Take us through the story of SS group so far, what has been the growth story and how did you decide to start the company?
The company was started by my father, who is now Honourable Member of Parliament from Rajasthan. He started off by accumulating lands and sold them to big companies like DLF, Unitech, Ansals in the 90s. Then one day while talking to him and asked him why couldn’t we start as a developer? He said it's a difficult job but my logic was that when you have done your 70 per cent of the work, the remaining 30 per cent work of building and selling also we can do.
So then in 1994 we got our licence for Mayfield Gardens. It was a joint venture to build almost a 327-acre township. Then in 1998 we got Uppal’s Housing, again a joint venture with Mr. Uppal for 120 acres. In 2000, we started as a developer. Our first project was 1000 floors of row housing. We wanted to give a home to actual user and to create a house for those who would live in that. Our main purpose was not to sell as a developer, but to sell their dream and make their dream come true, so that was the agenda of the company.
Then as the company grew, there were many projects that came our way. We used to be the largest suppliers of row housing in Gurugram because at that time DLF and Unitech were into highrise buildings. And we were doing low-rise floors, just ground plus two, which was what individual users wanted.
Gurugram unlike many other cities, is not developed by people from Gurugram but people who came from other states because Suzuki and Hero Honda were two automobile plants where maximum executives were from outside. When they came here, they needed a house. That time people were not aware if they were going to stay here or they would go back, so they always looked for a budgeted house as maximum were nuclear families and just newly-married couples who needed small houses. That was the starting we did.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? What made you decide to take that up as a profession?
I had seen my father in my school days doing meetings with so many people sitting on the main chair, so I thought that one day I have to do the same thing. For that then I have to work hard. It was my father who made me want to become an entrepreneur.
What would be your average routine on a day? How do you manage that manage stress?
It is not a high stress business because it all depends on what type of staff you have. If you have a good organisation, good staff, then there's no stress. I do understand real estate is a service industry where you have to handle everything. Everybody thinks that developers are not fair. If you sit on the chair of a developer then one would realise what a developer goes through, from facing a customer, to banks, law, government everything. Policies are changing very fast. There was a time when the business was developer-driven but now the trend is customer driven.
You have been one of the earliest players in the Gurugram real estate market and you've seen its growth. Take us through what are the kinds of trends that you've seen in real estate business here, the market since you started and where it is now and how do you see it going forward?
When we started, as a developer, there used to be another three or four developers. Now there are too many developers, because everybody sees themselves as developers. And from 2000 till 2022, over 22 years in real estate and I have seen three times up and down in the market but the best part of Gurugram is it never goes down, its stable its stagnant. Anyone investing in Gurugram has never faced any loss because it’s nearer to Delhi, then from the neckline of NH8, it is connected from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Several MNCs are there in Gurugram and everybody needs a house. I guess post 2007, there's been a drastic change because then an apartment used to cost Rs 7-8 lakhs. Now, Rs 1-2 crore is less for Gurugram.
How do you see the Dwarka expressway playing out for the Gurugram real estate terms of prices and demand?
If you want to go office, everybody would consider what are the exit points? For extension road, there are two exit points, one on the Sohna road and there is a DLF one. But in Dwarka Expressway, there are so many exit points. New Gurugram, in my opinion, will be the best location in Gurugram in future because development is going on. Even if you buy a house for your own use and not for selling purpose, you feel good when price appreciates.
Do you see inflation impacting real estate transactions in the medium to short term?
During inflation, marriages don’t stop, childbirth isn’t put on hold. So, a house is the same thing, it is a need. Yes, it might so happen that we were selling 1000 apartments in a month in Gurugram, but inflation might take that to 900. But there's a demand.
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