Monday, 16 July 2018


Your life insurance policy can make you eligible for a home loan, and also protect your loan liability. Here's how the right kind of insurance policy can work for your family and in your favour.

Picture this - you have taken a life insurance policy to ensure your family gets a substantial amount to sustain itself when you are gone. You have also taken a home loan to make a house for your family, but have not repaid the full amount before you bid goodbye to the world. In both these scenarios, your family will have your money, but no home. Here's why: When you took a life insurance policy, the first thing on your mind was your family and a secure life for them. And, when you took a home loan, you first factored in the repayment plan.

What you overlooked was the fact that in the unfortunate eventuality of your loss, your home loan would still be unpaid and your family could lose the roof over their head to the lending bank or financial company.

To avoid such a catastrophe, it is prudent to take an insurance cover for your home loan liability. Here's what an insurance expert advises.

"There are different loan insurance plans that include reducing balance cover, full loan amount cover, critical disease cover, permanent disability, etc. The premium amount differs with each policy offering," explains insurance advisor Nagesh Sharma, founder, Vertex Group. "You must go through the details of various products and benefits of insurance companies, and compare the premium and risk coverage and then choose the one that suits you the best," he cautions.


Various life insurance policy types come with their own benefits. The term life insurance cover is the preferred one in this category.


A term life insurance policy is a basic yet cheaper type of life insurance instrument that gives immense financial protection, especially if you are a home loan borrower. This is the preferred option because it is easier on the pocket and you can choose the life cover depending on your family's needs and the different stages of your life.


Opting for a term insurance plan that includes a critical illness health insurance policy, can work in your favour. In this insurance plan - if you are insured - in the eventuality of your suffering from a prolonged illness like cancer, you get a lump sum amount equal to the sum insured. You can then use this money towards your E M I repayment so it does not affect your home loan liability.


The home loan protection plan is an insurance policy issued by an insurance company and not by a bank or finance company. Unlike the term life insurance plan, a home protection plan is not available as a customised option. While a home loan protection plan can be taken separately from an insurance company - both, life and general insurance companies offer this - it is usually packaged by the bank along with a home loan. In fact, you are not eligible for a home loan protection plan without taking a home loan.

In the event of your demise during the home loan tenure, your insurance company will settle your loan with the lending bank under this protection policy.

Life Insurance policies above certain duration - usually after three years of commencement - can qualify for being given as collateral for seeking a loan. Most insurance companies have a predefined process whereby they can offer this facility. The lending institution would get the life insurance policy assigned to itself, which means the benefits of the policy would accrue to the lending institution till the time the borrower has not cleared the debt.

Depending from insurer to insurer, an interest is charged for the loan given. Repayment can be provided, and prepayment and foreclosure options are also provided. As a caution, one has to remember to repay the loan on time, else the benefits accrued on the policy would go to the lending institution, and in case of any exigency, the family would receive benefits only post clearance of the loan and accumulated interest and penalties.

Subhasis Ghosh,
EVP, Kotak Life Insurance


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

NRIs moving into the luxury housing market

Every one in four luxury houses sold in India last fiscal was bought by an NRI or non-resident Indian. A falling rupee, reduction in prices post demonetisation and policy reforms have increased India’s attractiveness for NRIs, who want to now head back home after earning big bucks abroad.

Properties in the ₹5 core to 10 crore bracket are the most favoured, with the maximum demand from NRIs in the UAE, followed by Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the US, Singapore, Qatar, and Kuwait, Ankit Kansal, Co-founder and MD, 360 Realtors told BusinessLine.

Heavy investments

“On a pan-India basis, nearly one-fourth of the luxury market was dominated by NRI investors in FY 2018. We have markets like the UAE with a large NRI population which wants to come back to India as there are no post-retirement benefits there. Combined with the high disposable income overseas, NRIs are investing heavily in luxury projects,” he said.

Until 2013, NRIs’ bought under 20 per cent of the luxury properties sold in India. But in FY 18, the number has moved up. In the ₹ 5 crore to 10 crore backet, 29 per cent of the houses in Mumbai were bought by NRIs in 2018 while the number for NCR was 27 per cent, Bengaluru 24 per cent and Hyderabad at 18 per cent. These four cities are the most favourite among NRIs for property investment, according to 360 Realtors.

“The paradigm change due to reforms like Rera and GST after demonetisation has resulted in a radical shift, bringing in the much-needed transparency, accountability, and compliance system into the sector. This has enhanced confidence among domestic as well as global investor,” Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder and MD of the Hiranandani Group said.

