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Keeping the Faith

For real estate giant DLF, the guiding force this year is to keep thecommitments  it has made, chief of which is the promise to hand over possession of property even as the company’s fortunes is on the upswing, says  Ananta  Singh  Raghuvanshi, executive  director  (sales  &  marketing),  DLF  Universal  Ltd,  in  an  exclusive  interview  to  Realty  & More. Excerpts:

What is your road map for DLF for 2014?

This  year  for  us  is  an  year  of  trying  to  meet  our commitments.  From  being  a  Gurgaon-centric company,  we  expanded  to  16  different  cities.  In  all these  16  cities,  this  is  our  year  to  try  and  hand  over possessions. This year  in Chennai, we are expecting to hand over almost  1  ,800  houses,  out of which the first thousand have been handed over ,  the next 800  are  in process.  In Kolkata, we are supposed to handover  100 houses.  In Bengaluru, we have sold 4,000  houses, out  of which the possession of the first lot is due to happen in  the  first  quarter  of  the  coming  financial  year.  Similarly,  the possession process will  start  this year  in  other  cities as well -Kochi,  Hyderabad,  Chandigarh  and  Lucknow.  So  in most  of  the  cities,  we will  start  giving  possession  this  year.  So,  this  year  in  all  these  cities,  from  being  a  buyer or  a  customer,  people will  become residents of the DLF projects.

How have the sales been picking up?

In  Delhi  we  are  getting  a  very  good  response from commercial  and  retail  properties,  after  a  long gap. Also  at  a  time  when  people  are  saying  that  the market  is dead,  this month we  have  sold  200  small commercial  plots  in  Lucknow  in  a  week’s  time.  A similar  trend  is  seen  in  Hyde  Park  in  Chandigarh. Bengaluru  is  another  market  where  we  have  been doing well  and  continue  to do well.  Another  trend which is  immune to the traditional ups and downs of the  property  market  is  the  luxury  holiday  home segment. Looking at this we have got two products-one is in Shimla and the other one is in Kasauli. Also the NRI market  is  doing well  especially  the  end-user  NRI market.

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What  is your outlook for the  industry for 2014?

Will the elections and  the  formation of the new government change things for the better?  It  is  difficult  to  say,  but  definitely  a  certain  sense  of stability will come,  because  right now you don’t know what  is going  to happen.  Once  there  is  clarity  then  it will  bring  in  lot  of  stability,  whoever comes,  and  the mood will accordingly move  in that direction.  That  is for  the market  to decide,  that is difficult  for us to say what will happen.  The good part  is  that elections are round  the corner now,  and by May-June I  think  there will  be  complete stability  and  there  should  be  total clarity  about which direction  we  are  headed  to.  The good part for us is that this will happen before what  is normally considered as auspicious property season­ Dusshera, Navratra, Diwali, Christmas, New Year, etc.

What are the plans on the low cost or affordable housing segment?

We already are into the  affordable  segment.  We cannot do that  in NCR due to  land cost.  But wherever  we  have  land  holdings,  we  are  making  affordable houses.  In  Bengaluru,  we  are  selling  houses  for  Rs30 lakhs- fully  built-up,  ready-to-move.  In  Hyderabad and  Indore,  we  are  selling  plots  at  Rs 15  lakhs.  In Hyderabad,  it  is only  Rs 5,000  a sq yard.  In  fact for Rs 10 Iakh you can get a 200  sq yd plot.

Lastly  what  do  you  say:  who  will  earn  more money-investors of DLF shares or investors  DLF flats?

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See,  these  are two  different things- but for  property let me  tell you that we are not chasing investors, we are only  looking  at  end-users.  So for property  business,  I can comment, for the other side of the business I don’t  look after it so it won’t be right for me  to comment .

• From being a Gurgaon-centric company, we expanded to 16 different cities.
• In chennai, we are expecting to hand over almost 1,800 houses, out of which the first thousand have been handed over, the next 800 are in process.
• In Kolkata, we are supposed to handover 100 houses. In Bangaluru, we have sold 4,000 houses, out of which the possession of the first lot is due to happen in the first quarter of the coming financial year.
• In Delhi we are getting a very good response from commercial and retail properties after a long gap.
• Another trend which is immune to the traditional ups and downs of the property market is the luxury holiday home segment. Looking at this we have got two products – one is in Shimla and the other one is in Kasauli. Aldo the NRI market is doing well especially the end-user NRO market.
• The good part is that elections are round the corner now, and by May-June i think there will be complete stability and there should be total clarity about which direction we are headed.
• In Bengaluru, we are selling houses for Rs. 30 lakhs – fully built-up, ready-to-move. In Hyderbad and Indore, we are selling plots at Rs. 15 Lakhs.

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