home.  Breaking down the barriers to homeownership is not just about shelter, however, but also has a much broader societal impact. A stable and secure home is also has significant multiplier effects in terms of health, education and well-being.

As a developer who has been dedicated to affordable housing throughout my career, launching a housing finance scheme available to those in the informal sector is hugely important to me. My aim is to make home ownership a real possibility for every Indian, regardless of their background. XRBIA’s No-Income-Proof-Home-Loan Scheme will enable applicants to apply for finance without income proof documents, which has previously presented a major stumbling-block to those employed in the informal sector. Rather, in order to quality for finance, applicants will have to provide proof of residence, a no banking default declaration and bank account statements from the previous 12 months, before attending a personal interview. I have set aside capital to offer this loan product to up to 10,000 potential homeowners.

In expanding access to housing finance to those in the informal sector, the No-Income-Proof-Home-Loan Scheme has the potential to be life-changing to those who have been denied access to homeownership. The benefits will be felt in terms of increased household stability, safer living conditions and reduced costs. Children will have a stable environment more conducive to learning and will be less likely to develop health problems caused by poor ventilation and other preventable illnesses. Society as a whole will benefit from safer buildings and a healthier and more productive workforce.

We must adapt to the reality that India’s economy is fueled by the informal sector, and make sure that individuals who work in this part of our economy are not marginalised. Innovation in housing finance is one way in which we can alleviate the burden on those employed in the informal sector, and ensure that those who contribute so much to India’s economic growth have the opportunity  to benefit from some of its rewards.

Chakan: The Detroit of India

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When a city grows by leaps and bounds, not only the locality but the people in that area witness a major change, be it in their lifestyle or their way of looking at it! Chakan is one such part of India, strategically located in PCMS area (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) and near Hinjewadi, the biggest IT hub of India that has witnessed immense infrastructural growth and developments recently.

A booming business hub

Often called as Detroit of India, Chakan has grown as a hub for multinational giants like Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Mahindra & Mahindra, Jaguar, Bajaj Auto etc. Not only these biggies are setting their bureaus here, but it is also resulting into increasing job opportunities in the vicinity giving scope for localities and others to avail employment of various stages.

Few recent developments in Chakan area include- ZF Group, the German automobile component manufacturer giant has announced that they are setting up a global sourcing office in the locale; then there is Amazon that has opened a fulfillment centre in Chakan spread over 55,000 square feet with 1,40,000 cubic feet storage space understanding the importance for a strategic location like Chakan.

Apart from these, other firms like Starkenn Sports, Bajaj and Mercedez Benz and Sandvik are also expanding their horizons in Chakan. Such investments made by international companies make Chakan an ever-expanding growth epicenter in the vicinity which allows huge growth lately.

An infrastructural inducement

Pune has become one of the topmost real estate centers in the vicinity. The growing demand for housing from buyers and investors has led to remarkable growth of the city. Increasing housing demand in the locale has made the city expand towards its outskirts. And then at the places like Chakan where real estate prices are still a major draw, are gathering major attention. Due to the in-budget home offerings in the area, it has become a hotspot for young people and investors. With the futuristic development, there’s a huge scope for property appreciation and hence Chakan has emerged as the best option near cities like Pune and Mumbai. Furthermore, Chakan’s connectivity to Mumbai-Pune expressway and other city epicenters is captivating factor.

In such boundless locale, Xrbia is offering 1, 2 and 3 BHK apartments in an ultra-modern township Xrbia Smart City Chakan which is adjacent to the IT hub and decked with ample vegetation.

For more info: www.xrbia.com

Appraisers & Homeowners: Xrbia offers a perfect solution

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Currently, the housing industry is proliferating with each passing day. In today’s housing market, everybody is struggling to find a perfect home that will be lucrative with all aspects including budget, amenities and location. Amidst such high demand for good housing, it results in ever-increasing project prices. Furthermore, many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5% or more over the next twelve months. Thus, one major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month, Loan-provider firms measure the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation in their Home Price Perception Index.

