Monthly Archives: July 2009

Government tries to make home affordable

modern accessible affordable
The government announced for lower cost housing are expected to have a significant impact on the affordability of such homes, and encourage developers to get into the segment.
As per the government’s announcement, the value of the house that’s eligible for such subsidy can go up to twenty lakh rupees, but the subsidy will be applicable only on loans up to ten lakh rupees.
The move to extend by two years the tax exemption available to builders of smaller homes is also likely to convince builders to cut the cost of such homes.
The government has extended the provision of section 80IB (10) of the Income Tax Act to projects approved before March 2008 and to be completed before 2012. Earlier, the provision was limited to projects sanctioned before March 2007 and to be completed before March 2010.
The extension exempts builders from paying tax on income from the sale of houses of one thousand square feet built-up area within 25 km of municipal limits of big cities and fifteen hundred square feet in other areas.
Some say that very few projects were launched during the extended period, so it’s unlikely it will have a major impact. But Confident, which did launch projects during that period, thinks they’ll now be able to offer more aggressive prices for them. That could help to drive demand and also facilitate completion of the projects by 2012.

Realty companies are back on track

Kolkata JW Marriott and Holiday Inn
Emaar MGF, Godrej Properties, Lodha Developers, Sahara Prime City, Nitesh Estates and Sriram Properties will all hit the capital markets in the current year, declaring that the worst may be over for an industry that virtually cratered in the global economic storm last year.

With market conditions still tight, it will be tough for these issuers to demand substantial premium from investors. Looking at the present volatile market, it would be really difficult to predict the premium.

The last to be listed, Mahindra Holidays and Resorts, debuted on BSE 7 percent higher than its issue price. Godrej Properties, the real estate arm of the Godrej Group, plans to sell around 10 percent through its maiden public issue. Before that, the company will place a 3.5 percent equity with select institutions.

The IPO is expected to fetch the company anywhere between 450 crore and 600 crore rupees. It will use the proceeds for building low-cost housing. ICICI Securities and Kotak Mahindra Capital are the merchant bankers to the issue.

Mumbai is most preferred property investment destination

The financial capital Mumbai now ranks as the most preferred destination for investing in properties, while Chennai has replaced Bangalore.

The survey, “Trend in residential space across top cities in the current scenario” ranked Mumbai as the most preferred destination to invest in property while in south, Chennai is in the first place for property investments, overtaking Bangalore.

Cities like Patna, Nasik, Tiruchirapalli and Madurai have also become choive destinations for property investments, the survey said.

It said 60 percent of respondents felt interest rates for home loan would come down further in the coming months, while 40 percent evinced interests on properties with an area between 500 to 1,000 square feet.

More than three thousand people from the metros and other cities, including Pune, Ahmedabad, Thane, Coimbatore, and Vadodara participated in the survey.

“Market sentiments are reviving and people are ready to invest. Based on our survey, more than 60 percent of customers are looking at buying residential properties in the next six months. They also have a hope that interest rates on home loans will soon come down”, Consim Info Founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman said.

DLF drops mall proposal

DLF IT Park, New Town, Kolkata
DLF has dropped its plans to develop a mall on upmarket Commander-in-Chief Road in Chennai due to the ongoing economic recession.

The company has now sought permission to develop the land as a premium residential project. DLF Southern Homes director KK Raman said, “We have completed the design process. We are awaiting approval to announce the launch of our residential project during October-November 2009”.

Sometime in 2005, DLF Commercial Developers acquired the 4.41-acre property from German major Mico Bosch for about Rs 138 cr and had intended to develop it as a retail-cum-office complex. Later, it revised the plans and applied for a multi-storeyed building status, hoping to develop the property as a mall.

Now, for the second time, the company is revamping its plans. It has approached the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to permit its reclassification so that the land can be developed as a residential project.

Affordable housing is not more affordable for builders

The modern accessible affordable
sector appears to have found its feet with focus on affordable housing and this may reflect in the June quarter results of the companies. The move has led to higher sales for many companies, but on the other hand, it has also impacted the margins negatively. The reason being that the mid-segment housing is a high volume with low margin business.

It may also be understood that only the residential market has seen a recovery, while the commercial and retail segments are still under stress.

Among all the listed companies, Orbit and Indiabulls Real Estate (IBREL) are expected to show a marginal improvement in sales. With a huge fall in property prices in the luxury segment, Orbit has shown 5% increase in sales. With a 70% YoY decline in revenue, Parsvnath is expected to see the highest fall. DLF and Unitech may follow with 60% and 54% decline, respectively. As a move to generate cash for business activities, both these companies have exited from unviable projects and also sold noncore assets. This would help in completing under-construction projects. Even some large SEZ projects have been shelved.

