Bank of Baroda, a leading Indian public sector bank, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai-based real estate company Dubai Properties for financing buyers of the latter’s products in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The agreement was signed between Bank of Baroda chief executive for Gulf operations Ashok K. Gupta and Dubai Properties chief executive Mohamed S. Binbrek, according to a Dubai Properties statement.
Bank of Baroda is the only Indian bank offering full-fledged banking services in the UAE.
It has six branches, in Dubai, Deira, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah and an electronic banking service Unit at Jebel Ali near here.
In Oman, the bank has three branches and in Bahrain one.

An apparent slowdown in the real estate sector is forcing PE (private equity) funds to rein in their exposure to the sector, with nearly 30 per cent of the deals now stuck over valuations.
PE funds and analysts have become far more cautious in evaluating real estate investments in India. One of the analysts said that some of the funds are tightening norms for valuations after the slowdown and at least 30 per cent of the deals are taking a much longer time to go through because of valuation issues.
Residential projects Mr Ritesh Vora, who is a director (investments) for PE fund Saffron Asset Advisers told Business Line that as the residential projects are in a correction mode, PE funds are becoming more selective. “The evaluations are more rigorous than they were a year ago. We are being more selective than before,” Mr Vohra said.
But the situation was not so tough for real estate companies earlier. With the stock market on a downslide, real estate companies deferred their IPO plans and turned to PE funds to raise money. According to ICICI Securities, during the last two years, around 60 funds raised $30 billion in assets to invest in Indian real estate.
“The returns have been as high as between 25-30 per cent on an annualised basis, which kept PE funds to continue investing in the sector,” Mr Vohra said. In developed countries, returns for similar investments are between a mere 3 and 4 per cent.
Marginal slowdown The real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield’s Joint Managing Director, Mr Anurag Mathur, pointed out that some of the PE funds, particularly foreign funds, are taking a more cautious approach. “Funds are now more selective and wary of the delivery timelines, costs, quality as well as performance of projects,” Mr Mathur said. He said marginal slowdown in the Indian economy, distressing conditions at home (for foreign players) and the dampening of investor confidence because of mortgage crisis in North America and Europe were some of the reasons for the PE funds to become cautious.
Mr Om Chaudhry, Chief Executive Officer of another PE fund FIRE Capital Fund said because of the slowdown faced by the sector, the developers were witnessing more realistic valuations of their projects. “As a result, PE funds are getting wider choices at attractive valuations than was the case earlier,” Mr Chaudhry said. But Mr Vohra of Saffron Asset Advisers points out once the stock market returns to normal, “real estate companies might return to the market.”

ASPIRE Real Estate Brand Ambassador - Deepika Padokone Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone (Om Shanti Om) is the new face of Dubai’s own Aspire Real Estate. The company calls the alignment the union of ‘Rising Stars’.

Aspire Real Estate is the success story of Harshit Kantaria, a young entrepreneur who came to Dubai three years ago with a vision to build a real estate enterprise that would capitalize on the enormous opportunity this city has to offer.

Today Aspire Real Estate boasts an Dhs5.5bn portfolio with developments from Business Bay to Jumeirah Village and Dubai Marina, with a special focus on waterfront properties.

Model/Actress Deepika Padukone’s claim to fame is her debut film ‘Om Shanti Om’ with super star Shahrukh Khan. Deepika began her career as a model and has been associated with some of the biggest international brands in India. Deepika is also the current face of Maybelline cosmetics, Levi Strauss and Tissot SA. Her debut performance was well received, earning the actress a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award as well as her first Filmfare Best Actress nomination.

The association was announced during a press conference where Aspire Real Estate’s existing projects were presented along with their future plans and vision.

Harshit Kantaria, Chairman, Aspire Real Estate commented, “Dubai poses immense opportunities for all, I am glad that we have been successful in capitalizing on them. It is an honour to be referred to as the rising star of Dubai real estate industry, and with a true rising star like Deepika as the new face of the Aspire brand, we look forward to doing justice to the title,”

“I love everything about Dubai, the people, the places, the achievements; it has the best of everything. And when it comes to achievements, I truly see Aspire in the rankings. Harshit is a good friend and a role model for young entrepreneurs all over the world. I am proud to be associated with Aspire real estate and hope to be a part of its future successes,” said Deepika Padukone, Brand Ambassador, Aspire Real Estate.

