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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Allocation of FSI across Greater Mumbai as per the New DP 2034

Published On: Thu, Feb 19th, 2015 Headlines / Real Estate News | By Staff Reporter
Allocation of FSI across Greater Mumbai as per the New DP 2034
By Accommodation Times News Services

Mumbai city’s New Development Plan 2034 is out now and has announced some very effective measures for the development of the city, which will upsurge the residential and infrastructure development. The New Development Plan released by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from 2014-2034, has proposed an phenomenal increase in Floor Space Index (FSI).

The DP 2034 adopts a variable FSI regime which allocate s FSI based on the locational logic of the spatial strategy as well as the existing consumption. Five ranges of proposed Bulk FSI and the Net Plot Area under them have been formulated. Considering the existing FSI consumed, majority land area (58.12%) is proposed under the FSI of 3.5.FSI. FSI of 5.0 and above is only provided in areas well accessed by public transport, mainly areas in proximity to railway stations and the existing and upcoming metro stations. This forms 31.87%of the city’s land. Bulk FSI of 6.5 and 8.0 has been provided in the immediate vicinity of major railway stations proximate to CBDs and other employment nodes. 4.55 % of the city is under an FSI of 6.5. Less than 0.5% of Net Plot Area is allocated an FSI of 8.0 and5 % of the city is under an FSI of 2.0 and is provided in areas not accessible by public transit.

The proposed FSI structure and resultant BUA was compared with the demand. If the city consumes 100% of the FSI provided, it shall produce a BUA of 56,808.54ha and a weighted average FSI of 4.06.However, not all plots are expected to redevelop and consume the provided FSI within the next 20 years. Demand projected is expected to be consumed upto a few years after the 20 year plan period. Parts of the city that have recently undergone redevelopment will have inertia to redevelop within the next 20 years, even if they have received a higher FSI under DP 2034. Similarly, property owners in commercial areas that have a high daily income might resist the redevelopment owing to loss of income during the building phase. Also, the FSI provided to a particular plot is not an absolute entitlement. Plots can consume the allocated FSIs only if they comply with the GDCRs related to setbacks and step-backs. As a result small plots that cannot fulfill the GDCR requirements and do not amalgamate with the neighbouring plots, will not be able to consume high FSIs. Further the actual consumption of BUA will depend upon the income and prices in the real estate market. The proposed FSI regime will allow the market to function competitively without being distorted by regulations.

4. Profiling FSI for promoting Urban Transformation

The proposed FSI bands represent the outer limit, or the maximum development right available on a plot, which can be attained in slabs through purchase of rights from the market or the government. The final profile of FSI is proposed to comprise of four layers the Base FSI, Premium FSI A(First rung of FSI that could be availed by paying premium to MCGM).,TDR (to absorb transferable development rights originating from land surrendered for public purposes), and the premium FSI B (Second rung of FSIthat could be availed by paying premium). The table below represents the four tiered structure. The graph above shows the four layers and quantum of BUA that could be consumed in each layer.

The proposed FSI bands represent the outer limit, or the maximum development right available on a plot, which can be attained in slabs through purchase of rights from the market or the government. The final profile of FSI is proposed to comprise of four layers the Base FSI, Premium FSI A(First rung of FSI that could be availed by paying premium to MCGM).,TDR (to absorb transferable development rights originating from land surrendered for public purposes), and the premium FSI B (Second rung of FSIthat could be availed by paying premium). The table below represents the four tiered structure. The graph above shows the four layers and quantum of BUA that could be consumed in each layer.

Notes: a) Premium A FSI can be used in addition to base FSI by paying premium at the rate of 70 % of Ready Reckoner Rates(RR)for Land; b) Premium B FSI will be charged at 100% of Ready Reckoner Rates(RR)for Land and can be availed only after utilization of TDR.

5. Balancing Distribution of TDR based FSI Consumption Use of TDR is related to land value of the place in which it originates and land value of the plot where it is utilized. Thus the TDR generated from a high priced area would amount to higher extent of consumption of FSI in a low priced area, and vice versa, weighted by the Ready Reckoner land value at that given time. Such a change in the movement of TDR, ensure that all areas in the City are equally incentivized for surrendering reserved land.



