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Rental Apartment Hunters more concerned with high-speed Internet and Wi-fi than they are with in-home Laundry Facilities: Survey

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FILE - A man types on a computer keyboard in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw February 28, 2013. VOA

SILICON VALLEY, April 24, 2017: In a sign of just how important internet access is, a new survey suggests rental apartment hunters are more concerned with high-speed internet and wi-fi than they are with in-home laundry facilities.

The survey commissioned by cable television and internet provider Comcast, found 34 percent of the 205 building managers, building owners and real estate developers of multifamily properties surveyed in the United States ranked wi-fi as the most important amenity. After that, 25 percent said high-speed internet was, while a mere 13 percent said in-room laundry facilities.

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Furthermore, the survey found that 87 percent of those asked said technology “plays either an extremely or very important role” in renter satisfaction.

Thirty percent of those surveyed said high-quality internet service increased property values by 20 percent.

Another 89 percent said technology was an “important factor” in a renter’s choice to sign or renew a lease.

The importance of technology varied by age, with 88 percent saying younger tenants aged 18 to 34 found technological amenities more important than among those 52 and up.

The survey was conducted by researcher firm Precision Sample and was given online between December 7-10, 2016.

Comcast said it provides services to 189,000 properties and 14.7 million units in the United States. (VOA)

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Demonetisation has Beneficiary Long Term Impact on Real Estate with Initiatives of RERA and GST

The transparency brought in by demonetisation, aided by RERA, GST reforms and liberalisation of FDI norms, has boosted the performance by fair Real Estate companies.

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Long Term impact on Real estate
Long Term impact on Real estate has been depicted by Demonetisation.Wikimedia.

New Delhi, October 4: Though the government’s radical measure of demonetisation has disrupted the economy and has hit the real estate sector — already reeling under prolonged slowdown — it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise in the medium-to-long term.

As an asset class, real estate has been a big source of generating and consuming black money. The cash component in real estate has been there at various levels, beginning with land transactions where it amounts to 30-50 per cent. The cash payout is quite high in luxury housing too. The consumption of cash has been as high as 30 per cent in secondary market transactions.

The primary market transactions, however, are by far bereft of cash component as home purchases are financed through loans from banks and housing finance corporations. It is another matter that even in primary market deals, developers have been encouraging cash payouts by luring property buyers with good discounts on property price.

The speculative buying by investors through offerings like underwriting and pre-launches has also been involving cash payout, leading to artificial price hike and in turn making homes out of the reach of masses.

Demonetisation, coupled with the government’s move to check benami transactions through legislation and curbs on cash transactions, was meant to clean up the system.

This sudden ‘shake up’ was, however, not without its adverse impacts. Demonetisation badly affected the liquidity in the capital-intensive real estate sector, deepening the problem of massive fund shortage/cash crunch faced by developers reeling under delayed deliveries, which deterred buyers from purchasing property.

long term impact on Real Estate
There are long term impact on Real Estate due to Demonetisation. Pixabay.

The impact was more evident in markets like NCR and Mumbai which were largely investor-driven, compared to southern markets of Bengaluru and Chennai and even Pune in the west, which have been end-user driven. The premium/luxury residential segment, in which the cash component was more in transactions, got impacted by demonetisation.

Real estate experts’ belief that the impact of demonetisation is only short-term and will not have long-term impact, stems from the fact that developers who have been following transparent and fair practices have not been affected by demonetisation and instead it worked out to their advantage.

This also turned out to be a positive development for big global real estate consultants like JLL India which doubled its profits in 2016 over 2014-15, with 60 per cent revenue growth.

One key positive impact of demonetisation and RERA (Real Estate Regulation Act) has been that speculative investors deserted real estate and end-users/genuine buyers, who were all these years pushed to the sidelines, came out in large numbers. Now, it is the property consumers who are driving the real estate market, especially residential market, aided by the government’s pro-industry and pro-consumer initiatives.

The step to promote affordable housing and according real estate industry status for the purpose of making easy and cheap funds available to the sector also helps.

Demonetisation has particularly boosted foreign funding. The transparency brought in by demonetisation, aided by RERA, GST reforms and liberalisation of FDI norms, has boosted the confidence of foreign investors, which is clearly evident from the spurt in foreign investments, particularly from pension funds.

This will inject much needed liquidity in the sector starved of funds. Targeting consumers, the government under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), is providing substantial interest subsidy to home buyers. The clampdown on floating cash in the system has contributed significantly to curbing inflation which, in turn, helped RBI in cutting interest rates, thereby boosting home buying.

The proposed measures to liberalise FSI norms and rationalise stamp duty, will give further fillip to the residential sector, particularly affordable housing.

Demonetisation had a salutary impact on property prices by curbing cash transactions and checking speculative pricing, in turn increasing affordability, which is a key to achieve the government’s flagship mission of ‘Housing for All’. RERA & GST are further aiding demonetisation to control prices.

long term impact on Real Estate
Demonetisation aided with RERA and GST will put long term impact on Real Estate. Pixabay.

The key provisions in RERA, to speed up project completion, by checking diversion of funds through mandatory escrow account, stringent penalties to check project delays, together with the government’s move to make all building sanctions online, will go a long way in checking time and cost overruns of real estate projects, thereby controlling home prices.

