Lets talk about Property on firing spree, to lay off another 200 employees this month

The move comes three months after Housing fired 600 employees to step up focus on its core technology and product 

BENGALURU: Real estate website will lay off another 200 employees this month to meet tightened cost targets set by its shareholders, two people aware of the developments said.

The move comes three months after Housing fired 600 employees to step up focus on its core technology and product. At that time, the company shut a few departments including commercial properties, short stays and land business. This time around, the layoffs will be across departments including product, marketing and operations, the company decided at a board meeting in Mumbai on Friday, the sources said. Housing currently has about 1,960 employees.

"The focus is to control cash burn," an investor in the company said, declining to be identified. A senior Housing executive said department heads across the company have been given targets to identify core strengths. "Unlike the last restructuring round where people were asked to leave because businesses were being shut down, this time the company is laying off without solid ground," the executive said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Two other sources independently confirmed the developments. did not respond to email queries by ET. SoftBank, the largest investor in Housing, declined to comment.

After recent upheavals in Housing's top management, the company has increased focus on revenuegeneration and building an advertisement business. The decision on the latest layoffs has come just as Housing is close to finalising a bridge round of funding to be led by Soft-Bank, which may give the Japanese investor a majority stake in the company, sources said. SoftBank currently owns 32% in Housing.

After Yadav was asked to leave the company in July, Housing's control shifted to SoftBank. At the time, the Japanese firm formed an executive committee led by Soft-Bank executive Jonathan Bullock. Housing competes with CommonFloor, 99Acres, and Magic-Bricks, owned by the publisher of this paper.

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Realty Trends

Home prices near most-affordable levels in over 30 years: HDFC

Home prices may have been on an upward spiral for many years, but the cost of owning a house in India remains near the most affordable level in over three decades, shows data compiled by mortgage giant HDFC Ltd.

The average price of a home, purchased with a housing loan, rose to over Rs. 45 lakh in the 2012-13 fiscal year -- marking the fourth consecutive year of uptrend from about Rs. 25 lakh in the year 2008-09, HDFC has said in a presentation.

However, factors like an even greater surge in the personal income levels, tax incentives and lower interest rates, have resulted into houses becoming more affordable to purchase, it said.



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India Property Investment Gyan

Major schemes for affordable housing to be modified: Girija Vyas

NEW DELHI: Major schemes meant for providing affordable housing to urban poor will soon be modified to make them more people-friendly, the government said today and invited the private sector to contribute more actively in this area. 

Speaking to reporters here, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) ministerGirija Vyas today said her ministry is modifying all the major schemes including the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), Rajiv Rinn Yojana and the, Affordable Housing in Partnership scheme and added enormous budgetary support has been earmarked during the current plan period. 

Secretary HUPA Arun Kumar Misra told reporters that a fund of Rs 35,000 crore had been allocated to the ministry for the implementation of three major schemes, including RAY, which was being run in as a pilot project earlier under 12th five- year plan. 

He said the ministry would require approval from the cabinet for the implementation of these schemes and efforts would be made that through these funds 2 million affordable houses are encouraged. 

He said that in addition to the central government funds, banks and credit institutions would be providing funds for construction of affordable houses. 

Vyas said that with urbanisation, the number of urban homeless and area under slums had grown. 

Vyas said there was a need for private developers to develop economic models to foster affordable housing for economically weaker sections and lower income group households in urban areas as government efforts in this direction needed to be supplemented. 

Vyas also said a technical group, set up by her ministry, had shown that out of 18.78 million housing shortage in the country, 96 percent shortage is in EWS and LIG category and for this huge investments and private sector participation were required. 

Misra said the group set up by the ministry has suggested incentives for the affordable housing sector included concessions to development-related charges and service taxexemptions. 

It also sought direct tax rebates for affordable housing projects and inclusion of the sector in the 'infrastructure facility' he said and added the task force had felt that governments need to still provide direct capital grant support to affordable housing projects. 

Misra said that in the symposium held today where states, experts and private sector representatives were present, there was unanimity on many of the suggestions.

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Green Property- Eco Homes

Reclaim your city space: Projects in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata aim to transform lives

Three projects in three cities aim to transform the lives of people who live close by. The one in Mumbai hopes to transform a congested area into a green precinct; the one in Delhi converted an open drain into a walkway, while Kolkata hopes to bring the crowds back...