Overall in the market, there is a spurt in the demand for commercial spaces. The demand for residential spaces has always been there, but the consumers now prefer more techno savvy spaces to cater to better and higher technological requirements. Residential property demand near commercial work places has been rising. Also, consumers are looking forward to affordable housing and hence, developers are also rushing to create affordable housing stock. It is a win-win situation for buyers and developers
Munish Doshi, MD, ACME Housing shares his view with Sandeep Sharma about his company’s footprint and emerging trends in the real estate sector, emerging trends in the Indian real estate sector, business scenario in the first half of the current year, realty scenario in MMR, ongoing and upcoming projects, sustainable construction, Single Window clearance system, impact of Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016 (RERA), affordable housing and need to streamline Construction/Project Finance in India. Edited excerpts…
Could you brief us about your company's footprint in the real estate sector?
Since its inception in 1976, Acme Housing India Pvt Ltd is catering to high end and customized projects in the areas of Juhu, Vile Parle & JVPD Scheme. Over the years, the Company has diversified into mid-segment projects in areas like Malad, Goregaon. Today nearly after 3 decades, the Company is in almost all the segments of the Industry. The Company has constructed residential, Industrial Estates, Commercial buildings, IT hubs. Now, is also entering into low cost affordable housing in far-end suburbs of Nerul, Karjat, Dombivli etc.
How did your company fare so far in FY2016-17 in terms of business generated, growth rate and your projects completed/announced?
In 2016, the overall market was slow and sluggish. However, despite such tough conditions, ACME did achieve positive growth. This was probably due to the excellent conversion rate of potential home buyers. 2017 shows even further signs of improvement. With the probability of RERA becoming a reality and strong overall economic projections, year 2017 has bright prospects. We currently have 8 projects in MMR at various stages of development. Possessions and society formation for Phase I of Acme Ozone has been completed, while our luxury venture Acme Boulevard is likely to get completed by end 2018.
Could you provide us insight about the emerging trends in the Indian real estate sector?
Overall in the market, there is a spurt in the demand for commercial spaces. The demand for residential spaces has always been there, but the consumers now prefer more techno savvy spaces to cater to better and higher technological requirements. Residential property demand near commercial work places has been rising.
Also, consumers are looking forward to affordable housing and hence, developers are also rushing to create affordable housing stock. It is a win-win situation for buyers and developers
How is the market scenario shaping up in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)?
In Mumbai, commercial focus has shifted largely from Nariman point to Lower Parel and BKC in the last decade. But Andheri, Goregaon and Powai have become newer commercial attractions lately. Improving connectivity like the emergence of Metro rails, Eastern Freeway and multiple flyovers have seen rising demand for both commercial and residential real estate in the suburbs of Mumbai. Demand is also increasing for the properties in the outskirts area due to recent increase in more holistic offerings. Consumers are now more inspired from foreign architecture than ever before. They want state of the art and innovatively designed buildings with international-standard facilities.
The market scenario is likely to improve even further because of the incumbent government’s focus on strengthening the real estate sector. Their favorable policies have helped expedite approval processes. This helps in a better conversion rate of property from raw to completed stock.
What kind of challenges are you facing in improving your project sales?
Difficult decision making on the consumer’s part is a big challenge for us. Most consumers are stuck in a constant dilemma. They want to buy their dream home now but are still looking for the perfect purchase moment to gain maximum ROI.
Also, many of them want to wait for RERA to be finalized. Which is a fair assessment on their part but they are overlooking the fact that prices are likely to rise further in such a scenario. Hence now would be the perfect time to book a property.
Brief us about your ongoing and upcoming projects in the residential and commercial segment?
We have the following ongoing projects in Mumbai & Thane –
1. Acme Avenue, Kandivli West.
2. Oasis, Kandivli East.
3. Acme Hills, Goregaon East.
4. Acme Boulevard, Andheri East.
5. Stadium View, Andheri West.
6. Acme Ozone, Thane.
7. Acme Elanza, Ghatkopar West.
8. Legacy, Vile Parle West.
And upcoming projects are –
1. Large affordable Housing at Karjat & Dombivali.
2. Acme Aurum, Kandivli West.
3. Poonam, Andheri West.
What's your take on the need to streamline Construction/Project Finance in India? How do you meet your funding requirements?
There is a fair control in project funding in India. However, the real need of the hour is funds available at much cheaper rate. Lower cost of construction will help us pass the benefit to the consumer and help in creating more affordable stock for the common masses.
There has been a spurt in new NBFCs & PE funds setting up in the market. Overall, there are lots of such funds willing to invest and offer large sum for construction projects, however till the time the cost of lending does not come, the dream of affordable housing is a long way to go. As far as, we are concerned, majority of our funding is through Public & Private sector Banks and partly through Financial Institutions.
What’s your take on sustainable construction and green building development?
A) 100% green buildings are very environmentally responsible projects and beneficial for the nature in the long run. Constructing green building is not a huge task however, what is noteworthy is the sustainability & maintenance of such projects. It becomes difficult for the Society to maintain a green building, and it has been observed that the green building projects which are being owned by one large Company are better maintained & sustained.
Do you think Single Window clearance system can fast track realty projects?
Single window clearance system would help expedite clearance projects in a tremendous way. Not only it is convenient for developers but also results in cheaper homes for buyers due to decrease in cost of construction. This would also help the real estate industry attract more funds from the domestic as well as foreign markets.
What can be the impact of Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016 (RERA) on the real estate companies and the buyers at large?
Though the idea behind RERA is very noble, its enforcement would decide its final impact. If not connected properly, RERA will become another major hurdle in the development of the country’s Real Estate. The devil is in the details and would be crucial in determining if it is going to further develop the real estate industry in the country or is going to hamper its growth.
Is there any hope for common man to buy home at affordable rates?
Improving economic conditions and better regulations of the real estate industry are likely to improve affordability for the common man.
Also, better government policies towards affordable housing are likely to attract more and more developers towards it. We are ourselves looking at making homes in the range of Rs 10-20 lacs on the outskirts of Mumbai. With improved connectivity we have already seen places like Kharghar develop, we are sure we can similarly develop satellite towns around metros leading to a far and wider development.
As the country gears up to develop 100 Smart Cities, what kind of opportunities do you see for your company?
A) In a long run, more & more stretches of land would be available for development but the only challenge which our Government has to overcome is that to create equally good smart infrastructure. Smart cities are a move towards creating world class infrastructure in the city in every way. Acme Group is already creating smart projects using smart technology in construction methods to make homes and offices. We also have tied up with Godrej to make projects environmentally viable.
There are opportunities galore for changing the face of real estate from brick & mortar to green and tech projects.