Hong Kong-based real estate conglomerate Risland Holdings-having projects in the US and the UK, apart from many other countries-has entered the Indian market recently, that too at a time when the nation’s realty sector is going through a prolonged slowdown. However, the company believes that it is the right time to enter the Indian market as RERA has regulated the sector which is a very good sign for international developers like them. "Implementation of RERA has changed the dynamics of the real estate sector in India," says Li Qiongjia, Director, Risland (North India), which is currently developing an ultra luxury residential condominium in South Delhi. In an exclusive interview with Sanjeev Sinha, he talks about the Indian market and shares his business outlook. Excerpts:
Risland has entered the Indian market at a time when the nation’s real estate sector is plagued with many issues, apart from going through a prolonged slowdown. Do you think this was the right time to enter the Indian market? Also, how would your company be able to cope with all these things?
India is one of the fastest-developing countries. A large section of population is a globetrotting generation, well-travelled and exposed to the best in class international innovative concepts. They want better housing with great experience. The expected rise in the number of ultra HNIs and India's growing stature as an economic power promise much in the luxury product segment. On the other hand, RERA-which was fully enforced in the country in 2017 — has regulated the real estate sector which is a very good sign for an international developer. Therefore, we think this is a right time to enter the India market.
For every company, the first project is very important. Similarly, Sky Mansion by Risland is our landmark project. In Sky Mansion, we have 160 units which would not be difficult to sell and we are not even in a hurry to push sales. At present, we are at level 14 in terms of construction, which means about 40% structure has been completed in a period of 16 months' time. The project is expected to be completed in November 2021, but we are targeting to complete it much earlier. We believe that the demand for luxury residential condominiums through niche market segment is still there. Moreover such gated communities with complete lifestyle amenities, including swimming pool and club house, may be common in Gurgaon and Noida, but not in Delhi at the present moment.
Your company has set its foot in the Indian market when RERA is in place. Did you face any difficulty in meeting the regulatory norms? How do you view RERA? Will it be beneficial for buyers?
Risland has established a global layout in many countries such as the United States, New Zealand, and Thailand. Most of them had regulation in the real estate sector. Implementation of RERA has changed the dynamics of the real estate sector in India. It has brought in uniformity and higher transparency in the sector, further strengthening the buyer and investor's confidence. Unlike earlier, now the developer community in the Indian context is more focused towards the planning and development of projects, which eventually boosts the market sentiments. It is definitely beneficial for buyers.
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How do you look at the Indian market? What is your target segment here and what are your expectations from the market?
Owing to the various relaxation of business establishment procedures and the ease of doing business (EoDB), many foreign players and MNCs have been attracted to India. The current tempo being witnessed over the luxury real estate market in India is expected to continue as the demand for luxury houses is on the upswing. In North India, Delhi NCR, Gurgaon and Noida have dominated the real estate market growth, especially in high-rise luxury condominium projects compared with Delhi. We believe that amongst different parts of Delhi, South Delhi has evolved over the past several years into an energetic mix of eclectic restaurants, private businesses and entertainment spaces, becoming the most sought-after residential destination in NCR.
Risland is in the luxury and super luxury segment, while it is affordable housing which is in the limelight in India these days. Do you think your focus on luxury housing would pay rich dividends going ahead?
The luxury residential market is now entering a new and matured phase in the Indian real estate market context. The needs and lifestyle of the end users are becoming more international and the need to have customized solutions to suit lifestyle is now the next curve of growth which is slated for rapid increase across the country. Real estate developers shall need to reflect and create appropriate bespoke design solutions in response to such market demand in the luxury market segment. Our understanding of the current market recovery, which is now in progress, suggests that it is going to remain strong and sustainable over the medium to longer-term market scenario.
What are the latest trends in luxury housing globally and is anything lacking in India?
