Reaching greater heights
By: Neha Malhotra
Dhiraj Jain, Director-Marketing, Mahagun talks about the brand’s growing success
According to you, what is the essence of Real Estate Sector?
Real Estate continues to be sunrise sector in India and contributing about 10% to GDP. With the new central govt. promising to provide home to all by 2025, the sector offers tremendous potential for growth as well as providing a vehicle to bringing smile one faces of millions who are deprived from the luxury of having a home of their own. Again commercial real estate offers a promise of providing millions of square ft of space to house the growing trade, commerce and hospitality – so essential for the growth of the country. Therefor the essence of real estate lies in ensuring growth and prosperity, not only for the buyers, but also for the countless industries engaged in providing goods and services for the real estate sector.
You have been in the industry for so many years? What changes have you witnessed?
As they say, there is nothing in this world that is left untouched by ‘time’. In consonance with this truth, the industry has witnessed a sea change in all aspects concerning it – be it the demand, supply, product quality, expectations of buyers and seller, customer perceptions, ways of doing business, financing and what not. The sector is transforming itself gradually into a ‘buyers’ market’, as opposed to a ‘sellers’ market’ – situation in which it was operating not long ago. Accordingly the customers have become more demanding and the increased competition among developers has led to better products being offered to customers at competitive prices.
Nowadays everyone is talking about ‘green building’ and ‘sustainability’. Do you believe it is just eyewash to fool homebuyers?
God has given us a beautiful planet – earth. Over the centuries human being have played havoc with the nature and results are there for all of us to see. In case we need to pass on a healthier planet to our future generations, we need to conserve nature and reduce our carbon foot-print. Accordingly the concept of ‘green buildings’ is a right step in this direction and not a mere slogan. We believe that we need to contribute our bit to this noble cause by developing ‘green buildings’ which help in promoting sustainability through conservation of natural resources, coupled with cost reduction for residents. Hence it would be improper to call it an ‘eyewash’. We would rather wish that application of ‘green building’ standards be made mandatory – rather than left to the choice of concerned developers.
Many young and old developers are going for the redevelopment segment, as land parcels are becoming extremely scarce and expensive. Why have you not explored the redevelopment segment so far?
We agree with you that with the land becoming scarcer by the day, we need to explore more and more avenues of redevelopment of existing built up spaces. We can harness modern technology and tools to not only improve the utilization of already built up areas by providing better products, but also free up substantial chunks of space for future development. However, the legal frame-work to facilitate such redevelopment is not fully in place due to different laws operating in different states within the country. The govt. needs to take a fresh look at the issue and put in place necessary mechanism, which stimulates such re-development by removing obstructions and facilitating the execution of such projects. Therefore in view of these obstacles, we have taken a conscious decision not to enter this segment at this stage.
Do you think Real Estate needs formal education like IT and banking?
We honestly believe that a formal education in real estate is the need of the hour. In order to attain new heights, the sector not only needs good engineers, architects and managers, but also lot of people with inter-disciplinary knowledge of engineering, management and human resources management to ensure a coordinated approach to development of real estate at par with world-wide standards in the world of rapid changes encompassing every sphere of human life. We feel that real estate developers should come forward and contribute to this noble goal with necessary inputs and support of government and public at large to create and sustain institutions which sustain and promote formal education for this sector.
How do you define ‘Affordable Housing’?
The term ‘Affordable Housing’ has different connotations – depending upon the area and the concerned market segment and it is very difficult to exactly define it. However, in the Indian context, one would need to take the vast burgeoning population of people living below the poverty line to define the ‘Affordable Housing’ as the one which is aimed to provide a reasonable shelter for a person in that particular market segment. For a homeless person, it could be a one room tenement, whereas for a lower middle class income group, it would comprise of a 2-3 rooms encompassing an area of 850 sqft or so. Hence the terms is subjective and does not lend itself to precise definition.
What can you tell about your expansion Plans?
We have been continually registering good growth in our sales as well as construction activities year after year. During the Financial Year 13-14, the group recognized sales of about 1000 Crores in its financial statements, which is expected to grow to about Rs. 1800 Crores per year by the end of March 2017. Long term strategic plans have already been drawn to achieve this objective and we are confident of achieving the targets set by us for ourselves. We also plan to de-risk our business model through a strategy of geographical spread, coupled with offer of a bouquet of products designed to cater to various market segments.
What is your advice for the homebuyers?
We would like homebuyers to be discerning while buying homes. The buyers would be advised to look into the developer’s profile, the projects delivered, the developer’s track record of delivery, product quality and after sales service and support as well as the transparency in his dealings, before embarking on the final decision for purchase of a home.