20:53 October 05, 2009
With decent shelter and space commanding a handsome premium across the country, the Indian real estate enjoys a unique place of pride and prominence among investors. Over the years, this sector has witnessed a sea change in volumes and value. From a pure stock market perspective, the figures are nothing short of spectacular – Listed real estate companies have seen a 30-fold increase in market capitalization - from a meager US$ 110 million in 2004 to US$ 30 billion till date.
Despite the meteoric rise and media attention, the sector remains fragmented and hence elusive for investment. Prima facie, every single real estate transaction requires statutory registration but this regulation is of little help when it comes to the availability of primary data. Further, the transactions are invariably highly cash-centric thereby posing problems in making fair value estimations.
Our painstaking probe and comprehensive interaction with key stakeholders of the residential real estate market - developers, mortgage financers, property brokers and statutory authorities - reveal startling facts and figures on the value distribution of this sector across the key metros of Mumbai, NCR, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Kolkata.
In a nutshell
While Demand dropped by 28 per cent...from the 2006-07 peak of 2, 38,000 annual primary transactions to 1, 73,000
Value declined 38 per cent...from US$ 26 billion in 2007 to US$ 16.1 billion
Because Unit prices fell 16 per cent...fall in demand reduced average apartment ownership cost from Rs 5.2 million to Rs 4.4 million (reduced apartment size and per sq ft price)
- Mumbai and NCR dominate the residential market (holding 57 per cent of the total value) – price recovery sharpest in Mumbai and NCR. Developers with large exposures to both, to reap maximum revenue and profits.
- Pune and Chennai were most resilient in the face of the current slowdown, thanks to their predominately end-user markets and high affordability for investors.
- Mumbai and Delhi most affluent among all metros.
| Fall in per cent from peak
|| Key trigger |
| Bangalore 38%
|| Economic uncertainty led by IT job losses |
| NCR 36 %
|| Investor exodus following the 2008 price slump (Commanded 40 per cent of total demand) |
| Kochi 36 %
|| Slowdown in Gulf economies (expatriate remittance accounted for 40 cent of the total demand) |
| Hyderabad 33 %
|| Supply - demand mismatch leading to more than two years of unsold inventory |
- The sector sorely needs a regulator to protect the interests of home buyers
- Out of eight metros, only three have policies in place for affordable mass housing
- Project approval is tedious and cumbersome - a typical span involves 70 approvals from 25 government agencies. This causes supply-demand mismatch, revenue recognition delays for developers, input costfluctuations.
- Developers unable to consume full FSI inaffordable housing projects in favor of cost effective construction andgoverning laws on construction area
- Mass housing projectsdemand large land parcels that are available only in distant suburbswhich invariably lack adequate public facilities – the ensuing highcost of living for buyers of such properties is another stumbling block.
- The unit price reduction (as much as up to 50 per cent) by builders led toa transaction revival in early 2009 as affordability improved demand.
- This led to a boost in capital market - amassing US$ 2.7 billion of equity capital
- Motivated by the stable election mandate, builders saw an opportunityfor price rise (20 to 30 per cent appreciation) with few exceptions
- Although this ploy may hold well till Diwali, the long term prospectsseem bleak in the wake of the low disposable income growths of two ofthe largest end-user markets - IT and BFSI.
- The end-usersentiment is wary at best - most see the price rise as a precursor toanother real estate bubble and high ownership costs owing to executiondelays
- High residential volumes seem unlikely in the wake of approval delays and liquidity issues in construction costs
- The lure of price appreciation can never condone the burden oftime -linked payment schedules that buyers face as a result of projectdelays.
- Builders need to focus on delivering pre-sold projects.
- They need to accelerate construction by investing in technology andmarshalling resources for crashing construction time from the current 4years to 2 years or less - a benchmark in South East Asian countrieslike Thailand and Malaysia.
- They should offer construction-linked payment plans to entice buyers.
Key take-aways from management interactions
Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC
- Real estate urgently needs a regulator and a single-window approval system
- Developer blunders : frequent high price hikes, exorbitant land buys and increased leverage & piling inventories in anticipation of price rise
- Entry of corporate players in real estate is a good development
- Developers would need to tap capital markets repeatedly
- A key lesson from the US property debacle: Over-leveraging by end-consumers can be fatal
Rajiv Singh, Vice Chairman, DLF
- Premium, mid-income & low-income product segments will have their respective price points and property location
- The paradigm has shifted from pricing for liquidity to pricing for continuity
- A ten-year visibility based on today's volume is reasonable for this sector
- In India, every project loses two years to red tape on average
- Government support is integral to low-income housing projects
Some facts before finishing off
| 50-70 nos
| Approvals required to launch a residential project in India |
| 18-24 mths
| Average time required to obtain all necessary residential project |
approvals that meet all criterias
| 66-80 %
| Share of carpet area to built area |