The international luxury market is largely buoyant with cutting edge technology and custom-made solutions within each localized context. These latest international trends are further underlined with the use of high-quality materials and high-end build quality and finishes, AI smart technology integration and enhanced comfort across the luxury market segments globally. Minimal & futuristic design concepts with controlled decorative elements in both building exterior and interior spaces are being witnessed across Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore & other South East Asia countries, Europe and the US markets. This trend is rapidly becoming highly aspirational specifically for the luxury lifestyle conscious, well informed and travelled individuals. A very limited number of similar international concepts & trends from a design, high quality, performance and cutting edge technology enabled smart solutions for enhanced comfort are being witnessed in only select few private projects in the luxury real estate market segment in India and there remains a wide scope for increased penetration of such features and concepts in the luxury real estate sector in the country.
In India also there are so many realty players who are in the luxury segment. How do you plan to compete with them?
India's real estate market is one of Risland's strategic markets. Risland is a young, enrgetic and enthusiastic real estate company committed to deliver a thriving force for the community to make it become vigorous and vital. It is not a new thing in the luxury segment which the Indian customer never experienced before. Only the way of presentation is different from one company to another. Oriented by the operational experience in developed country projects, Risland will provide the market with diverse products that are ecological, innovatively intelligent, user-friendly, and delivered with excellent quality international standards.
As a promising MNC's real estate company, Risland Holdings is committed to delivering the product on time and boosting social development while providing a better and comfortable residential environment The company ensures this through its diversified offerings that are environment-friendly, innovative and smart, completed on time. The company is driven to create a user-friendly comprehensive community facilities and management services post completion and handover of the project.
Risland is currently developing an ultra luxury residential condominium in South Delhi. What is the USP of this project and the price range of housing units?
Sky Mansion will have 160 units in the Rs 7 cr – Rs 12 crore price range for an apartment. The rates of penthouses will be Rs 22-25 crore. The project consists of 25 amazing features that make it the premier residential address in the country. It boasts of all the necessary elements required for an exemplary smart lifestyle by providing homeowner an attentive, high-quality experience. With only two apartments per floor, the mansions exude a high level of privacy. Smart Home systems provide a seamless arrival experience and high degree of comfort for the residents.
Sky Mansion pays special attention to every owner's individual health & fitness needs through its unique design ensuring a holistic lifestyle. A Green building (rated 3 star by GRIHA), the project is designed with an air garden and a 5-layered lush green landscaping. It features a temperature-controlled swimming pool, fully equipped gym with state-of-the-art facilities, international standard tennis court, dedicated kids play area, foot-friendly jogging track are some of the key facilities. Stilted areas adjacent to the Club shall feature additional common amenities such as space for yoga, open gym, cards or chess play zone, table tennis and pool tables. Home to one of the largest club-in-the-air (in Delhi), it provides especially curated amenities for a luxurious lifestyle suited to all age groups.
Sky Mansion's construction prioritizes safety and has also brought together an exclusive five-level safety system that will ensure a high SIL (Safety Integrity Level). The five levels of security that facilitate this system include a Cloud based central intercom, a perimeter intruder detection system, security guards stationed at critical locations, indoor security system, and finally a digital surveillance system. The building design among other prominent features shall offer a well-planned 5-star covered car parking garage finished with high performance epoxy flooring. Exclusive three-level Penthouse apartments feature private elevators, terrace gardens with barbecue facilities and water bodies in each individual penthouse. From atop all the towers, each Penthouse shall enjoy unparalleled views of South Delhi.
What are your other India plans?
Going forward, Risland is eyeing Delhi NCR and all major cities in India. Currently, our team is only focusing on Delhi and Gurugram. In Delhi NCR, we are scouting for more residential projects. I would say that in the next three to five years, we are looking at 5 to 10 projects. Our main focus is on residential complexes, but we are also considering Greenfield township projects with schools, shopping galleries, power sub-stations, etc as we do in other countries. We are also open to commercial projects and industry parks if we get the right partners.