Residential and Office Markets Stage Remarkable Recovery in Q3 2020: Knight Frank

Real Estate Growth

Home sales have increased 2.5 times in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020, while new launches have increased 4.5 times in Q3 2020 compared to the previous quarter reports Knight Frank India in its latest market update. The leading international property consultancy revealed this not unexpected good news during the launch of its special report – India Real Estate Update (July – September 2020). This timely report also reveals that India’s prime cities have registered an 80% growth in office leasing in Q3 2020.

Residential sales in Q3 2020. Source: Knight Frank
Residential sales in Q3 2020. Source: Knight Frank

It is almost surreal that we are now in the seventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been various phases of lockdown and then various phases of unlock. After the first couple of months of lockdown, as many people as well as migrant workers left for their home towns and villages, the economy was staring down the barrel. All construction work came to a grinding halt. But after the first stagnant quarter of the pandemic, real estate developers began to report renewed buyer interest in homes, no doubt stirred by the value of a home to wait out the COVID-19 storm. Many developers have also reported a steady pick up in sales which is clearly reflected in Knight Frank India’s latest market update.

Recovery of Residential Market

The period of July to September 2020 or Q3 has seen home sales volume jump to 33,403 units in Q3 2020 compared to just 9,632 in Q2 2020. Similarly, 31,106 new residential units were launched in Q3 2020 compared to 5,584 units in the previous quarter. Developers have displayed their innovativeness and marketing savvy by including various schemes and benefits such as easy payment options, etc. to attract homebuyers during the lockdown. A key ingredient of their success in attracting buyer interest has been various digital marketing platforms. Together, this helped residential sales improve to 54% of pre-COVID levels.

Impact of stamp duty reduction. Source: Knight Frank
Impact of stamp duty reduction. Source: Knight Frank

Stamp Duty Boosts Recovery in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, the 300 basis point cut in stamp duty has been a big stimulus in boosting demand for residential units. In tandem with the reduction in home loan rates, Mumbai and Pune saw sales double in Q3 2020. Together, Mumbai, Bengaluru and NCR accounted for 56% of the quarterly sales volume during Q3 2020. Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India, said,

Developers have been focusing on liquidating inventory and homebuyers inclined to purchase ready assets have translated into reduced unsold inventory levels in this quarter. Going forward, the festival season will be crucial for developers. This may prove to be an opportune time for end-users with the adequate financial stability to make their investments.”

Increase in Office Transactions

The improvement in residential real estate is mirrored by the sector as well. Social distancing norms and work from home have largely made offices redundant for the time being. The brunt of this was felt in Q2 of 2020 which saw volumes of sales and new completion fall sharply. Business expansion plans were deferred as companies were forced to control costs in an uncertain environment. However, similar to residential, with the unlock commercial has also registered recovery. New completions grew to 126% to 0.33 mn sqm in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020. The recovery in office transactions and new completions helped rental values remain stable in Bengaluru (4%) followed by Hyderabad (2%), Chennai (0.5%), and Pune with 0% YoY.

Office transaction in Q3 2020: Source Knight Frank
Office transaction in Q3 2020: Source Knight Frank

As unlock progresses and the economy slowly stages a recovery, the office market is expected to improve. This is also reflected in the recent success of REITs, also seen as an indicator of investor confidence in this space. Rajani Sinha, Chief Economist & National Director – Research, Knight Frank India said,

We expect occupiers to look at office space usage more strategically. This will lead to further innovation in aspects like social – distancing, health benefits, sustainability as well as preparedness for future contingencies.”

The recovery of the residential and office markets of the real estate industry augurs well for the overall economy. As the recovery gains steam during the upcoming festive season, one hopes the various other codependent sectors also gain from real estate.

Office Leasing Scales Historic Highs, Residential Sales Remain Stable: Knight Frank H2 Report

Trends in Bangalore Real Estate: Aerial shot of UB City, Bangalore

Given the latest growth forecasts for the Indian economy, one could be forgiven for feeling like every sector is struggling and experiencing a deceleration. The latest Knight Frank India Real Estate: H2 2019 report suggests that transactions in the Office space have experienced historic high whereas sales of homes have stayed resilient despite numerous sectoral and financial headwinds.

Pan-India Residential Market Remains Buoyant

Across India the residential fared surprisingly well. According to the Knight Frank report, YoY there were 23% growth in launches. Although there was a marginal 1% drop in sales in H2, overall sales grew by 1% during 2019. Even the QTS or Quarters to Sell improved to 8.9 in 2019 compared to 10.2 in 2018. The rigorous implementation of RERA and rationalisation of GST rates have served to keep customer sentiment buoyant. Whereas the setting up of an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) aimed at providing developers with some financial relief towards unfinished and stressed projects has done much to help them align themselves to the new normal of India’s real estate sector. This can be seen from the increased volume of new launches.