Aspire Real Estate’s existing portfolio of projects including Jehaan Residences in Jumeirah Village South, Sobha Ivory and The Sanctuary at the Business Bay and Al Dua’ Marina at the Dubai Marina. Besides its own developments, Aspire Real Estate is the exclusive sales agent for several prestigious projects.

INDIA Real Estate Expo 2008 is showcasing residential and commercial properties in Dallas, TX & Seattle, WA. Expo begins on May 31st 2008, and ends on June 8th 2008.

Horizon Expo recently announced the debut of INDIA Real Estate Expo '08 in DALLAS & SEATTLE. India is reckoned as one of the fastest growing economies of the world and owing to its inherent advantages of a large consumer base, raw material resources, world class manufacturing capabilities, competitively priced talent base, a comprehensive legal & tax system and a strong operating financial system has become a preferred investment and business destination. Real estate, a "sunshine industry" in India, is flourishing rapidly, propelled by strong demand drivers and significant transformations such as deregulation of the sector, increasing transparency and professionalism, improved product quality and service standards etc.

Availability of housing loans to Non Resident Indians (NRIs) has impelled property investment in India. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reported that inward foreign remittance has grown 3 folds in last couple of years, and majority of these funds have been used to buy immoveable property in India.

In the midst of all the available property investment options in India, it becomes an extremely difficult task for an overseas investor to perform a due-diligence to find a reliable investment opportunity. Recognizing this particular issue, Horizon Expo LLC, a value-added licensed entity in USA, has announced its 3rd edition of INDIA - Real Estate Expo '08. This exhibition would bring home buyers and real estate developers under one roof, providing the necessary platform to perform a proper due-diligence before making a life-saving worth of investment. Real Estate Developers from Major Indian Cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Punjab would be showcasing residential, commercial & retail projects at the exhibition.

This would be the third Indian property exhibition that Horizon Expo would organize in United States. Its previous exhibitions held in year 2007 have helped numerous home buyers from San Jose, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey. FIA has thrice awarded Horizon Expo LLC with Excellence in NRI Real Estate Services. Bangalore's top property developer, "MANTRI DEVELOPERS" is platinum sponsor of the exhibition, a Delhi based realty major, OMAXE is a Gold Sponsor, showcasing an upscale residential condominium project in Ludhiana, Punjab.........

At Maa Properties, we have in-depth knowledge of property markets, extensive experience, specialized skills and resources necessary to provide an entire range of reliable and responsive property management services. No matter how far away you are currently located, our online services enable you to take charge of things and efficiently handle all property-related transactions back home.

We would like to take the opportunity to welcome all the community members living world wide to our real estate portal.(NRI)

A large number of potential buyers visited the three-day Kerala Property Expo yesterday which opened on Sunday at the Kuwait Ramada Hotel in Riggai. The show organized by Kerala Builders Forum (KBF) showcases a wide range of projects of top real estate developers from Kerala state. The exhibition will end today. Kuwait Times Deputy Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Alyan toured the stalls yesterday and got a glimpse of the projects on display. He was impressed at the wide array of projects and showed interest to visit Kerala shortly.

The exhibition is very good as it reflects the solid relations between Kuwait and India. This also shows how things have changed dramatically over the years since the days of pearl diving. Today, Indian expatriates are buying flats and houses in India," commented Abd Al-Rahman Alyan, after touring the stalls.

According to organizers, investments worth several million dollars have already been concluded within two days of the expo. They hope that this year's turnover will cross last year's figures. Those who visited the exhibition yesterday included Ali Al-Otaibi, CEO and Chairman of Danat Al-Sultan, the local event organizer, Lal Pereira, Country Manager (Kuwait and Lebanon, SriLankan Airlines and Lalith Peres, Sales Manager, SriLanakn Airlines.

