The following is the text of an interview with Pradeep Agarwal, Founder & Chairman, Signature Global Grou:
Question: ‘Realty & Sustainability Confluence and Awards 2020’ by Assocham and MoHUA is big news. Why Assocham felt the need for something like this? What role is it expected to play among developers as well as buyers?
Answer: When the times are tough, any sort of motivation works wonders and awards like these will certainly infuse motivation and a new zeal as we are trying hard getting over the pandemic blues. Surely the developers would take it positively and will roll up the sleeves for the battle ahead. Similarly, the event will help buyers take decisive steps towards investments in real estate, motivate them and give them a sign that Indian Real Estate is serious about serving them better.
Q: Do you feel that the GoI-recognised awards and recognitions will promote a healthy competitive spirit among developers and promoters?
A: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on boosting affordable housing and other recent announcements on the relief measures for the real estate by the Government already prove that the sector is being taken seriously. These awards and recognitions will add more positivity and encourage the developers.
Q: COVID-19 has impacted the realty sector in a big way with prices and absorption showing a downward trend. How do you see the impact of COVID-19 on the affordable housing segment? Do you feel the sector needs a push from the Government?
A: Agreeing to the fact that COVID-19 has impacted the realty sector, I would stress that affordable housing did not suffer much. Post-lockdown, people realised the importance and need of owning a home and affordable housing has emerged as a perfect solution to their demands. Fitting in budget, lesser wait for possession, lower interest rates and other subsidies under PMAY made affordable housing the preference among potential buyers. The success of the recent project launches by Signature Global proves the fact but all this isn’t possible without Government’s support.
Q: Signature Global has emerged as synonyms to affordable housing in the NCR. Since the launch of the first affordable housing project ‘Solera’ in 2013, Signature Global has launched its 24th project ‘The Millenia3’ in six years. How has the journey been so far?
A: It is said that “it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination”, so it has been exciting and a learning experience throughout. We have seen the market change, demands, rise and downfalls and have taken note of lessons, this way the journey has been fulfilling and since the learning should never stop we wish to continue towards our mission of ‘HarParivarEkGhar’. Recently we have launched our 23rd and 24th projects; Signature Global Superbia and The Millennia 3 and have been receiving good response. We realise that keeping the integrity and ethics intact can go a long way.
Q: The upper price band of Rs 4,000/sqft and size range of the apartments has been fixed by the Haryana Government under its affordable housing policy. Since all the developers are selling in a similar price band and size range (similar project), it is very difficult for a buyer to differentiate among projects. What are the key differentiating factors of Signature Global’s project vis a vis other developers’ projects?
A: What matters most to the buyers is the trust and track record of the developer. Though the product is offered by other developers too, Signature Global stands out, as the company has been delivering its projects on time and with good quality of construction. The brand is the first one to use brick-less (AFW) construction technology in affordable housing and hence has become the trendsetter for providing strong homes, that too in lesser time than others. Also, we are trying to provide green homes to our buyers in all our upcoming projects. We have recently launched our sixth and seventh IGBC Gold-rated projects in Gurugram. Our landscaping and open green areas in the delivered projects are already very much admired by the residents and buyers.
Q: Signature Global is largely present in Gurgaon/Sohna with one project each in Ghaziabad and Karnal. Which other micro markets can we see the presence of Signature Global in coming years? Where do you see Signature Global five years from now?
A: Out of 24 projects that are launched till now, there are three in Karnal and one retail mall in Ghaziabad. For now we see a lot of potential in Delhi-NCR and will be offering various types of options here. People are looking for open and organised living and Gurugram, Sohna along with other areas in and around Delhi has a lot to offer. There is a segment of buyers who wish to enjoy more independence and freedom when it comes to owning a house, therefore, Signature Global would be coming up with more Independent floors as options within gated societies for organised and premium living under DDJAY. Also the company is looking forward to explore similar policies like Haryana Affordable Housing Policy and DDJAY in Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad to continue providing the best in the segment.
Q: What is your wish list from the Government to revive the housing sector?
A: There are a few things that are worth mentioning –
For affordable housing, a special window should exist where cheaper funds should be available even for land procurement through Government and other banking institutions.
Online single-window clearance under one roof is important for the segment.
When a developer applies for CLU, the time given should be 90 days for all approvals, including RERA.
PSU land should be available for private developers for the purpose of affordable housing and land price should be reasonable.