Increasing demand

A big advantage is that NRIs can benefit from reverse mortgage. “The amount taken from the bank as a consequence of this type of mortgage is not factored in the taxable income of NRIs. So they can enjoy the benefits of property in India while taking money from banks for its reverse mortgage,” said Ashish Shah, Chief Operating Officer, Radius Developers.

Hiranandani says a large chunk of NRI investment in Indian real estate comes into the luxury segment as the returns on investment in terms of rental income as also capital appreciation is very high. This is because the supply of high-end properties is limited while their demand is increasing.

The rupee hasn’t been very strong and this has been advantageous for people earning abroad, he added. A weaker rupee helps NRIs as they get more rupees in return for a dollar, bringing down their monetary outgo, Kansal said.

For both Radius and the Hiranandani group, who have been leading the launch of luxury projects, NRIs contribute about 15 to 20 per cent of sales. “The sales are concentrated around the initial launch of the project as NRI investors prefer to get in early and take advantage of the appreciation,” Cooper added.

Read More:
Source: BusinessLine

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Home Away from Home!

Second homes have got an impetus in the recent past,due to reformatory changes in the realty sector, thereby making them a lucrative bet for buyers.

Until a few years ago, buying a second or holiday home was a fad among people with disposable income. Thus, developers saw this as an opportunity to construct houses in far-off places and earn more profit. However, a lot of these projects failed to deliver on their promises. Delays in obtaining requisite permissions, poor accessibility / infrastructure, a lack of basic amenities and facilities and sub-standard quality of construction were some of the issues that plagued most of these projects. This left second home-buyers feeling cheated and their woes were compounded because resale on these properties became increasingly difficult. But this was the scenario back then. At present, the situation is different. It is a good and safe decision if you plan to invest in second homes today.

The introduction of pathbreaking reforms and measures such as demonetisation, RERA, implementation of GST, etc has improved the functioning of the realty industry. In the years to come, we believe there will be more institutional participation in real estate.

As per recent data, the holiday homes segment is growing at a healthy rate of 10-12 per cent p.a. There is a good demand in locations within two-four hours’ driving distance from major cities or towns. Some of the more prominent smaller towns where we have seen a marked increase in development of second homes are Dehradun and Shimla in the north, Ooty and Coorg in the south and Lonavala and Karjat in the west.

It has been observed that vacationers prefer holiday homes over hotels — cost, convenience and privacy being the major reasons. Developers too, are catching on this trend to attract more buyers. They offer to manage individual units in their projects and also lease them out in a professional manner. Thus, investors end up receiving healthy returns between eight and 10 per cent p.a.
Quality homes and wellplanned projects are available at reasonable prices. And with RERA, buyers have access to all the key information about projects, legislative protection and delivery date. Most importantly, investment in second homes also results in fair returns, which is actually sustainable, as it is on the back of an actual demand.

Read More:
Source: Times Of India

A fabulous investment in Goa that can double up as your second home as well. Check You Expat Vida Phase 2.

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Making of Panaji

Still one of the better cities in India, also chosen to be developed as a smart city, Panaji’s history isn’t just to do with fine Indo-Portuguese architecture, but is also about being a strategic location, that also saw law and administration being optimised along with trade and rapid urbanisation.
NT NETWORK traces the history and roots of how Panaji attained the glory of being Goa’s capital

Danuska Da Gama | NT NETWORK

Panaji is ever changing. It has been evolving ever since it was first invaded by Kadambas, Bahmanis and then during the Portuguese regime, and continues to witness changes- physically, politically, even culturally. About the history of its name, an inscription of the Kadamba King Vijayaditya I, dated February 7, 1107 refers to Panajim as Pahajani Khali. The other version is that Panji or Ponji means the ‘land that never gets flooded’, while the third version is that it is a variation of Pancha Yma Afsumgary or the five castles where the Muslim King Ismail Adil Shah and his wives used to live. “Panji was a fisherman’s cove also dotted with a few temples like Ravalnath. During the Adilshahi era around 1498 King Yusuf Adilshah built a palace fortress on the Mandovi banks around circa 1500,” says historian Prajal Sakhardande

The name was later changed to Panjim by the Portuguese and when Old Goa collapsed in the 19th century, and it was given the status of a city in March 1843 and was renamed ‘Nova Goa’.

