Realty regulator will keep builders on a tight leash

A new law to give home buyers a better deal aims to ensure builders sell residential property on the basis of carpet area instead of ambiguous terms like “super area” while a regulator will ensure housing projects declare the status of important civic clearances.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, which the government plans to bring to Parliament in the budget session, has been framed under provisions dealing with property transactions in the concurrent list of the Constitution that applies to states, making the proposed legislation more than a model law.

In a bid to try and make sure developers stick to timelines, the proposed law states that realty players will have to park 70% of funds in a particular bank account so that resources are not diverted and buyers are not left in the lurch.

A real estate regulator in every state will make it mandatory for private developers to register all projects before sale of property and only after getting all necessary clearances, addressing a major concern of buyers about incomplete or fraudulent land acquisition.

According to the bill’s provisions, failure to declare status of clearances will invite up to a maximum three years imprisonment or fine that can amount to 10% of project cost.

Realty players will have to disclose project details and contractual obligations to ensure transparent, fair and ethical business practices. There can be a model agreement which is expected to reduce ambiguities in real estate transactions that not many buyers are familiar with.

Private builders are not comfortable with some of the bill’s provisions and voiced their objections at a meeting chaired by housing minister Ajay Maken and urban development minister Kamal Nath. Those who attended the deliberations included representatives of developers’ associations — CREDAI, NAREDCO and industry chambers CII and FICCI.

Builders maintain there is no need for a regulator as they are already subjected to clearances from multiple agencies. They felt the penal provisions hurt their interests, but the government might want to increase the odds in favour of consumers.

The meeting was called after the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office which asked the ministries of housing and urban development to resolve differences and quickly finalize the long pending bill.

The government hopes that the move for a strong legislative protection for buyers, which will also rein in unscrupulous players, will help in gaining the appreciation of middle class voters who have drifted from Congress in the wake of a series of corruption scams.

Although realty developers have been asked to submit their views at the earliest, the government seems determined not to dilute consumer friendly provisions. “We are not going to compromise on any aspect of the bill that hurts the interest of common home buyers,” Maken said.

Real estate agents will also be asked to register with the regulator. “The agents, an important link between the promoter and buyer, have been unregulated. Once they are registered, it will be help in curbing money laundering,” an official said.

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13 insights for India real estate in 2013

The year 2012 closed with a few notes of positivity as the inflation was below the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) projected levels and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth increased in the last two months of the year, giving new hopes for 2013.

Overall, 2012 remained inactive, affecting all the major sectors in real estate. Office space absorption remained lower compared with 2011. Meanwhile, retail faced challenges of quality supply, affecting the overall absorption. The residential demand improved; however, developers continued to struggle with unsold inventories. With the expected moderation in inflation and strengthening policies, we have gathered few interesting insights for 2013 from real estate experts.

1. Economy – As per RBI, the policies will focus towards growth in 2013, although risks of inflation will continue to remain. Interest rates are expected to witness a downward correction of 100 to 150 bps in 2013. The softening of interest rates is expected to reduce the home loan rates, in turn increasing the buying of real estate assets. Increasing urbanisation and consumption despite the slowdown in GDP growth will be the key drivers of the economy in 2013.

2. Policies – The recent policy initiatives are expected to improve the investment climate and business environment, and they are likely to benefit the real estate sector in 2013. Few policies to look at in 2013 are: the Real Estate Regulation Bill, likely to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament; the real estate investment trusts (REITs) or real estate mutual funds (REMFs), expected to get launched in 2013; and the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, likely to be tabled in the upcoming budget session in 2013.

3. Infrastructure – The infrastructure sector achieved a substantial FDI of USD 2.8 billion, accounting for a notable 7.7% of the total FDI inflow in FY 2012. In the year 2013, the relaxation of FDI policies in multi-brand retail is expected to surge the investment in back-end infrastructure development such as logistics. Moreover, an FDI of up to 100% is also permitted under the automatic route in built-up infrastructure and is likely to surge the development of the city and the regional level infrastructure in 2013.

4. Office Real Estate – Office space absorption in 2013 is likely to remain equal to that in 2012. Supply correction will lead to fewer options for occupiers, and steady absorption will decrease vacancy levels. Competition for space in prime buildings in prime locations is expected to increase in 2013, and these spaces will start earning a premium. Rents are expected to increase from 2H13 onwards as fewer new projects are being launched, and vacant spaces are steadily filling up. Decisions on occupying special economic zone (SEZ) spaces will be taken by occupiers who are sure of taking a position in India as they have to go live by March 2014 to avail the benefits.

