Interview with Mr. Sanjay Jain, Group Managing Director, Siddha Group
The Emerging Affordable Luxury Segment
Founded in 1986, Siddha Group has conceived, designed and built residential and commercial complexes and townships at prime locations in several cities of India. With his primary goal to create world class spaces with high-end design and construction excellence within committed timelines and at competitive prices, Sanjay Jain, Managing Director, Siddha Group talks to Realty Plus about the company and its way ahead in today’s real estate sector.
How was the performance of the Siddha Group amid the policy changes in the real estate sector?
The amalgamation of the policy changes in the real estate sector in the past year has helped us and the real estate industry to be more organized and provided a boost to both residential and commercial segments. We have been following a system which is in line with the guidelines of RERA even before the act came into effect. RERA has indeed infused great transparency and structure making it an investor-friendly market and expect more traction. Buyers who were fence sitting in anticipation of some clarity on the new regulations are now seeking homes owing to the reinforced sentiment that has benefited us with the sales of our project Siddha Seabrook in Kandivali West. The policy reforms and developments had a cumulative positive impact on the overall sector and helped build long and trusting relationships between the buyers and us.
Which regions are you more focused on for the business and why?
After a rich and diversified 32-year experience in Kolkata’s real estate sector, we ventured into the Mumbai and Bengaluru market and have completed a year in the Mumbai real estate domain with our aim to inflate up the the city’s lifestyle several notches higher. Till date, we have completed 35 projects, residential and commercial and handed over more than 5500 apartments and offices spaces. Our journey includes 12 ongoing projects of more than 10,000 units and 7 upcoming projects of more than 18000 units. This includes our projects across Kolkata, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Looking at the potential that Kandivali has to offer we ventured into this market keeping in mind the high returns on investment that it will provide in the future. Owing to the rapid development, Kandivali West has transcended from being a transit point into a desired suburban destination located between neighborhood areas like Malad and Borivali. Nestled in the heart of Kandivali West, Siddha Seabrook will be the tallest residential tower in the vicinity offering an ultimate living experience to our valuable buyers and provide a one of a kind end user experience. We are also coming up with another project in Mumbai which will be located in Wadala.
The government is stressing more on Affordable housing segment. What impact do you think the affordable housing scheme will have on the realty sector?
The Government has taken a number of steps to boost affordable housing in the country. The government has granted infrastructure status to affordable housing which clearly shows its intention to achieve the target of Housing for All by 2022. With this move, the developers will now be able to enjoy the benefit of lower borrowing rates, tax concessions and increased flow of foreign and private capital into their projects. This will bring down the construction cost and indirectly benefit the buyer. The interest on subsidy scheme for the EWS, LIG and MIG group which the Government has announced through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana will definitely increase the demand for housing. The government has also exempted the affordable housing initiative from GST. These steps will help propel the real estate sector going forward making home buying a reality for buyers.
The demands of the real estate sector were not fulfilled in the Budget. According to you what more needs to be done by the government for this sector?
The Union Budget 2018-19 ensured an all-round growth of the economy and boost in the nation’s GDP. However, as developers, we hope that single window clearance will finally see the light of day which will speed up the approval process and, in turn, will result in faster completion of projects. The state levies stamp duty, registration charges, and property tax, which are currently outside the ambit of GST and which is a burden for the developer as well as the home buyer. Various developers are also urging the government to create a unified tax regime and bring all other taxes under the GST bill. We hope the government takes measures to address these demands in the near future.
How is the demand in luxury segment? What are the growth drivers for luxury segment?
Real estate in Mumbai has always been the hotbed of growth, and over the past few years, the luxury market has risen exponentially. With social and civic infrastructure seeing significant advancements the real estate sector also grew tremendously across all categories. The supply in the luxury segment is fuelled by the interest shown by entrepreneurs, businessmen, working professionals and, HNIs looking for investment options in the city. Regardless of various policy changes, developers with a strong brand equity and reputation are generating adequate demand for luxury properties.