The Early Years:Trade In Panaji

We have not heard much about the city in the period prior to 1500, but sources tell us of a time when a Greek ship with Buddhist monks on board is said to have touched Panaji and sank. A Roman mooring stone at St Ines tells us of Roman trade voyages too. Historian, former director of Education, Government of Goa and author of seven books including two on Panaji – Anatomy of a Colonial Capital: Panjim (2016) and Colonial Panjim: Its Governance, Its People (2017) – Celsa Pinto says: “These instances perhaps indicate that for more than a thousand years Panaji served as a trading centre and that its history should not just be traced to the coming of the Muslims of Bijapur or of the Portuguese.”

In the eleventh century Panaji was a part of the Kadamba Empire. “Drawn to the serene waters of the River Mandovi, Adil Shah chose to erect a summer palace at Panji, despite the fact that the latter was then a humble settlement, a fishing locality and a ward of Taleigão. In 1500 the island-palace became a place for the Adil Shah and his retinue to relax and beat the summer heat. The cool and calm waters of the Mandovi made life pleasant,” says Pinto.

After the conquest by the Portuguese in 1510, Panaji was selected as an important military station, where all the ships that arrived at Goa were thoroughly inspected and had to compulsorily obtain licences. As the River Mandovi was narrow, they could not escape this.

Panaji came to be the place of embarkation for troops or for fitting out expeditions to other parts of the East. “The city and its environs also served as a seasonal and temporary residence for the viceroys/governors on their arrival and departure to Portugal. It was customary for the viceroy arriving from Portugal prior to his solemn entry and taking charge at the capital Cidade de Goa (Old Goa) to wait at the palace in Panaji, for never would two viceroys remain at the same time in the City of Goa,” narrates Pinto.

During the first forty years of Christianisation, the Portuguese set up three main religious structures in the area of Taleigão. From a hermitage set up on Conceição Hill (1541), arose the present church Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição in 1600. In Taleigão its Church was constructed in 1544. At St Ines a hermitage was built in 1584 which was raised to the status of a church in 1605. It was at this stage that Panaji and St Ines were detached and formed separate parishes.

The fort of Gaspar Dias was constructed in 1598. Marques de Pombal had ordered for its demoli. Instead, years later, it was expanded and utilised as a military barracks and still later in 1835 was the location for one of the bloodiest episodes in the history of Goa.

Pinto points out that in the seventeenth century Panaji was still dominated by fishermen and poor citizens. In 1635 it has been recorded that Panaji had 50 houses (ground and first floor) some quite large and fine, belonging to the Portuguese and others who made it their base or abode with orchards and coconut groves as a source of income. “Thus manorial estate houses built by the fidalgos dotted Panjim’s horizon. Well-known travellers of the seventeenth century Pietro Della Valle and Pyrard testify to this,” she says.

The shift: Old Goa to Panaji

Speaking about how Panaji was chosen as the capital city by the Portuguese Pinto tells us: “Years were spent in the seventeenth century deliberating upon the transfer of the capital Cidade de Goa to the safe and healthy port of Mormugão. But a deliberate effort was made in this regard in the 1680s by Viceroy Conde de Alvor citing reasons for the urgent need to shift because the existing capital was not well-fortified for hostile attack. It had narrowly escaped falling into the hands of Sambhaji in 1683 and that that the city was struck by pestilence and was unhealthy for its inhabitants.”

While the next choice was Mormugao that besides being a natural harbor, it was far off from mainland attack, the work on the project was in progress for years together. The only viceroy to shift there, albeit for a few four months was Caetano de Mello e Castro in 1708. By an order issued in 1712, the project of the transfer was given up.

Again the thought of shifting the capital came up in 1739 when Marathas attacked Goa. Ultimately it shifted to Panaji in 1759.

Pinto says, “It is clear to us that the Portuguese authorities were by 1759 certain that Panaji alone could provide them the basis of their future seat of administration and new capital. Panjim occupied a strategic location with a river front and a beach which had scope for land expansion and use. There was scope for a road network that would help connectivity. Besides, the surrounding villages were capable of taking the urban spread.”

Panaji acted as a shield for a port which provided both a safe anchorage and a physical barrier to any aggressor from the Indian mainland. “Also since in 1632-34 Portuguese built the causeway linking Old Goa with Panaji, it was a preferred choice to shift base,” explains Sakhardande.