5. Retail Real Estate – The relaxation in FDI policies in multi-brand retail interestingly has surged aggressive growth amongst Indian retailers to take the first-mover advantage. This is expected to drive the demand in 2013. However, as supply of retail malls remains a challenge, retailers are likely to opt for built-to-suit (BTS) options or high-street properties. As most developers are focusing on residential developments, the supply of malls will reduce in the major cities over the year. In 2013, retailers will be cautious and take more time to execute agreements as they will do a detailed analysis before closing transactions. Retailers will commit to space only if they see approvals in place and the construction of the space in progress.

6. Residential Real Estate – REITs in India allowing investments in rental housing is a new trend worth watching. The framework and details of REITs, once formulated, are likely to drive the investor demand across the prime cities in India in 2013. Another interesting trend observed in the last two years was that the stock in the range of INR 2,000-3,000 per sq ft was fast sold out. In 2013, this range is likely to shift to INR 3,000-5,000 per sq ft with the increase in inflation and construction costs.

7. Industrial Real Estate – Sale-cum-leaseback of exiting industrial assets by existing companies is likely to increase in 2013. MNCs testing the waters in India are likely to focus on BTS industrial properties. Warehousing companies are now preparing for the goods and services taxes (GST) and are slowly moving from godowns to distribution centres. The growing trend in e-retailing and FDI in multi-brand retail is expected to surge the demand for warehousing spaces in 2013.

8. Education and Health Care – There are aggressive growth plans in K-12 and skill-space educational institutions in 2013, particularly in the non-metro cities of India, where there are large opportunities. In the health care segment, hospital chains, along with day care centres, are expected to expand aggressively in 2013. Both these segments are expected to attract private equity investment in 2013.

9. Investment Sentiments – Debt capital is likely to increase in 2013. Banks are expected to be more flexible in lending. Most of the realty funds are close to their exit periods as they were invested around 2006-2007. Therefore, the exit of real estate funds is expected to increase in 2013. Meanwhile, interest on income-producing assets by institutional investors is likely to increase over the year. However, the availability of such assets will continue to remain a challenge. Assets will witness a softening of yield rates amidst increased liquidity.

10. Delhi – Most of the absorption in Delhi NCR is likely to focus around Gurgaon and Noida, with the exception of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and few select stand-alone Grade A projects of Delhi. As the demand supply gap of quality office space is expected to increase because of the supply constraints in select precincts of Delhi NCR, rents are expected to increase in certain micro-markets by 2H13. Developers will focus on delivery of the products.

11. Mumbai – Office absorption and residential demand will continue to increase in Mumbai. The trend of completion of highquality new office projects pushing up Grade A office vacancy levels and providing tenants with greater bargaining power will reduce in 2013. With banks drastically reducing lending activities over the last two years, resulting in debt remaining a constraint, not much of new  commercial supply (except spill over from 2012) is expected to be completed in 2013 and 2014. Residential launches are expected to increase; however, price drop is unlikely to happen over the year. Amidst constrained supply of quality retail malls, rental gap between Grade A malls and Grade B malls will further widen in the year.

12. Bangalore – In terms of office space, Outer Ring Road will continue to be the sought-after destination in 2013. For residential real estate, North Bangalore is expected to continue to remain as the best performing region in the city with strong infrastructure development, increased demand and price appreciation in 2013. Meanwhile, Whitefield will continue to retain its sheen for both office and residential real estate because of affordability, proximity to key work places and good social infrastructure.

13. Other Cities – Chennai, which witnessed a historical high number of residential launches in 2012, is likely to slow down in 2013. This trend is also expected in Pune. Meanwhile, Kolkata and Hyderabad are likely to witness increased launches. Prices of residential units are likely to increase in all the cities because of the increased construction costs. Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar Kochi and Coimbatore are other cities in India that are likely to witness immense development activities in 2013.

JLL Makes India Property Predictions for 2013

According to global real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), India’s property markets closed 2012 with a few notes of positivity as the inflation was below the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) projected levels and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth increased in the last two months of the year, giving new hopes for 2013. Overall, 2012 remained inactive, affecting all the major sectors in real estate.

