Madhusudhan G
Madhusudhan G., CMD, Sumadhura Group
Post the revival of the Indian real estate sector through a series of initiatives by the government, the confidence of the homebuyers has increased with a clear understanding of the market. The developers have also witnessed a smooth regulatory business process. This development is expected to help increase the cash flow in Indian real estate sector in 2019. Single window approvals by central and various state governments will further accelerate growth of the industry.

Commercial real estate to boom: There will be a huge scope for the commercial real estate due to the increasing number of grade-A office spaces for start-ups, co-working places and e-commerce. IT parks in terms of location and amenities will emerge as an exemplary trend for commercial real estate growth. Rentals in commercial realty will catalyse growth as investors tend to rent a commercial space rather than buying it. Also, the increase in educational institutions in metro cities will drive student housing, which is a huge unmet demand in the country.

Warehousing to get major boost: Another rising sector is organised warehousing, which has seen a sharp increase in demand due to advancements in e-commerce. Now, with the liberalization of FDI policy, demand for warehousing is expected to escalate even more. The electronic and white goods segment is another key driver, as the need for substantial warehouses in urban and semi-urban areas will increase. According to an industry report, India is set to witness investments close to ₹50,000cr for creation of warehousing facilities across the country between 2018 and 2020.

Sumadhura Acropolis Road View
Further initiatives by govt to strengthen industry: The government has announced certain amendments in the taxation and regulatory features. RERA is streamlining the real estate, ensuring that the buyer gets full value for his money. The central and various state governments are announcing single window approvals. GST and the approval by SEBI for the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has led to greater transparency, and institutional investors are now looking at Indian real estate with renewed interest. With the advent of the first REIT in early 2019, investors could look forward for great opportunities.

Proptech to be a game changer:The numerous facets of Proptech will be a major driving force for Indian realty. The technological developments of digital tools in creating virtual and augmented experiences for the buyers, will add a futuristic scope to the sector. Also, the advent of chatbots, BIM, drones and next-gen innovations will be highly beneficial in making construction faster and safer.

Affordable & mid-market housing to see maximum traction: Homebuying sentiments will shift towards homes with compelling prices over luxurious spaces because of the additional charges that the luxury properties come with. Hence, properties consisting of amenities and features of a premium project, which are also affordable to a larger segment of the population, will be in huge demand.

Accelerated by the present government measures and other pivotal factors, Indian Real Estate sector will surely progress with increasing demand in the year 2019

Millennials to bring a demographic shift: Estimates peg that India will have 410mn millennials, who will spend $330 billion annually, by 2020. Also, their preferences and needs will lean towards residential projects that have the basic amenities, urban connectivity, and public infrastructure in a liberal neighbourhood.

Shrinivas Rao
Shrinivas Rao, CEO-APAC, Vestian The real estate industry in India is going through what can be described as ‘interesting times'. The industry is seeing policy changes, a lot of expectations, easing of some teething problems with RERA and GST, a new order of transparency and efficiency. Here are some of the key expectations from the new year:

Office market to remain steady; co-working to gather strength: Office space absorption will continue to rise steadily, backed by strong economic fundamentals and favorable sentiments exhibited by occupiers and investors. Despite the planned supply, healthy pre-commitments of space in under-construction projects will continue to be the norm, leading vacancy rates to remain under pressure in key office markets. While IT/ITeS and BFSI companies will continue to be the major demand drivers, increased demand is envisaged from co-working and fintech start-ups. Co-working segment is expected to account for a larger share of the market in 2019, portending a major shift in workspace dynamics with technology, innovative space design and flexibility, impacting the preferences of new age businesses.

Affordable housing to lead the way: The year 2018 witnessed a fair revival in the residential market, primarily buoyed by new launches and sales in the affordable housing sector., which is projected to continue to drive the market growth in 2019, aided by the transparency brought about by policy implementation, thereby augmenting buyer sentiments and bringing back investors into the fold. Besides granting of the infrastructure status to the segment, the government is also in favour of a substantial GST rate cut on housing and is currently working to build consensus with the states to push this through. These factors bode well for the residential market.

A balanced rate of GST and strict adherence to RERA guidelines will improve buyer sentiment and strengthen emerging sectors such as warehousing, logistics and co-living, amongst others

Strong growth in warehousing and logistics sector: The sector has seen a remarkable transition in the past few years, growing from a largely unorganised sector to observing the advent of organised players, reflecting change in the mindset of occupiers. The fact that the sector is observing large-scale investments evidently emphasizes the trend and this is foreseen to continue. Moreover, with infrastructure status accorded to the warehousing and logistics sector, accessibility to longer tenure financing facilities at a reduced cost of debt will aid in the development of larger, organised logistics parks in the country.