The ban on pre-launching of projects under RERA will also check artificial spurt in pricing. GST has come to tackle the flow of cash in the purchase of building materials by introducing input credit tax. Further, the government’s plans to liberalise FSI norms, especially for affordable homes, and rationalising stamp duty will have a sobering effect on property prices.

But for some little lingering effect, economists and real estate experts believe that the overall downside impact of demonetisation has faded and its impact is not going to be there in the next quarter.

Says Ashwinder Singh, formerly CEO of JLL India & now CEO of leading real estate consultancy, Anarock Consultants: “Other than in terms of the initial confusion-induced decline in sentiment, the trend that is emerging now, points towards a recovery in buying sentiment with serious buyers already returning to primary markets.”

The entire demonetisation exercise undertaken by the government and aided by other reforms, like Benami Property Act, RERA and GST, is to be looked at in the backdrop of the government’s multi-pronged policy to create institutional and regulatory framework for speedy and steady growth of the economy. And at the centre of all these initiatives is real estate, which is a key contributor to GDP. Going forward, these policy initiatives will help make real estate more organised, transparent, credible and affordable, making the sector investor and consumer friendly. (IANS)

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Indians Always on Social Media While on Vacations, Reveals New Survey

Social media is emerging as strong driving force in creating vacation happiness with Indians being number one in always taking selfies

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The new survey reveals Indians top the list of tourists glued to their phones while on vacation.(Representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 15, 2017 : Indians top ahead of Thailand and Mexico when it comes to using social media while holidaying, says a survey conducted by Expedia.

Indians love to be connected all the time, however, it also means that they do not disconnect from work much.

Indians are globally most anxious on not being able to access WiFi or internet to check work e-mail (59 per cent). In fact they lead in showing a preference for an airline that offers in-flight WiFi (33 per cent). Hence, 14 per cent Indians are always working on a vacation, #1 globally, followed by the US (seven per cent) and Brazil (six per cent).

ALSO READ India tops the list of fatalities caused by selfies

Social media is emerging as strong driving force in creating vacation happiness with Indians being number one in always taking selfies (22 per cent), posting photos on social media (22 per cent), “checking in” on social media (21 per cent) and connecting with others through social media (19 per cent), said the Expedia survey.

The survey included 15,363 respondents, across 17 countries (US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, India and Thailand)

The survey also highlighted that even though Indians are social media obsessed beach-goers who spend the majority of their time uploading pictures and video, 24 per cent of their compatriots find it very annoying, said the statement. (IANS)

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How Facebook is Helping Its Users Fight Identity Theft

Facebook has launched a new security feature for its Indian users, the Profile Picture Guard helps ensure safety from identity theft

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Facebook
Facebook. Pixabay
  • Facebook intends to build a safer global community
  • Profile pictures are now safeguarded by Facebook
  • These measures are taken to reduce the rising number of identity theft cases

New Delhi, August 02, 2017: Facebook is building a global community by launching features that provide aid to the users across the world, creating products that are targetted for specific regions. In one particular news segment at Facebook’s newsroom, they updated that Facebook profile pictures will now be protected with security guards, they have updated this feature for Indian users specifically, due to the rising demand to protect Identity.

India has a remarkably high number of identity theft cases, and this update by Facebook is indeed a commendable job. As it reads in their news headline “Giving people more control over their Facebook profile pictures.” Facebook promotes tools that provide its users to access the social media with an overall secure experience, Facebook’s promotional tools, and targeting a larger audience with their various other tactics serves well to their business.

“Profile pictures are an important part of building community on Facebook because they help people find friends and create meaningful connections. But not everyone feels safe adding a profile picture. In our research with people and safety organizations in India, we’ve heard that some women choose not to share profile pictures that include their faces anywhere on the internet because they’re concerned about what may happen to their photos”, says Aarti Soman, Product Manager at Facebook India.

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“These tools, developed in partnership with Indian safety organizations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz, are designed to give people more control over their experience and help keep them safe online”, she adds.

Even though Facebook provides safety features like – guards and watermarks for profile pictures, it doesn’t entirely protect us from the identity theft, it’s quite uncertain as to how they plan to protect other pictures uploaded on the social media?

Facebook launches safety features for protecting profile pictures Click To Tweet

Identity theft is a common practice in India and it is very easy to steal identity from any social media, by stealing a person’s basic identity like – Name, Pictures, Address or Date of Birth and use it for unfair practices. People can use this information and pose as the person they have stolen from and commit fraud or offenses.

But, is the practice only limited to India? It very understood that India has the highest concerns for identity theft and lack of safety but places like Australia and UK have observed a trend of identity theft as well, while they have stricter laws and a strong jurisdiction is followed and despite these laws, they have observed a marginally high rate of theft and unlawful practice in this case.

Facebook doesn’t guarantee a total protection from theft as it only provides 75% security, as the pictures could still be screenshotted from Andriod phones, while this is not possible in the case of IOS users. There is also no restriction for users who take a screenshot from their desktop or laptop browsers. While these security measures are not foolproof, they could well reduce identity theft and give Indian social media users some additional peace of mind. India is a test case and the feature will soon be available in other countries as well.

Social media companies could do more to build protections against identity theft and make users aware of the available tools. People should also use their discretion and not let their guard down in the social media hunting ground.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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