Pioneers of Nano Housing
Haware Builders” is the organization which is taking giant strides in the cheap and affordable housing space. – Executive Director, Sanjay Haware and Aniket Haware- Director of Haware Engineers & Builders Pvt Ltd, spoke to Sapna Srivastava about the journey of the company and how they see the ‘Housing for All” initiative shaping up.
The seeds of the Haware Builders were sown by the founder Chairman & Managing director of the company, late Satish Haware, an architect with an established architectural practice in Navi Mumbai. Having come from a humble background and having seen the housing related challenges of the common man closely, he took it upon himself to solve this problem. Sanjay Haware fondly recounting the start of the company narrated, “In 1995, the entire family had gathered for Diwali. It was there that Satish floated the idea of starting a real-estate development firm that will construct reasonably priced houses. So, we four brothers left our respective jobs and came together to start the company ‘Haware Engineers & Builders’.
“Our family has always been of social mindset and we believe in giving back to the society. The very idea of coming up with this company was to cater the housing need of the masses.”Sanjay Haware
Navi Mumbai had just come in existence at that time. In 1996, CIDCO had launched land plots for sale and those who had bought them to develop were finding it difficult because of the recession in real-estate at that time. The owners of these plots approached Haware Builders.“The plots were at five different locations. We not only developed these land parcels but were also able to provide them with houses at very affordable prices as they had wanted. This marked the beginning of the company as developers in the affordable housing segment. Similarly, we developed housing projects in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai and sold them at Rs 900/sft. Our differentiator has been that we do not just build housing complexes but develop the infrastructure around it so people come and stay there. For instance, for our initial projects, we build approach roads, power substation and even street lights, sewer lines and drinking water facility as those areas in Navi Mumbai were yet not fully developed by the authorities and lacked infrastructure,’ said Sanjay.
Success of their first project led to many other successful ventures such as mass housing for BEST employees and Mumbai Police for which they tied up with respective departments and HDFC Bank. “The employees of these departments were literally given houses of one room, kitchen & bathroom at Rs. 5000/- . Many of these employees who were living in slums like accommodations were elated to have a pucca house, especially the women for whom the biggest amenity was the toilet in the house. When my brother Satish expired in 2005, many of these people had put up his photographs in their houses, “stated Sanjay.
Getting the formula right
Haware Group founded in 1996, till date has facilitated more than 60 million square feet of residential, commercial & retail development and redevelopment across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai & Thane. With more than 5 million sq. feet of work under construction & planning, the company endeavours to provide an integrated solution for the real-estate development. Aniket Haware, son of Sanjay Haware and the next generation entrepreneur who is now taking forward the legacy of the company explained, “All our projects are based on the research conducted to know the customers true preference in terms of their living and working needs. The findings are then converted into broader pointers for the project engineers to plan the execution of the project. For instance, to keep the costs down, in the time of rising prices of all materials, land and commodities, we reduced unit sizes, cut back on frills and focused on basic amenities that the buyers preferred. This kept the housing cost in check and suited the target audience demand.”
Sanjay added, “The National Housing Bank saw our model of housing development and proposed the same format to the government which I believe has now developed into the “Housing for all” scheme of the government for the entire nation.
“We built small houses for the economically weaker section, way back in 1996 which in new terminology can be named as “Nano Housing”. But that was the demand and need of those buyers, which we identified and catered to.”Sanjay Haware
Evolution of Realty
Aniket an engineering graduate and an MBA with experience of working with some of the best known construction companies in India joined the family business in 2010. Since then he has been closely involved in the company’s projects planning, construction and even marketing aspects. Putting things in perspective, Aniket, said, “The developers are now more pragmatic about their approach towards project development. They are designing products to fit in the requirements of the homebuyers. Buyers too are much more mature and aware. While, earlier generation just wanted a roof over their head, today’s young buyer also wants amenities for his children, family and himself.”