Office space absorption remained lower compared with 2011. Meanwhile, retail faced challenges of quality supply, affecting the overall absorption.

The residential demand improved; however, developers continued to struggle with unsold inventories, yet expect moderation in inflation and strengthening policies.

jll-asia-pacific-report-chart-2.jpg

Below are 13 interesting India property and market insights for 2013 from various Jones Lang LaSalle India analysts.

1. Economy – As per RBI, the policies will focus towards growth in 2013, although risks of inflation will continue to remain. Interest rates are expected to witness a downward correction of 100 to 150 bps in 2013.The softening of interest rates is expected to reduce the home loan rates, in turn increasing the buying of real estate assets. Increasing urbanisation and consumption despite the slowdown in GDP growth will be the key drivers of the economy in 2013.

2. Policies – The recent policy initiatives are expected to improve the investment climate and business environment, and they are likely to benefit the real estate sector in 2013. Few policies to look at in 2013 are: the Real Estate Regulation Bill, likely to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament; the real estate investment trusts (REITs) or real estate mutual funds (REMFs), expected to get launched in 2013; and the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, likely to be tabled in the upcoming budget session in 2013.

3. Infrastructure
 – The infrastructure sector achieved a substantial FDI of USD 2.8 billion, accounting for a notable 7.7% of the total FDI inflow in FY 2012. In the year 2013, the relaxation of FDI policies in multi-brand retail is expected to surge the investment in back-end infrastructure development such as logistics. Moreover, an FDI of up to 100% is also permitted under the automatic route in built-up infrastructure and is likely to surge the development of the city and the regional level infrastructure in 2013.

4. Office Real Estate
 – Office space absorption in 2013 is likely to remain equal to that in 2012. Supply correction will lead to fewer options for occupiers, and steady absorption will decrease vacancy levels. Competition for space in prime buildings in prime locations is expected to increase in 2013, and these spaces will start earning a premium. Rents are expected to increase from 2H13 onwards as fewer new projects are being launched, and vacant spaces are steadily filling up. Decisions on occupying special economic zone (SEZ) spaces will be taken by occupiers who are sure of taking a position in India as they have to go live by March 2014 to avail the benefits.

5. Retail Real Estate
 – The relaxation in FDI policies in multi-brand retail interestingly has surged aggressive growth amongst Indian retailers to take the first-mover advantage. This is expected to drive the demand in 2013. However, as supply of retail malls remains a challenge, retailers are likely to opt for built-to-suit (BTS) options or high-street properties. As most developers are focusing on residential developments, the supply of malls will reduce in the major cities over the year. In 2013, retailers will be cautious and take more time to execute agreements as they will do a detailed analysis before closing transactions. Retailers will commit to space only if they see approvals in place and the construction of the space in progress.

6. Residential Real Estate
 – REITs in India allowing investments in rental housing is a new trend worth watching. The framework and details of REITs, once formulated, are likely to drive the investor demand across the prime cities in India in 2013. Another interesting trend observed in the last two years was that the stock in the range of INR 2,000-3,000 per sq ft was fast sold out. In 2013, this range is likely to shift to INR 3,000-5,000 per sq ft with the increase in inflation and construction costs.

7. Industrial Real Estate
 – Sale and leaseback of exiting industrial assets by existing companies is likely to increase in 2013. MNCs testing the waters in India are likely to focus on BTS industrial properties. Warehousing companies are now preparing for the goods and services taxes (GST) and are slowly moving from go-downs to distribution centers. The growing trend in e-retailing and FDI in multi-brand retail is expected to surge the demand for warehousing spaces in 2013.

8. Education and Health Care – There are aggressive growth plans in K-12 and skill-space educational institutions in 2013, particularly in the non-metro cities of India, where there are large opportunities. In the health care segment, hospital chains, along with day care centers, are expected to expand aggressively in 2013. Both these segments are expected to attract private equity investment in 2013.

9. Investment sentiments
 – Debt capital is likely to increase in 2013. Banks are expected to be more flexible in lending. Most of the realty funds are close to their exit periods as they were invested around 2006-2007. Therefore, the exit of real estate funds is expected to increase in 2013. Meanwhile, interest on income-producing assets by institutional investors is likely to increase over the year. However, the availability of such assets will continue to remain a challenge. Assets will witness a softening of yield rates amidst increased liquidity.