Panaji was the unofficial capital for about 84 years (1759 – 1843). While the earliest urban plan for the city was drawn up in 1776, transformation in its true sense can only be traced to the viceroyalty of Dom Manoel de Portugal e Castro (1825 – 1835) to whom we owe the St Ines Creek and five bridges including Ponte Minerva and Ponte de Portugal, the lovely place of recreation that is today’s Campal, Fountain of Boca de Vacca, the Customs House, the Public Jail (now the Military Hospital) and above all, the massive Quartel Militar.

From around 1780 settlements grew at the fort of the Conceição Hill. “It needs to be noted that around 200 houses could be seen in Panaji by the first quarter of the nineteenth century, residences of the well-to-do, the public servants and the poor,” says Pinto.

It is a landmark structure right in the centre of the city- the largest building housing the Police Headquarters, the Collector’s Office, the Old Central Library, Institute Menezes Bragança and other governmental offices.

Sakhardande points out that there was a steady rise and growth in Panaji, 1760 onwards when palaces such as the Maquineze, Fazenda and then Escola Medica came up, followed by the beautification of Panaji at Campal, rise of Fontainhas and the Mahalaxmi temple which was built in 1819.

Rise of the capital: Early urban infrastructure

From 1759, Palacio de Pangim was the heart of the city and became the symbol of Portuguese authority. It was from this citadel that the Portuguese ruled over Goa for over 200 years. It was an integral part of the story and growth of Panaji as a capital city. Together with the area around, it formed Zona Central (Central Zone).

Pinto highlights that originally this area was characterised by just two structures, the Palace and the Conceição Church, but the scenario was different with the transference of the seat of Government to Panaji. One was able to witness the gradual emergence of a row of public and private buildings along the main road. In the second and third decades of the nineteenth century, we see the shift of governmental offices like the Customs House (1811), the Accounts House and the High Court (1818). For these purposes, edifices were either acquired or taken on lease. For instance, the High Court or Relação de Goa was installed in the house of João Baptista Goethals. Likewise the Junta da Fazenda building was purchased from Vitorino da Cunha Gusmão.

These makeshift arrangements continued even after the 1820s. A little away from the Contadoria Geral or the Fazenda, one found the jail. Still further one found the Estanco de Tabaco (today’s Head Post Office) and the Mint House (Casa da Moeda) which was shifted from Panelim in 1832 to the house of João Baptista Goethals.

Pinto says that the houses and properties of the two leading and rival merchants of Goa of the early nineteenth century, Mhamai Camotins and João Baptista Goethals, located in strategic points near the Palace, were initially a preferred choice for governmental offices.

In 1842 the Hospital Militar was shifted from Panelim to Panaji and installed in the houses of Diogo da Costa de Ataide e Tieve (Conde de Maquinez). The residence of the Archbishop was transferred to St Ines in the palace belonging to Canon Francisco da Cunha Souto Maior. During 1844 – 49 the Archbishop Dom José da Silva Torres resided in a house of J B Goethals.

“Cidade de Nova Goa was formally declared as the second capital of Portuguese India, comprising of three zones – Pangim (Panjim), Ribandar and Velha Goa (Old Goa), in March 1843. The Portuguese did not want to let go of Cidade de Goa which once upon a time brought them international fame and glory,” explains Celsa who goes on to say that the story of the making of the capital is one of land acquisition, landfill and land use. “On March 22, 1843 Portugal’s reigning Queen Dona Maria II officially declared Panaji as the Capital of Portuguese Goa with the nomenclature Panaji,” states Sakhardande.

The core works began between 1875 and 1885 with the Corte de Oiteiro, the landfill and embankment along the River Mandovi and the Fontainhas and St Ines Creeks, the construction of municipal structures like the market, slaughter house and St Ines cemetery. The filling of pools, swamps and marshes in Central Zone, with mud from the cutting of Conceição Hill and the levelling of palm groves, gave rise to a network of roads, named in 1903, that we still see in the city with minor changes. This gave rise to land use, to set up of public and residential structures. Land sale for housing first began in Fontainhas in the 1880s while urban infrastructure like drainage system, water supply, electricity, street lighting, arborisation, etc, were all part of the physical growth and development of the capital city.

While Pinto states that stop gap arrangements might have continued for a large part of the nineteenth century, the steps towards new constructions can be attributed to the tenure of Viceroy Dom Manoel de Portugal e Castro.

