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Magnetic Maharashtra: Attracting Domestic And Foreign Direct Investments
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence 2018’ conclave in Mumbai. After the prime minister’s ‘Make In India’ initiative, launched in February 2016, this conclave is billed as one of the biggest event of its kind. As the state bagged 51 percent of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India, which is an outstanding achievement, the Global Investors’ Summit is targeting fresh investment.
With nearly 5,000 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), Maharashtra’s first Global Investors Summit is expected to generate employment for 35 lakh people, with an investment of Rs 10 lakh crore. The state government will release a road map to retain its pre-eminence in attracting investments.
With all the growing competition, the government is targeting a trillion-dollar economy and will project Maharashtra as the trade and manufacturing hub of India and highlight its achievements in the core sectors to lure global investors. The government expects to sign around 4,500 MoU’s and investment intentions worth Rs 10 lakh crore in various sectors including infrastructure, chemicals and petrochemicals, defence and aerospace, electric vehicles etc.
In his speech at the Global Investors’ Summit, PM Shri Narendra Modi said that the reforms by the Government’s budget has given rise to a new work culture and is in process to transform the socio-economic landscape of the country. The initiative of ease of doing businesses has been productive for business growth in the state as well as across the country. The prime minister emphasised on the government’s effort, he talked about 1,400 laws being repealed in the last three years, and the new one being written in order to simplify the complicated system. This is in harmony with the theme of first-ever Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence summit, projecting Maharashtra as the final destination for domestic as well as foreign direct investment.
According to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, there are only 15 countries in the world currently with a trillion-dollar economy. In the course down the line, Maharashtra aims to be the first state in India to reach this milestone. Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence 2018 is state’s first big step for propelling their very own ‘Make In Maharashtra’ campaign, which is aimed at producing a conducive business environment in the state.
He also added that during the past couple of years, a new trajectory has been achieved by Maharashtra in bolstering the state’s industrial output. The multiple reports released by reputed financial bodies are placing the state ahead in terms of ease of doing business. There are also statistics that the 50 percent of infrastructural development of India is being clocked in Maharashtra, projecting the positive progress of the Maharashtra’s economic growth.
Also the government is assuring on its commitment to complete the first phase of Navi Mumbai airport by December 2019. On 18 February, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for the airport at Navi Mumbai.
Real Estate Sets On The Upward Trend
The year 2017 will be remembered for various reforms that got introduced in the real estate industry. An eventful year that brought in Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act and introduction of GST., With only developers with strong balance sheets surviving, leading to a return of investor confidence and entry of new end users 2018 is likely to bring about a positive change in the market said the Sotheby’s International Realty in partnership with PwC and RICS report.
The report mentioned that branded residencies will grow in the Indian market. The report titled Luxury Real Estate Overview 2018 was released at the Global Luxury Realty Conclave 2018 organised by India Sotheby’s International Realty in partnership with the CII.
The report suggested that RERA is expected to institutionalise the process of selling real estate through only reputed realty firms. With the strict registration norms for the real estate brokers, it will weed out unscrupulous agents. Thus creating a far more transparent selling process. With only prominent institutional real estate brokerage firms, the investor confidence is bound to increase.
The report also stated, “The overall high supply overhang is expected to reduce substantially with developers striving to complete existing projects and generate cash flows from the sale of completed units.” It said that brands will matter more than ever now as customers prefer a two-way engagement with luxury brands.
Another survey conducted by 99acres.com suggested that most Indian metros witnessed recovery with sales improving, while property prices corrected or maintained status-quo.
While Hyderabad and Kolkata saw rentals increasing by 4% each during the October-December 2017 quarter as compared to the same period in 2016, Bengaluru and Mumbai recorded 3% hike. It also showed inventory-heavy markets of Delhi NCR and Mumbai to have witnessed some corrections in popular housing pockets of Gurgaon, Noida and Navi Mumbai.
99acres.com chief business officer Narasimha Jayakumar said, “RERA transformed the market from uncertain to mended buyer confidence during the quarter. Across cities enquiries and sales improved marginally. The premium market also saw enhanced traction in cities such as Bengaluru and Pune, suggesting an impending revival. With improving clarity on GST, sales are expected to revive across categories and budget segments.”
The report also said, “Prices may further dip in luxury and ultra-luxury segments in 2018 because of low buyer appetite for such projects. Other categories are, however, unlikely to see any major correction in January-March 2018.”
The report also put light on the sales aspects, pointing that saleable supply appears low on account of new and slow-paced registrations under RERA. It concluded, “Fresh inventory levels may soar in the ensuing quarters owing to increased registrations and new launches on the back of clarity in the norms.”