Sector Performance Highlights:

  • Affordable housing has seen a small drop in share of transactions despite 60% residential launches happening in the affordable sector.
  • Weighted average prices in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai witnessed a drop by 2%, 3% and 5% YoY, respectively.
  • Moderating prices, government reforms and incentives have kept the residential market from stagnating.
Performance of MMR residential market. Source: Knight Frank report
Performance of MMR residential market. Source: Knight Frank report

Mixed year for Mumbai Residential Market

According to the report, in Mumbai launches decreased in H2, however for 2019 there was a steady 7% growth in launches thanks to a strong 22% in H1. Sales in H2 however were affected by the weak consumption demand led by the slowing economy and the lengthening shadows of the NBFC crisis which continue to present aftershocks. This has led to an annual decline of 5% in sales for 2019. The biggest highlight from a consumer perspective is the continued decline in prices in the MMR market. This shows a steady price correction to Rs. 7,014 per sq. ft. from a peak of Rs. 8,120 in 2016.

Sector Performance Highlights:

  • Average apartment sizes have shrunk by 25% over the last 5 years across the MMR market from 892 sq. ft. to 673.
  • 6% decline in launches in Mumbai during H2 – 35,988 compared to 43,822 in H1
  • Unsold inventory and QTS have increased over the last two years.
  • Thane market registered highest growth (36% YoY) of new launches 

Gulam Zia, Executive Director– Valuation & Advisory, Retail & Hospitality, Knight Frank India, said, “The residential sector in Mumbai was also impacted by the general slowdown as well as the continued effects of the credit crunch and NBFC crisis which has impacted end-user sentiments with sales declining by 14% YoY in H2 2019. We hope that the series of reforms that the government is undertaking would augur well for the revival of the economy as well as the real estate sector.”

Performance of Office Sector experiences all-time highs

Office leasing in 2019 touched a historic high of 60.6 msf thus recording a 27% YoY growth compared to 2018. This growth was witnessed despite the current economic slowdown. Bengaluru has seen the highest volume of office leasing in 2019 at 15.3 msf to top a decade of leading office leasing in the country. Hyderabad was not far behind at 12.8 msf.

Office leasing in 2019. Source: Knight Frank report
Office leasing in 2019. Source: Knight Frank report

While leasing by IT sector increased in H2 2019 the share of BSFI leasing reduced to 16% thus revealing the direct impact of the of the NBFC crisis. Meanwhile leasing by coworking businesses accounted for 12% of the total space at 4.1 msf in the same period, reveals the Knight Frank report.

Mumbai witnessed a historic year of leasing activity in 2019 touching 9.7 million sq. ft. and thus registering a 22% YoY growth. New supply of office space, however, declined by 18% YoY.

Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India tempered this high with sobering views, “The historic rise in the office transactions is a significant growth indicator for the office market as it represents the continued commitment of domestic and global corporations in the country’s growth potential despite the ongoing economic slowdown. While the office space is expected to sustain demand, increasing supply could weigh on rents and vacancy levels.”

Mega Online Home Fest by Provident Housing

Provident Mega Online Home Fest
Provident Mega Online Home Fest
Provident Mega Online Home Fest

Provident Housing announces the biggest festival of this season, Mega Online Home Fest! The fest offers savings up to Rs.12,00,000 lacs* on premium homes and 1 lac* instant additional cashback (over and above the offer price) on the purchase of an early-bird voucher worth Rs.999 (100% refundable if not used) before 16th October 2019.

You can arrive at this fest as per your convenience as it is a full-fledged ONLINE HOME FEST giving you a chance to own a Provident Home, in just a click. To make your festive season bigger and brighter, Provident Housing has handpicked the projects at the most in-demand micro-markets and have offered savings up to Rs.12,00,000 on these homes.

The offer price will be revealed on 18th October 2019 @00:00 hours on their website (hyper link this). To avail the voucher benefit, you must select and book an apartment online through their online home booking platform, BOOK MY HOME between 18th October 00:00 to 20th 0ctober 23:59 hours. The offer is valid for some specially chosen projects across Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Goa and Hyderabad.

Here is how you can book your dream home

Step 1- Go to www.providenthousing.com/megaonlinehomefest and click on the project of your choice.

Step 2- Click on BOOK MY HOME to take a virtual tour of the property.