We see a huge response this time. Last year, about 600 people visited the two-day exhibition. This time, the number is expected to go up drastically. And most importantly, most of them are serious buyers," said Harish Babu, Managing Director, Impresario Event Management India Ltd, who is the event manager of the exhibition.

About 37 reputed builders are showcasing their projects at this year's exhibition. Kerala Builders Forum (KBF) is an innovative group of renowned builders of Kerala and is registered with the state government. It consists of professional builders with proven track records of excellence and quality.

The real estate sector in Kerala has emerged as an organized industry today," said Srikant K, Director, Skyline Foundations and structures (P) Ltd and former chairman of the KBF. The real estate market is growing by at least 50 percent a year, he said.

According to Srikant, despite the rapid development that is sweeping Kerala, real estate industry is struggling to cope with the burgeoning demand.

Demand for apartments and building complexes has multiplied in the last few years with the fast-paced economic growth and the launching of mega projects in the state," he said. Projects such as Vallarpadam Container Terminal, LNG Terminal, the IT and ITES projects in Infopark, Kakkanad and other urban development projects in and around Cochin have fuelled the demand for housing.

The primary mover in Kerala, besides NRIs, is the IT industry. Today, the real growth cities are Cochin and Trivandrum," he noted. In Trivandrum, Infosys is setting up its campus and will employ 10,000 people on a full time basis. Similarly, Wipro is establishing its campus in Cochin. Cochin airport area is going to be a mini city," he said. Srikant said he anticipates no downturn in the market in the near future. "Even the new builders are able to sell well because the demand is so huge. So, we don't e

xpect any burst in the market," he claimed.

If you have a good track record of delivery, good builder and good location, you can see a very good appreciation of your property. And the home care division which is also beneficial to the NRIs. All this put together, there is a huge boom in Kerala real estate sector," he added.

Kuwait is the third GCC state where KBF is holding exhibition after Doha and Dubai. KBF is the only professional body of builders affiliated to the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI). CREDAI is an apex organization of promoters and builders covering more than 80 percent of real estate development activities in India.

KBF has held several exhibitions in the Gulf region successfully, providing NRIs an opportunity to buy their dream homes back home. The exhibitors appeared bullish about the exhibition and the outcome. "Kuwait is a better market compared to other Gulf states. Here, people are ready to invest not only in flats, but in huge properties also. This is the time for them to realize the builder, choose the location and quality of the project," said G Satheesh, chief manager, Marketing Overseas, Heera Homes.

The advantage for the customer is that he can talk to all the builders and choose the best out of them. We have representations of banks -- State Bank of India and HDFC Home Loans -- here who can arrange loans for the customers on the spot," noted Babu.

Premanandan G, Chief Marketing Executive, Home Loan sales team, State Bank of India said, "We look into two things before we arrange housing finance; the cost of the property and the repayment capacity of the buyer. We extend loans on the basis of documents such as salary certificate and the bank statement. We seek legal opinion on the property and verify its position before we provide a builder tie-up certificate to the builder," he informed. "We are providing consultancy services here in Kuwait. NRIs ca

n apply directly from here and receive the loan in India," said Kapil Kapur, Manager Mortgages, HDFC Home Loans. He said people could take loans for buying flats, houses or land loans.

The local event coordinators are Danat Al Sultan, while Impressario is the event organizers. The last day of the exhibition is Tuesday May 13.

Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and another financial investor are likely to make a combined investment of $800 million in three special purpose vehicles (SPVs) being created by real estate major Emaar MGF. Each SPV will have one financial investor, who will hold minority stake.

Emaar MGF, 40% owned by Dubai-based leading property developer Emaar and 56% by Delhi-based MGF, was forced to withdraw its Rs 7,000-crore offering—the third largest in the history of the country—due to poor market sentiment.

Since then, the market has lost steam on global cues, leading to dramatic erosion in the market cap of real estate firms. Realty biggies such as DLF and Unitech have lost 45% and 50%, respectively, of their market cap while smaller players such as Parsvnath and Omaxe have seen whopping two third erosion in their market cap from their January peaks.

Emaar MGF too is raising funds at the SPV level because the current market situation may not have given it the expected valuation. The three SPVs, where PE money is likely to come in, are expected to take up projects across housing, retail and office space development.

