Results of Indian Parliamentary elections, is bound to have far reaching impact on the future of the country for the next 5 years and probably many more years. Managing 900 million voters is a daunting task, which the Indian Election Commission has mastered like nobody else in this world. What is required is stability and a strong purposeful leadership to take this country of 1.2 billion people forward. Our country was the major economy of the world 4 centuries back but lost its position due to colonial rule and missing industrial revolution. While it is poised to become the 3rd largest economy of the world in the next decade, per capita income must cross US$ 5000 for poverty to be eliminated.
During the last 3 years, Real Estate Sector has been facing the brunt of the Government’s policies - DeMo, RERA & GST. Though some aspects of the policies are positive, it did unsettle the Sector for couple of years. While business was appearing to return to normalcy, the GST Council has made major changes in GST rates, methodology & treatment for residential real estate. One fails to understand the logic of these changes which goes against the very essence & principle of GST. While, in its wisdom, the intent may have been to reduce the impact of GST for housing, the changes effective from April are counterproductive except for premium housing (square foot rate of Rs 10,000 & more. See page 56 for more information. Unwittingly, it is a wrong step towards reaching ‘Housing for all’. It will be a challenge to make customers understand the real negative impact of recent changes in GST for residential sector. Hope the GST Council realises this anomaly and takes corrective steps soon. So also, the anomaly on GST rate of 28% on Cement, which is a major ingredient for civil construction industry. 28% rate is meant only for ‘luxury’ & ‘sin’ goods. Big question - Is using Cement in construction a ‘sin’? Good to get an opinion pool.
The last few months saw a flurry of new initiatives at Brigade. Starting with signing an MoU with the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up World Trade Center (WTC) Chennai and an MoU with Government of Kerala to set up WTC at Thiruvananthapuram. Also, the launch of Art Café at Brigade Gateway and most importantly our foray into Co-working business segment with the launch of BuzzWorks!
The last two quarters also witnessed the completion of 10 projects - Brigade Lakefront (2nd Phase), Brigade Tech Gardens (1st Phase), Plumeria @ Brigade Meadows, Brigade Panorama, Arcade, Cedar & Deodar @ Brigade Orchards, Brigade Atmosphere (1st Phase), Brigade Symphony (2nd Phase), Mysore and our 1st hotel in Kerala, Four Points by Sheraton, Kochi InfoPark.
Our new project Brigade Cornerstone Utopia, a 6 million Sq.ft. mixed-use development in 47 acre will be very unique and is bound to become a major landmark in Whitefield zone. Response to the pre-launch was very encouraging. Few other major launches in the next few months will be Brigade El Dorado, in Aerospace Park near Bangalore Airport, Premium Residences @ WTC Chennai and 2nd Phase of Brigade Xanadu, Chennai.
With sincere hope for a good monsoon, a good and stable Government at the centre for a better India, I convey my best wishes to all our associates, customers & staff, and seek their continued support."
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
A lot has happened in the macro environment since the last issue of Brigade Insight in December – from successful demonetisation to introduction of GST proceeding in the right direction; commencement of RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Act); from BJP’s handsome win in the crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh to BJP losing bye-elections in Karnataka (a wake-up call to Karnataka BJP); from a booming stock market to the monsoon predicted to be normal, et al
Full credit to our Honourable Prime Minister for successfully managing the demonetisation of INR 500 & 1,000 currency notes. This has resulted in crores of rupees getting deposited in the Banks, resulting in increased money in circulation due to reduction of black money; increase in tax collections & number of taxpayers; expected reduction in corruption; lower lending interest rates (good for business & industry) and increased use of digital currency, among other advantages. Our Honourable Prime Minister debunked the criticism by many reputed economists and showed that he means business by coming up with a slew of well thought out supporting measures. His vision backed-up by clear-cut strategies & implementation is sure to make him the Best Prime Minister our country has seen, apart from making him an enviable Statesman to reckon with in the world order. The result is the stupendous confidence shown in BJP by the electorate of Uttar Pradesh. Actions of our Honourable Prime Minister & that of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is a lesson for all leaders that good governance is bound to be appreciated by the citizens, and the impact it can have on electoral gains.
With the announcement of tax rates, the suspense surrounding the much-anticipated GST (Goods & Services Tax) seems to be over. Now, it is a question of ensuring that it is implemented both in letter & spirit. The exemptions given and rates announced by the committee of finance ministers seems to be very fair. By & large, GST should help business & industry in overall reduction of costs which is expected to be passed on to the ultimate customer/consumer. But, there would be a settling down period and confusion/misinterpretation galore during 2017-18 at the least.
Similarly, there is bound to be confusion in the implementation of RERA. There are no experts in the industry, in the consulting community or in the Government. Everyone will have an opinion, the correctness of which will be known over time, once the RERA Authority/Tribunal starts passing orders. There is bound to be a storm before calm can settle in. The developer community should tighten their belts and brace themselves for hard times from authorities & activist groups. While RERA will have long-term positive effects on the sector, with no entry barrier earlier resulting in all kinds of questionable characters entering the business. It is also bound to add cost due to delay in obtaining additional approvals from RERA authorities before a project is launched. The real estate sector already suffers from the problem of dealing with too many civic authorities, who have been conveniently let off by the Government from the regulations of RERA. Once the sector recovers from the impact & negative sentiments of demonetisation, the real estate costs/prices should go up at least by 10% due to the provisions of RERA and the recently revised National Building Code for new projects. For the real impact of RERA to be felt on unauthorised constructions, the all India developer body - CREDAI has requested the Government not to exempt apartment buildings of less than 8 apartments & properties of less than 500 square metres. Most of the large-scale deviations happen in this category by unorganised and one time developers.
Affordable housing will soon become the flavour of the season for developers and consumers alike. Rightly so, what with more than 20 million homes to be built in the next 5 years to meet Prime Minister Modi’s noble target of ‘Housing for All’ by 2022, to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of Indian independence. For the mission to succeed, the State Government and civic authorities should give incentives (if not subsidy) by way of allotment of Government/slum redevelopment land, reduction in stamp duty, reduced approval fees for building plans, water, sanitary & electrical utility connections for affordable housing projects.
Our first & much awaited 202-room hotel project in Chennai - Holiday Inn OMR IT Expressway opened for business on 21 April 2017. Its super location and great design has become the talk of the town in the Chennai hospitality market. Coupled with this, we were able to launch Brigade Xanadu - luxury residential apartments in a large 33-acre central located land parcel in West Mogappair - Nolambur, Chennai. It is bound to be a landmark project for Chennai & Brigade, offering superb quality of life. Brigade in partnership with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) is gearing up to commence work on World Trade Center Chennai in another landmark location on OMR, Perungudi. This is apart from commencing Brigade Tech Gardens, IT SEZ in Brookefields, Bangalore.
Two other residential projects of significance were also launched recently - Brigade Buena Vista on Budigere Road & Brigade 7 Gardens in Banashankari, Bangalore. Both received encouraging response in an otherwise subdued market.
With school holiday season coming to an end, with good monsoon round the corner, with NIFTY & Sensex having crossed 9,500 & 30,000 respectively (which should result in profit booking by investors), with business sentiments turning positive, central government taking continuous positive measures to improve the economy, RERA & GST in place, with incentives to affordable housing and home loan interest rates at the lowest in 10 years, there is no reason why the Indian real estate sector should not look up. It should happen sooner than later. So, it is time for fence sitters to jump to the right side of the fence and make their decision to acquire their dream home from Brigade!”