Sector poised to turn THE CORNER IN 2014-Sanjay Rastogi, Says
Year 2014 may pretty well be considered as the year of real estate maturity.
There is an all-pervasive view that after the general election in 2014, REIT, FDI in retail and a number of other funding options for the real estate sector will actually be put in place.
Real estate, after all, is a game of market sentiments and those sentiments can be revived within a few months on the back of sound economic fundamentals and market demand. Even foreign investors maintain that Indian economic fundamentals are worth a look—the worry is policy ambiguity which deters serious investors. Realty expert say that the decline in the number of launches will help property owners firm up their rents and also help new sellers in the resale market to demand more in capital value terms.
In the New Year, for the first six to eight months, growth momentum may not be the same as it used to be during the boom period between 2006 and 2008. However, economic indicators suggest that the market is poised for growth in the second half of the year after the general election in May 2014.
Buyers can be cautiously optimistic about a healthy recovery in the real estate market, as existing conditions favour a long-term investment horizon. While there may not be any corrections, buyers can bargain for some discounts on the quoted rates in new launches.
Investors and buyers continue to chase residential real estate assets, especially those properties which are mid-sized and priced reasonably and offer locational advantage and good infrastructure. While there is demand for affordable housing, premium properties too have attracted buyers in prime cities of the Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Mumbai. However, most of the demand is in the Rs 3,500-5,500 per sq ft segment.
The depreciation of rupee provided a good opportunity to the NRI and high-value buyers of property in prime locationswhich improved the sale figures—although the bottom lines remained sluggish due to increasing cost of raw materials. Developers and builders expect development authorities like the Noida-Greater Noida authorities and the Yamuna Industrial Development Authority to settle land-acquisition issues of the farmers of Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Expressway peacefully; this would improve the law and order situation in the area considerably and ensure smooth implementation of the projects lined up in these regions.
Rakesh Sharma, director of Antriksh Ideal Group, says: “Going forward, the supply situation will remain subdued due to the deferred completion of a number of new projects and reduction in number of launches across categories. Therefore, residential prices will see marginal increase in 2014. The supply levels are likely to improve in the second half of 2014.”
R K Arora, CMD of Supertech Ltd, says: “Year 2013 was a mixed bag of cheers and tears for the real estate industry. The uncertainties and the potential impact of Real Estate Regulatory Bill and Land Acquisition Bill continue to haunt developers, as these come with stringent penalties for delays, which are beyond the control of developers. The good news is the resolution of the land-acquisition issue in Greater Noida West; resumption of work there is music to the ears of developers and flat buyers. The long-standing demand of real estate industry for the central government to grant it the status of industry, which will help developers avail project funds from authorized sources among other things, needs to be addressed without delay in the New Year.”
Manoj Gaur, MD of Gaursons India Ltd, says: “The right product for the right market is one loud message coming out of Year 2013, and the developers who have done this research are doing well despite the slowdown. I am hopeful that the year ahead will be better than the current one, especially in the second half of 2014, when there will be clarity on the political and economic front after the general election. A lot is expected out of the next budget—the market sentiments will start changing thereafter.” Rakesh Yadav, MD of Antriksh Group, says: “The real estate is moving in the right direction despite a very stressful year. Policy makers will be forced to take cognizance of the contribution
of the sector to the Indian
GDP—it remains to be
seen whether that happens
with the next budget or after the election. But what can be vouchsafed is that managing the shortages is not the solution any more. The government has to take investmentfriendly steps to create surpluses now.”
Ashok Gupta, MD of Ajnara India Ltd, says: “There is growing evidence that though international investors and domestic investors seemed to target commercial property at the beginning of the Indian real estate boom, residential property is now more in demand. There are a number of reasons for this increase in demand for residential property, many elements of which are likely to continue for some time to come.”
Sushant Muttreja, MD of Cosmic Group, says: “While the Indian economy is expected to grow by 5% towards the end of 2013-14, this is well below the mark set during the boom time of recent years. Indeed, the RBI is forecasting that inflation will come down to around 5.3% by end 2014, which seem fairly high, but is certainly a major improvement on the current level of 6.5%. As a consequence, financial institutions are now limiting ready finance for the real estate sector.”
Deepak Kapoor, director of Gulshan Homz, says: “It is no surprise to learn that international and domestic investors are now targeting partiallycompleted developments, which only require additional finance to get them over the finishing line. So, taking account of the lack of new developments and the relatively small number of partially-finished developments, this will likely help maintain real estate prices in the short to medium term.”
Kushagr Ansal, whole-time director of Ansal Housing, says: “The Indian and Chinese economies have performed extremely well over the last five years or so, especially in light of the US mortgage crisis which impacted economies worldwide. Of late, there has been a slowdown in economic growth, which has perhaps caused many economists to rein in their optimistic forecasts from just a few months ago.”
However, the long-term dynamics of the Indian real estate market are still intact—a growing population, an expanding economy, increasing international investment, as well as a humongous middleclass which continues to grow even during these challenging economic times,” Kushagr Ansal says.
Rajesh Goyal, CMD of RG Group, says: “There is pent-up demand for a long-term real estate development in India. The economy is starting to improve again and inflation is set to fall significantly, which should ensure a steady long-term progressive Indian real estate market. There may be issues outside of the control of the Indian authorities but the dynamics required to expand the Indian residential real estate sector, as well as the commercial real estate sector, are certainly in place.” Vijay Jindal, CMD of SVP Group, says: “Though the realty sector made a promising start initially, compared to last year, the sentiment dampened due to rise in construction costs and rising rates of land and labour. Added to these woes were economic factors like plummeting rupee, abnormal rise in inflation and overall financial crunch faced by the end users—all of which made realty growth extremely sluggish. Let us hope the coming year brings a ray of hope that is beneficial for developers and buyers.”
Rahul Gaur, CMD of Brys Group, says: “Looking forward, the first half of the year 2014 may not be much different from 2013, but the second half promises to change the market dynamics. Developers also seem to have learned their lessons in the last four-five years, which saw the market tumble and started hurting our business. I think this will be a turnaround year for all the stakeholders.”
Gaurav Gupta, director of SG Estates, says: “Year 2014 looks to be the year of hope after a dull and average 2013. We hope to get a stable government by the middle of next year and, hopefully, inflation too will ease by March. As the rate of interest is at a peak, from here onwards it is expected to only fall. Also, it is expected that the new government’s policy will be clear on REITs and inflows may start in 2014. This will ease liquidity pressure, especially in commercial real estate.”
Kaushal Jain, MD of Arihant Group, says: “Homebuyers have complained about the high price rates of residential property this year, which is why demand did not take off as expected. This led to huge inventory pileup, which developers had to sell by offering freebies during the festive season. At the same time, realty players have also had to grapple with raw material costs as well as other external and internal development charges. The new government must come up with coherent and sustainable policies which will retain investors’ interest in the sector.”
Vikas Jain, MD of Sarvottam Group, says: “Year 2013 was full of ups and downs for real estate industry; rising inflation brought real estate to a low point while the land acquisition bill deepened the misery. But at the other end, REIT is a ray of hope for the industry to solve the liquidity crunch while the FDI in real estate could well be the biggest pacifier.”
Sanjay Rastogi, director of Saviour Builders, says: “Year 2013 started on a positive note with interesting launches across India and the sector was very much upbeat about a realty boom. But the industry was soon dogged by economic slowdown, falling rupee, escalating property prices, slow progress in infrastructural development and a host of other issues. All these came upon us at once and pulled down all hopes of a revival. Looking at the coming year, we expect some favourable and unbiased policies from the government so that we can bring up affordable housing for homebuyers.”
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