Loading: How much is too much?

[] While the extra amenities provided by developers may lead to higher loading, we examine what constitutes an ideal loading percentage

Ramnik Sharma, an IT professional, wanted to buy an apartment in an affordable housing project, at Rajajinagar, in Bengaluru. Sharma found everything to his liking – the apartment, its location, construction, delivery timelines and the pricing , until he enquired about the super built-up area and carpet area. He was surprised to find that the loading percentage – a measure of the difference between the carpet area and the super built-up area – was as high as 42%.

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Loading ratios across cities and segments

High loading percentages are not confined to Bengaluru alone. In the absence of any regulation that defines the standard measurement of super built-up area, built-up area and carpet area, every developer defines it as per his convenience. There is no scientific methodology to determine the ideal loading percentage.

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“It was supposed to be an affordable house, with a price of Rs 5,500 per sq ft but the loading percentage made the price akin to Rs 10,000 per sq ft. I can understand that in luxury housing projects, the loading percentage is higher due to the amenities that the developer has to create. However, for an affordable housing project, this is unacceptable from the buyers’ standpoint,” complains Sharma.

How is it calculated

Considering that most of the home buyers in India’s major cities are first-time buyers, who prefer the affordable and mid-range housing segments, analysts insist that any loading beyond 25% is unacceptable. Developers, nonetheless, maintain that loading percentage is proportional to the demand in the market. JC Sharma, vice-chairman and managing director of Sobha Limited, argues that home buyers, who move in from independent houses to high-rise apartments, look for common areas, such as the lobby, clubhouse, etc., which have to be provided within the complex. The thickness of the walls itself consumes 7% to 8% of the area and somebody has to pay for it. If the open areas are below 15%, you cannot give them value for money, he feels.

“Indians need to discard certain pre-determined notions, if they aspire to live comfortably. Importantly, there should be transparency in calculating the loading. In one of our projects, we wanted to do away with balconies and instead, increase the carpet area. However, the market did not accept that,” shares Sharma.

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Ashish Puravankara, managing director of Puravankara Projects, maintains the quantum of loading – whether it is 25% or 45% – is immaterial, as these numbers are driven by customers. “The number that is being offered, is based on demand. For a luxury project, I won’t mind even loading 52%, because the buyer in that category is looking for better amenities, bigger clubhouse, etc. As long the number is factual and you are offering it with transparency, it is fair,” says Puravankara.

The ideal loading percentage

However, Ashwini Kumar, executive director and chief operating officer, Nitesh Estates, admits that if one is looking at it from the buyers’ point of view, no one would like to have loading of more than 20-25%. Developers, nevertheless, maintain that they are loading only on what they have built and that faults are generally because of the inefficiency or inexperience of the developers. One may have erred in making the design more efficient but if the developer is loading 30%, then he has actually made it like that. Even for a project that is selling at Rs 2,500 per sq ft in cities where the demand is high, buyers want amenities like clubhouse, indoor pool, outdoor pool, badminton court, basketball court, etc., which add to the loading, they elaborate. Despite these justifications, the fact remains that any loading above 25% could hurt the real estate fraternity and raises suspicions on the developers’ credibility, intent, calculation and/or efficiency.

(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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