Friday, June 30, 2017

World's leading architects - Series 1

Dear readers, from now on, we will be presenting a series of leading architects and their works spread across the world. In the first edition, we present Sir Norman Foster, a British born architect. Here is the info-graphic showcasing his projects.

Other leading design houses, architects, consultants looking to reach out to wider audience can submit their entries at


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Is Investing in Real Estate a Good Investment Option?

Real estate is among the few investment options where the asset value is almost always on the rise. Unlike shares and stocks, the risk element in real estate is much lower. Also, the additional income that one can earn by letting out a property can give a major boost to one’s livelihood and lifestyle. Investing in real estate is definitely a wise way of using one’s money and multiplying it.

While putting money in shares and bonds are popular methods of investment, the returns on investment cannot be guaranteed always. Changing market and political scenarios can have a major impact on the value of these assets. The economic scenario at present is replete with uncertainties like fluctuating inflation and job-market instability. In times like this, it is important to find alternative means of taking care of your financial security. Real estate, unlike equity and debt markets, is far less affected by external factors like politics, and is, therefore, a much safer investment option.

However, investing in real estate implies a huge monetary commitment. Therefore, a lot of advance planning is necessary to zero in on any property. Moreover, your job doesn’t end at just buying a property. For example, if you’ve purchased a house for renting out, you need to first take adequate care to maintain it well and beautify it so that it finds takers. Thereafter, you need to keep checking on how the tenant is maintaining the house. After the tenant has moved out, you would need to hunt for another, and before that, renovate or repair the house as may be needed. And, the bigger the property, bigger is the responsibility and higher the maintenance expenses. These days one can also hire a Property Management Company in India. These companies take care of tenant management, maintenance issues, and timely payments of bills. Be it a budget villa in Bangalore or a duplex flat, the commitment to investing, earning, and maintaining is the same.

If you’re looking to rent out a new house property for some additional income, it would make sense to go for low-cost properties in areas that are fairly well developed. The idea is to offer attractive properties at decent localities that will generate interest in prospective tenants. This way, you don’t have to invest a very huge sum of money, and you can get a fixed income once all the relevant repair work and paperwork for renting out are done.

Before setting out on deciding on a property to invest in, it is important to check on certain basic criteria. Analyze options as you would if you were looking for a place to stay. Which aspects would you consider before deciding on a place for yourself? Proximity to basic facilities and amenities is a primary concern for those looking to buy a house. The same goes for those looking to take a place on rent. Similarly, locations where major infrastructural projects are being executed may not be preferred options during the time of construction. Prospective tenants would not go for places located in noisy and polluted areas. Eventually, however, once the infrastructural works are done, the same property may be in demand and fetch a good rent. So, you would need to think on more than just the price and your budget before deciding on a real-estate property.

This is a guest post by Dinesh Dawde.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Effect of GST on Indian Real Estate

The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is expected to bring about a major transformation in the taxation structure of India. Currently, the central and various state governments impose taxes on the manufacture and purchase of goods and services. The all-encompassing GST is supposed to do away with the various taxes that burn a wide hole in people’s pockets and prevent double taxation. At present, consumers bear a 25–30% of tax burden on purchase of goods. GST is scheduled to come into force on July 1st this year.

As much as the benefits of this new tax regime are widely spoken about, it is still not clear how GST will impact the real-estate sector, especially low-cost and affordable housing.

Real-estate experts across seem to be trying to get their heads around on how this sector is expected to get impacted by the implementation of GST. The three primary taxes that are levied in this sector are Service Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), and Stamp Duty. GST is expected to replace the first two, while the third one remains as is.

To understand this GST - real estate conundrum, we shall break down the components of taxation in the sector. Firstly, let’s understand that Service Tax, which goes to the central government, is applicable for only properties that are under construction. This tax is levied on a percentage of the total price of the said property. Land cost is not included in the calculation of Service Tax. Hence, currently there is a 75% abatement on under-construction properties valued at less than Rs 1 crore and 70% on such properties that cost more than Rs 1 crore, like high-end luxury apartments in Bangalore. In both these cases, Service Tax is calculated on only the remaining 25% and 30% of the gross value of the property.

VAT too is applicable on properties that are being constructed, but are payable to the state government. This tax is levied on the sale of the house property and involves the transfer of ownership to the buyer. However, this tax structure varies from one state to another, in the range of 1–5%. Experts are of the opinion that the implementation of GST will not only simplify the tax structure in real estate, but also reduce the scope for litigation.

Stamp duty, which is not going to be included in GST, is calculated as a percentage of either the agreed value of the property or the minimum price at which the property can be transacted, depending on which value is higher. Some experts believe that stamp duty is a good revenue-generator for state governments and is therefore kept away from the ambit of GST.

Going by the understanding of GST vis-à-vis real estate, experts believe under-construction properties to be pretty expensive after July 1, 2017. Nevertheless, they suggest to wait and watch until the designated date to see the rate of GST to be implemented and its resultant impact on real-estate prices before making conclusions.

This is a guest post by Dinesh Dawde