Responding to union minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation (HUPA) M Venkaiah Naidu’s call for greater participation of private sector developers in the Centre’s Affordable Housing for All initiative under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY), real estate experts say launching such projects is not easy. Builders will have to first ensure the viability of the project and see to it that the land on which it is coming up is not expensive.
While some builders with existing projects are planning to bring in budget housing there, others say such moves require careful thought. If built far away from the city, such units will remain unsold and become virtual ghost towns.
The Prateek Group will launch 60 sq m units as part of its third and fourth phases in its existing Grand City project in Siddharth Vihar in Ghaziabad. “We are planning to launch 1500 units after April. The unsold stock (in the existing project) will also get Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana interest subvention benefits. Pricing for the new launch is yet to be worked out,” says Prashant Tiwari, chairman of the company.
Deepak Kapoor, director, Gulshan Homz and president Credai Western UP says that his company will analyse the affordable housing scheme. “We are waiting for the final notification. We will evaluate it once the final notification is released,” he says.
Experts also say that with fewer housing launches, many investors, like in the past, could make a beeline for affordable homes and exit after prices appreciate. That could lead to oversupply problems that the market is currently facing.
Taking on a project has become a huge issue for builders at this juncture. First, many do not have the cheap land that’s essential to launch new schemes. Second, starting anything new does not make sense to builders whose existing projects are already delayed. About 11 lakh units currently remain unsold across the country. These are the main reasons why developers are deferring launches in this segment, says Pankaj Kapoor of Liases Foras.
Places where land is cheap are far away from cities and have virtually nil demand. “One can create affordable housing in Panvel (near Mumbai) but if the social fabric is missing. Who will live in those locations? Real estate never has a knee-jerk impact, affordable housing schemes may gain pace subsequently, perhaps in the next three to six months,” he says.
Granting infrastructure status to affordable housing is a positive step and will ensure long term funding at cheaper rates. Developers are trying to draw up strategies to tap the market at the bottom of the pyramid. Announcements are expected for this segment both in some existing projects or as new launches, but that will start to happen only in the next two to three quarters, says Rohit Modi, director, Ashiana Group and vice president, Credai national (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India).
Density norms are also a challenge. Several state affordable housing policies need to be aligned with the definition of the government’s affordable housing policy. Companies could also set up separate verticals to handle affordable projects, he adds.
Sheltrex Developers, which focuses on developing budget units in peripheral areas in large cities, is exploring opportunities in Delhi-NCR. “In Delhi we have already initiated the process. We are waiting for the land pooling policy to come through and are exploring about 100 acres on which we intend to launch around 8,000 to 9,000 units. Subsequently we will set up a full fledged team in Delhi,” says Sandeep Singh Gaur, CEO of the company.
At the national level, the company intends to deliver about 50,000 units by 2021 and about 70,000 units by 2022.
The affordable housing segment is akin to the manufacturing industry as it is a volume-driven business. PMAY is a game changer. Earlier, to be eligible for PMAY, the salary limit was Rs 6 lakh, the biggest challenge that housing financial companies faced was to establish the credit worthiness of customers. Now with the household income of consumers increased to Rs 18 lakh per annum, it will boost demand and help financial institutions to easily establish the creditworthiness of consumers, he says.
There are others who are not optimistic about the success of the scheme. Amit Wadhwani, director of Sai Estate Consultants, channel partners for over 32 developers, says that the scheme may not see huge demand in major cities.
“Initially the segment may see investors wanting to pool in money hoping that there will be appreciation in this segment but as far as the end- users are concerned, I am not very optimistic. The average age of a homebuyer today has decreased and ranges from above 40 to 27 years to 35 years. Their average salary is anything between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh per month. In a place like Mumbai where a house in the suburbs costs nothing less than Rs 75 lakh, I do not see this profile of homebuyers occupying homes in the periphery. They would prefer to pay Rs 50,000 as rent in the main city and invest additional funds in either equity or debt where the rate of return will be anything in the range of 14% to 15%.
“The biggest challenge will be absorption of these units. Who will buy these houses? Will investors hold it for some time and then exit with negative returns?” he asks.
