Perth entrepreneur and real estate owner, Raj Singh, is teaming with an Indian property development group to deliver a revolutionary form of co-living accommodation in India that aims to attract Australian investors.
His real estate company, Real IQ in Northbridge, signed a joint venture with INCOR Group of India to provide fresh, purpose-built homes for university students and IT professionals in the teeming sub-continent.
“About 13 per cent of Indians migrate to other states for education, employment or marriage opportunities. That’s more than 150 million people,” Mr Singh says. “About 50 per cent of them are aged 18 to 35, and they need a place to live. Existing rental stock, which is not organised, is grossly inadequate to meet demand.”
Co-living is the answer, he says. For a set fee, tenants get purpose-built apartments with all essentials, including furniture, laundry, cooked food and even Netflix TV.
Two people who may or may not know each other cohabit separate beds in a one-bedroom unit; four people in a two-bedroom unit and, in each case, they share lounge, kitchen and toilet. As well, there are premium studio units for one person, targeted at the business community.
“We’re not selling apartments,” Mr Singh says. “We take the whole building and operate it like a hotel. It’s a new way of tenanting apartments that is more efficient and less costly. And funkier.”
Fully furnished homes will cost 10 to 15 per cent less than what tenants now pay, with the bonus of better locations, services and quality, inclusive pricing and onsite security staff.
Mr Singh says they fill a growing need for good accommodation in bustling hubs of education and technology in the metros of Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.
The target group is millennials – 18 to 35-year-olds – comprising students and professionals, a significant number of whom hold well-paid jobs with global tech giants.
Real IQ’s joint venture partner, INCOR Group, is one of South India’s most respected corporate houses in real estate. The group services more than 3600 families and INCOR has a penchant for building well-knit and vibrant communities. Through the Omni chain of hospitals, comprising six hospitals with more than 850 beds, the group also has a major presence in healthcare. In view of the considerable unmet need for organised accommodation, INCOR has launched Boston Living, a co-living brand that seeks to create a unique living experience.
Boston Living is renovating a former 260-room block of flats in Hyderabad to provide 500 co-living beds, to demonstrate the lifestyle. A new 500-bed development in Chennai is scheduled for completion in six months, to be followed by another with 1500 to 2000 beds in 18 months. A new 1000-bed complex is planned for Bangalore. Land is already set aside. Boston Living aims to incorporate 15,000 to 20,000 beds of premium co-living by 2023.
Mr Singh plans to fund the project by pitching to Australian institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Australia’s low interest rates will lead investors to diversify into emerging overseas markets, he predicts. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s economy is geared to double in five years’ time, spurred on by regulatory changes to attract foreign investment.
Mr Singh was born and raised in India and has more than 17 years’ experience in real estate in New Zealand and Perth.
He took note of India’s booming economy and spent 18 months researching its property market and tax structures, the latter to provide solutions for investors outside of India.
Mr Singh teamed up with property developer, INCOR Group, where an old friend, Surya Pulagam, was at the helm. They planned co-living projects under the banner, Boston Living, to meet accommodation demands of an increasing number of young people in fast-growing cities.
“Our goal is to get the millennials to switch to co-living from traditional home rentals,” he said.
According to his research, India’s 3.6 million beds in the shared rental market in 2018 will grow to 5.7 million by 2023. Co-living’s 2.6 per cent of rentals will grow to 8.3 per cent in that timeframe.
Nearly 40 per cent of India’s millennial workforce are migrants. About 4.7 million migrant millennials are employed in the service sector across India’s top seven cities, a figure expected to increase to approximately 7 million by 2023. Most of them stay in unorganised rented accommodation.
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