10. Delhi
 – Most of the absorption in Delhi NCR is likely to focus around Gurgaon and Noida, with the exception of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and few select stand-alone Grade A projects of Delhi. As the demand supply gap of quality office space is expected to increase because of the supply constraints in select precincts of Delhi NCR, rents are expected to increase in certain micromarkets by 2H13. Developers will focus on delivery of the products.

11. Mumbai
 – Office absorption and residential demand will continue to increase in Mumbai. The trend of completion of high-quality new office projects pushing up Grade A office vacancy levels and providing tenants with greater bargaining power will reduce in 2013. With banks drastically reducing lending activities over the last two years, resulting in debt remaining a constraint, not much of new commercial supply (except spillover from 2012) is expected to be completed in 2013 and 2014. Residential launches are expected to increase; however, price drop is unlikely to happen over the year. Amidst constrained supply of quality retail malls, rental gap between Grade A malls and Grade B malls will further widen in the year.

12. Bangalore
 – In terms of office space, Outer Ring Road will continue to be the sought-after destination in 2013. For residential real estate, North Bangalore is expected to continue to remain as the best performing region in the city with strong infrastructure development, increased demand and price appreciation in 2013. Meanwhile, Whitefield will continue to retain its sheen for both office and residential real estate because of affordability, proximity to key work places and good social infrastructure.

13. Other Cities – Chennai, which witnessed a historical high number of residential launches in 2012, is likely to slow down in 2013. This trend is also expected in Pune. Meanwhile, Kolkata and Hyderabad are likely to witness increased launches. Prices of residential units are likely to increase in all the cities because of the increased construction costs. Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar Kochi and Coimbatore are other cities in India that are likely to witness immense development activities in 2013.

Places you can buy a house in 2013 and gain from price appreciation

If you are looking to buy a house for investment in 2013 and are not sure where you can earn the best returns , don’t worry. We bring you what experts say about real estate destinations that will give good returns over the next three-five years.

New Ground

In the last couple of years, the real estate market has changed remarkably in both metro cities and small towns. Prices have crossed the peaks reached before the 2008 economic slowdown.

However, in 2012, the companies grappled with economic uncertainty, low demand, fund crunch and high inflation. “High inflation and interest rates dealt a double blow to developers by increasing input and debt costs. Sales fell as buyers became wary of rising interest rates,” says Shveta Jain, executive director, residential services, Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) India, a property consultancy firm.

Still, the mid-end residential segment continued to generate buyer interest. This, and increase in prices of raw materials, pushed up prices in most cities.

Realtors will grapple with a lot of inventory and debt in 2013, say experts. “In 2013, developers will price projects more judiciously and offer a lot more pre-launch benefits. Those with large projects and inventory will be under more pressure to give discounts,” says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle India, a property consultancy.

The Union Budget can also be a milestone as the sector looks forward to big policy decisions and reforms, including the grant of industry status.

DELHI-NCR

The Delhi-NCR is the favourite of property consultants. With massive infrastructure works in the pipeline, locations such as Dwarka Expressway, Noida Extension and New Gurgaon are likely to attract a lot of buyers-both investors and end-users.

“The market, once driven by investors, has slowly shifted towards end-users, as the former’s cash position worsens and end-users step in to capitalise on low prices,” says Aniruddh Wahal, co-head, occupier services, DTZ India, a real estate consultancy.

Dwarka Expressway:

Since 2009, developers have started residential development along the upcoming Dwarka Expressway, an eight-lane expressway that will provide an alternative link between Delhi (Dwarka) and Gurgaon. New projects, expected to be ready by 2015, cater to the middle and high-end segments.

“Its proximity to the capital city and the international airport gives it an edge over other emerging destinations such as Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, Yamuna Expressway, Bhiwadi and Dharuhera,” says Wahal.

The area is divided into two parts-the northern region on the side of Dwarka and the southern region closer to Gurgaon. The north (Sectors 103, 106, 109-113) is expected to surpass the south in returns due to proximity to Dwarka and the international airport.

DTZ India says prices in the region will go up by 25-30 per cent per year over the next five years. Knight Frank has forecast an annual return of 16 per cent during the period.

