8 November, 2023
Unlock the doors to real estate success
Read time: 5 minutes

In today's edition:

  • In the news: EVs pushing realty prices, positive sentiments, and custom AI bots
  • My thoughts on: Floor Space Index (FSI)
  • Q&A: Wooden floors

Handpicked stories from my weekly digest

Here are the 5 stories that you need to be aware of from this past week:

  • Charging luxury: Indian developers are installing EV chargers in residential projects to attract buyers amid a surge in EV sales, which have grown by 137% in the first half of 2023. This move aims to increase property value as public charging infrastructure lags behind the growing number of electric vehicles. Read more
  • Growing fractions: Fractional ownership is transforming India's luxury holiday home market, offering a share in premium properties at a lower cost and with high returns. Valued at $2 billion, this segment could reach $10 billion, with fractional shares expected to grow from 1-2% to 10% of the market. This surge is fueled by remote work trends, tourism, and new investment platforms, making vacation properties more attainable and profitable. Read more
  • Festive fervour: The Q3 2023 Knight Frank-NAREDCO report shows India's real estate sentiment is positive, with a slight dip to 59 due to global tensions, but confidence in residential and office markets remains strong. Expectations for economic and real estate growth are optimistic for the next six months, supported by festive demand and stable interest rates. Read more
  • Ads go digital: India's digital advertising is booming, with Omdia forecasting a 9.6% growth in the digital economy and a 12.7% rise in online ad revenue by 2027. Digital ads, making up over $9 billion of the $15-$16 billion ad market, are set to surpass TV, with YouTube's ad revenue alone growing by 20% to $690 million last year. Read more
  • Building bots: OpenAI is rolling out a platform that lets users create tailored ChatGPT bots, termed GPTs, for specific applications without needing to code. These custom AI agents will be available through the forthcoming GPT Store and will be accessible to ChatGPT Plus subscribers and OpenAI enterprise clients. Read more

Shaping India’s urban skyline


Image credits: Unsplash

In the grand chessboard of urban development, the Floor Space Index (FSI), or Floor Area Ratio (FAR), serves as a pivotal rule, dictating the scope of the game. This quintessential urban planning tool helps to balance the architectural ambitions with the carrying capacity of the land.

The arithmetic: FSI is essentially the DNA of a building's potential, a mathematical whisper of what can arise from the ground up. It is calculated as the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of its plot, painting a clear picture of the maximum permissible construction canvas.

The inception: The concept of regulating building density, akin to FSI, finds its roots in the early 20th-century urbanization of the USA, where burgeoning skyscrapers and swelling populations necessitated zoning laws. One of the earliest zoning resolutions, New York City's 1916 ordinance, aimed at safeguarding light, air, and public safety by controlling the height and bulk of buildings​.

Post-independence in 1947, India's cities mirrored this need for structured urban growth. The Bombay Town Planning Act of 1954 marked the nation's first foray into town planning acts, weaving FSI into the fabric of urban development. It was a step towards orchestrating a balance between built-up areas and open spaces, ensuring orderly growth and preventing haphazard constructions​.

Building blocks: Like ingredients in a master chef's recipe, various factors season the FSI value:

  • The size and type of the plot
  • The building's purpose - be it a home or a hive of offices
  • The veins and arteries of the city: roads, power lines, and sewers​

Influencing design: The FSI is a vital cog in the machinery of urban planning, influencing the design and stature of buildings within the fabric of cityscapes. A higher FSI allows for taller buildings, offering a vertical solution to urban density and maximizing the use of limited land. Conversely, a lower FSI serves as a cap, preserving the low-rise character of certain areas and ensuring that developments harmonize with the existing urban tapestry​.

Regulatory mosaic: The FSI values vary intriguingly across India's urban landscapes. Mumbai's skyscrapers may soar with an FSI of 1.33, while Bangalore's tech hubs expand at an FSI of 1.75.

The history of FSI in India reflects a cautious approach to urban density. A NITI Aayog report highlighted the restricted FSI values between 1 to 1.5, which have historically curtailed the vertical growth of Indian cities. This conservative FSI policy has led to a notable absence of towering structures that define cityscapes of metropolises like Manhattan and Singapore.

Impact on pricing: Adjustments in the FSI can significantly impact real estate values. A higher FSI typically allows for more built-up area, which can lead to an increase in the property's value due to the potential for more extensive development and higher rental income. This can make properties in high FSI areas particularly attractive to investors and developers. Additionally, areas with a higher FSI often have more developed infrastructure and amenities, further driving up demand and property prices​.

The two sides: Increased FSI can lead to denser housing developments, potentially easing housing shortages in urban areas. However, this can also result in a strain on infrastructure and public services if not managed carefully. For instance, while a higher FSI may allow for more housing units to be built, it could also lead to overcrowding and increased pressure on roads, water supply, and waste management systems.

Blueprint for tomorrow: As Indian cities evolve, the FSI remains both a compass and a conundrum—guiding growth yet often sparking debate. Its strategic adjustments can unlock new dimensions for urban living or tighten the grip on an already dense urban fabric. When the government tweaks the FSI, it's like altering the rules of engagement, where every additional square foot is a newfound bounty for builders and buyers alike​.

A real estate professional, therefore, needs to keep abreast of the latest developments in FSI regulations in their regions.


I am thinking of using wooden floors for my home in Shimla. What kind of wood should I use?
- Neha

Hi Neha,

Teak and Oak are two excellent options. Teak is known for its durability and resistance to moisture, making it suitable for Shimla's climate. Oak, on the other hand, offers a classic and elegant look while being relatively moisture-resistant. Both woods are known for their longevity and can handle the cold winters and humid summers of Shimla. Additionally, consider engineered hardwood flooring, as it's more stable than solid wood and less prone to expansion and contraction due to temperature and humidity changes.

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Please conduct your own due diligence prior to making any decisions.

By Ashwinder R. Singh
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