Emaar’s 3 SPVs to develop projects in housing, retail and office. Each SPV to have one PE investor, who will hold minority stake. The 3 deals may be inked in a month PE deals to be first major fund flow into Emaar since it withdrew its Rs 7,000-crore IPO in February due to poor investor response. Emaar has developed a 3,000-acre integrated township in Mohali, a 531-acre township in Hyderabad and a 14-acre residential project in Chennai. It is also executing the Commonwealth Games village project. It plans to develop more than 200 hotels over 7-9 years.

Emaar has big projects on hand. The exact projects to be undertaken by these SPVs couldn’t be ascertained, but they would be part of projects already being developed by Emaar MGF. Some of the larger projects the company has undertaken include a 3,000-acre integrated township in Mohali, a 531-acre integrated township in Hyderabad and a 14-acre residential project in Chennai.

The company is also executing the prestigious Commonwealth Games village project, where it is developing a 27.7-acre residential complex with an estimated saleable area of 1.8 million sq ft. The company also plans to develop more than 200 hotels over 7-9 years. It has two equal JVs with Accor for 100 budget hotels and Premier Inn for 80 hotels. The company has also entered into separate management tie-ups with Hyatt, Intercontinental and JW Marriott to run 26 hotels.

Pune-based real estate companies, the Avinash Bhosale group and Kumar Properties, have joined hands to set up a Rs 1,400-crore township in the third phase of Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in Hinjewadi here. The project - Megapolis - comprises 5,800 flats, studio apartments and an IT special economic zone.

Pegasus Properties, a 50:50 joint venture floated by the two firms, would develop the project over the next five years. Spread over 150 acres, the township will have all 21-storied buildings.

“Of the total 150 acres, only 20 per cent of the space would be used for construction. We will develop gardens and various other amenities on the remaining land,” Kumar Properties director Manish Jain told reporters. The township will also have special towers for old-age homes.

The first phase of the project would be ready by April 2010 while the entire project is expected to be completed by 2013. The project is coming up under the new township policy enacted by the Maharashtra government.

“We want to promote the walk-to-work culture as most of the prominent IT firms like Wipro, TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra are close to this project. We have also created vehicle-free zones within the township,” said Amit Bhosale, director, Pegasus Properties.

Singapore-based RSP architects and Belt Collins International is the architect and landscape designer respectively for this project.

Townships with designer interiors and world-class architecture are passé. Developers are now turning to golf to attract non-resident Indians and high net worth individuals in the premium housing segment. Residential dwellings built around a golf course are the latest buzzword in the super-premium housing segment of the Indian realty industry, estimated at $15 billion and growing at 35 per cent annually.

No wonder big players like Unitech, DLF, Ansal API, Omaxe and Jaypee have already taken the plunge with an array of golf-centric projects. “These high end customers are ready to pay big bucks for a sprawling home amidst the greens with a promise of high class lifestyle,” said a spokesman from DLF. “And even with a hefty price range from Rs.7.5 million to Rs.90 million, these projects have been snapped up like hot cakes,” he further added.

“Golf home projects are exclusive projects. Slight slumps in the market that generally slow down the middle housing segments usually do not affect these projects, as the buyer is exclusive and very selective about the property,” Magu said.

And the trend is fast spreading from metros to emerging cities. For example, Ansal API’s Sushant Golf City Lucknow is spread over 2,000 acres on the outskirts of the Uttar Pradesh capital.

“Earlier golf was restricted to a select group, but it has grown popular over the years with many middle level executives and business class taking active interest in the game,” Banerjee said. And with top-tier Indian players like Jeev Milkha Singh and Digvijay Singh teeing off at $ 2.3 million world tournaments, the sport’s popularity is booming across the socio-economic spectrum.

That is the reason Ansal API are proposing a Royal Palms Golf and Country Club in Lucknow that will offer residents the services of golf trainers and coaches. Even Sahara is providing a golf academy to impart professional golf training in its Amby Valley project built around an 18-hole golf course at Lonavala, 96 km from Mumbai.