Luxury Interview: Exploring the Chi energy

Tony Chi

Legendary hospitality designer Tony Chi was in Gurgaon, New Delhi’s upscale satellite city recently to unveil his plans for the Grand Hyatt Residences there, which is being developed by Ireo, India’s first and largest private equity fund dedicated to the real estate sector.

“I design to arouse people’s consciousness,” says celebrity interior designer Tony Chi. And if you didn’t know he was an interior designer; you would perhaps mistake him for a philosopher, one that has lifted a leaf or two from the book of life to share every time he airs his views.

Chi’s repertoire includes projects like the opulent Park Hyatt in Shanghai and the stylish Andaz 5th Avenue in New York City, and more recently the landmark Rosewood in Hong Kong. He has also designed for the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, the Mandarin Oriental in Guangzhou, the InterContinental in Geneva and the Park Hyatt in Moscow.

Awarded prestigious accolades, including the Hall of Fame award, Global Excellence award and International Interior Design Association’s “Best of Interior Design” award, Chi has also worked on a number of private residences, which he describes as “exclusive” and “spectacular” homes in places like Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, the Middle East and the Fiji Islands.

The Grand Hyatt Residences are located in Gurgaon’s Golf Course Extension Road area and the first branded project in India to bring together the vision and expertise of world-leading names like Tony Chi and also Foster + Partners. The 30-plus storey residential towers will feature dedicated lifts to the two apartments on each floor, and all 265 units will overlook a 50-acre golf course. The apartments have been designed with areas between 4,600 and 10,000 sqft in four plus bedroom formats and penthouse options. Residents will also be able to walk to the nearby seven-star Grand Hyatt hotel, an office complex and a new open-to-sky market that’s part of a 29-acre integrated retail complex

Read more: Property Report

Real Estate Headlines

New Gurgaon, Greater Noida emerge as real estate hot spots

For investors, New Gurgaon and many parts of Greater Noida are fast emerging as new real estate hot spots. In the past year, New Gurgaon has recorded property price appreciation of 66 per cent. While property prices have risen about 21 per cent in Greater Noida, the area isn’t limited to being an end user market; investors were investing in residential units in Greater Noida, hoping for significant returns through the next few years, said experts.

However, real estate analysts make a distinction between the two regions, in terms of investment – while New Gurgaon is referred to as a high investor market, Greater Noida is termed a market for low-ticket investors.

As of March-end, the average residential property price in New Gurgaon stood at Rs 7,068 a sq ft, against Rs 2,528 a sq ft at the end of March 2009, a rise of 180 per cent, according to data by real estate research firm PropEquity. In Noida Extension, part of Greater Noida, prices have risen 49 per cent through the last five years. In the last year, prices have appreciated 16 per cent, compared with Rs 2,818 a sq ft at the end of March 2012.

Read more: Business Standard

More power to the home buyer

Two years after the Union housing ministry came out with a draft bill to regulate the real estate sector, the final bill is ready to be introduced in Parliament during the upcoming Monsoon Session. The keenly-awaited bill, which promises a transparent regime that would uphold the interest of the home buyer, is being seen as a game-changer in a largely unregulated sector, even though some of its provisions have come for some flak from the real estate industry. As housing minister Ajay Maken said, “Not all may agree with our methods, but very few disagree that the home buyer is being given a raw deal.” Several provisions of the draft bill have been reworked after consultations with states in the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013, a copy of which was accessed by this newspaper. Analysts have welcomed the move as a necessary pre-condition to professionalising the sector. “Apart from protecting buyers’ interest and bringing in credibility to the developer community, we also see this working positively in terms of attracting investments in the Indian real estate sector,” says Sanjay Dutt, executive MD, South Asia, Cushman & Wakefield.