What segment are you concentrating on more?
As a group, we are focused on affordable and affordable luxury housing segment. The real estate market of Mumbai is significantly large with further scope of growth. The property market is vast and highly competitive, which is compelling developers to provide buyers with top-notch properties encompassed with exceptional amenities. Mumbai suburbs and MMR have multiple options in the affordable luxury category for the buyers to buy or invest in these properties. Siddha Seabrook is our first project in Mumbai and has been undertaken keeping in mind, the middle-income segment where we believe in offering the flats at affordable pricing with high quality, excellent amenities and plan to deliver ahead of the committed schedule. Siddha Seabrook offers a host of thoughtfully built amenities such as sky terrace, sun deck, premium clubhouse, rooftop infinity pool, mini theatre; gymnasium, multi-level car parking and automated car wash facilities which are a part of the ultimate address that the residents would love to call ‘home.’ All Siddha Seabrook apartments are Vaastu compliant. At Seabrook we are also offering a vastu compliant Jain temple. This temple will be one of the best in the locality and bring about peace and calm in this gated community. Situated in proximity to schools, banks, hospitals, and supermarkets, Siddha Seabrook also enjoys excellent connectivity to all prime locations of Kandivali West and adjacent suburbs. We have also undertaken slum rehabilitation projects Mumbai. We look at SRA redevelopment as a great opportunity for Siddha Group. We are truly delighted to join hands with SRA in building homes for economically weaker people in the city. We are going to develop around 8 lakh sq ft area for slum rehabilitation projects in Mumbai within the guidelines of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Government of Maharashtra in Kandivali west and Wadala. In Kandivali, we are jointly developing two SRA towers Shiv Prasad and Shiv Shankar with Sejal Group, and it consists of 187 and 205 units respectively.
What kind of new technologies govern the real estate sector?
In recent times, the real estate sector has gradually evolved with new aspirations of buyers and innovations in construction. The modern-day buyer is well travelled and therefore wants to experience a sense of comfort in wherever he is living. In such a competitive sector, if new construction technologies and increased mechanization are not adopted, then it will be difficult for the builder to survive, as skilled & semi-skilled labor is in short supply. Even we have started to use the aforesaid construction technologies in our projects so as to ensure better output and timely completion of the projects. Most are high-rise projects with repetitive buildings, we have recently adopted aluminum formwork shuttering, and the entire structure is being made as a monolithic structure, totally removing the use of brickwork & plaster, which is a major time taking activity. By using the aluminium formwork shuttering we are getting accurate dimensions and sizes as per the plans which enhance the quality. In addition to these, we are using modern day equipment like painting through machines, use of construction machinery for earth excavation, shifting of materials, etc. Needless to say, setting up of a batching plant is a minimum pre-requisite for any project of the standard volume.
What are the expansion plans? Are you looking to explore new cities?
As a company, we will continue to explore opportunities across different cities in the key areas of our operations. We have conceptualized, designed and constructed several new-age residential and commercial units and townships in some of Kolkata’s most premium localities over the years, introducing a revolution and elevating Kolkata’s real estate landscape to topmost levels. We plan to grow manifolds and will be completing one year in Mumbai. The real estate market of Mumbai is significantly large with further scope of growth. The property market is vast and highly competitive, which is compelling developers to provide buyers with top-notch properties encompassed with exceptional amenities. With social and civic infrastructure seeing significant advancements the real estate sector too had seen some tremendous growth across all categories. Kandivali is one such location which has been among the topmost suburban location in Mumbai which has evolved over the years significantly. This suburb is booming with entertainment hubs along with quality educational and healthcare facilities, incentivizing developers to set up projects in this area. It has attracted a lot of home buyers owing to the development in the recent years. It comprises of some of the leading residential as well as commercial properties launched by reputed developers of the market.