Emerging sectors: Recent years have seen the emergence of concepts such as co-living, student housing and senior living, besides co-working, which have immense potential to grow stronger in 2019. Millennials today, pay premium on mobility and flexibility and do not adhere to a fixed set of notions. As such, the growing number of youth willing to consider co-living spaces in big cities has gained traction, given the steady growth of entrepreneurship and freelancing. Going forward, while the concept of co-living and student housing holds significant potential to boost the rental housing segment in the country, given the fact that high housing prices across the tier 1 and 2 cities deter the youth community to make a purchasing decision. The inherent advantages of opting for a co-living rental arrangement are a hassle-free, flexible plug and play model, and the segment is projected to grow manifold.

Anil Saraf
Anil Saraf, CMD, ASF Group

During last 2-3 years the Realty sector has witnessed an unprecedented sluggishness due to effects of demonetization and macro policy initiatives such as GST and RERA. The overall credit squeeze has not helped the situation either. While, policy changes like GST & RERA were essential, and these would support the long-term growth vision of our economy, these measures in the short run have led to slow down in the sector. Even then, the organized players are gradually getting equipped to attend to the intricacies of compliances associated with GST and RERA. But still, challenges continue to haunt the SME and unorganized players, who continue to struggle for aligning with the new ground realities.

In the first half of 2018 residential real estate recorded a 25% annual increase in sales in the metro. Concurrently, commercial realty has also been picking up. In the first half of 2018, leasing activities of corporate rose 54% y-o-y. As per recent reports, office absorption in 2020 is expected to exceed 2011's historic high of 37 million sq. ft. While the new growth drivers would be affordable housing, logistics and warehousing, the expectations are that student housing will emerge as a ₹2,400 crore market by 2020."

Rakesh Reddy
Rakesh Reddy, Director, Aparna Constructions

Policies like RERA have revived buyer's confidence, especially in Hyderabad where the real estate sector is booming, and infrastructure development is catalysing its growth. There is an increase of 30% in sales of residential units in the city, and unsold inventory has reduced by nearly 29%. Over the past year, Hyderabad has emerged as one of the best performing residential and commercial real estate destinations in India, complemented by strong fundamentals including government stability, infrastructure and economic drivers. The city's leading position as home to the top IT/ITeS companies has had a direct impact on the city's immense real estate growth. To keep up with increased migration to Hyderabad, the Telangana government has invested heavily in the city's infrastructure facilities and connectivity.

Second in the list is Bengaluru with prominent launches in the commercial space fuelled by steady demand from startups, IT/ITeS sectors, BFSI and co-working spaces. Pune and Chennai are expected to stay in demand as these markets are a hub for auto manufacturers and industrial manufacturing units. Mumbai and Delhi will continue to attract the migrant job-seekers from across states.

An efficient, fair and transparent system would result in a revived demand for new projects in the market

If infrastructure status is granted to the entire sector in 2019, it will lead to financing being available to developers at lower interest rates, which would make projects more affordable. The real estate industry is also expecting Union Budget 2019 to rationalise GST rates from the current 12% to 6% or alternatively to subsume the stamp duty into the existing GST rate. Affordable housing and ready-to-move-in housing will continue to be the focus. Moving forward, developers and approval authorities are expected to maintain high levels of compliance and efficiency due to RERA. We believe project approvals to be processed more quickly with Single Window Clearance.

Anindya Dutta
Anindya Dutta, Co-founder, Stanza Living

The Student Housing sector in India is currently a $15 billion industry. The sector sees robust demand from nearly 11 million migrating students within the country. However, the space is largely unorganized, with lack of quality infrastructure and personalized services being significant gap areas. There has been growing interest and acceptance for technology-enabled world-class student housing ventures like Stanza Living, which are focused on professionally organizing and reimagining student co-living in India.

Today, we are the largest player in the space, and have grown from over 100 beds capacity in 2017 to over 2000 beds and 16 residences across Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida. Realizing the potential, marquee global investors like Sequoia Capital, Matrix and Accel Pratners have invested $12 million in Stanza Living. In 2019, we will be expanding to educational hubs like Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Dehradun, amongst others.

Irfan Razack
Irfan Razack, CMD, Prestige Group

The real estate market has proved to be resilient in 2018. Despite witnessing several major policy changes with the implementation of RERA and GST, we have still managed to do well as an industry. There is stress in certain quarters, but developers who are established and show commitment to corporate governance and transparency, are succeeding. With GST and RERA stabilising, the real estate sector is on the cusp of a complete makeover. Buyers and developers have reconciled themselves to the additional costs, and the market is set to witness further growth. There are been several new launches, rents have gone up, and the commercial sector has been thriving with close to zero vacancy rates.

In 2019, we expect much better sales and revenues, and the residential market is expected to grow significantly. Affordable housing is the need of the hour. Luxury housing being a niche market, witnesses a slower momentum. Given that there is quite a lot of inventory in the market currently, luxury housing will continue to move slowly. Depending on the supply that comes in, the market will start stabilizing across all segments of housing.

