India realty sector to get $4-5 b investments

India’s realty sector is set for inflows of $ 4 to 5 billion from global investors in the next couple of years, with Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai emerging as favourites, according to the  Asia Pacific CEO of global real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

“The early foreign investors in India, who came in around 2006-07, did not have very good experience, partly because of their inexperience in doing business in India and partly because of global financial crisis,” Alastair Hughes said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

They don’t seem to be perturbed by it as India’s growth rate is still an attraction, according to him. “Foreign investors are now looking with a renewed interest at India, given its still robust economic growth rate as that bodes well for good returns to their investments,” Hughes said.

He  added that there is more international money today waiting to be invested in India than any of the last five years. Overseas investors have invested $ 14 billion into the Indian real estate sector over the period from 2006 to 2012.

In the last two years, foreign investment into Indian real estate has been around $ 1.2 billion per annum.

Around half of all transactions were invested in residential property, a quarter in the offices sector and the remaining quarter was split among other sectors.

According to him,  2013 and 2014 look more promising from an investment standpoint and the realty sector would get about $ $ 4-5 billion, mainly to buy income yielding SEZ assets at a capitalisation rate of 10.75 per cent.  Globally, Hughes said, there was a boom in 2007, followed by a bust in 2008, in the realty sector, while there has been a gradual recovery since the end of 2009.

Investments into Asia Pacific commercial real estate market fell around 10 per cent in 2012, from $ 98 billion to about $ 92 billion. “It was because of a sense of caution prevailing in different countries. But now we are seeing a change in the sentiments,” he said.

“One of the reasons for that is people looking to divert their investments from bonds to equities and other asset classes and that include real estate. Therefore more money is coming to real estate and a bigger proportion of that we see coming to Asia Pacific,” he added.

He said that in the retail sector, a very high growth is expected with the (likely) entry of foreign retailers.

Besides, manufacturing and industrial sector would also benefit a lot as retailers would need to set up logistics facilities. The residential space is also set for growth, he added.

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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.

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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.

Signs of recovery in real estate but challenges ahead

After a long lull, the year 2013 is expected to bring back hopes of growth to the real estate sector, mainly due to the government’s positive approach towards reforms and moderation of interest rates, experts say.

Land Acquisition and Real Estate Regulation Bills are expected to be passed during the year, while there is a likelihood of Reserve Bank bringing down the interest rates.

“The passage of FDI in multi-brand retail by the government shows its seriousness on introducing reforms. RBI can be expected to lower interest rates in the coming months which will benefit developers as well as consumers. This will boost the sentiments,” Knight Frank India chairman Pranab Datta said.

Residential prices, which have been increasing over the past few years are likely to witness subdued growth in most markets in a short to medium term till the pressures of unsold inventory are eased out, CBRE chairman and managing director Anshuman Magazine said.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram had recently asked the developers to sell their unsold inventory at a lower price.

“Besides, infrastructure initiatives such as Greater Noida metro rail network and proposed metro link in north-west Bangalore are likely to have a positive impact on the residential market of these cities,” Magazine said.

FDI in multi-brand retail will also boost the demand for commercial real estate.

“Apart from the international brands, several domestic brands are also exploring opportunities to increase their foot prints across the country. This anticipated growth in demand is expected to bring some upward movement in retail rentals, particularly along established hubs,” DTZ-India chief executive officer Anshul Jain said.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, major cities like Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata will see the addition of close to 9.5 million sqft of mall space in 2013.

“The primary reason is that a sizable amount of supply that was expected to reach completion in 2012 has been being pushed to 2013,” JLL Chairman and Country Head Anuj Puri said.

While Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai will together contribute 70 per cent of the total retail space absorption, cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata will account for the remaining 30 per cent.

Further, the ongoing policy reforms are expected to provide some cushion to corporates who are likely to execute their expansion plans in near future.

“Demand for office space is expected to be broad-based and not restricted to IT-ITeS and banking sectors. However, even as leasing activity performs relatively well, rentals are expected to remain stable owing to large upcoming supply and high vacancy levels across most cities,” Jain said.

According to JLL, cities including Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune will witness commercial corporate property transactions focused on their own occupancy needs.

“We expect 2013 to bring a larger-than-usual number of NRI investors into the commercial space arena. This is because NRIs are currently enthused by the prevailing exchange rate benefits and the fact that commercial real estate capital values are still 15-25 percent under their 2007-08 peak levels,” Puri said.

A lost opportunity for the real estate sector

The year 2012 was a difficult one for the Indian real estate sector as tough economic conditions led to lower sales and higher construction costs.

There is a general industry view that 2013 will see an improved economic climate and the real estate sector will follow suit, albeit with some lag.

However, Lalit Kumar Jain, National President, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), felt that the year 2013 would be “make or break time for the real estate sector as it is going through a liquidity crisis. The year 2012 is one of lost opportunity for the sector as no corrective steps were initiated”.

But Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India, a real estate consultancy, was more sanguine. “The most tangible benefits of economic improvements on the Indian real estate space will be seen in the second-half of 2013,” he said.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also recently allowed established real estate developers and housing finance companies to raise up to $1 billion through external commercial borrowings.

Some projects in mass housing segments that sold well were priced in the range of Rs.4,000-5,500 per sq. ft. in areas such as Noida, Navi Mumbai and Bangalore. Projects in the Rs.16,000-19,000 per sq. ft. range in Central Mumbai, too, sold well.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was permitted. Pranab Dutta, Chairman, Knight Frank India, a real estate consultancy, felt that “This will attract foreign investment which will not only benefit the retail industry but also boost the demand for commercial real estate”.

On measures to boost the sector, developers felt that it was essential to have a ‘single window’ clearance for projects as there were 50-odd permissions required to begin construction of a project and this could take two years to obtain. “For the common man’s benefit, interest rates should be corrected soon,” said Jackbastian Nazareth, Group CEO, Puravankara Projects, adding, “the first quarter of 2013 is likely to see some consolidation but thereafter and into 2014, we are likely to see good growth”.

The year 2013 is likely to reap the benefit of the Real Estate Regulation Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill. “The change in sentiment on account of these measures will certainly make 2013 a much better year in comparison to the last year,” said Mr. Dutta.

Realty sector awaits policy initiatives to boost sales

PUNE: The city’s real estate sector, despite a decent performance during 2012, is waiting for major policy initiatives that will help ease property prices and encourage customers to buy properties.

Among major aspirations of the realty sector players are, cutting down the number of clearances a housing project has to obtain and a reduction in taxes which effectively have a bearing on the price a buyer pays for his dream home.

An urgent issue is that of the stamp fee payable on real estate deals. The realtors complain that the state government has been jacking up this fee each year as it is based on the ready reckoner values which is declared at the beginning of the year. Also looming large is the spectre of the value added tax (VAT), about which there is no clarity in spite the court ruling that the state is empowered to levy the tax.

Anuj Puri, chairman and country head at real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle, told TOI: “Obtaining the 57-odd permissions to begin construction of a project can take as much as two years. During this time, the cost of acquisition or even holding the land for a project rises. Builders are already beset with the increased costs of licence and construction.”

D S Kulkarni, chairman of real estate firm DSK Developers, said the government’s tax policies have reduced the builders to mere collectors of taxes on behalf of the government. “As much as 27 per cent of the price of a dwelling is taxes which we collect from customer and pay to different government bodies,” he said.

Puri added that it became evident in 2012 that homes are not selling at the current price points, and developers need to re-calibrate their bottom lines to remain viable as businesses. It is extremely doubtful that the previously offered freebies and other incentives will prove to be much of a booster in the current environment. Since the only way to catalyse healthier sales at this point is offering buyers tangible financial relief, we are likely to see drastic trimming of frills in projects to make them more marketable from a pricing point of view, and innovative payment schemes. “Developers will also offer buyers attractive pre-launch benefits in a bid to accelerate sales momentum in the initial months following a launch. Developers with large-scale projects with a greater share of unsold inventory will be under greater pressure to offer discounts than those with smaller projects and limited inventories.”

Kishor Pate, chairman of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd, said many positive factors made things easy in the realty sector but what really pulled Pune’s property sector through was the growing number of investors in the market. “In 2012, our analysis showed that only about 40% of all apartments in Pune are being bought and used by actual end users – flat owners who are personally using their properties for occupation. As much as 40% of the remaining flats are held by investors for renting out to the growing transient working population in and around the city’s IT hubs. The remaining flats are standing empty. These are either bought by NRIs who intend to move back to Pune in the near future, or are being held by speculators looking for a profitable resale.”

Rajas Jain, managing director of Kumar Properties Pvt Ltd, said the year 2012 has been a little subdued yet mainly stable. Slow reforms coupled with lack of decisive political will and a struggling economy has affected market confidence, thereby dampening real estate sentiment. The inclusion of 28 more villages into the Pune Municipal Corporation (leading to greater availability of dwelling units), removal of ‘no objection certificate’ system for transfer of ownership before society formation and the recent move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail will be the major factors driving demand in 2013. Also, prevailing exchange rate benefits due to the falling value of Indian currency will advance investment from the non-resident Indians in the commercial real estate space, Jain added.

According to Puri, the country’s economic environment will certainly improve in 2013, with a corresponding (though lagging) gain in momentum for real estate. The most tangible benefits of economic improvements on the Indian real estate space will be seen in the second half of 2013, Puri said. “With moderation in wholesale price index inflation, the Reserve Bank of India started softening its cash reserve ratio to improve the credit situation. Further easing of liquidity with the prime objective of reviving the GDP is expected in the first half of 2013,” Puri added.