Expected Outcome

With the proposed regime of FSI following outcomes are expected

• FSI will be used primarily as a tool of managing physical development;

• It will not distort the market by creating scarcity of development rights but establish a framework within which market can competitively operate;

• The need to use scarcity of development rights as an instrument of policy will be obviated;

• FSI incentive will be used only for slum rehabilitation and redevelopment of cessed buildings;

• As FSI related fiscal instruments have become a significant fiscal source for MCGM, FSI that could be obtained by payment of premium has been introduced. Considering the possibility of sustained demand for floor space, this is expected to continue to substantially contribute to MCGM’s finances.

• Simplification of definition of FSI, limiting the incentive FSI to Slum Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of Cessed Buildings, is expected to reduce the transaction cost and time.

FSI and Incentives

Use of FSI as incentive is now proposed to be confined to rehabilitation of slums and redevelopment of cessed buildings.

Another big mall on death row?

Another big mall on death row?
Nauzer Bharucha

The mall business in Mumbai seems to be getting unsustainable and unviable.Magnet Mall in Bhandup, one of the biggest in the city, is believed to have been put on the block, although its promoters claim they are looking out for a The 10 lakh sq ft Magnet Mall in Bhandup is reportedly up for sale strategic partner. The 10 lakhsquare-foot mall, located on the busy LBS Marg in Bhandup, opened in 2012 but is still 23% vacant. Industry sources said this is an extremely high vacancy level for a mall.
An official of a prominent construction company , who did not wish to be identified, said he was offered the entire property “lock, stock and barrel“ for Rs 350 crore. The offer was rejected, though, because mall operations have become too expensive.BMC's property tax, said sources, was prohibitively high. “For amall of this size, the annual property tax could range from Rs 20-25 crore,“ they said. Nayan Bheda of Neptune Group, which built the Magnet mall, told TOI that there was no question of selling the mall. “We are looking out for a partner who will infuse equity , manage and operate the mall.“ Bheda said that to construct a mall of this size along with the cost of land could be as high as Rs 800 crore today . He claimed footfalls have increased and 85% of the space has been leased out.

“The promoters are not retail-centric and this is their first mall,“ said market sources. Neptune Group was formed over a decade ago and has set up residential complexes in Bhandup and Mulund.

Mall business is considered uncertain because of high gestation and high investment. This year, only one mall is expected to come up in the country (Noida). Last month, TOI had reported about the closure of Nirmal mall in Mulund, which is close to the Magnet mall. The 5-lakh-sq-ft Nirmal mall is now virtually shut and the owner may plan to utilize the land for the more lucrative residential project. “It has become unviable to run the mall because of rentals and maintenance charges,“ Nirmal Lifestyle head Dharmesh Jain had told this newspaper.

Kandivli's Raghuleela Mall is on the verge of closure. Several shops have moved out and the electricity was also cut in recent past. Bhandup's Dreams Mall is almost shut and so was Santacruz's Milan Mall some time ago.Recently , Navi Mumbai's oldest mall Centre One announced its impending closure. At Worli, Atria mall is undergoing a revamp with new anchor tenants. A couple of years ago, its owners were thinking of selling the property .In Thane, Eternity mall took a hit when a new one opened in the vicinity .

Silas Kapadia, a retail and real estate consultant, said online shopping has led to a drop in mall sales over the past four months. “Sales dropped between 10% and 20% for a range of products such as electronics, mobiles and accessories, apparels, fashion accessories, footwear, gifting and novelties,“ he said. To counter this, most malls, for the first time, extended the end of season sales by a few more weeks into February . “These sales end in January , but this year, they were pushed into February . As a result, sales have been awesome,“ added Kapadia. He said a drop in footfalls in certain malls is due to bad zoning, brand mix, design, issues of accessibility and catchment area.

What Budget 2015 should do for home buyers

What Budget 2015 should do for home buyers

The first thing the Budget 2015 can do for home buyers is to give more impetus to affordable housing. In the previous nine-month Budget, the new government outlined its vision for boosting affordable housing.
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Hit hard by the skyrocketing property prices and high interest rates, owning a roof over one's head has become a distant dream for a majority of home buyers, particularly in recent years. This despite the fact that the realty segment the world over has gone through a period of prolonged slowdown.

