From qualifying for the civil services examination to being a successful real estate developer.
Naveen Raheja, the managing director of Raheja Developers has embarked on a long journey with the determination to make a constructive difference to people’s lives.
“My first business venture was way back in 1978, when I got the distributorship of the scooter — Vijay Super,” remembers Raheja.
The next five years were quite eventful when Raheja dabbled in various businesses such as tourism, finance, electronics and real estate brokering.
“Of my various ventures, real estate seemed most promising. My first property was a 4,840 sq yrd plot, which I bought for Rs 3.5 lakh.” This was the turning point in his career.
The price of the plot doubled in less than six months and Raheja soon graduated from being a property broker to an established developer.
“In 1989, I took to large-scale realty business. The present company, Raheja Developers, was registered in that year and we started developing 172 acre of land,” he says.
“I felt that housing, being one of the necessity troika — food, clothing and shelter — is the most important requirement for an individual. Providing quality houses gives me immense satisfaction,” says Raheja.
Raheja Developers has a strong presence in Gurgaon — the satellite town of Delhi. The group offers a gamut of projects, which include various residential, commercial, and SEZ projects.
Among its residential projects, Raheja recently inked a 50:50 joint venture with Tata Housing for Raisina Residency in Gurgaon.
The group’s SEZ projects include the 257-acre engineering SEZ in Gurgaon. The group has also got in-principle approval for a multi-product SEZ at Dharuhera (near Gurgaon) and yet another IT/ITeS SEZ in Gurgaon. Asked why he is confined to Gurgaon, Raheja says “It’s not a question of being confined to a particular location or a city. Gurgaon offers a good market and good returns on investment. We are considering moving to other parts of India as well.”
On the lull in the realty sector, Raheja says, “Intense speculation in the last couple of years pushed price levels to unsustainable levels. This drove away the end-users from buying a house.”
High rates of housing loans are not doing any good either, and have stretched the EMIs to disproportionate limits for an individual. “The offtake of home loans should not be treated as liquidity in the markets which fuels inflation, rather easy availability of home loans helps an individual buy a house,” he says.
“I would fully support if the government moves to introduce some kind of tax to curb intense speculation in the realty sector. In fact, a mechanism should be developed to ensure that nobody buys more than two residential units. A cap should also be placed on the number of houses for a family,” the developer adds.