Many companies have launched new residential projects in affordable housing segment. Though construction costs would be low, EBIDTA margins would decline by 5-10 % average due to sharper decrease in prices. However, companies like Unitech, DLF, HDIL, and Sobha that have raised funds have improved their balance sheet positions and thus lowered their overall finance cost. Average EBIDTA margin for June’ 09 would be 39% as against 43% for March’ 09. Peninsula Land is expected to show positive margin, as the number of projects was very limited, hence leverage was also low.

Despite all the gloom, realty sector is seen to show some improvement in margins. The overall PAT margins for the June quarter will be at 26%. Though real estate sector is one of the major contributors to the over all profit growth for India Inc, yet it is low as compared to the past PAT margins of 35-40 %. However as alternate sources of funds have become available, builders have managed to improve their cash position. Loans have been restructured and thus interest liability has been reduced. Developers like Mahindra Lifespaces, IBREL and Peninsula Land are expected to report PAT margins upward of 30%.

Govt may relax FDI norms in realty

Real estate monitor
The government department responsible for the promotion of industry is proposing easier rules to allow overseas investors to be part of smaller real estate projects and lower capitalisation norms for those which involve facilities in hospitality or tourism sector.

The department of industrial policy & promotion, which handles the FDI policy, in a note drafted for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has said that FDI should be allowed to flow into realty projects even if the area covered is only 10 acres.

As of now, FDI is allowed in realty projects only if the minimum area covered is 25 acres. The move will help realty projects in metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad to attract FDI. Realty players feel that it is not possible to find 25 acres of land in these cities to make their projects comply with Press Note 2 of 2005, which defines guidelines for permitting FDI in this sector.

The industry is keen on business in the metros, as it attracts high-profile customers, but wants FDI to be allowed since the cost of land in these cities is high, making them expensive.

The DIPP has also proposed that the minimum capitalisation norms specified in Press Note 2 can be waived in the case of projects, which involve hospitality and tourism facilities, such as hotels, restaurants or entertainment facilities meant for tourists.

Press Note 5 specifies that minimum capitalisation should be $5 million for permitting FDI in realty projects, which involve an Indian partner. In case the project is implemented by a fully-owned subsidiary of an overseas firm, the minimum capitalisation specified is $10 million.

The waiver would be available in case 50% of the built-up area in a project is devoted to hotel and tourism business, such as food courts, resorts, restaurants etc.

If 20% of the total built-up area is used for hotel rooms, the waiver will be available. Veterans in the realty business, who do not want to be identified, said the liberalisation moves were welcome changes that they have been waiting for.

These steps, when implemented, will provide relief to high-value projects in metros and projects being developed for the tourism sector.

IREO to invest 500 million dollars

Real Estate = Big Money
Photo by thinkpanama
Global real estate giant IREO will invest 500 million dollars in various infrastructure projects in India.
IREO is already one of the largest investors in the country’s real estate sector. The company currently has thirteen projects and is in the process of constructing an IT SEZ in Pune. The company has projects in many states including Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi. The company said it would develop an eight million square feet housing project in the next one year.

Realtors use technology to boost productivity

Ujjwala, New Town, Kolkata

SALES slowdown, stagnating capital values and a need to manage resources better are pushing Indian realty firms to invest in technology that will help them achieve optimum productivity, information access and regulatory compliance.

End-to-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, that manage diverse projects across different locations, are slowly finding favour. ERP vendors are seeing increased enquiries pushing them to develop tailored solutions targeted at mid-market realty firms.

When Delhi realty firm RDS Projects’ standalone ERP deployment failed, it turned to a solution that provided efficient management of projects across locations and customers: Aurigo Brix. Similar was IDEB’s case, which used Aurigo’s product across realty projects in Southeast Asia and India.

Recently, global tech giant SAP said Maharashtra-based builder City Corporation has gone live on its ERP solutions to help accelerate business plans, such as building 50,000 houses across five townships in Pune including India’s first digital township, Amanora Park Town.

SAP has signed deals with Chennai-based True Value Homes and the Kolkata-headquartered Tantia Construction and also counts GMR Infra and HCC as its major clients.

From tech biggies to mid-market IT firms, everybody is gunning for a slice of this market. While Bangalore-based Sonata Software has launched SonnetCONSTRUCT, a specialised ERP solution for this vertical, Oracle India and HP have teamed up for a bundled offering — Oracle Accelerate Solution for HP ProLiant servers — that will help mid-size businesses across verticals sustain and grow operations.

While vertical-specific ERP figures are not available, the overall market is expected to top $250 million in 2009, growing at a CAGR of over 25.2% between 2004 and 2009.

The firm recently launched its fifth generation product, BRIX 2009, an industry add-on to Microsoft’s ERP solution suite, Dynamics AX and available through select partner channels in the US, Middle East and Africa.