Realty plus in conversation with Errol Fernandes, CMD, Ferns Estates and Developers
- In your opinion how did the Real estate industry fair in 2018?
The real estate sector has gone through a roller coaster ride since demonetization in November 2016 followed by RERA and GST. The new reforms, policies and regulations have impacted the the industry impacting the sector positively as well as negatively. Some of the changes are good in a way as there is a lot more transparency and accountability into the system and buyers and investors confidence is coming back. There is a short-term pain, but it would be a win-win situation for everyone in the long term. The first half of 2018 was good and housing sales started picking, but again there was a jolt with RBI raising the interest rates in the second quarter, followed by NBFC and bank crisis, which sucked the liquidity from the market and cost of capital went up for the developers.
The demand for residential projects has seen a healthy growth in the first half of 2018 and the key markets saw the absorption taking place at a fast pace. Factors like lower interest rates, budget friendly housing schemes and affordable houses coupled with price rationalization by the developers were some of the key constituents to fuel the growth of residential sector. The housing demand was mostly driven by the end users and rightly so, as they took advantage of the favorable market conditions, as well as transparent regulations due to the advent for RERA. Customer are still willing to pay premium for good brands and locations, which has good social infrastructure, proximity to work place, better security, minimal traffic and less pollution.
The commercial or office market has really taken up in the last couple of years and the credit also goes to the stable government and marquee reforms like 100 pc FDI in real estate, grant of infrastructure status and finally the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), getting government approval in India. The concept of co-working spaces has given a fillip to the office markets and has changed the whole dynamics of office, converting them into flexi-spaces with just plug and play concept. The start-up boom has disrupted most of the traditional businesses and going ahead; technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) would play a major role, as India is inching towards smart cities and adopting newer technologies.
- What prompted Ferns developers to introduce Gated communities in Bangalore?
Bangalore is a city which has seen more of individual homes and bungalows, but as the city started to turn into a major IT Hub, the demand and need for homes increased, due to which many developers started constructing apartments and people were forced to live in apartments, as they didn’t have much choice and could not afford land within the city limits. Sensing the opportunity, the Ferns Group decided to venture into Gated Community. The concept of ‘Gated Communities’ opened new avenues for home buyers. The most discerning home seekers now had an option to build their own houses within their budgets and their choice, with an added advantage of safety and convenience. Ferns quickly pioneered the concept of Gated Communities and today the Group is known for its marquee gated communities, which started with the first gated community in 1988 with Ferns Avenue.
3) Why enter the hospitality industry?
Our expertise in developing premium gated communities over the years has enabled us to seamlessly marry real estate with hospitality. With this, we offer members the best and memorable lifestyle holiday experiences and at the same time provide an investment opportunity in a 5-star deluxe property. Also, Ferns wanted to offer their customers a product which allows flexibility to plan and program their holidays the way they want to, as against conventional holiday products where it is not possible.
- What makes Rosetta different from other luxury hotels?
Rosetta by Ferns always believed in the fact of developing properties which are short distance from the metro and other key cities in South India so that clients can enjoy their holidays from a bouquet of luxury holiday destinations at 3 to 5 hour driving distances. Also, to enhance customers’ lifestyle holiday experiences and a sense of belonging, the company also launched Club Rosetta Holiday Memberships. Rosetta by Ferns is the only luxury leisure holiday company to offer two holiday exchange programs.
It is a highly differentiated and flexible point-based membership program, compared to conventional timeshare holidays available in the market, and provides members immediate access to thousands of resorts and holiday homes worldwide. This membership program will be facilitated through the ‘Rosetta’ mobile app, which will offer real-time inventory and provide customers an opportunity to holiday at specially curated luxury destinations at fraction of the cost and unparallel experience.
Rosetta comes with a choice of accommodation starting from spacious studios to one, two and four-bedroom villas with private decks and garden spaces.
- Expansion plans for 2019?
We will be looking at completing the already announced projects and also the Sakleshpur property of Rosetta by Ferns will be operational in 2019. It is spread across over 100 acre and 100 rooms will be available for guests latest by in September 2019. ‘Rosetta by Ferns’ will also invest over USD 100 million (INR 700 crore) to build Resorts across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goaover next three years.