Step 3- Select your preferred apartment from the available selection.

Step 4- Book your home by making an online payment of just Rs. 2,00,000. Don’t forget to apply your voucher code at the time of booking to get an instant additional cashback of Rs. 1,00,000.

What are you waiting for? Get your own little place to celebrate, a place with new beginnings, a place made of love and dreams. This year, BRING DIWALI HOME!

Choose your project today!

How North Bengaluru has Emerged as the City’s Crown Jewel

Bengaluru’s emergence as an outsourcing hub gave birth to IT clusters in the city, and earned it the sobriquet ‘Silicon Valley of India’. Until the mid-2000s, these were located in the central, southern and the eastern parts of the city which also enjoyed well-rounded development in terms of infrastructure as well as civic and social amenities. However, the development of the Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli in 2008 catalysed the growth of North Bengaluru. It attracted large scale realty investments and still continues to do so.

North Bengaluru comprises of the localities of Hebbal, Jakkur, Thanisandra, Hennur, Banaswadi, Yelahanka and Devanahalli. Development of the entire region is accelerating at an exponential rate. Here’s a look into the factors contributing to the development of North Bengaluru.

Public Infrastructure in North Bengaluru

If we look at the public infrastructure that is currently in place and under construction in North Bengaluru, we would be able to imagine the scale at which the region is growing. A 22-km Elevated Expressway to the International airport has reduced the travel time to and from the airport for the entire city.

Under Phase 3 of the development of Namma Metro, a line from Nagawara to the International Airport via Hebbal and Jakkur, spanning a total of 30 km, has been sanctioned. The project has been fast-tracked and is estimated to be completed by December 2023. Its completion would enable residents of North Bengaluru to seamlessly travel to the airport or to the city.

The proposed Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) is envisioned to be a 65-km stretch of Ring Road which will encircle the Outer Ring Road (ORR) and connect Doddaballapur Road, Bellary Road, Tumkur Road, Hennur Road, Sarjapur Road and many others, including Electronic City. The PRR will largely decongest the ORR and provide faster connectivity around the city.

Finally, the government of Karnataka is contemplating developing a suburban railway network connecting the city of Bangalore to the International Airport. The plan is to convert Devanahalli into a terminal station of the suburban line which would further connect Bangalore City Railway Station to the airport via KR Puram and Hebbal Railway Station. This is a bold plan and would provide airport-to-railway connectivity thus boosting tourism as well as unprecedented multi-modal connectivity in the city.

Peripheral Business District

North Bengaluru is developing into a massive business hub. The $22 billion, 12000-acre KIADB Devanahalli IT Park is one of the most awaited developments here. This is in addition to the already-functional KIADB Aerospace SEZ, a science park and a 10 billion dollar financial city which would rival the financial hubs of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and further attract a lot of growth and employment opportunities. Manyata Tech Park and Kirloskar IT Park are among some of the IT parks that have come up in the region. A 2018 Knight Frank report observes that office transactions (sq. ft.) in the region have seen a 73% YoY growth; this is estimated to increase further.

Cheaper Land Rates Contributing to the Real Estate Boom

North Bengaluru has benefitted from traditionally cheaper land rates which has enhanced its attractiveness to developers and investors. Despite the recent flurry of development, and improved infrastructure and connectivity, the rates continue to be lower than other parts of the city. This has consequently resulted in a booming residential market with more affordable housing options for the masses choosing to settle in Bengaluru. Estimates of prices per sq. ft. for apartments in North Bengaluru – Hebbal (Rs. 5000-10000), Hennur (Rs. 3500-7500), Yelahanka (Rs. 4000-6500) and Thanisandra (Rs. 3000-8000).

Vast Array of Options

A homebuyer looking for a new abode in North Bengaluru has the flexibility to choose from a variety of options curated to suit their lifestyle needs. Apartments of varying configurations, townships boasting vast green spaces with digitally enabled homes or green homes, villas, and plotted developments are some of the dizzying array of choices that real-estate developers offer the discerning homebuyer or investor. North Bengaluru is emerging as the destination of choice to live a well connected, urban life with the luxury of abundant green spaces.

Proximity to the best of Social Infrastructure

The burgeoning growth of North Bengaluru as a commercial and business hub has ensured the growth of a reliable and good quality network of social amenities such as schools (Stonehill International School, Canadian International School, Delhi Public School, Sir M Visveswaraya Institute of Technology, etc), hospitals (Columbia Asia, Cloud Nine, Regal Hospital, NRV Hospital, Aster CMI Hospital, etc), malls and entertainment options (RMZ Galleria, Decathlon etc).