Top Investment Destinations In Asia-Pacific Include Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi
Since the Indian investment policy for the real estate sector has got a thumbs up from the foreign investors the country has regained favour as a preferred investment destination in the Asia Pacific region.
According to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2018 report Mumbai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi ranked 12, 15 and 20 by survey respondents as top investment cities. The report was jointly published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Globally Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City were the top investment cities.
The report also said that due to the implementation of GST and last year’s demonetisation liquidity issued have been created for real estate and it has also impacted investment and development prospects of the cities, thereby pulling down their rankings.
Mumbai has been ranked 12th after being on the second spot last year, while it ranked 8th in terms of development prospects. Bengaluru and New Delhi stand at 15th and 20th position respectively in the investment destination ranking against 1 and 13 respectively in the last year. They ranked 16th and 18th positions respectively on the development destination ranking.
According to the report Mumbai has benefitted from the recent strength of India’s capital markets. Absorption has therefore been strong, driven by demand in co-working, manufacturing, and services companies. Retail is another sector that is drawing increasing foreign investment interest.
Although steadily declining, Mumbai’s office vacancy rate (at around 17 percent) continues to be very high, and with a pipeline of incoming supply totalling about 40 percent of existing stock, fundamentals would appear to be negative. In reality, however, Mumbai continues to lag behind in term of Grade-A stock, meaning that any new supply is quickly taken up and that rental growth for those properties remains strong, says the report.
The city is emerging as the business process outsourcing (BPO) in India. The early foreign investors in this sector bought income-producing assets in business parks along with local partners and benefitted greatly. Some of these assets have now been earmarked for sale, in particular via India’s newly emerging REIT sector, which is expected to launch its first IPO in the first quarter of 2018.
8 to 9 percent annually, together with healthy new tenant demand rental growth has been reported by operators of BPO facilities. However, with the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence technologies the BPO industry is tapering off.
As compared to other Indian cities, New Delhi remains unpopular with investors. According to the report this is mainly due to a downtrend in development of residential sector.
Even though this has created a chance to supply bridging finance, there are not many foreigners who have shown interest in it. The report suggests that north Indian developers tend to be overleveraged and often hold portfolios of high-end housing which is in oversupply. Thus many projects have faced delays and some developers have acquired a poor reputation.
Nonetheless there is a big potential the moment the markets turn. Report points, Delhi will be one of the first cities to start seeing a pickup.
According to JLL Delhi missed its opportunity to grab a share of the surging growth seen in business parks located in the south. Even though there was recent demand from IT companies, uptake overall has been slow, leaving office vacancies at an elevated 30 percent. Thus it lacks when it comes to absorption however rentals have still been holding firm unlike the lower vacancies and higher rentals in Mumbai.
India is the only country to provide long-term sustainable 3 to 5 percent rental growth profile over a long period. Investors identified India among others as a destination where data centres are projected to provide 13 to 15 percent IRR.
Investors are interested about affordable housing as an asset class even though supply of affordable homes increased in last 3 quarters. The report says the important reason being availability of land at affordable price and not so far away from the cities, no single window approvals, and time overruns etc.
India continues to attract strong flows of institutional and sovereign wealth type capital suggests the report. It adds, investment in India offer massive scale opportunity and continues to be strategic in nature. Also, most international investors in India prefer commercial property, with cap rates currently averaging in the range of 8.5 percent to 8.75 percent.
Mostly due to tax reforms, India logistics sector has recently been the target of an investment boom. The average appreciation in rentals has been anything between 8 to 10 percent per annum, higher as compared to office space, growing 5 to 7 percent.
The residential properties, due to demonetisation campaign, GST and increased regulation of real estate development practices, continue to suffer. High-end residential oversupply is another ongoing problem. India remains the real bright spot for new REIT markets.
Almost 52 Percent Of Residential Units Registered Under MahaRERA Remain Unsold: Report
According to a report, 350,000 units remain unsold out of the total number of units that were registered under MahaRERA leading to an inventory overhang of 52 percent as of August end.
