RERA is good, let’s all be patient, and wait: Anand

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Mr.-Getamber-Anand-CMD-ATS-GroupOn the first anniversary of RERA, we did a cover story last month which was sort of status-check on the landmark legislation with feedback from various stakeholders. The development being momentous, there are endless conversations within the industry about various aspects of the law and one gets newer angles from every such conversation. Keeping that in mind, Realty & More approached Getamber Anand, Chairman & Managing Director, ATS Infrastructure Ltd, to get yet another matured and balanced perspective on RERA. In an elaborate interview with R&M Editor Palash Roy, the real estate veteran exuded happiness with RERA progress during the past year and advised patience because, he said, the intention behind the legislation is good. Anand, who also spearheads private developers’ body Credai as Chairman, said with RERA implementation there are systems now in place and the industry is getting organised. Although aadmitting that “there are some anomalies, some pain-points”, Anand is of the opinion that RERA should not only regulate, but it should also promote the real estate. The ATS boss was also bullish about the performance of his company as, he said, “we were always consistent in our delivery and our focus always remains on execution.” He is proud of the fact that “we always have been performing constantly” and is confident that “we intend to keep doing that”.
Here follows the text of the R&M interview with Getamber Anand:

Palash Roy: It is over a year since RERA has been implemented. What is your take on this?

Getamber Anand: It has been a very good one year, I must say! There have been disruptions but the industry has realised that if you want to stay in the business of real estate you have to be organised, you have to be answerable. There are systems in place; people are getting them in place. I know that our Credai members are upgrading their ways of doing business. To survive in the RERA regime, this change is necessary and also at the end of the day, it will not only help the customer but also us as an industry.

Though there are some anomalies, some pain-points, one must realise that RERA should not only regulate, it should also promote real estate. It should also be a well-balanced attitude and approach from the people who are sitting at the head of RERA and also from the customer perspective if real estate industry is not grown substantially then you will see shortfall in supply and that shortfall flow eventually will result in increased prices. So, it is in nobody’s interest that real estate is not promoted properly. There has to be supply in the market which will rationalise the market.

PR: Are you happy with the way it is being implemented in various states?

GA: You see any new legislation needs a grandfathering period. The people who are implementing it are themselves going to take time to learn how it is going to be implemented. Take GST, for example. You just cannot say that on the click of a finger, from tomorrow you have no complaint. It doesn’t work that way. So, there has to be some learning period, there has to be grandfathering period and we all have to be patient to understand that this will work at the end of the day because the intention behind the Act is good. So let us all be patient, wait and we will see a lot of progress over there soon.

PR: There are many states which haven’t yet got the regulator in place and then there are many states where there is an interim regulator. What do you make of that?

GA: Recently we were at a meeting with the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri. The states were also there. He was very categorical in telling them that there are things that should be stopped and he wanted a permanent thing at place as soon as possible and I think he has given a deadline to that effect. Yes, it’s changing and there are issues. But I am sure these will be sorted soon.

R&M: Can we say that after a year, consumer confidence is getting back into place due to RERA?

GA: Yes, there is an improvement in consumer confidence but it is not because of RERA only. You see now post-RERA, it has become very obvious who are the players who are here to stay and who are those who will definitely not continue in this business. So, for a customer it has become a little easier to decide with whom he wants to put his money, who he wants to bet on, because now the people who are still in business are the ones who are going to be compliant and who will accept and will adopt RERA in the right spirit. And they will deliver homes in the right spirit. So, the customers have become focussed today and they know if they have to buy a house this is the list of builders among whom they can confidently book an apartment. It is good for the customer that there is a return of confidence, there is a return of activity in the real estate market and all this is very good news for everybody.

PR: Do you see more consolidation within the industry?

GA: Yes, of course! It has just started and I think in the next year or two, you will see a lot more consolidation in the market. Also, there will be more discipline among the people who are here in the real estate business.

  • It should also be a well-balanced attitude and approach from the people who are sitting at the head of RERA and also from the customer perspective if real estate industry is not grown substantially then you will see shortfall in supply and that shortfall flow eventually will result in increased prices.
  • There has to be some learning period, there has to be grandfathering period and we all have to be patient to understand that this will work at the end of the day because the intention behind the Act is good. So let us all be patient, wait and we will see a lot of progress over there soon.
  • He (Minister Puri) was very categorical in telling them (the states) that there are things that should be stopped and he wanted a permanent thing at place as soon as possible and I think he has given a deadline to that effect.
  • For a customer it has become a little easier to decide with whom he wants to put his money, who he wants to bet on, because now the people who are still in business are the ones who are going to be compliant and who will accept and will adopt RERA in the right spirit.
  • There is a huge opportunity with consolidation and we are going to make the most of it. The company is now performing in all parts of the pyramid of demand from right at the top to boutique housing, affordable housing and also at the base we are performing.
  • We have done all parts of the housing and we have done all kinds of housing. So what we are doing now is we are also looking at, though not very aggressively to begin with, office spaces. That we have not done in the past.

PR: Coming to ATS, tell us about your projects. How are they doing?

GA: Well, we were always consistent in our delivery, our focus always remains on execution, so we always have been performing constantly, and we intend to keep doing that. We identify our weaknesses, we work on them and we improve. We become better in the execution part and in the entire process we are improving on delivery. So, that’s how we are looking at our organisation in the next five years and we are looking to grow better. There is a huge opportunity with consolidation and we are going to make the most of it. The company is now performing in all parts of the pyramid of demand from right at the top to boutique housing, affordable housing and also at the base we are performing.

I see opportunity all across. In one company called Anand Rural Housing, we are giving houses in Bulandshahr at Rs 11 lakh. In Moradabad, they were for Rs 22 lakh, and this is duplex housing. In Bareilly, we are offering another product at Rs 28 lakh. It is row housing on 80 sq yard plot where you own the land and the house. So we are operating at that space. We are operating in HomeKraft where we are offering affordable housing 1,600 square feet and below. We are doing boutique housing what we do best in ATS which is 1600 sq feet and above and we are doing premium housing also, but that is very small in our entire portfolio.

PR: Which of the ongoing projects is performing the best?

GA: All of them! You see, we cater to a particular segment in all projects and then the attraction is quality of living in that project. So our product is catering to the end-user if there are investors, they are making money because the end- user demands an ATS property.

PR: Is there anything in the pipeline, any kind of project which you haven’t done in the past?

GA: We have done all parts of the housing and we have done all kinds of housing. So what we are doing now is we are also looking at, though not very aggressively to begin with, office spaces. Yes that we have not done in the past. We have launched one commercial project in Noida in Sector 132 where we did start a sale, which was not very smart. We should have leased it out. But yes, going forward, we are going to look at building offices on leased model.

PR: And do you also plan to go on any other vertical?

GA: We only have one company which does last-mile optical fibre to home that is Parametric, we are Class A internet service provider, and we have a company called Fusion which offers broadband to these houses we do optic fibre and infrastructure and also to other housing societies. So, these are the verticals we see as related to real estate in some way. Our core competence is real estate and we are going to continue doing that aggressively. But, yes, anything on the fringes which also adds value to our business and we can also actually give to other people to add value to that we will develop.