Read more:  The Indian Express 

Focus on high-tech cities

High-tech, integrated residential township projects in metros and Tier I and II cities like the Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Kolkata, Indore, Hyderabad, etc, are promising good returns for prospective buyers and developers. In accordance with the rules laid down by the development authorities, these self-contained realty projects are being planned and developed by licensed developers; these projects encompass work places and residences, with all the attendant facilities and amenities. Now, what are the benefits of integrated townships to local authorities and governments? Simple! They support the government and local administration in providing housing and social infrastructure to citizens. Integrated township projects and community living: Mudassir Zaidi, regional director (north) of Knight Frank India, says: “It is a community living platform where the concept of walk to-work can be implemented along with all the services that a family needs in proximity to their homes like shopping malls, entertainment options, hotels, hospitals and schools, thereby emphasizing its stand as a self sustainable establishment. “The difference between an integrated township and a residential township lies in the fact that while an integrated township includes hospitals, schools, offices and large-scale commercial establishments, a residential township primarily comprises residential development with minimal shopping spaces or other social infrastructure.”

Read more:  The Times of India (Delhi edition) 

Unaffordable Mumbai

For Mumbai, the city which has for years carried the unwholesome reputation of being the most over-priced in terms of residential real estate valuations, there is no relief in sight for aspiring home buyers. Over the last four years, property valuations in the financial capital have increased by an average of 66 percent. All ‘expert’ predictions over the last three years of an imminent correction have proved to be wrong. It is true that going by all known market dynamics, a correction was inevitable. Lack of affordability over an extended period is a known catalyst for downward revisions in any market category, including real estate. Another globally accepted precursor of a correction is a surfeit of unsold inventory. If these two indicators would have held true, the city’s residential market should have corrected three years ago. That, however, is not the case.  Residential prices in Mumbai have increased steadily after the correction seen post the Lehman debacle. In the period from the second quarter of calendar 2009 to the same quarter in 2013, residential real estate prices in Mumbai have increased by 66 percent. In Thane, the increase has been even higher at 70 percent while Navi Mumbai has seen a staggering escalation of 74 percent.

Read more:  The Indian Express 

Annual housing demand in Chennai to be over 35k units

Housing demand in Chennai is expected to be 35,000-40,000 units annually and property prices are expected to remain “firm” in the industrial corridors, a report prepared by the Mumbai-based ASK Property Investment Advisors has said. “The growth of automobile hub and IT and ITES and the banking and financial services industry has defined the growth of Chennai in last decade and will continue to drive migration and need for houses,” ASK Group Managing Director and CEO Sunil Rohokale said.

Chennai accounts for a major share of investments in the state and it would lead a steady growth in jobs and rising need for houses, he added.

Based on demographic growth and growth in office space and manufacturing sectors, requirement of houses is expected to be in the range of 30,000-35,000 houses annually,” ASK Property Investment Advisors CEO and MD Amit Bhagat said.

Read more: Business Standard

Renting out property an attractive option

According to Buy vs Rent Index (MBRI), key real estate markets in India have moved from being a place for buying and investing to renting. Buying a home has never been easy, especially in the Metros. The MBRI suggests that property seekers adopt a “wait and watch” approach anticipating a fall in prices and a drop in home loan interest rates. It has been observed that cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad are preferred for renting whereas Bangalore and Hyderabad are in the neutral zone. Overall a lower MBRI (under or equal to 20) indicates a preference for buying vs renting and a higher MBRI (over 25) indicates a preference for renting over buying. MBRI of 21 to 25 is a neutral zone where the person can take a decision based on his liquidity position The index for the city of Delhi NCR has moved 9 points further on the rental scale from Jan-March 2011. The city has retained its preference for rentals. The NCR regions like Noida and Gurgaon that were in the buying rating in 2011 have moved to neutral and rental zones, respectively.