Although sentiment around the sector has improved in the last few months -- following the recent initiatives of the Modi government and also on account of an upturn in consumer demand - a turnaround in the housing market still seems several quarters away. The government's focus on affordable housing has raised some hopes, but there are still lots to be done to give a boost to the sector and make housing really affordable for all.

Here we take a look at some important things which the upcoming Budget should do to help the prospective home buyers realise their dream.

1. Give More Impetus to Affordable Housing
The first thing the Budget 2015 can do for home buyers is to give more impetus to affordable housing. In the previous nine-month Budget, the new government outlined its vision for boosting affordable housing. "But the upcoming budget must announce clear provisions that provide a real boost to the affordable housing segment. This means that it must give more incentives to developers for creating such housing, and to end users for bu ..

Navin M Raheja, Chairman, Naredco, and CMD, Raheja Developers, also feels that since there is huge demand for affordable housing up to 60 sqmtr carpet area and there is a commitment from the government to provide housing to all by 2022, provisions of section 80IB(10) should be revived in the existing format and project funding for the sector be treated as 'priority lending' by banks and financial institutions.

"The housing unit size could be restricted to 60 sqmtr carpet area as per the definition of affordable housing accepted by the government. This is one of the significant provisions which will incentivize private sector developers to construct smaller housing units," he says.

2. Make Home Loans Affordable

According to industry experts, easing interest rates should be another focus of the Union Budget 2015-16. "The real estate industry would be positively affected by it as cutting down interest rates means an increased liquidity flow in the economy. Consequently, real estate will reap rich dividends. Moreover, if banks cut down the loan interest rates, then investing in the realty sector would become more attractive for buyers," observes Kamal Khetan, CMD, Sunteck Realty Ltd.

Currently, banks are charging interest rates starting from 10.15 per cent, which is too high. "Paying so much interest has serious implications on the family budgets of most middle-class wage earners. It is not surprising that many of them currently shy away from home loans. The Budget should bring the interest rate on home loans down to 7.5 per cent-8.0 per cent. The new government has clearly stated that it wants to make housing for all Indians a reality by 2022. But it is impossible to achieving this goal if home loans do not become affordable to all," says Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

3. Raise Tax Incentives on Housing Loan
Currently deduction on account of interest payment on housing loans is permissible to owners of rented dwelling units to the fullest extent. In case of the owner-occupied houses, the limit is set at Rs 2 lakh, which was enhanced from Rs 1.5 lakh vide Finance Bill 2014. Also, the deduction is available after acquisition or construction is completed and it should be within three years from the end of the financial year in which capital was borrowed.

Industry experts, however, want the deduction limit to be raised further from Rs 2 lakh to at least Rs 5 lakh to help benefit the home buyers' pockets and in turn boost sales.

"It is suggested that the deduction on account of interest payment available under Section 24(b) should be made applicable from the year in which capital was borrowed as for principal u/s 80C and should be to the extent of full interest paid, at least in respect of one house. In case this is not agreed, the limit of Rs 2 lakh should be raised to Rs 5 lakh for owner-occupied houses. Also, three years period for acquisition/completion from the year of borrowing should be dispensed with. This will provide the much-needed impetus to the housing sector which is reeling under a huge housing shortage," says Naredco chairman Raheja.

4. Give Tax Incentives to Encourage Rental Housing
The Union Budget should also give more tax incentives to encourage the rental housing segment by ways of tax incentives to those looking to rent out their residential properties.

"As of now, income generated by rent is taxed as normal income, and giving suitable tax incentives would help make the option of renting out properties more attractive. This would result in more supply of rental housing, which is a vital requirement - especially in our expensive primary cities," says Puri.

5. Eliminate Multiple Taxation on Property Purchase

The Budget should also do away with the multiple taxes involved in the purchase of residential property. As of now, home purchasers are required to pay service tax and value-added tax (VAT) on top of stamp duty and registration charges. Goods and Service Tax ( GST) should be introduced in the place of these taxes. Also, the real estate industry expects the Budget to finally make the Real Estate Regulatory bill a reality this year, so that the industry has the benefit of an apex body through which all concerns can be addressed transparently and efficiently.