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale (to the bank) might be even more difficult than the first.

But we have some projects who offer attractive flats in an affordable cost with all luxurious amenities like Xrbia Developers, who not only having special rewarding offers but also have projects with 0% EMI options for buyers.

The Xrbia projects include many budget housing projects as well as premium projects that give you diverse options as a buyer besides with suitable bank appraisal options. These Xrbia ventures include projects like Smart City Neral, Xrbia Hinjewadi, Xrbia Riverfront, Xrbia Abode- , Xrbia Eifel City II Chakan etc. Award winning premium project like Xpress City near Panvel is also a part of the company’s offerings.

This gives you plenty scope to select an abode of your choice within a budget both you and the bank find suitable.

To know more visit, www.xrbia.com

Xrbia: Shaping up your dream home

Home is where your heart is! After all, home is the place where everyone feels comfortable and happy after that hectic week of work. Owning that one home is a lifelong dream for any family. But in today’s era, when the housing prices are sky-rocketed and even more soaring in the prime city areas, buying your perfect home with all amenities at place is no more a cakewalk! To solve this enigma, Xrbia is offering a wide range of options in both budget housing and premier housing categories that too at the prime locations of the city.

The projects by Xrbia, the leading developer in the real estate market, are located in and around Pune and Mumbai at the booming locations like Talegaon, Hinjewadi, Chakan, Panvel etc.

The houses in all the projects are keenly designed considering the modern and fast-paced lifestyle of the buyers. Studded with all contemporary amenities like swimming pool, play area, parking facilities in a well-organized manner; the project sites also include well-structured internal roads and abundant greenery surrounding the sites. Overall, a perfect place to come home to!

Giving more astute touch, many projects by the Xrbia including those in Talegaon and Hinjewadi are conceptualized and designed by world-renowned architect Hafeez Contractor.

Several other by Xrbia have received huge feedback from the buyers are have achieved immense success. E.g., Xrbia Hinjewadi created a huge buzz right at its launch! The project changed the trend in the home-buying industry with its extraordinary success. History was created and almost all flats were sold out in a span of few days!

With 15,000 happy customers in various projects, Xrbia vouches to build 100 smart cities across the country, it’s your time to make a right decision and invest in the Xrbia Homes for your better tomorrow!

 To know more about availability of flats and details visit, www.xrbia.com

Small investment big returns!

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Many  those who are looking for an investment in the realty sector, look for better returns. After all, everybody wants to enjoy an hassle-free life after their retirement!

One of the most effective options of better-return yielding investments in the housing sector is investing into ‘budget housing’.

Need For Budget Housing:

When you are investing in an apartment, the smaller apartment has several benefits compared to the larger ones.

 First, and most significantly, it’s cheaper. And of course, the payment is lower and the current maintenance prices are less. Smaller flats are easier to manage than the larger ones, and there’s normally a much better rate of income, as every unit derives more in rent. Selecting right flat with good location requires lots of searches. To resolve such kind of rifles Xrbia launches its affordable section for those who are looking for flats and apartments in such lower range.

The property price appreciation for the budget houses makes them a worthy purchase. If an investor waits for 5-10 years; he usually gets great appreciation on the property at any good location.

Xrbia’s Offerings:

Xrbia Hinjewadi, Riverfront Talegaon, Smart City Neral, Xrbia Chakan are few of such projects by Xrbia that offer budget housing.

These flagship projects of Xrbia has won many hearts since many years. All situated in prolific locations and compiled with all modern amenities, these budget houses offer the best deals for investors. The locations of these townships are quite fruitful for better returns. Many of the townships are located at the booming IT hubs of the country like Chakan and Talegaon while many others are near to the high-development corridor such as Smart City Neral which is located in thriving suburbs of Mumbai.

To get your best deals on budget houses if you are planning to invest, visit: www.xrbia.com