The joint report from Cushman & Wakefield and Propstack said with over 50 percent of the current residential inventory remaining unsold and slow momentum of the new launches, the prices have been largely stable.
An estimated 670,339 units across 5,620 projects have been registered under MahaRERA including residential and residential cum commercial under-construction projects. These projects cover 506 million sq ft of development.
Looking at MMR in areas beyond Thane, maximum numbers of projects were launched and registrations done under MahaRERA at 1,835 projects constituting 33 percent of total projects registered.
Gautam Saraf, MD, Mumbai, Cushman & Wakefield said, “Availability of land at the lower prices is a crucial parameter that allows developers to keep the per unit prices under check. Maximum end-users are value sensitive and would like to get maximum benefits out of their purchases. Locations beyond Thane allow developers to create homes that deliver value beyond just habitat. These areas are well connected through public transport including suburban rail and roads, and give developers the confidence to launch large-scale projects in these areas”.
The stretch from Bandra to Borivali on the Western Suburb saw 1,400 projects making up 25 percent of the total registrations. The rest of the table was completed by Eastern Suburbs (18%), Navi Mumbai (12%) Thane (7%), and South Mumbai (5%).
1 and 2BHK configuration units estimated at 319,000 had the highest share of sales constituting together of 87percent. 3BHK configurations sales made up 11percent, while even higher configurations were a mere 1percent of the total inventory sold.
Due to the high real estate prices in MMR region, the end-users’ affinity has been towards smaller configurations. The report added, even while the capital values of affordable houses across most micro markets have not seen any drastic changes when compared to other cities like Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Pune, these are higher by at least 10–15percent for comparable projects and locations.
Sandeep Reddy, Director, PropStack, India stated, “As more and more projects register for MahaRERA, the market, including end-users, will have better access to information on developers and projects. For end-users, having all information upfront will help them to assess the final product upon receipt….The data will help us create better, sharper analysis of demand as well as design future supply to help avoid demand-supply mismatches”.
While registering under MahaRERA, most builders have revised their delivery timelines. As per the report while 42percent of the projects are expected to be delivered on time, over 43percent of the projects showing delays of up to 3 years and the rest beyond 3 years.
Approximately 57 percent of the under-construction projects are delayed. 1454 projects will see completion in the year 2018, the largest volume of completion.
Also Read: RERA To Ensure Completion Of Realty Projects
CREDAI New India Summit
CREDAI is the apex body that represents over 12,000 private Real Estate developers spread across 23 state-level chapters and 177 cities in India. Established in 1999, CREDAI has worked hard to make the industry more organized and progressive by networking closely with Government representatives, policymakers, investors, finance companies, consumers and real estate professionals.
The New India Summit is another such effort from CREDAI to direct focus on Tier II, III and IV cities and develop them to be the forerunners of success. CREDAI New India Summit is all set to unleash the potential of an emerging India. This one small step has the power to give way to a new India.
For the longest time, our leaders and foresighted influencers have put all their time and energy in developing the Tier I cities namely Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. No doubt, these cities have really changed the way people look at India today. These cities are the epitome of advanced technology and modern culture. But they also face challenges due to the grave pressure of urbanization. Decreasing quality of life, increasing the cost of living, overpopulation and unemployment, increase in transit time and traffic congestion, expensive housing, hospitality, education and healthcare facilities are some of the issues that all the Tier I cities face today.
According to a report, smaller cities are developing 79% faster as compared to metros with just 21%. Our of the 12,000 CREDAI members, 76.77% of them are from Tier II, III and IV cities. Looking at the scenario, it is only innate to divert the energies in developing the areas which still have potential. Thus, offering a good quality life to people in those cities itself and taking the pressure off of the Tier I cities.
The Forbes Magazine has said small cities are India’s emerging business locations. The government has also been putting dedicated efforts into schemes that directly benefit the growth of Tier II, III and IV cities. Sustainable economic development, improving infrastructure and transportation, increasing employment opportunities, and introducing technologies for rapid urbanization are some of the prime agendas that the government has been taking actions on.
The CREDAI New India Summit will take place on the 9th and 10th November 2017 in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
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