6. Enable Faster Project Approvals
Developers have also been campaigning for a faster project approval process, which will beef up the supply pipeline, help bring prices down and also ensure that real estate remain viable as a business. "The Budget should provide suitable relief on this front, while simultaneously ensuring that cthat construction quality norms are not compromised in the process and that faster approvals do not result in support infrastructure failure in new precincts being developed," says Puri.

Prabhat Ranjan, CMD, Olympeo Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, is also of similar view. He says that the most-awaited single window time-bound clearance of realty projects will have maximum impact on the sector and with faster approvals, project delivery time would come down substantially, which will result into property prices going down by 10-15 per cent."

7. Making Real Estate Regulatory Bill (RERA) a Reality
The Union Budget should also make the long-pending Real Estate Regulatory Bill (RERA) a reality. "The Real Estate Regulatory bill will impose a much-needed measure of accountability on real estate developers in terms of completion timelines, quality of offerings and transparency in the sale and marketing of their products. This will provide a much-needed safety net and legal redressal mechanism for property buyers," says Puri.

8. Reduce Cost of Property Registration

Another expectation from the Union Budget is a reduction in the cost of property registration.

"The recent hike in ready reckoner rates in Maharashtra, for instance, has been a sentiment setback for the real estate sector. Stamp duty and registration costs are as high as 6 per cent in most cases, and this needs to be reduced by a few base points to aid consumers. Alternatively, a slab-based approach should be introduced. Stamp duty falls under the state government's purview, but the Center can nevertheless issue a directive to reduce stamp duty costs," says Kishor Patel.

Traffic congestion to ease in Andheri as 3 new flyovers coming up

Traffic congestion to ease in Andheri as 3 new flyovers coming up

By Accommodation Times News Services
kalanagar flyoverAndheri being one of the prime location of the suburbs has heavy traffic congestion, inorder to make a smooth ride for commuters, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is to construct three new flyovers in Andheri (W) area.
The construction of the three flyovers will be from Janaki Devi School to Amarnath Tower, from the BSES hospital to Lokhandwala Lake and Fishery Institute and another near the MHADA colony. The flyovers will be built at an estimated cost of Rs. 180 crore.
The first flyover of 210 metres will connect Yari Road with Lokhandwala junction, near Amarnath building, and will be built at a cost of Rs 30 crore. The second will connect D P Road (Inlaks Nagar) to Lokhandwala lake; it will measure 350 metres and will cost Rs 50 crore. The third flyover will run 500 metres from Fisheries Institute to Link Road and will be built at a cost Rs 75 crore.
Though it is presumed that the upcoming flyovers will ease the traffic congestions in the area, but the projects face environmental issues, as the flyover construction may affect the skeletal mangrove stretches.

Rest easy, effective service tax rate will not exceed 14.28%

Rest easy, effective service tax rate will not exceed 14.28%
Rajeshwari Adappa @rajadappa

The effective service tax rate, if and when the Swachh Bharat Cess is introduced, will not exceed 14.28%. This should be good news for those who feared that the service tax rates could go up to 16% after the cess is imposed. The cess may be imposed sometime after June, it is widely felt.
Experts clarified that since the FM had clearly mentioned `cess’ (which is a percentage of tax), so the approximate 2% cess would lead to a maximum 0.28% increase in the service tax rate.
The Swacch Bharat (clean India) campaign launched by prime minister Narendra Modi had been widely appreciated by everybody across the country. However, the announcement by finance minister Arun Jaitley of a provision of 2% Swacch Bharat cess has not met with similar applause.
The cess, is being seen as an additional blow, after the 2% increase in service tax introduced in the budget for 2015-16. While the pre-budget service tax rate stands at 12%, the effective rate works out to 12.36% due to the 3% education and health cess.
In the budget, the FM increased the service tax from 12.36% to 14%. Besides, he also announced that he was enabling a provision to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess of up to 2% of the taxable services if more funds were required for the campaign.
This led to fears that the service tax would go up from 14 to 16% among the general public. However, Anil Chopra, Group CEO and Director, Bajaj Capital, says that these fears are unfounded. “As it is a `cess’, if introduced, it will lead to an effective service tax rate of 14.28%,’’ he points out.
The increase in service tax rates has not been appreciated by the general public as it would make most services expensive. “The service tax is applicable on almost everything from telephone bills to eating out to parlour services too. Everyday you end up paying service tax in at least three to four places,’’ adds Chopra.
Chartered accountant Arvind Rao feels that household budgets would definitely take a hit with the higher service tax. “The benefits of the higher slab rates announced in the interim budget last year will be nullified to some extent as many services will become expensive,’’ he says.
Meanwhile, insurance players are planning to make representations to the government asking for a level playing field. This is because the FM announced an increase in deduction of Rs 50,000 towards National Pension Scheme (NPS) under Section 80CCD.
While the government’s agenda to encourage long-term savings is widely appreciated, it is felt that the additional limit for pension plans should have included all pension products including those offered by other private players like life insurers, etc to provide a level-playing field.
“Given the distribution strength of life insurance companies, we would be able to tap a larger segment of the population and much faster too,’’ says Aalok Bhan, director and head product solutions management, Max Life Insurance. He is confident that once the representations are made to the government, then the anomaly will be corrected.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Does The Indian Contract Act need a re-look? ‎