Despite the tremendous construction and development in North Bengaluru in recent years, the region continues to have an abundance of vast, open spaces. The existence of Nandi Hills and lots of greenery also adds to the attraction of this region.

Conclusion

North Bengaluru is the latest shining jewel in the crown that is the city of Bengaluru. Investors and residents alike can expect much from this region in the coming decade. The completion of public infrastructure projects such as Metro connectivity till the airport, Peripheral Ring Road, the establishment of Business districts, SEZ’s, and IT clusters will completely transform the landscape, economy and real estate potential of the region.

(Previously published in The Hindu’s Property Plus supplement on 28th Sept)

Affordable Housing Keeps Residential Real Estate Performance Stable: Knight Frank

Knight Frank India released the 11th edition of its flagship half-yearly report on Indian real estate which presents a comprehensive analysis of the performance of both the residential and office markets across eight cities for the period January to June 2019. The highlight of this most-recent edition of the report has been the growth in affordable housing which has kept residential sales afloat despite a recovering market. On the office side the market has seen tremendous growth to reach an all-time high. The coworking segment has appropriated 15% of the share of this growth in office transaction volumes. Here are the quick highlights of the report:

Residential Performance Grows

Overall, the residential market performed well thanks to a stronger and more transparent regulatory environment. According to the report, launch of new units in H1 2019 rose by 21% YoY to 107,143 units while sales grew by a steady 4% YoY to 133,317 units. 51% of launches during H1 2019 occurred in the ticket sizes under INR 5 mn (INR 50 lakhs) and 78% under INR 10 mn (INR 1 Cr) thanks to developers’ focus on the affordable housing sector and lower ticket size offerings.

Residential Real Estate performance
Residential Real Estate performance (Source: Knight Frank)

While NCR and Kolkata saw a drop in unit launches, Hyderabad and Bengaluru grew by 47% and 34%, respectively. Prices have continued to stagnate and remained below the CPI across most markets. The weighted average prices in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai falling by a further 3%, 4% and 3% YoY, respectively.

In Mumbai, residential growth was mostly seen in the suburbs. Thane saw the largest quantum of new launches by some of the biggest corporates. The Peripheral Central Suburbs witnessed the highest sales growth in MMR of 9% YoY during H1 2019. Overall sales of housing units in Mumbai grew marginally by just 4%. Two factors affected the sales negatively – ambiguity around GST and the elections. In fact due to the ambiguity surrounding GST, most developers opted for the earlier GST regime with 12% ITC for on-going projects.

Gulam Zia, Executive Director– Valuation & Advisory, Retail & Hospitality said, “The mood of residential realty in Mumbai continues to be sombre and withdrawn. With more skeletons tumbling out of NBFC cupboards the shadows on Indian housing industry are getting longer. Affordable housing segment has emerged as a silver lining in these dark clouds.”

Office Market Performance Hits All-time High

The Indian office space sector reached a decadal high volume in supply and transactions in H1 2019. Office supply increased by 31% year-on-year (YoY) to 2.2 mn sq m (23.9 mn sq ft) in the current analysis period, the highest level achieved in this decade. Demand from the IT/ITeS (35%) and coworking (15%) segments have contributed heavily to the phenomenal growth of this sector.

Bengaluru achieved a historic high in transactions as well as supply during H1 2019 with transactions hitting 8.3 mn sq. m. while supply increased by over 100% at 7.6 mn sq. m. in H1 2019. Average rental values across the eight cities grew by 10% YoY during H1 2019 with Bengaluru topping at 13.5% YoY.

All India Office Market Performance
All India Office Market Performance (Source: Knight Frank)

Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director said, “The spurt in demand for higher end roles in the Artificial Intelligence and data security domains have led to a welcome and significant 59% YoY increase in demand from the IT/ITeS sector during H1 2019. Co-working spaces continue to drive transaction volumes and influence occupier demand”

In Mumbai, the transaction activity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) office market was strong at 0.43 mn sq m (4.6 mn sq ft) in H1 2019 thus registering a growth of 61% YoY. The Peripheral business district (PBD), Suburban business district (SBD) Central and SBD West were the three business districts which added supply in H1 2019. The SBD Central market particularly has been gaining traction, witnessing 143% YoY growth in transactions in H1 2019. Central Mumbai witnessed the highest rental growth of 6% YoY during H1 2019, followed by BKC at 5% YoY and SBD Central at 5% YoY.