Pritam Chivukula
Pritam Chivukula, Co-Founder & Director, Tridhaatu Realty & Infra

The year 2019 will be a period of huge consolidation for the Mumbai real estate sector. The recent IL&FS crisis did have an impact on the real estate sector, but it now seems to be tapering off. We will see a lot more joint developments wherein larger players will develop properties with smaller developers or land owners. There are numerous projects stuck due to lack of capital and funding options. Larger developers bring in the required capital to complete such projects. This equation works well in the current market scenario where there is a paucity of funds to complete construction of existing projects. 2019 will surely be the year for affordable and mid-housing segment.

Also, category ‘A’ developers with a good track record do not face much problem getting funds through banks or financial institutions. These developers prefer developing larger projects as they are financially strong and can procure the desired funds. Larger projects also give developers the necessary flexibility for a more sustainable business model such as mixed-use development, which includes residential, commercial, retail and hospitality.

Anurag Mathur
Anurag Mathur, CEO, Savills India

The residential sector has gone through a process of significant restructuring and reform, the foremost being the advent of RERA, and as such the worst may be behind with a more modest and sustained recovery over the next several years. For the Office sector, 2018 was one of the best years. Several key cities recorded highest levels of rent and lowest levels of vacancies, even though the office stock availability varies significantly, such as Grade A office stock in Bangalore is at 3.5% vacancy levels while Mumbai is at 17% and Delhi NCR at 29%.

The Industrial and Warehousing sector will continue to be the biggest beneficiary of the GST regulation due to simplified tax regime, faster movement of goods and warehouse consolidation. Investment in real estate has demonstrated a CAGR of 40% over the last 5 years. Larger component of this investment still is directed towards the Residential sector (36%) with Offices (31%) and Hotels (12%).

Disruptive technologies discussed at India m2m + iot Forum 2019

The 6th edition of India m2m + iot Forum 2019, the national forum on machine-to-machine (m2m) and internet of things (IoT) focused on applications of disruptive technologies in smart cities and villages. It highlighted the need for forward-looking policies by the government in the development of smart cities & villages on the bedrock of JAM Trinity, which has 1bn bank accounts (Jan Dhan), 1bn Aadhaar, and 1bn mobile broadband users, already organized for the technological revolution in this space, thereby capitalizing the connected world with the help of technologies like 5G, GIS, IoT, m2m and others. Likewise, the government's effort to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with BharatNet project was discussed to leverage the smart villages concept in India.

5G vision has the potential to usher a major societal transformation in India by enabling a rapid expansion of the role of IT across manufacturing, education, healthcare, agriculture, finance and social sectors. The panelists opined that India must deploy 5G networks and emerge as a significant innovator and technology supplier at the global level. Emphasis should be placed on 5G touching the lives of rural and weaker economic segments.

Aruna Sundararajan, Honorable Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), via her message highlighted: "A city is a complex system, involving many different domains, infrastructure, organizations and activities, which need to be integrated for a city to emerge as a smart city and with a holistic and cross functional standardization approach. DoT has initiated projects to provide broadband connectivity for connecting various digital services and solutions across our urban and rural landscapes."

Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary (Mission Director - Smart Cities), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, stated, "By sharing and collaborating on topics such as technology, multi-country experiences and innovative approaches, we can bring together the best minds and the surest hands to co-create cities of the future."

The Technology Show by FIWARE Foundation member companies NEC Technology India, APInf, MobilePedia and Smart Cities Lab, demonstrated the Open Source Platform that combines components that enable the connection to IoT with Context Information Management and Big Data services in Cloud.

'India-EU Dialogue on ICT for Smart Cities' organized by India-EU ICT Collaboration Standardization of the Delegation of EU to India, highlighted the need for ‘Leveraging Standards for Smart Cities’. Participants got the opportunity to meet Stellapps Technologies – an end-to-end dairy technology solutions company; Sensorise – an IOT Services and Solutions company; Phoenix Robotix – a network-IoT and Big data company; Sensable – an IoT company offering smart solutions using artificial intelligence and machine learning; C-DOT – an autonomous Telecom R&D Centre of DOT, showcasing Common Service Platform for m2m communications on oneM2M Specifications.

Held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, the forum was jointly organized by the Department of Management Studies, (DMS, IIT - Delhi), FI Media (Future Internet and Electronic Media - a prestigious project of the European Union), and India m2m + iot Forum. Commented Shilpi Batra, Director, India m2m + iot Forum 2019, "The key speakers and industry leaders have made this forum a thought-provoking one with dialogs on disruption these modern technologies can bring to make cities & villages smarter, and at the same time, mentoring the start-ups in this segment. We are proud to have EU partners to share their insight on business possibilities from across the globe."
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