2018 – A Year of Consolidation for Smaller Developers
Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants
Consolidation is the process of combining a number of separate parts into a single, more effective or coherent one. Whenever there is consolidation in any sector, the general perception is that everything is going down the drain. However, the reality is that this process usually happens at the fag end of an industry downturn and actually helps in catalyzing a much stronger come-back.
The real estate sector is a clear case in point. It is emerging from a prolonged slowdown coupled with landmark policy inputs which have begun to edge out the ‘small fry’ – essentially creating an environment of large-scale consolidation of tier II and III developers. This dynamic alone will define 2018 as a year of massive positive change for Indian real estate.
In 2017, the overall Indian economy and the real estate sector, in particular, were well and truly shaken up by a series of unprecedented reforms and structural changes. Without a doubt, demonetization, RERA and GST will go down in the annals of Indian real estate history as the ‘trishul’ that struck at the very heart of unregulated real estate players and practices.
Understandably, they resulted in panic among many of the smaller players. If we take just the case of RERA, it becomes evident why this was the case. RERA enforces financial discipline, transparency, accountability, customer centricity and compliance, and these were either completely alien concepts or at least completely avoidable philosophies for the smaller (and often dubious) developers active on the market then.
While DeMon blew the lid off the top of the cauldron of black money in the sector, only a handful of the players in the Indian real estate industry will be able to ride the tide in the post-RERA/GST Era – for the following reasons:
- Rising costs and complexity
RERA and GST necessitate a radical change in the methods of doing real estate business. There is a massive focus on compliance, documentation, processes, etc. which will increase the costs and complexity of business operations. In addition, developers will have to invest significantly in upgrading their billing systems, CRM, etc. as well as training their vendors, contractors and other stakeholders to ensure 100% compliance to RERA and GST norms.
There are, of course, smaller developers who while not necessarily national players are still very strong in their own local markets. However, most of the smaller players are fringe operators who do not have the financial muscle to update their systems and abide by all the new norms. Most of these players will either look at exiting the business altogether or tag along with large, organized developers.
- Liquidity crunch
Under the RERA regime, pre-launches have come to a complete halt. In addition, developers have to mandatorily park 70% of the funds received from buyers into any particular project in a separate escrow account, to be used only for construction expenses involving that particular project. The eradication of the entire mechanism of ‘rolling’ funds has utterly shaken up the hitherto existing status quo on the Indian real estate market.
Simultaneously, the crackdown on black money has closed all illegal means of raising funds, even as PE players interested in Indian housing plays are now doing extremely scrupulous due diligence and investing only in ‘clean’ projects. It is a nigh-impossible market environment for the under-equipped player to raise fresh funds. Smaller developers, especially tier II and tier III developers, will face the brunt of these norms, resulting in a liquidity crisis which will necessitate their exit from the business.
- The existing burden of stalled projects
In the pre-RERA regime, there was no particular law to ensure that the developers complete projects as per commitments. They had more than sufficient scope for endlessly deferring completion by stating reasons such as approval delays, change in norms, etc. In reality, capital collected from their customers was ‘rolled’ to purchase new land or construct other projects. As a result of such dubious processes and false promises, many homebuyers were duped and as per estimates, there are around 57,000 units in 170 stalled projects across the top 7 cities of India.
With the exceptionally strict compliance norms under RERA, the task of completing their stalled projects is going to be exceptionally daunting for many tier II and tier III developers who have very little inherent financial muscle. These projects will inevitably be sold on an ‘as-is’ basis to large developers and/or converted into other assets such as plotted developments. In any case, large-scale consolidation of assets is on the cards.
- Debt repayment pressure
With subdued real estate demand for the past few years, many developers have leveraged their balance sheets to an extent that has made it impossible for them to manage their debt repayment schedules. With some developers already declaring bankruptcy, banks and FIs are also keeping a close watch on the repayments and are completely unwilling to take any adventurous risks. With massive pressure to repay their existing debt, many tier II and tier III developers are likely to declare bankruptcy in the near future – again, pushing the cause of large-scale consolidation.
Demonetization, RERA and GST will surely create a more robust market environment, but the short-term pain is symptomatic of a terminal condition for a very significant number of smaller players. The previous dynamics that defined the Indian real estate industry – opacity, financial indiscipline, inadequate redressal mechanism and false commitments – are not the only things that are on their way out. Massive consolidation, tantamount to a one-time clean-up before the sector embarks on a journey of healthier growth, is very much on the agenda over the next couple of years.
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