NRI Real Estate and Property Investment in India
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Sternon and Garnet to build NRI Township in Mumbai
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dubai-based Sternon Real Estate and Mumbai based Garnet Constructions are all set to begin construction of their upscale NRI township 'Magic Hills Residences' in Navi Mumbai in October and plans to complete the first phase in 18 months. Hussaini F. Nalwalla, managing director of Sternon Group, said the slight delay in the project implementation caused by a 'contouring error' would actually work in favor of NRI investors, as villas in Phase 2 would be priced at least 60 per cent higher, because of rising costs of construction materials. The mega-project, among the first of its kind in India, is being marketed exclusively to non-resident Indians, with design elements and facilities tailored to meet NRIs' standards and expectations. The project has attracted global interest, and Phase 1 has been fully sold out.
"The main benefit for NRIs who booked in the first phase of Magic Hills is that they will enjoy a huge price advantage, as the rate has already appreciated three-fold," said Nalwalla. "We understand the delay in the start of construction has caused concern among some sections of NRIs, but we assure all investors that the project is all set to take off from October."

The first phase of Magic Hills is being constructed on 75 acres of land, as part of the developer's strategy to execute the massive project in phases. The total land area acquired for the project by Garnet Construction is 400 acres. When completed the entire Magic Hills project will have residential, commercial and educational components.

"Magic Hills will be India's first mixed mega project sold exclusively for NRIs. We have a reason for this. Having built projects in different parts of the world we understand the specific needs and expectations of NRIs because they are used to a different type of a lifestyle and environment," said Nalwalla. "The whole idea is to create an enclave where NRIs can live, work and play in the company of their own kind."

"We are developing Magic Hills in phases, as it too huge to be completed in one shot. By March 2009, about 40 per cent of the work on Phase 1 would be completed. Investors will at that time be able to register their units. We are also talking to three major banks for mortgage finance and expect to sign up with them as soon as we get approval for the revised building plan, expected by September," added Kedia, Managing Director of Garnet. Addressing points raised on some blogs, Kedia emphasized that Garnet had 100 per cent clear title of the land, and the property was freehold. The main reason for the delay was an error made by the contouring company, which has since been rectified and the plans resubmitted. All documents pertaining to ownership of the property can be checked at the local authority office, as well as the offices of Sternon and Garnet.

"As developers, we too are in a hurry to start the project, considering that construction costs have risen by 20 per cent and steel prices by 70 per cent," said Kedia. "It is not in the interest of Garnet or Sternon to delay the project. As far as the early investors are concerned, the higher construction costs would not be passed on to them, but the future phases would be priced considerably higher." "Overall, the response from the global NRI community has been overwhelming. We have sold out Phase 1 completely, and opened bookings for Phase 2 at a much higher rate," said Kedia. "We are not in a hurry to sell the whole project as real estate prices are rising in Navi Mumbai, especially in the vicinity of Magic Hills, with upcoming projects like the Navi Mumbai International Airport, Energy City India by Gulf Finance House, Special Economic Zone of Mukesh Ambani and an IT Park by the Government of Maharashtra. For this reason, we take part only in selective exhibitions overseas."



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