Aniket feels, the IT companies setting business and their offices in Navi Mumbai has given a big boost to the real-estate market of the region. The rising employment is also driving the housing market in the area and the localities around like Palghar, Kalyan, Nerul etc which are much more affordable than Mumbai, Thane or Navi Mumbai. “Again, affordability is relative to the locality and the pricing of the projects in the neighbourhood. The biggest chunks of buyers are for the category of apartments costing from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 25 lakhs. Our company caters to this segment which comprises the real users,” he elaborated.
Adding to it, Sanjay, said, “Haware is a mass housing company and not every builder functions like us. We don’t cater to the investors market. The real users belong to the mid-income segment. But, with high prices of land, the cost of the end product increases, making the affordable housing construction unviable.”
There is no investment bigger than a home therefore, the experience of the buying a house should be good for any home buyer. We are changing the way the sales team interacts with customer. Given the trust deficit in developers, the approach has to be customer friendly. Aniket Haware
Aniket during his MBA had studied the real-estate of San Francisco in USA, London and Dubai. He feels that the real growth is happening in India. “Given the huge population of India and ever expanding urban areas, the demand for housing will keep increasing in cities and towns. As developers, we need to cater to this demand in a correct way targeting the socio-economic development of that region. I do not think of other developers constructing projects in the same area as competition. In fact, more the number of developers building projects, means that place will develop faster and buyers will be keen to move in to the projects.”
Sanjay is of the view that a big policy shift is required to make available the land at lower rates to promote housing for economically weaker section. He explained, “Land through auction goes to the highest bidder who will obviously build project that can recover his cost and profit margins. However, the criteria should be the use of land whether for low-income, middle-income or high-income and accordingly rates should be determined.
Government should give incentives on land prices. Project approvals should come faster as it is in the interest of the government if the projects get completed faster, they get funds through approval charges, stamp duty, registration etc. an. Also, banks & financial institutions rather than just being lenders should partner with developers and support them. Sanjay Haware
The Potential & Growth
Both father and son feel, the future for real-estate sector is bright. More so with the coming of RERA which will regulate the market, create a level playing field for all the developers and bring in confidence of the customer and the investor alike. Sanjay mentioned, “As long as demand is there, there is always a future. But, the demand is in the economic housing segment for which developers need to right size their product.”
Elaborating on the same, Aniket said, “There is a deficit of product in the low-cost housing & commercial segment in and around the metro cities. Even today, to keep our products affordable, we are keeping the construction cycles to the minimum. In Navi Mumbai, while others are catering to the large building requirements of IT companies, we have launched 400sft commercial spaces for Rs. 40 lakh for the small businesses. The company has also undertaken slum redevelopment projects in Mumbai.”
“Though industry status has been granted to the affordable housing sector yet ground realities have not changed. Funding is still a challenge and interest rates of bank loans remain high for the real-estate developers.” Aniket Haware
Talking about the future for the company, Sanjay, stated, “Going forward, we plan to explore tier-II and III cities and then smaller towns and villages as well. The gap between the quality of living in urban and rural areas needs to be bridged. This will power the new economic development of the country.”
Aniket, opined, “The real estate sector is growing at the rate of 10-20 per cent and many international companies are now investing in Indian real-estate. As the sector gets more organized, it will become easier to get investments and funding. GST in the long run will make majority of the population tax compliant. All these developments augur well for the realty segment growth across the country.”
Sanjay feels confident about the young generation who he feels are smarter, more confident and aware of global happenings. “The new generation works much faster and I am assured they will take the real-estate sector growth in the right direction. But, along with financial growth, they should always focus on the social cause and giving back to the society through their business.”
Concluding the interview on a lighter note Aniket said, “Our parents made many mistakes and then corrected them along the way. We are fortunate as we got to learn from their mistakes.” Commenting on his personal future plans, Sanjay smilingly stated that he looked forward to getting promoted to being the guiding figure in the company, giving him time to do social work.