Noida Extension:

Though developers recognise Noida Extension as a separate location, it comprises Sectors 1, 2, 4, 16B, 16C, 16D and Knowledge Park V of Greater Noida. It is close to Noida (10km from Noida City Centre) and 18km from Connaught Place, New Delhi’s prime business location. A proposed metro rail link will improve connectivity between Noida and Delhi.

“It is the most attractive location in the NCR for affordable housing and is expected to see yearly growth of 15-20 per cent in the next five years,” says DTZ’s Wahal. Knight Frank says properties in Noida Extension will give an annual return of 16 per cent over the next few years.

 

Quote:With options ranging from Rs 3,200-15,000 per sq ft and returns of 18-30%, residential real estate looks promising over the next five years.

SAMANTAK DAS Director, Research & Advisory Services, Knight Frank India

Greater Noida:
Situated around 40km from the south-eastern part of New Delhi, Greater Noida is emerging as an industrial region and an educational hub.

It has good infrastructure and is home to several big companies. It is connected to Noida by a six-lane highway operational since 2002. You can drive from Noida to Greater Noida in 15-20 minutes. The Yamuna Expressway, which has also become a property hotspot, connects it with Agra via Mathura. A metro link will connect it with Noida, Ghaziabad and New Delhi.

Greater Noida is an attractive location for mid- and high-end residential segments. “Though there was not much activity in last 15-17 months due to land acquisition and master plan issues, things are expected to pick up. The area may witness a year-on-year price increase of 20-25 per cent,” says Wahal.

MUMBAI

The Mumbai market was subdued in 2012 with prices rising just 2-7 per cent. The demand is expected to pick up in 2013, mainly in the mid-end segment. The eastern suburbs of Mumbai (mainly Chembur, Kurla and Wadala) are expected to provide good returns on account of lower prices compared with areas in central Mumbai and western suburbs.

Ulwe:

Ulwe is an emerging location south of the Panvel creek. It is connected with the Uran Road that connects it with the Thane-Belapur Road as well as the JNPT Road to Jawaharlal Nehru Port. While Ulwe is just 7km from Belapur, a commercial hub, five other office destinations are within the 22km radius. Once the Nerul-Seawood-Uran rail network is ready, Ulwe will be connected with major office locations through a mass rapid transport system. At Rs 4,000 per square foot, one can buy a one-bedroom flat here for Rs 20 lakh. Ulwe is the most attractive destination in the Knight Frank report, which says it may give an annual return of 20 per cent in the next five years.

Quote: In 2013, developers with large projects and inventory will be under more pressure to give discounts than those with smaller projects and limited inventory.

ANUJ PURI Chairman and Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India

Chembur:

Located in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region’s central zone, Chembur’s proximity to the Bandra-Kurla Complex and other office destinations will fuel demand for residential properties here, say experts.

The upcoming rail, metro and road networks such as the Eastern Freeway, the Santacruz Chembur Link Road and the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob monorail will boost connectivity to the area.

Limited land availability will limit new construction and keep supply under control here.

Knight Frank says prices here are expected to rise from the current Rs 12,000 per square foot to Rs 27,000 per square foot by 2017. This comes to an annual return of 18 per cent.

Wadala:

Strategically located in the MMR’s central zone, Wadala is at a comfortable distance from the MMR’s main employment centres. The Eastern Expressway connects it with other regions of the central zone as well as business hubs in the island city. It is also connected through the suburban train network. It will also benefit from the under-construction Chembur-Wadala-Jacob monorail project as the Wadala-Chembur part is expected to be ready in 2013.

The regional development authority’s plan to develop Wadala on the lines of the Bandra-Kurla Complex may add to its appeal. Knight Frank says the area may give an annual return of 18 per cent over the next five years.

 

BANGALORE

This information technology (IT) hub saw steady sales in 2012, prompting developers to launch new projects. Prices in under-construction projects in growing submarkets have risen by 10-30 per cent in the past one year.

“The demand for houses is expected to remain stable or grow moderately in 2013,” says Wahal.

Bangalore is expected to offer an annual return of 15 per cent over the next five years.

“The city is the lowest in terms of capital values (compared with Delhi and Mumbai) and has seen moderate price appreciation,” says Jain of C&W.

The international airport and other infrastructure projects have shifted momentum towards the northern and eastern regions.

Kanakpura, Sarjapur Road, Bannerghatta Road, JP Nagar, Jaya Nagar, Whitefield, Varthur, Mahadevapura, CV Raman Nagar, Uttarahalli, KR Puram and Electronic City have emerged as the city’s main residential markets.

