Mumbai: After a dull year, real estate firm Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd plans to ramp up its portfolio through joint ventures and partnerships and has lined up five new housing projects by March 2019, said a top company executive.
The company plans to launch five new residential projects with around 2 million sq. ft of development in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai this financial year, said Anita Arjundas, managing director of Mahindra Lifespace.
Regulatory changes and delays in approvals had significantly slowed down new launches for several developers in India.
Mumbai-based builders faced an additional hurdle after the Bombay high court baned new construction activities in February 2016.
The court order came as dumping grounds at Deonar and Mulund in Mumbai had exceeded the permissible limits.
Subsequently, in March 2018, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban.
“Launches should pick up on an industry level. There was a continuing negative trend in the last few years. RERA (Real Estate Regulatory and Development Act) was one issue as many people were focused on executing and completing ongoing projects," said Arjundas.
The three projects that were supposed to be launched in Mumbai were impacted because of the court ban on new construction, she said adding that “as those (dumping ground and regulatory) issues get resolved, those projects would soon get launched."
Unlike in the past, the increasing trend of consolidation within the real estate market post the implementation of RERA has offered the company opportunities to form partnerships and expand its business in its four priority markets, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and the National Capital Region (NCR), said Arjundas.
“RERA created an opportunity to expand because it limited supply in the market. Several developers and land owners are selling their land parcels or looking for a partner to create a new revenue stream for them. So it does open larger opportunities to access more land parcels and grow," she added.
Mahindra Lifespace has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for about 2.75 million square feet of development that are in very early stages of diligence, Arjundas had said in an investor call on 27 April.
Three of the transactions are in advanced stages of discussions.
“We aim to close at least two of them this quarter and the rest in the next quarter. If you look at these five (new launches), about three are from landowners who were earlier into development themselves."
Earlier this year, Mahindra Lifespace had launched an affordable housing project in partnership with HDFC Capital Advisors Ltd, under the brand ‘Happinest’ at Palghar on the outskirts of Mumbai. This is the first time that the company entered into low-cost housing where the units were priced between Rs8 lakh and Rs20 lakh.
“We would like to see greater number of projects in each of our priority markets. We want to expand significantly deeper into these markets," she said.