Vineet Relia of SARE Homes talks to Lakshmi Krupa about financial innovations, Chennai’s fascination for villa projects, and the city’s changing needs…
Customers almost always come with a checklist these days, especially in suburban areas where we do gated communities. In Chennai, proximity to schools, health facilities and security are of great importance. They are not looking for super luxury but a good lifestyle at a low ticket price.
How different is it being an FDI developer in a traditional market?
In some sense, in the real estate market, we see ourselves as game changers. The real estate market usually has family-run businesses or one-man businesses but being a corporate body with an independent board helps us remain objective. There is no personal agenda and our projects are all from the capital provided by funders such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
You have announced a few financial innovations (such as pay nothing until possession after the initial 20 per cent). Is this your reaction to the current market scenario?
While we continue to believe that the market is as robust as ever, our innovation is an effort to reduce the financial burden on potential homeowners. Consider a typical buyer — a couple with double income, buying a home on loan. They apply for the loan and until possession they have to carry the burden of their rent and the EMI. Sometimes, projects are delayed due to approval issues and in these cases they save a lot of time with this offer.
There has been a marked increase in villa projects along OMR and GST over the last one year. What explains this?
We find that the Chennai customer wants to stay as close to the ground as possible. That’s probably why high-rises don’t catch their fancy as much as villas do. You own your own piece of land and it comes with the option of expansion later. In our projects, we are offering expandable villas that come with a pre-approved plan for expansion. Owners can build another room anytime they want to and not even necessarily through us but any builder.
Infrastructure-wise how does Chennai compare with other markets?
I don’t think a lot of people even know that Chennai has seen the highest amount of FDI in the last two to three years. A lot of activity is happening, especially around the Oragadam area, and a detailed Master Plan with more structure will take the city to a higher platform almost certainly.