Does The Indian Contract Act need a re-look?

Sudipto Dey |  Jan 11, 2015 10:35 PM IST
The Indian Contract Act, 1872, is a legislation governing the contractual relationship between two or more parties - individuals, companies, governments. It deals with all aspects of contracts, such as formation, performance, enforceability of contracts, indemnities and guarantees, bailment and pledge and agency, among others.

Although one of the oldest laws in India, legal experts note that The Indian Contract Act's relevance has grown manifold in the current business environment with significant increase in the number of contracts being entered into between various parties, and the resultant disputes. Over the last one year or so there has been an effort to step up corporate governance across boards through new company law provisions, and updating Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi's) listing agreement for companies.

Many legal experts feel that the time has come to take a hard look at The Indian Contract Act to bring it in sync with the changing business environment.

"Good corporate governance demands well-defined and executed contracts, where the Indian Contract Act plays a crucial role," said Ramesh Vaidyanathan, managing partner, Advaya Legal.

Most legal experts say The Indian Contract Act is a relevant and comprehensive piece of legislation. The concepts under the contract law are based on the contract law of the United Kingdom. However, the Act contains certain provisions which are different.

Different strokes
Section 73 of The Indian Contract Act provides for compensation for loss or damage caused by breach of contract, naturally arising in the usual course of things from such breach. However, remote and indirect loss or damage sustained by reason of the breach is not provided under the contract law.

The Indian Contract Act provides for liquidated damages and other penalties to the party that suffers from breach of a contract. But contract laws of many countries restrict total compensation to the amount of liquidated damages.

Any contract that restrains one from exercising lawful profession, trade or business of any kind, is termed void as per Indian contract law. Also, it does not provide for apportionment of losses in contracts which are void. That is not the case in laws of many other countries.

Under The Indian Contract Act, a contract without consideration is void subject to certain exceptions provided in Section 25 of the Act. However, the English law recognises contracts without consideration in some cases.

The contract law in the United States, too, have evolved from the English common law. However, there is no federal contract law in the United States and each state has its own contract law. Continental Europe - Germany and France - follow a different system of law known as the civil law system, said Aakanksha Joshi, associate partner, Economic Laws Practice.

"Their contract law is highly detailed and exhaustive," she added.

Many legal experts feel that there are three primary areas where Indian contract laws need to get an update.

Recognise non-compete restrictions
According to Lalit Kumar, partner, J Sagar Associates, post-termination of a contract any non-compete clause in the contract is void as they are treated as "restraint of trade" under Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Legal experts note that provisions like non-compete are ubiquitous in modern international contracts, especially if parties have similar bargaining powers. "Indian Contract Act should expressly permit such contracts," said Vaidyanathan. Further parties should be free to enter into contracts which also contain the dispute settlement mechanism, and such contracts should not be treated as "contracts in restraint of legal proceedings" under Section 28, say many legal experts.

Provisions for digital contracts
Given the growing number of transactions undertaken online, Indian contract law needs to be tweaked for concepts relating to offer and acceptance in digital contracts. Legal experts, like Lalit Kumar of J Sagar Associates, point out that although e-contracts are legal in terms of the Information Technology Act but there is some insecurity while dealing and executing e-contracts online.