From Hindustan Times (Delhi edition) 

The exclusive Ireo Gurgaon Hills. Click for details

The exclusive Ireo Gurgaon Hills. Click for details


Real estate regulatory bill: pros and cons

The Union Cabinet recently approved the creation of a real estate regulator in India, which aims at increasing transparency within the real estate sector. The Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill 2013, once enacted, would provide for a real estate regulator in each state of the country. Experts are of the opinion that though the Bill has many benefits for the actual users, it also has its share of limitations. The Bill would make it obligatory for the developer to disclose minute details related to the project on the company website. Details of the project like the layout, the number of plans the developer is planning to sell and even the amenities will have to be uploaded on the website. The Bill also seeks to prevent developers from making misleading claims that do not match the actual development on the construction site. Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director, Hiranandani Group of Companies, thinks that this move would suck up liquidity from the market. “Developers would have to look at other sources for funds, which could push the prices further up. The property prices could hence, go up a bit due to these regulations,” he says.

Read more:  The Times of India (Mumbai edition) 

Opinion divided on housing regulatory bill

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013, which seeks to regulate the housing market and protect the interest of homebuyers and developers has been cleared by the Union Cabinet and will be placed in Parliament for its approval. The bill is not flawless. All the stakeholders are hoping that once this bill is enacted, it would be supplemented with all the necessary rules and regulations, which would clarify ambiguities or gaps that exist in the bill. The bill, in its current form, could have been more balanced and clearer on issues relating to dispute resolution and project clearances, some stakeholders said. RICS, India, a premier institution that addresses professional regulation in the property sector, says: “The bill should be termed as ‘housing regulation bill’ rather than ‘real estate regulation bill’ because it applies only to primary residential market, leaving out the secondary market and also leaving out the commercial property market.” Taking a risk-based approach, the bill has been modelled taking into account appropriate checkpoints in key stages of a property transaction where regulation is most required, given the history of fraudulent practices and unfulfilled promises.

Read more:  The Times of India (Delhi edition) 


Reserve Bank leaves rates unchanged; inflation risks weigh as rupee sags

The rupee touched an all-time low of 58.98 to the dollar last week as investors worried about India’s record-high current account deficit and were unimpressed by government efforts to boost investment.

The RBI said food prices and the falling currency pose inflationary risks, and also called for vigilance over global economic uncertainty, citing the risks of a reversal of capital flows like the one that has roiled emerging markets in recent weeks.

Read more: Reuters

For MNCs, 49 percent equity to get 100 percent freedom

Foreign companies may not need government approval to hold up to 49 percent equity in Indian arms in most sectors, with the Manmohan Singh administration planning an overhaul of the foreign investment regime to attract overseas capital. A senior official said the government was considering raising the minimum foreign investment cap to 49 percent for all sectors, including defence production, except pension and insurance sectors, which will require legislative amendments. It also plans to do away with the requirement of mandatory approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board if foreign holding does not exceed 49 percent. In addition to raising the minimum foreign investment cap to 49 percent, the government is also planning to liberalise the ceilings for other sectors that are currently at 51 percent and 74 percent. The telecom department has said it supports 100 percent foreign investments in the sector.

Read more:  The Economic Times  

Delhi airport gets world’s second best airport award

Indira Gandhi International Airport has been named the world’s second best airport in the 25-40 million passengers category by the Airport Council International.

The airport also has been adjudged as the fourth best in the world among 199 airports across all categories.

A nine-member team, comprising representatives from airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Central Industrial Security Force, Airport Operations Control and Air India received the ‘ACI ASQ Award’ at an award ceremony organised by the Airport Council International (ACI) in Istanbul, Turkey yesterday.

Read more: Business Standard


Hyatt to bring all its global brands to India in 3 years

International hospitality chain Hyatt Hotel will bring all of its seven brands in India in the next three years to increase footprint here. The chain that had entered India with Hyatt Regency in Delhi 30 years ago, will open three new hotels in India this year that will take its total room capacity to 5,300. It is targeting not only the metros but also “high growth tier II and II cities and upcoming resort and leisure destinations” for its growth in the country. “India is one of the primary focus markets for Hyatt globally, along with the US and China. We plan to introduce all our brands in India in the next three years and are constantly looking for opportunities to increase our footprint through organic growth and conversions,” Hyatt Hotel, vice-president (development), Dhruva Rathore said.

Read more:  Financial Chronicle  

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