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Mumbai city is on the cusp of a transformation: Devang Varma, Promoter, Omkar Realtors  |  March 14, 2019

Pooja Jaiswar Mumbai

The Indian real estate have taken the centre of attention among government, which is why, there were various benefits introduced for this sector. After GST rate cut, it was Interim Budget 2019 which brought in good news for both developers and home buyers. With this, Devang Varma, Promoter of Omkar Realtors in an interview with Zee Business Online, mentioned that real estate sector is the key to Indian economy growth ahead. Not only this, Mumbai which is the financial hub of India, will be the growth driver for this sector. Varma spoke about Mumbai has become a cusp of transformation in real estate. He also highlighted the buying habits of homebuyers to change ahead. Meantime, he shed light on how the budget and GST is impacting this sector.


Let's find out what Varma had to say about our Indian real estate and Mumbai.


1. How do you see the real estate market in India and Mumbai panning out?


Real estate is key to the Indian economy as it contributes almost 6-7% to its GDP. The sector today employs more than 5 crore workers and has a potential of generating 25 lakh jobs per year - reason being the government’s decision to provide housing for every Indian by 2022. Secondly, with landmark initiatives taken by the government, be it RERA, GST, Demonetisation and Benami transactions Act, all of them has led to increasing the confidence levels of buyers, investors and developers. 


The rising confidence in the sector resulted in Mumbai seeing a spate of new launches especially compact luxury housing with 1 & 2 BHK priced between Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 1crore in prime locations. The initiatives taken by the government on regular intervals has ensured steady momentum to the sector be its new launches and sales. The increasing positive consumer and investor sentiment international investors, be it PE or FIIs are eyeing to invest in Indian real estate which is giving further impetus to the sector. 


2. In the scenario of competitive prices, buyers are finding it difficult to buy houses in commercial and south Mumbai said areas. Hence, their shift has been more on western and central lines - how do you see this market in the coming days.


Mumbai city is on the cusp of a transformation, thanks to mega infrastructure projects, and with newer cultural hubs mushrooming other than South Mumbai western, central and northern Mumbai is seeing rapid residential development in and around these cultural hubs. Also, Mumbai is seeing a major change in its real estate market, by far dominated by high-end and luxury housing to compact luxury residential apartments in all peripheral locations. The rising property prices in Greater Mumbai clubbed with overcrowding and fewer social infrastructure options are resulting in natural housing demand progression in the western, northern and eastern suburbs, which have become the new hot spots be it Malad and Goregaon East, BKC, Sion, Vikhroli, Kandivali, Powai etc.


All these so-called newer micro markets have emerged as attractive residential hot-spots for quality lifestyle housing and easy accessibility factors along with great workplace options resultant out of government major focus being on making the newer micro markets well connected with road and rail network for easy and faster travel from home to the workplace. The suburban areas of the city are seeing excessive launches of newer projects in all price range fitting the budget of the buyers with best of connectivity and increasing options of social infrastructure.


Also, the increased connectivity in last 5-10 years towards connecting different parts of the city be it JVLR, SCLR, Bandra Worli Sea link, Eastern Freeway, Mono Rail, Metro (existing and upcoming), has resulted in a demand for housing around these areas which is seeing an influx of infrastructure development.  All these newer corridors which the newer social hotspots are also seeing an emergence of luxury compact housing development offered by leading developers like Omkar Realtors, JP Infra, Sai Developers, Lodha Builders, Ravi Group of Companies in affordable bracket ranging from Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore and above.


3. What are your plans for 2019, and some information of what customers you target in Mumbai?


At Omkar, our motto is timely delivery and continues to do the same. Our projects Signet at Malad East and Lawns & Beyond, Sereno all on the western express highway are going as per the schedule to be delivered by 2022. Our uber-luxury project Omkar 1973, Worli two towers have been delivered before time with buyers already taken possession in the project. So, this year our plan for 2019 is to focus on delivery of existing projects and strengthening our relationships with the existing stakeholders and customers.


4. How is this segment coping since GST implementation? What are your thoughts on GST, which will help developers for affordable housing ahead?


Lowering of GST from 8 % to 1 % and from 12 % to 5 %cent in the affordable and non-affordable segment respectively will further boost buyer's sentiments benefitting the sector overall. The overall sector which was reeling under liquidity crunch clubbed with flagging sales is become optimistic. As a developer, the slashing of GST rates comes with a rider providing no relief of Input Tax credit to the developer. This will result in rates of property further going up rather than easing since the cost of raw material will remain higher. We are hopeful that some consideration will be done with regards to GST on cement which is currently 28% and it will be brought down to 18%. This will help developers to pass more benefits to the end user.


5. In Interim Budget, govt announced a host of reforms to real estate, with - Exemption on levy of income tax on notional rent on a second self-occupied house is also now proposed - How will it help homebuyers and developers.


Finance minister in his budget keeping in mind their vision of 'Housing For All’, has proposed extension under Section 80 - IBA for one more year up to 2020. This will make all housing projects approved until the end of 2019-20 eligible for a 100% deduction of profits derived from the development of these projects, likely to be extended till 2022. The move will ensure a fresh inventory of new homes under affordable housing schemes benefitting the existing sluggish real estate sector. Further, the Budget has proposed the benefit of self-occupied property to two houses, if it is vacant. With this, the income tax on notional rental income will not be taxed on the second house property. This will encourage people to invest in additional housing stock.


6. What is your company's vision for FY20. How do you differentiate yourself from other realtors like DLF, Prestige, Godrej Properties, SOBHA etc?


At Omkar our emphasis is to provide the best when it comes to luxury living and hence, we ensure to partner with the world-class partners for design, architecture, landscape, construction, services to construct an international quality living structure to Indian buyers unlike Omkar 1973, Worli India’s tallest uber luxury project and Omkar Alta Monte India largest gated community.  Secondly, as a leader in slum redevelopment, our goal is to provide speedy delivery of houses to the slum dwellers by way of employing world-class construction technologies in all our projects. In the next 18-24 months,, Omkar plans to rehabilitate another 40,000 &ndash 50,000 slum dwellers across all new projects acquired by Omkar Realtors.


Our core values are our USP like:


  • Developing a better tomorrow for a resurgent urban India which we are already doing through various SRA developments and CSR activities.
  • Omkar‘s vision is to transform lives by nurturing a passionate entrepreneurial culture to deliver the highest standards in all of its actions.
  • Our core values embody Customer Focus, Teamwork, Excellence, Equality & Inclusion, and Integrity.


This makes us unique.


7. Your much talked project Omkar 1973 in Worli has been successfully delivered. How do you see the delivery of luxury project in this area?


Worli has transformed into the most premium residential location called the Manhatten of Mumbai with tall skyscrapers dotting the skyline of the area given a splendid sky view of the entire city. Its proximity to the airport, BKC has found attraction among the who’s who of the country.


Worli, with its SoBo tag, has its share of super luxury developments coming up with leading brands like Raheja, Oberoi, Omkar, Ahuja, Indiabulls, Sugee and HBS preparing the ground to welcome a very niche clientele.  Luxury projects which offer ready-to-move- inventory (RTMI) in Worli super luxury category are a big hit and augurs wells with the buyers who are preferring RTMI over uncompleted projects where both the apartments and the amenities are ready for usage.


Omkar 1973, Worli we are confident that the complete inventory of our habitable Towers A and B at Worli will be sold out.  While the RTMI factor provides us with a conducive selling environ, our 1973 project for its architectural design USP and one of its own kind of operational amenities puts it on the top of the preferred list of a super luxury home seeker in Mumbai market.