In less than a decade of its inception, Delhi- based Signature global, has successfully established itself as a 21st century real estate and infrastructure development company, that has created its distinct identity as a leading affordable housing company in India. And it is the sheer vision, zeal, sincerity and commitment of Pradeep Aggarwal, company's promoter, that has not only helped make Signature Global, a big brand, but also catapulted him to the top league of developers of affordable housing. VINOD BEHL spoke to Pradeep Aggarwal, Co founder & Group Chairman, Signature Global and Chairman, National Council on Affordable Housing, ASSOCHAM about his vision, journey into real estate , realty reforms and the future of real estate sector.
You have been in the financial market business. What made you enter real estate sector and going forward, what are your plans?
Our background with our expertise in finance and investment came handy to us for our foray into real estate. And in fact it was because of our knowledge, experience and impeccable reputation in financial market, that we were prompted to take a next logical step of expanding our business to real estate. As we catered to retail investors in financial market, in real estate, we wanted to focus on common man and end- users with an aim to help millions to realize their dream of owning a home, by providing them quality dwelling at reasonable price. We were planning it for long. Though we had conceived the idea of Signature Global in 2011, yet we were waiting for the right time and this opportunity came when Shri Narendra Modi led government came to power in 2014 and launched its flagship mission of Housing for All by 2022'We were encouraged by the vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and went ahead and launched our first affordable housing project.
Today we have as many as 10 affordable housing projects under development in Haryana, with close to 10000 housing units. We have recently made our foray into Uttar Pradesh with a maiden mall project in Vaishali, that also has service apartments. Soon, we will be launching an affordable housing project in Raj Nagar Extension (Uttar Pradesh). And going forward, we will launch affordable housing in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
What's the vision and core values of Signature Global?
Our vision is India of Tomorrow, with a mission to make India affordable. And our motto is- Har Parivar Ek Ghar ( A home for every family). We are an ISO 9001 company, adjudged as a 5-star rating brand by CARE Ratings. Our core values are reliability, responsibility and global standards.Our customer- centric approach has not just differentiated us from other companies but also helped us win several prestigious awards including Business Leaders in Affordable Housing Award by Assocham ,Haryana's Icon & Emerging Developer awards by Times of India Group and Radio City Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing.
What is your unique offering to customers?
Our biggest USP is customer- oriented development i.e to develop modern, lifestyle homes with contemporary design, created by renowned world- class architects like Hafeez Contractor. We have also partnered with leading financial entities like HDFC Capital, ICICI Pru, KKR , YES Bank and IndusInd Bank Our houses with impeccable construction quality, come at highly affordable prices. What more, each of our residential project is complimented with a uniquely designed, state-of-art commercial complex as part of our branded retail chain- Signum, to meet the daily needs of residents.
Another significant USP of ours is timely delivery. And we have lived up to that promise by delivering our Solera project in Gurgaon, ahead of mandatory 4-year deadline fixed by Haryana government for projects under their affordable housing policy. In fact, we will be delivering all our projects within three and a half years from the time of project conceptualization. This year, we are set to deliver three projects. To achieve that, we are deploying innovative cutting edge technologies like Aluminium Formwork for achieving speed, efficiency and quality of construction, with strength and durability.
What is the contribution of Signature Global towards government's flagship mission, 'Housing for All by 2022'?
Our aim is to committedly work towards supporting this mission to provide housing to all by 2022. We have already launched about 10000 units under Haryana Affordable Housing Scheme, achieving the distinction of delivering the first project- Solera in Haryana (Gurgaon) under this scheme. And this year, we are targeting to launch another 10000 affordable housing units across Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. By 2022, we are aiming for 100,000 affordable housing units across India, with 50000 units in Haryana, 25000 in Uttar Pradesh, 15000 units in Rajasthan and 10000 units in Maharashtra.
How do you see reforms helping in reshaping real estate sector?
The landmark reform of RERA has regulated and rejuvenated realty by promoting transparency and fair practice and providing a protective shield to property consumers. Demonetization has been effective in stamping out black money and in turn checking inflated pricing due to speculative investments. GST has helped in ease of doing business. The steep cut in GST of paints and government's plan to effect similar cuts in construction materials like cement will bring down home cost. However, the full potential of GST could be realized only if government substantially cuts GST on affordable housing and subsume stamp duty in GST. The amended IBC, granting financial creditor status to home buyers, has provided a lifeline to them . Further, government's move to rope in PSU developer, NBCC to complete stalled projects and some big reputed developers coming forward to take up these stalled projects is a positive sign.
How do you view the success of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)?
It is playing a key role in meeting the aim of Housing for All, by offering substantial interest subsidy to first time home buyers. What more, the government has enlarged the scope of this scheme to include MIG segment. Mortgage reforms like NHB's initiative to help HFCs raise cheaper funds to bring down home loan cost and provision of mortgage guarantee, has helped raise demand for homes.. The government's policy initiatives in terms of I tax and Service Tax incentives to developers of affordable housing, has significantly helped in increasing supply. However, But meeting the Housing for all target is a tall order and we need measures like cheaper land and cheaper bank funding to developers, along with lowering of transaction costs through cut in GST rates, rationalisation of stamp duty and creation of single window mechanism.
With government's reforms and enabling policies, do you foresee revival of real estate, particularly residential real estate?
Residential real estate is regaining its lost sheen with affordable housing driving its recovery which is clearly evident from pick up in home sales. A recent survey by global real estate advisory JLL India points to 25 percent rise in home sales across top seven cities in the first half of 2018 This is the direct result of government's favourable policies. The way global funds are pumping in money in real estate in India , especially affordable housing and the way new launches of affordable housing projects are picking up, these are all tell tale signs of residential real estate on its recovery while commercial real estate has already picked up.
The writer is Founder & Editor, Ground Real(i)ty Media, a real estate content service