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'Changing the landscape of Mumbai'

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sudeep Saha, Founder Promoter, Avant Group

Sudeep Saha is the Founder Promoter of Avant Group. An entrepreneur and ex-investment professional with over 14 years of experience, he founded Avant Group in 2010, which is dedicated to making luxurious homes for the middle class keeping in mind their aspirations and needs. Sudeep holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering from MERI, Kolkata and has an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Sudeep is also a CFA charter holder. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Saha reveals how he plans to serve the under-served market with affordable and good quality housing for the aspirational middle class.

Your view on affordable housing in India?
Affordable housing is here to stay. With increased urbanisation, availability for homes is very challenging. With the current scenario in terms of work-life balance, nuclear families the time spent at home, affordable housing in strategic locations is becoming a key necessity. The planning norms and development controls play a critical role in creating affordable housing and infrastructure services. There is a need to think beyond the public-private partnership and private sector can and should play a big role to help realise the mission of 'Housing for All'. Carrying cost plays a very important role in keeping real estate prices high due to long delays caused by discretion at the hand of government in approval process. Without changes in approval process for private projects, affordable housing will remain a distant dream.

What is the impact of demonetisation on real estate?
In the short term, demonetization has impacted the real estate market and the same can be felt as instantly the buyers had vanished from the market in the last one half month as the buyers are uncertain with respect to the future developments due to uncertainties arising out of frequent change in the policy by the authorities. However, the slowdown is a temporary phase and may last for another quarter or two at max. We feel that demonetisation has provided the banks with the required funds and accordingly most of the lenders have reduced the rate of interest on housing loans, which will enhance the buying capacity of the individuals.

What is your vision for the company?
The mission of Avant Group is to change the landscape of Mumbai by redeveloping old and/or dilapidated housing societies into modern and intelligent space of living. Initially we have been concentrating on Mumbai and surrounding areas; gradually other main cities with old dilapidated housing societies in prime locations will be included. We aim to provide premium quality housing spaces to our clients. The group intends to provide benchmark standards and luxurious lifestyle; however, utmost care is taken to keep the price within the affordability range. We also are increasingly focusing on green housing as it not only benefits the environment but also helps long term cost efficiency for home owners. As a group, our vision is to create the most trusted and successful brand in affordable housing segment. We look forward to building a home for everyone.

How are you different from other affordable housing players?
One of our key focus areas has always been to realise that a person builds a home to spend time with loved ones. And building homes on the outskirts reduces the effectiveness of such intent. Hence, while most of the other affordable housing players operate at the outskirts of a city to keep the cost low. However, our affordable housing projects are at the heart of the Mumbai City where arguably the prices are highest in the country. We try to keep our prices low by reducing effective acquisition price and carrying cost by innovative structuring of project acquisition.

Can you throw some light on your expansion and investment plans?
We have a robust pipeline in place for now and are quite excited by how the future is looking. We are looking forward to making affordable luxury a reality for many Mumbaikars. We have a project in Jogeshwari East called Avant Heritage spanning 1.5 acres. We are planning to take up more projects in Jogeshwari East as the area is conveniently located closed to job producing centers of Andheri East and well connected by road, Metro, rail (Jogeshwari and newly opened Oshiwara station) and flyovers (Balasaheb Thackray and Mrinaltai Gore flyovers connecting Jogeshwari East with Lokhandwala, Oshiwara and other areas in Andheri, Jogeshwari & Goregaon West).

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Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)You decide to go in for purchase of property as investment for future. But do it quietly as there will be some elements, which may try to stall your plans. Your work may involve overtime as you are running behind schedule. The extra money earned will come in handy for fun times with family. Those in love or keen to get married will get a good proposal.
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