Last week Nirvana Realty created a sensation by announcing three luxury weekend homes in Mumbai for just Rs 49 lakh. And quite naturally there is an amazing response for its luxury properties in Wada, Pali-Khapoli Road and MalshejGhat. They are themed on Bollywood, music and adventure. In the past ten years Nirvana Realty has created a name for themselves in ‘second homes’ market. With smog and other pollution issues as in Delhi making city living unhealthy, more and more people are investing in the outskirts either as a retirement home or a weekend getaway.
A decade after establishing some innovative properties in Maharashtra, Punit Agarwal, MD and CEO of Nirvana Realty is dreaming big of becoming a major national as well as global player in weekend homes and hospitality business.
In a chat with Sreekumar Raghavan of Corporate Ethos, Punit Agarwal talks about how weekend homes have become a success as it provides good return on investment and making luxury living affordable to upper middle class and middle class.
#What are the reasons why ‘weekend homes’ are getting popular and what is unique about Nirvana Realty properties?
In Mumbai, people are busy on weekdays commuting to work, noise pollution, the smoke and dust, the stress takes a toll on their lives. The conventional ways of spending weekends are to go to movies, malls or small picnics which again keeps one confined to the crowded city mileu. The rich could afford to have palatial villas and farm houses outside the city which are expensive to maintain and beyond the dreams of the middle class. Nirvana Realty’s weekend luxury homes are all affordable for the middle and upper middle class with a 400 sqft 1 BHK apartment starting at Rs 14 lakh.
All our properties are themed- in Wada we have the Wollywood property which is themed on Bollywood with film and TV studio, Bollywood library, riverside restaurant, children’s play area giving a feel of the Mumbai film industry.
We were the first to conceptualise the first music themed township called City of Music at Pali-Khapoli Road which breathes music every where with musical fountains, music in the bath room, bedrooms, musical fountains, recording studios, instrument rooms, under-water speakers, open-air amphitheatre. It was designed by Music Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, popular singers Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan and Hafeez Contractor.
#Normally apartment values depreciate over a period of time. How does your weekend homes differ as an investment option?
Investors in Nirvana Realty properties can always rent out their home when they are not staying there. We have tied up with Singapore based TripVillas.com to help owners rent out the property. This can bring an annual return of 7-8% and expect a 15-20% growth in property value from booking to actual occupancy. Almost 90% of the home owners use it as weekend homes while 10% use it as retirement homes.
# Do you have plans to go beyond Maharashtra and how do you source funds for development?
We have plans to go across India developing new themed properties and we have our funding but may go for a public issue at an appropriate time in the future. There are enquiries from overseas investors who are attracted by our projects. We own all the properties and since the title is with us and not on a joint venture basis, the room for legal issues on property are limited. We even have plans to develop properties abroad.
#What would be the impact of RERA and new GST implementation on realty sector and your business?
We don’t see RERA as a threat because we have been delivering on time or ahead of schedule in the past 10 years since inception. The industry suffered from lack of self-regulation and also due to lack of government policy guidelines. The new regulations will restore investor confidence and also drive away fly-by-night operators from the scene.
#How did you enter real estate business and how was the initial years?
I hold an MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management and we entered the real estate business by developing Nirvana Homes where investors could buy a piece of land, build a home and take part in community farming without any maintenance or overhead charges. This innovative spirit continues to drive us in all our new projects and they are getting increasing market acceptance despite good competition as we cater to mainly middle and upper middle class.