The capital was built in just 130 years from the times of Dom Manoel de Porgual e Castro to 1961. “The locality until the early nineteenth century was viewed by many a chronicler and foreign traveller as a humble and unhealthy ward of Taleigão. From a fishing village and an occasional docking area prior to 1759, from a land full of palm groves – Palmar Ponte, Palmar Japão, Palmar Miguel José, Palmar Arecal, Palmar Maquinez, Palmar Gaspar Dias and marshlands, during the nineteenth century, there emerged the capital city Nova Goa – quite phenomenal and transformational,” says Pinto.

Read More:
Source: The Navhind Times
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Friday, 20 April 2018

The Curious Case of Interest Rates

In the midst of fluctuating interest rates and the possible hike in them, here is a guide on how to stay on top.

 Are you prepared for a possible rise in home loan interest rate?

Interest rate fluctuation keeps home-buyers on their toes. While prospective buyers look for chances of a rate cut to lock the deal, existing buyers focus on the EMIs and chances of an increase in the interest rate. At present, the home loan interest rate is around 8.3 per cent, but the situation may change anytime, and the rate may start going up if the economic indicators become unfavourable. The US Federal Reserve has already indicated that they will increase the interest rate in 2018, which could lead to a hike in interest rate in the Indian economy. Earlier, SBI was charging an interest rate at 8.3 per cent to 8.7 per cent p.a., but recently it has revised the rate to 8.35 per cent to 8.8 per cent p.a, an increase in rate by upto .10 per cent. This is just an indication and soon other banks may follow the course.

“We believe that we are inching towards an interest rate hike. Interest rates have been static for a while now. However, an increase in global rates and domestic consumer price inflation might force the RBI to reconsider its neutral stance and hike interest rates in the near future. We, however, believe that the hike will be marginal, around 25-50 bps,” says Sunil Agarwal, associate dean and director, School of Real Estate, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University.

If currently a home-buyer is paying an EMI of Rs 42,760 for a loan of Rs 50 lakh with 8.3 per cent interest and tenure of 20 years, then an increase in interest by .1 per cent i.e. at 8.4 per cent rate, he would be required to pay an EMI of Rs 43,075 i.e. an increase of Rs 315 per month and a total increase of Rs 75,574 in the entire repayment period.

Read More:
Source: Times of India

Monday, 19 March 2018

Zaha Hadid Architects to design Navi Mumbai international airport.

The firm, which bagged the contract from Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL) after a 12-week design competition, will design the new airport's Terminal 1 and air traffic control (ATC) tower.

British architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has secured the mandate to design the much-delayed Navi Mumbai international airport, being developed by the GVK group-led NMIAL. The firm, which bagged the contract from Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL) after a 12-week design competition, will design the new airport’s Terminal 1 and air traffic control (ATC) tower, according to a statement on Wednesday.

This will be Zaha Hadid’s first major project in the Indian sub-continent. The work on the Rs 16,700-crore Navi Mumbai international airport kick-started last month with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone for the first phase of the project on February 18, after more than two decades of its being conceived.

Planned in 1997 as a secondary airport to meet the growing needs of Mumbai, the project was inordinately delayed due to a myriad of factors, including political indecision, issues of environmental clearances and the funding. “We are committed towards bringing the best global practices from the industry to design, engineer and build this most awaited (Navi Mumbai) airport project in India.

“Therefore, we decided to go with ZHA, a firm known for its path-breaking and remarkable architecture. It also has the expertise of delivering a world-class airport design through a highly professional team,” said GVK Reddy, founder and chairman, GVK and chairman NMIAL. The first phase of the Navi Mumbai airport is likely to be completed by the end of 2019, with one runway and the terminal building ready, and will handle up to 10 million passengers per annum.

The second phase, to be completed by 2022, will take the handling capacity to 25 million passengers. The third phase will be completed by 2027, and at the completion of the fourth phase by 2031, the handling capacity will increase to 60 million passengers. Established in 1979, ZHA has a portfolio of over 950 projects spread across 44 countries.

It has designed Beijing’s under-construction Daxing airport terminal, spread over 700,000 square meter, besides designing Olympic Aquatics Centre in London, the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar for the 2022 Football World Cup, the Guangzhou Opera House in China and the MAXXI Contemporary Arts Centre in Rome, among others.

The City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), which is developing the new airport along with GVK Group, expects the first flight to take off in 2019. The GVK group, which will invest nearly Rs 4,000 crore in the first phase, will hold 74 per cent stake in the project, with the rest being held by the Cidco and the Airports Authority of India.

Now this is News!

The eye-catching architectural style of the late Zaha Hadid continues to make waves across the world.

Read More:
Source: Indian Express