"There is a need for a specific chapter to govern all electronic contracts. Presently, the general principles of Contract Act is sought to be applied to electronic contracts," says Krishnayan Sen, Partner, VERUS Advocates.

While giving more clarity to rules regarding formation of e-contracts, the Act needs to provide for questions around jurisdiction in e-contracts, rights and liabilities of parties, and cases of unilateral mistakes by one party, he adds.

According to Joshi of Economic Laws Practice clarity is needed for acceptance of the terms and conditions of websites - whether logging on to a website automatically means that the user has accepted the terms and conditions and hence is bound by them.

Regulate unfair terms of a contract
Indian contract laws do not have a law regulating unfair terms of a contract, points out Sen of VERUS Advocates. "It is necessary to evolve general principles regulating unfairness in contracts. This will have wide ramifications in a range of contracts including lending agreements, builder-developer agreements, debt instruments, landlord-tenancy agreements, government contracts, arbitration agreements, among others," he says.

Legal experts say most developed jurisdictions have evolved ways to deal with unfairness in contracts, and recognise the possibility of 'procedural' and 'substantive' unfairness. "Courts should also be vested with the power to raise an issue of unfairness even if the parties have not raised such a plea," says Sen.

Many in legal fraternity point out that even the Law Commission has recommended that a separate legislation should be enacted to grant protection to parties from such unfair terms.

Most legal experts agree that The Indian Contract Act is well-drafted legislation, but certain amendments would help it to keep it up to date with latest global business practices. This can only give more confidence to foreign parties wishing to do business in India. 

New residential launches dip 28% in 2014 despite upward market

New residential launches dip 28% in 2014 despite upward market

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 - 5:13pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PT

Property consultant Knight Frank in its recent report 'India Real Estate Outlook' said due to a slowing demand environment, residential sales across top six cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai, dropped during 2014.
Representational image File Photo dna Research & Archives
The country's residential property market in 2014 witnessed a 28% decline in launches and 17% dip in sales volume, as compared to 2013, according to a report.

Property consultant Knight Frank in its recent report 'India Real Estate Outlook' said due to a slowing demand environment, residential sales across top six cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai, dropped during 2014.

The office space segment, however, performed well during the year on the back of recovery in the domestic market which fuelled higher demand for commercial space.

"Due to a correction in stake-holder sentiment on the back of a slowing demand environment, residential sales dropped during 2014. Office markets across the top six cities, however, displayed a turnaround during the year, mainly backed by the IT/ITeS and BFSI sectors," Knight Frank Chief Economist and Director Research Samantak Das told reporters here today.

While sales volumes in the residential segment fell by 17%, launches dropped by 28% compared to 2013. On the commercial space, absorption rose by 14%, while completions declined by six per cent compared to 2013.

A total of 234,930 units were sold during 2014 compared to 284,550 units in 2013. Similarly, 268,950 units were launched in 2014, against 372,160 units in 2013.

Mumbai witnessed the sharpest decrease in new launches, at 43% during 2014, followed by Hyderabad, with a 30% drop.

NCR witnessed the sharpest decrease in sales volume, at 43%, during 2014, followed by Hyderabad, with an 18% drop. Mumbai, however, continued to retain the top slot among the top six cities for achieving the highest sales volume in 2014. This was followed by Bengaluru. 

Mumbai Market

"Sales in Mumbai residential market showed a 9% decline in 2014 against substantial de-growth of 43% in launches. On the back of better consumer sentiment, sales improved moderately in the second half of 2014.

"But taking cognisance of the lower?than-anticipated pick up in sales, they curtailed launches. These factors led to an improvement in demand-supply equilibrium, thereby marginally lowering the unsold inventory levels," Das said.

He further said renewed economic sentiment has started to reflect on the MMR office absorption numbers.

"The metropolitan region is on a 3-year high in terms of office space transactions, and going forward, we believe that the improving economic momentum and easing monetary stand will revitalise business prospects of driver industries," he said.

The consultant has predicted an overall improvement in the residential sales and office space absorption in the first half (January-June) of 2015.

"Going forward, the sales volume is expected to witness a moderate growth of four per cent in H1 2015 compared to January-June 2014. However, new launches will continue to fall by four per cent during the same period.

On the office space front, the vacancy levels is expected to fall even further, to 16.9% during the period," Das said.