Infrastructure Boosts Real Estate

The India Real Estate report also focused on the role of infrastructure in lifting living standards and thus boosting real estate markets. A number of infrastructure projects across the country have spurred construction activity in various micro markets. Some of these are Metro rail projects in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Chennai, new roads such as the Mumbai coastal road, NPR and SPR in Delhi-NCR, new airports in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, 100 smart cities, industrial corridors and the very first bullet train project. The report states that if the Indian economy needs to grow from a USD $5 trillion economy to USD $5 trillion by 2025, then the government needs to increase its spending on infrastructure.

Ravi Puravankara : A Realty Visionary

Ravi Puravankara

In 1975, the promise of Mumbai, India’s business epicentre lured a young man to its glitzy shores. In a quintessential narrative, he came to the city with big dreams, bolstered by little more than grit and determination.  He foresaw a unique opportunity for high-quality property development in the thriving metropolis and with a single-minded focus and a steely resolve he pursued his vision.  The prodigious youngster, who made his initial forays into real-estate at a very early age, is today listed among Forbes’ ‘100 Wealthiest Indians’ list. Among his numerous laurels, Ravi Puravankara was endowed with the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the Realty Plus Excellence Awards-2012, Lifetime Achievers Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Real-Estate Sector at the CMO Asia Awards for Retail Excellence – 2013, ‘Scroll of Honour’ award at the Realty Plus Conclave & Excellence Awards – 2014 (South), BRAND ACHIEVERS AWARD – Lifetime achievement Award  for Excellence – 2015, 9th REALTY PLUS EXCELLENCE AWARDS (SOUTH) 2017 – Scroll of Honour and BAM (Builders, Architects & Building Material) Awards 2018 for – Life Time Achievement Award, to name a few.

Ravi Puravankara
Ravi Puravankara

His foray into the world of Real Estate when he chanced upon he had an opportunity “that wouldn’t wait” – a chance to procure a stretch of land in his desired locality, thereby founding Puravankara Limited (PL), and the rest is history. Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength, having successfully completed 62 residential townships & five commercial parks spanning 40 million square feet. Currently, it has about 29 million square feet of projects under development, with an additional 70 million square feet in projected growth over the next 7-10 years.

When Ravi Puravankara decided to expand his base to Bangalore in 1985, the disruptive innovation that he bought in the realty landscape was a sight to be reckoned with. It was like a new wave of apartment scene in the garden city which was partial to bungalows and independent homes. At the time, the standard norm here was not more than 10-15 flats in a complex, but he envisioned the future built one with 660 apartments, the very first in Bangalore. Working on that scale, he ushered in the concepts of a clubhouse, a swimming pool and multiple amenities within the community. This indeed was the beginning of the ever-expanding Bangalore real estate market.

Puravankara prides itself on continual innovation to meet evolving market needs. In 2008, Ravi Puravankara had yet another epiphany.   This time he conceived a vision for housing the burgeoning mid-income segment, it was an idea he was tinkering with since the early 2000s, always ahead of the curve. Under his aegis, Provident Housing Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary, was established to address the aspirations of upwardly mobile Indians and first-home buyers. The pioneering ‘premium affordable’ Provident proposition would bring best-in-class homes at affordable prices, underscored by a rigorous value-engineering process than reins in costs.  The proposition has so far been very well received in the market with nearly 11 million square feet of projects now under development. As demand continues abated, the company plans to further augment its presence in this segment.

Ravi Puravankara, who founded the Puravankara Group in 1975, is the chief promoter and the driving force behind the company’s meteoric growth, fuelled by his prescient vision. The group, which began its operations in Mumbai, has established a sizeable presence in the metropolitan cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mangalore, Pune, Goa, Kolkata and in overseas locations such as Sri Lanka, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The flagship parent company, Puravankara Limited, is listed on the Bombay stock exchange.

Driven by the foresight and vision of Ravi Puravankara, Puravankara Limited also has the distinction of being the first developer to obtain FDI in the Indian real estate industry through its joint venture with Singapore based Keppel Land Limited, the property arm of the 54% (Singapore) government-owned conglomerate, Keppel Corporation Limited. The joint venture company, Keppel Puravankara Development Private Limited, has on-going housing projects across the country.

Puravankara’s strong track-record and Institutional strengths set the company apart in the realty sector. Their commitment to corporate governance has ensured accountability, fairness and transparency in all the processes. This has also made Puravankara Limited one of the most trusted companies in the Industry. This is a clear reflection of Ravi Puravankara’s values and believes and which he always carried on his sleeves and ensured the the same is followed by the last employee in his group of Companies. His employees, from the 400-odd people, who were in the company five years ago, grew to the 900 plus employees today, work cohesively as a unit to accomplish what he set out to do – help people achieve their dreams!