Are Indians opting for luxury real estate?

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

Ireo Skyon, Gurgaon

Developers and builders have launched an array of luxury housing projects that suit almost every budget, and consequently the demand for luxury homes has risen in metros and other major cities as a result of the changing demographics and the rising aspirations of buyers.

Mumbai for instance witnessed an overall increase of 30% in its luxury homes sales during the past year, with new projects being launched in areas like Mahalaxmi, Lower Patel, Worli, Juhu, Lokhandwala and Bandra.

The World One residential project, an upcoming residential project in Worli has seen the Lodha Group and Giorgio Armani coming together. The entire design aspect of the project is being developed by Armani Casa, the fashion designer’s studio for interior design.

Lodha Fiorenza is another collaboration project of the Lodha group, but this time with Jade Jagger for Yoo. All this activity has attracted Donald Trump who has entered the Indian Market with the announcement of the Trump Towers in Pune.

Bangalore is another city where supply in the luxury housing segment has exceeded demand. Bangalore has seen a rise of 35% in the last three quarters alone. Luxury apartments are offered in places like the Outer Ring Road, Doddaballapur and Whitefield, where the demand for residential projects is highest.

Read more: Money Control

RBI’s capital curbs dashes green card dreams of rich Indians

Rich Indians planning to invest in a business or buy property in some foreign countries to gain permanent residency find their dreams shattered, with the central bank reducing the limit for remittances made by individuals to $75,000 from $200,000 per financial year and banning the purchase of property outside India.

Countries such as the US, UAE, Australia, Bahamas, Spain, Mauritius and parts of Canada offer permanent residency and fast-track green card to those who invest in businesses or property there. The US EB 5 visa offers a fast-track green card if one invests $500,000 in a business.

Buying a property worth $500,000 gets you a permanent residency in the Bahamas. In Australia one has to invest A$5 million to qualify while in the UAE, foreign property buyers are automatically given a three-year residency permit.

Withdrawing Applications for Foreign Residency

“My clients are withdrawing applications for the US, Australia and Canada. They have the money, but cannot invest as they cannot remit as much,” says immigration attorney Sudhir Shah, who has offices in Mumbai and Gujarat. Earlier, clients could pool in the minimum investment amount (to qualify for a permanent residency) by getting just three people to invest.

But now they need many more people to participate, which is not only difficult to organise but such arrangements also stand a higher chance of getting rejected by RBI.

Read more: The Economic Times

Gulf-based NRIs taking loans to reap benefits of fall in rupee

Indian expatriates in Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have started taking personal loans in a bid to take advantage of a record fall in the value of Indian rupee against local currencies, a report said.

Money exchangers and bankers in Muscat said that NRIs have started resorting to personal loans as rupee touched an all-time low of 62.03 against the US dollar on Friday, Times of Oman reported.

Exchange houses in Oman are offered Rs 160 for an Omani riyal on Friday. The rate continued for three days as foreign exchange market is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

“Indian expatriates started taking personal loan for remitting money back home,” said Rajeev V G, general manager of Global Money Exchange, which is managed by the State Bank of Travancore.

“We have witnessed a substantial increase in remittance and high volume transactions, which is a clear indication that expatriates are taking loan for arranging funds for remitting money,” another exchange official said, adding that there has been a 10-15 per cent growth in remittance on Friday over the previous day.

Since rupee’s value crossed the Rs 154-155 level against the dollar, NRIs in Oman started remitting their savings.

Read more: The Economic Times

Highrises must have stilt parking

It will now be mandatory for all buildings to have provision for stilt parking to avail the benefit of extended height. This is being done in order to tackle the shortage of parking space particularly in residential colonies.

Further, all buildings above 15 metres (without stilt parking) and those higher than 17.5 metres with stilt parking in all land use zones will be considered as highrise buildings and will be required to obtain the mandatory environment and fire safety clearances.

The Master Plan of Delhi 2021 allows a maximum height of 15 metres for buildings at present. Top sources in DDA said that the authority has approved the proposal defining highrise buildings in Delhi. After the approval, the authority will invite objections and suggestions to this effect.

“At present, four floors can be accommodated within the 15 metre restriction but that might be difficult if a stilt parking has to be built too,” said Congress MLA Naseeb Singh, who is a member of the DDA.

After obtaining suggestions and objections, the proposal would be sent to the Union Urban Development Ministry for final approval and amendments would be made to the master plan.

Read more: Daily Pioneer

Rupee recovers after hitting record low of 64.13/dollar

Underscoring how hard it is for New Delhi to push through reforms despite the urgency of a deteriorating economic outlook, parliament was adjourned on Tuesday due to protests by members over a corruption scandal.

The notoriously dysfunctional Lok Sabha was due to debate a bill to allow foreign investment in the fledgling private pension industry, a reform seen as key to government efforts to attract investment and narrow the current account deficit, which is exacerbating the currency crisis.

“India’s problems are nowhere near resolution because New Delhi has not done anything – there is no focus on improving productivity, infrastructure or getting FDI (foreign direct investment) back,” said Nomura credit analyst Pradeep Mohinani in Hong Kong.

“It’s all about stemming the flow of currency and that is not the cause of the problem,” he said.

However, India managed to sell $9.3 billion worth of government debt limits to foreign institutional investors, although at rock bottom prices, a sign that they hold out hope of improving market conditions.

Foreigners have offloaded $10 billion in Indian debt since May 22, when the U.S. Federal Reserve first signalled its intention to begin scaling back its quantitative easing. They now hold only 43 percent of the $30 billion limit available to them in Indian government debt.

Read more: Reuters

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