Hebbal:

The Bangalore international airport has made Hebbal an important destination. It has also emerged as an IT hub with several technology parks and companies.

Quote: In 2013, the demand for residential units in the top eight cities is expected to be 3.3-3.5 lakh as against the supply of 2.2-2.3 lakh units.

SHVETA JAIN Executive Director, Residential Services, Cushman & Wakefield India

KR Puram:

Closeness to the IT hub of Whitefield and Manyata Tech Park makes it a desired residential destination for IT professionals. KR Puram is located on the National Highway 75. The Baiyappanahalli metro station is just 3km away. The proposed Peripheral Ring Road and widening of the Old Madras Road will improve connectivity.

After National Green Tribunal order, Noida builders stop construction

Order prohibits them from drawing underground water for construction

After the National Green Tribunal order prohibited the use of groundwater for construction, builders in Noida and Greater Noida have stopped work to take stock of the situation. Builders said they would hold talks with the Noida Authority next week to understand the legality of the order, which was issued on Friday.

A representative of a company, which has several under-construction buildings in Noida and Greater Noida, said, “During the stage of structure building, water is a massive component and a lot of the underground water was drawn. We do not want to violate the order and are waiting for more clarity before we restart construction. All pumps that draw water from the construction site have been stopped with immediate effect.”

Other real estate developers said they were not drawing any more water and that they were just using water drawn before the order was issued. “But these stocks will not last more than a week,” one of their representatives said.

Builders said water will have to be bought from other areas, which will increase input costs. “We will have to buy a large quantity of water from other places. This means an addition of two costs — the water and the cost of transporting it. This will eventually trickle down to the consumer. We are working on an action plan to try and protect buyers as much as possible. We will finalise it next week. We hope that there are no further protests by buyers on this issue as the increase in costs is inevitable,” a representative of CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India) Greater Noida said.

Buyers were worried about the halt in construction. Manish Sharma, who has booked a flat in Greater Noida’s Patwari area, said, “I am seriously considering cancelling my booking. There have been a series of problems with real estate in the area. First there were farmer agitations against the acquisition of land, which stalled work for over a year. Then the Allahabad High Court asked the Greater Noida Authority to get clearance for the Greater Noida Master Plan from the National Capital Region Planning Board. Now we hear that costs will go up because of this order. I understand that the rise in costs is inevitable because of the conditions on the builder, but I may not be able to afford the increase in rates. I am hoping that there will be no added payment for those who have already bought flats. The developer said he would only be able to tell me about their plan next week.”

Realtors defer launches, shift focus from luxury

Property developers who have been holding onto high prices despite falling demand, especially in the luxury segment, are finally changing course. They are not dropping prices yet, but are holding back new launches and focusing on relatively affordable homes, industry researchers said.

New project launches came down by 16% in 2012 compared to 2011 levels, and high-end and luxury segments saw a drop of 24% and 23%, respectively, says a report by real estate consultants Cushman and Wakefield (C&W). “Of the number of units launched, a majority were launched in the middle segment comprising 83% of total launches,” the C&W report said.

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Developers consider one and two-bedroom flats in Mumbai and upto three-bedroom flats in Delhi to be middle income. Those above this are considered luxury property.

Industry experts say that real estate companies are also facing liquidity issues as bankers have become cautious about lending to the sector. While private equity deals were visible till the first half of 2012, it has come down sharply in the second half.

“Banks’ credit exposure to developers has fallen from its peak growth rate of 23.21% in June 2011 to 3.88% as per the latest reported data on September 2012,” a separate report by Knight Frank India said.

“The demand of residential apartments has come down substantially but prices have remained high and in some cases developers have increased prices, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai. Now a correction is taking place and prices are not likely to increase for next 18-months,” said Pankaj Kapoor, managing director at realty research firm Liases Foras.

Increasing share of peripheral markets are likely to keep prices under check, especially in Mumbai and the NCR, the Knight Frank report said.

The analysts say controlled new supply of apartments in the NCR, primarily in new sectors in the Gurgaon area, will likely keep a check on the quantum of unsold stock.

Delhi-NCR: The crown and the jewel

For real estate players and developers, if North India is the country’s crown, then Delhi-NCR (national capital region) is the jewel on it. Dotted with malls, swanky glass and steel façade and high-rises, some of which promise a glimpse of the skyline, the region is a realtor’s delight.

