The experiences and learnings of the last two years during the pandemic have reinforced the idea that apart from health, a safe and convenient home is the single most important and valuable place every one would like to be when the chips are down. Kerala is unique and always different to the rest of India in so many ways as has been proven even during this pandemic. Even as kerala remains a great tourist destination with outstanding natural beauty and great facilities, the very high percentage of keralites residing outside the State for better livelihood opportunities goes to prove the paradox that kerala still remains one of the most difficult states in India in the Ease Of Doing Business for entrepreneurs especially in the infrastructure sector.
Inspite of that fact, the development of numerous best in class housing projects across the State over the years to cater to specific needs of different segments of society augers well and is a key attraction to any Keralite to prefer to own an address which they can safely come home to. A comparison of housing stock of developments in kerala market and outside has many stark differences. For one, the limited availability and high value of developable land in kerala cities restricts the volume of such developments. Even as there is very little urban rural divide across cities and towns in terms of infrastructure, the social facilities provided both by private and govt initiatives in kerala cities go a long way to make city living easier and wholesome, thereby improving its attractiveness.
Being a state where the majority of the raw materials for development comes from across the country and carrying the tag of providing the highest labour wages in India (nearly twice more than the next highest State) thereby attracting significant migrant labourers, the value of creating any real estate asset in kerala has always been much more than other tier 2 or 3 cities outside kerala. With emphasis of most residential developments being more on quality than on quantity, it augers well for the future of the discerning home buyer. A lot more time and effort towards design, products offering and services are provided by reputed developers in the creation of such sustainable edifices.
It is indeed remarkable that during the numerous natural calamities which unfortunately kerala had to bear the brunt off over the last four years, the residential and commercial developments of the credible and organised developers stood out as pockets of excellence and safe investment haven. This goes to show that any judgment to acquire property should be made based on full understanding of the product and the overall big picture. Nevertheless kerala society as a whole including NRKs has had to face numerous challenges during the last decade one after another, and its stoic resilience in the face of adversity and hardship is indeed remarkable.
As for kerala real estate, a new dawn beckons in the horizon for the home choices available, the attractiveness of low home loan finances (lowest ever in banking history) , the reduction of risk of delivery and the certainty of quality it promises (with RERA in place) . This new phase is undoubtedly going to transform housing with the variety it provides, the inclusion of asset management services for better and longer quality of the property, and the transformation of interior spaces with the largest collection of furnishing solutions available.
It is always good to remember that the future replacement cost of a good quality real estate asset is much more than when it was initially created. With inflation playing a factor and market appreciation of the product being another, the intrinsic value of homes have only seen a steady increase. Once the national model rental act becomes applicable the certainty of improved rental incomes will accelerate the attractiveness of housing as an asset class. Though there is a timeframe and documentation process to transact this asset class, the compliances for such matters in kerala are far improved and much better compared to the neighbouring States.
CREDAI kerala has been continually working pro actively over the last 15 years with the local and state government to ensure the uncertainties and challenges of real estate developments are minimised. Most of the statutory bodies like KWA, Kseb, PCB, LSGD, Revenue, etc still follow complicated and time consuming procedures and its functionings are still far from satisfactory needing many interventions from time to time to rectify and streamline it . But for credai kerala providing relevant inputs and highlighting to the government such problem areas, the scenario would not have been manageable. Though the Right to Services Act is in place, the effectiveness of these govt departments in quickly responding to provide the basic necessities leaves much to be desired. Both the home owners and the developers will be much relieved once the vexed issue of inordinate delays in service connections are sorted out once and for all!
Unfortunately, as entry barriers to housing development were few in India , we also saw poorly planned and risky projects in kerala failing which gave a bad name occasionally for the industry of organized housing. Obviously failed or stalled projects attract significant negative attention with investors and buyers funds stuck for long periods of time. And it isn’t easy to complete such projects due to multiplicity of issues involved. Of course, with more awareness now, the buyers are able to now better judge and decide their preferred property from among the viable options available.
It goes without saying that community living is the future for housing as it brings forth a lot of advantages together and instills a sense of belonging among the residents. Apart from making economic sense, it is better towards environmental issues and more sustainable in the longer run. There are hundreds of wonderful projects established over the years in our cities by seasoned developers which are shining examples of great development. Aided by a responsible residents association willing to manage the community affairs subsequently, the transition and support to maintaining the residential asset to its desired standards can be easily ensured. In larger developments , professional property management agencies are engaged to provide the highest standards of continuing care for a wide range of services which gives complete comfort and peace of mind to all the residents and owners.
Overall, with the sharp increase in all raw materials prices over the last one year across India, the cost of real estate development has shot up drastically. In keeping with the demand, this has resulted in quicker sales of ready to occupy stock, leading to many projects being launched in the last one year. And with the safety net of RERA available, customers can be more relaxed on product delivery timelines. Specific requirements of new age customers and improved amenities are also being offered keeping in view the changes happening in the work place, travel and communication platforms.
So the next few years looks promising for the organised real estate market as even well settled Keralites from across India make a renewed comeback to the State preferring the wholesome lifestyle kerala cities offers its citizens. That is a testimony to the high standards maintained and unique value offered by Kerala developers in their projects.
Dr. Najeeb Zackeria
Abad builders private limited