Held back by the coronavirus outbreak that shows no signs of abating even after six months, several real estate developers are getting ready to launch projects delayed by the pandemic. Mumbai-based Group Satellite is getting down to business with the Rs 45-lakh affordable housing segment.
The almost 50-year-old realty group, which has to its credit more than 60 projects spread across five million sq ft in tony Nepean Sea Road, Worli, Andheri and the deeper western suburbs, has five new projects lined up.
“We have a pipeline of five projects spread across a total area of 2 million sq ft that we have planned until December 2021,” Ankur Jain, group CEO of Satellite Developers Private Limited told Moneycontrol.
These include a high-end project, one mid-income and three low-cost housing projects targeted at first-time homebuyers.
“The affordable housing units are priced between Rs 45 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The middle-income category is priced between Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore and the high-end category is priced above Rs 3 crore,” Jain said.
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The projects, with an investment of close to Rs 100 crore, were located in Mulund, Tardeo, Malad, Worli and Khar, he said.
“The high-end project will get launched closer to September 2021. We are hoping to launch affordable and middle-income units before March 2021. We are confident of launching one project in December and one in March next year. These will primarily be in the affordable and mid-segment categories,” Jain said.
The projects were delayed by a year on account of the pandemic, he said.
The virus has hit the real estate business hard, with job losses and salary cuts adding to the problem for the sector that was showing signs of slowdown even before the outbreak.
Jain, however, said the company had clocked 100 percent of pre-COVID figures for its affordable housing and middle-income projects while the Rs 3-5 crore segment was at 70 percent of what it used to be before the pandemic.
With consolidation expected to be the norm, the group has opted for joint ventures as well. It has come together with Godrej Properties to develop a project a 1.1 million sq ft in upscale Worli.
With most homebuyers limiting their visit to the sites or the developer’s office for fear of infection, the turnaround time for final closures has reduced considerably.
Group Satellite has launched four schemes to sweeten the deal for buyers.
“We have launched a bouquet of schemes. Under the first scheme, the buyer pays No GST (goods and services tax) or no stamp duty, the second is to do with a monthly money-back option while the property is under construction. Homebuyers can also get to choose flexi-payment plans,” he said.
Other options include signature residences, wherein all units come fitted with internal amenities. Under the smart guard option, residents get RFID vehicular access, video door phones and video-monitoring equipment.
The company is also offering assured monthly rentals for buyers if the project is delayed beyond the RERA specified date.
Innovation is the key
During the pandemic, the company is experimenting with innovative designs to optimise space.
“The ticket size we are currently working on is under Rs 50 lakh all-inclusive product. This is a 1-BHK unit, where we are offering usable space of 317 sq ft carpet area. We have slightly tinkered with the design configuration launched as part of Phase-1 last year," he said.
"On offer is a 1-BHK unit with two fully-functional washrooms and 12 ft floor to ceiling height instead of 9 ft under standard 1 BHK unit. We have offered a 70 sq ft loft above the kitchen with a ceiling height of 5 ft that can be utilised as a kid’s room.”
The idea was to maximize FSI (floor space index) utilisation but at the same time reduce ticket size by almost 30 percent, he said.
The company was also in talks with two realty players in Goregaon and Chembur for development management opportunities “where a developer may have completed 50 percent of the project but has not been able to proceed due to liquidity issues”, he said.
“We will be looking at DM opportunities going forward. We are looking at investing in projects where no exits are provided to existing owners because there is a scarcity of finances and we want to invest judiciously in projects that can be launched immediately,” Jain said.The firm has also signed two redevelopment projects.