While real estate players across the country are battling slowdown in sales and inventory pile-up, Delhi-NCR has largely remained immune. Even during slowdown, the region has not witnessed a price correction either in commercial or residential segment. Prices continue to gallop as investors feel that property is an investment that cannot go wrong.

Almost all major real estate developers have a presence in the region. These include DLF, Unitech, Tata Realty, Parsvnath, Raheja, and Supertech. In the next couple of years, NCR will boast an 82-floor high rise, a well-developed Formula One Racing Track, a World Trade Centre and numerous sporting venues.

HOUSING SHORTFALL

The NCR is one of the biggest retail and real estate markets comprising nearly 27 per cent of the overall stock amongst the metros. The region has an interesting mix of retail development between the five micro-markets of Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad which have evolved over the years.

Shortage of housing units is expected to touch 27-30 million by 2013 and for this, huge amount is required to carry on the development.

With more people moving to cities, demand for affordable housing will outgrow the rest of the sector. If infrastructure and policy hiccups are taken care of, many more developers will like to have a share of the affordable housing pie, says Brotin Banerjee, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Housing.

Developers are banking on the untapped demand in the mid-segment housing bracket and low interest rates launched new projects.

The NCR residential market is flush with a large supply pipeline, majority of which is expected to become ready for possession in two-three years. Samir Jasuja, Founder and CEO, PropEquity, says: “ In order to afford a home in NCR, the annual household income of a family needs to be in the range of Rs 8-47 lakh in Gurgaon, Rs 5-32 lakh in Noida, Rs 4-19 lakh in Ghaziabad and Rs 3-37 lakh in Faridabad.” Largely targeting mid-income echelons in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, majority of these projects are mostly in unexplored outskirts of suburbs and cater to the untapped budget housing demand.

Gaurav Pandey, SVP & Head – Research and Consulting, says: “Micro-markets of NH-24 Bypass, Crossing Republik, RajNagar Ext (Ghaziabad) and Greater Faridabad (Faridabad) region are comparatively cheaper; and an average buyer can afford a 4 BHK there. However, these markets have their fair share of concerns. For instance, Greater Faridabad region has internal infrastructure problems, Crossing Republik has a proposed dumping ground.”

YEAR 2013 (Y2K+ 13)

Industry players, analysts and Government are hoping that 2013 will be better than 2012. With residential prices breaching all affordability limits in major metros, offtake in real estate sector remained largely subdued in 2012.

After being in near comatose state, industry points out that the outlook for the next year will largely revolve around economic improvement.

Major listed realty players are swimming in debt and piling inventory. Transaction size remained smaller this year despite prices remaining stagnant unlike the previous two years where most of the cities witnessed a steep price rise.

One of the biggest hitches that cash-strapped developers faced was in getting approvals. They point that obtaining the 55-odd permissions to begin construction of a project can take as long as two years. During this time, the cost of acquisition or even just holding the land for a project rises.

Sanjay Dutt, Executive Managing Director, South Asia, Cushman and Wakefield notes, “…Given that most aspects of development such as construction cost, development cost, time taken for approval and debt all have been on an upward tangent developers have not been able to lower cost .”

CORRECTION AHEAD?

But the RBI instructing scheduled banks to not allow a rollover of loans given to real estate developers into next financial year will mean that developers will see an urgency to dispose of their unsold inventory to raise funds to pay back their loans. This holds the potential for a major correction in residential prices in the NCR region.

The average property price in the 10 small cities taken is pegged at Rs 2,200-2,500 for a sq. ft. This is comparable with Pune among the large markets, which has property prices in the range of Rs 3,000-3,500/sq. ft. Even when prices rose by 25-30 per cent in the large cities in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the small cities saw increases of only 10-12 per cent, the report said. In 2011, Jaipur had the largest number of home sales.

FDI IN RETAIL: A BLESSING FOR REALTORS

FDI in retail will be the key driver in pushing demand for retail real estate space – with a large number of modern retailers entering the market, there is going to be increasing demand for commercial real estate space in metros and tier II cities. Lalit Kumar Jain, President – National – CREDAI, said, the Finance Ministry and the RBI needs to work together to strengthen the demand and supply side by a special housing development policy.