Good times Ahead
Real estate and equipment players are approaching the new year with a sense of excitement as regulations imposed in 2018 will see results now.
BY Jayashree Kini Mendes
People get a sense of immense happiness when their predictions turn out right or near right. But that could be later. Asking them to look into the crystal ball and take a guess at what the future holds, alone creates a sense of thrill and apprehension.
As a magazine, it becomes necessary at this time of the year to ask seasoned real estate and infrastructure companies to gaze into the near future and tell us what they see. So here are some prognostications.
COO, residential business, K Raheja Corp
2018 was exciting for the residential sector and saw both, sales and demand, pick up in top 7 Indian cities. Housing sales witnessed a jump of nearly 8% in the first three quarters of 2018. The sector has also witnessed a slew of emerging micro markets owing to infrastructure developments. For instance, Airoli in Navi Mumbai, Madhapur Nacharam in Hyderabad, and Pirangut in Pune which were once industrial hubs are witnessing traction with respect to demand for residential homes.
President, Sales & Marketing, Piramal Realty
It is an opportune time to invest given the general positive outlook and a host of offers and benefits provided by the developers. We have a strong belief that there will always be robust demand for projects which offer a strong product. There is always a prospective customer when we offer good value for money. We foresee increased partnership between small and established developers to not only drive their unsold inventory, but also launch new projects and add fresh inventory.
MD, Salarpuria Sattva
2018 was the year of consolidation. Demonetisation, RERA, and GST had different effects on the industry. While their introduction brought in transparency and accountability, it subsequently impacted sales.
The industry expects a better year in 2019. With a number of other positive approaches like credit-linked subsidy and REITs, the sector is sure to flourish.
Another critical landmark will be the blanket implementation of RERA. State governments need to play a vital role in ensuring stringent penalties are issued to builders who do not comply with the policy. 2019 could see improved launches in crucial cities, specifically in the metros. The Union Cabinet has approved the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors to take up employment in India which can promote the asset class in a big way.
Director, Aparna Constructions & Estates
The residential market made a strong comeback in 2018 in metros and tier 1 cities. Even corporate leasing has seen a fair share of rise. The recovery of the sector can be attributed to policies like RERA that has revived the buyer’s confidence. Hyderabad is seeing an increase of 30% in sales, while unsold inventory has reduced by nearly 29%.
If infrastructure status is granted to the sector, it will lead to financing being available to the developer at lower interest rates. The industry expects Union Budget 2019 to rationalise GST rates from 12% to 6% or subsume the stamp duty into the existing GST rate. We believe project approvals to be processed more quickly with single window clearance.
MD, Century Real Estate
Since 2019 is an election year, sentiments in real estate will be muted. The implementation of RERA and GST is seeing consolidation. This trend is likely to continue as distressed projects and smaller players will get absorbed by larger developers. The government’s push towards promoting affordable housing has made larger players drive growth organically in that direction. With growth in warehousing space, the demand for this asset class will also continue.
The liquidity crunch from the crisis of NBFCs will see developers focusing on completion and selling of projects rather than raising finance. We can expect more home-buyers to opt for flexible space-saving furniture while deciding to invest in a property.
MD, BL Kashyap & Sons
According to a study by ELP, the total infrastructure spend was 10% of GDP during 2012-2017, up from about 7.6%. The prospects for 2019 are brighter as the industry has nearly absorbed the impact of the three policies. The industry will see an upward trend as the sector has been streamlined because of which key players will approach the market cautiously. Investors who considered homes as an asset are unlikely to show the same interest in investing as annual appreciation are not in double digits in some top metros. Consequently, developers will launch projects by gauging market sentiments.
Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group
The market has been witnessing slow seeing signs of recovery in the residential property market, which is being led by the affordable housing segment. On the buyer segment, the sentiment is inclined towards affordable housing. But most projects are under construction, and buyers are adopting a wait and watch policy due to high tax components on under construction homes.
On the investor side, due to non-rental friendly policies, investors are out of the market.
Director, Ashwin Sheth Group
With rising economy and government encouraging foreign and domestic investors through progressive policy reforms, the future of real estate looks optimistic.
The residential market is gradually witnessing a revival and the focus is on pushing the affordable and mid-segment housing. GST improved affordability for potential homebuyers. The infrastructure sector is responsible for propelling India’s overall development.
CMD, Prestige Group
Though it’s an election year, 2019 is expected to be a good and productive year, with the market being stronger than it was in 2018. The residential real estate market is expected to grow significantly in 2019. In a country like India, given our population, the need for housing is constant. Other factors like urbanisation, the rise of nuclear families, increased disposable incomes, and monetary benefits have all further contributed to create a stronger demand for housing. Affordable housing is of course, the need of the hour. Having said that, I expect housing across categories to do well. Luxury housing being a niche market, witnesses a slower momentum. Given that there is quite a lot of inventory in the market currently, luxury housing will continue to move slowly. But having said that, it’s not necessary that one will trade off with another. Depending on the supply that comes in, the market will start stabilizing overall across all segments of housing.
MD, Paradigm Realty
2019 being an election year brings uncertainty and will see mixed sentiments in terms of new launches. 2019 is sought by developers as a year to redefine the real estate sector with opening up of funds investing through FDI and REIT model. Radical policy reforms alongside focus on affordable housing is likely to push the sector. With smooth rollover of maturing debts linked to commercial papers and minimal NPAs if liquidity improves in FY2020 it will boost the sector.
MD & chairman, Sumadhura Group
In the approaching year, there will be a huge scope for commercial real estate due to the increasing number of grade-A office spaces for start-ups, co-working places and e-commerce. IT parks in terms of location and amenities will also emerge as an exemplary trend for commercial real estate growth in India. Rentals in commercial realty will become an epitome of growth, as investors tend to rent a commercial space rather than buying it. Also, the increase in educational institutions in metro cities will drive student housing, which is a huge unmet demand in the country.
Executive VP & Head, Construction & Mining Machinery, L&T
Going forward, safety will play a major factor in equipment manufacturing and use. We need to enforce stronger sets of safety standards. Skilling is another factor that will see a strong focus. We have the Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council (IESC) under ICEMA, which will continue to skill people. The growth is here to sustain itself. There could be temporary blips here and there, but those are minor worries. In the long run, we are looking at a growth of 10-15%.