Saturday, June 25, 2016

Commercial office market shines in real estate sector

Although the residential market continues to dip, stable lease rentals, high absorption levels, worldwide investor’s interest and insufficient supply have paved the way for commercial real estate market.

Unlike the disintegrated residential sector, a few distinguished developers, with the support of investors, are building quality office spaces in the central cities.

The chief operating officer of JLL India said, “While demand for good quality office space remains high, absorption will be lower this year because there isn’t adequate supply in the market. Also, demand is high but relevant supply, which depends on location and other advantages, is restricted. We expect the sector to continue to do well.”

As per the property advisory CBRE, Bengaluru is riding high on the demand and the supply of office space and the vacancy level of its office buildings is the lowest. In Pune region, the scarcity of good supply has led to many people showing interest in Grade B buildings as well. One of the worst hit areas was the National Capital Region, grabbing only 37% of the 5 million sq. ft of office space or leasing.

Post the economic dip in 2008, many builders ceased to invest in capital-intensive projects and started showing interest in the residential market. The next few years saw many large apartment projects, resulting in a glut. The market, therefore, experienced a slowdown in the year 2012-2013.

The leading developers in building office projects are RMZ Corp, Embassy Group, Panchshil Realty and DLF Ltd. Most of these names have the support of global investors. Over 80% of the commercial office spaces are occupied by information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) clients, the left ones are for the e-commerce firms and banking and financial services.

Panchshil Realty, backed by Blackstone group has added 5 million sq.ft of a new area in Pune for three projects. The Panchshil Reality Chairman Atul Chordia said, “We lease around 1.5 million sq. ft. office space every year, so we just have to keep building because the demand is high.”

DLF doesn’t have any residential launch this year, but the largest developer of India as per the market value plans to cover two-three million sq.ft office area in its lease/rental portfolio. The real estate giant seeks to repeat its success in developing a nearly 30 million sq. ft commercial portfolio over the past decade.

DLF has begun to work on a 2 million sq. ft office project in Gurgaon this year and is also going to cover 1 million sq.ft of the IT Park in Chennai. Chennai is seeing an investment from DLF in the commercial market, and increased investment in apartments in Chennai OMR by the House of Hiranandani.

K. Raheja Corp group based in Mumbai is also planning to spend about INR 2000 crore in purchasing land and building 6 million sq. ft of office space in the area of Navi Mumbai.

Vinod Rohira, the MD, and chief executive of commercial real estate and REIT, K Raheja Corp said,“ Growth and consolidation, particularly in the IT and ITES sectors, are driving the demand for big commercial office spaces. Demand for commercial real estate is growing at 20-22% on a year-on-year basis,”

The year 2016 is likely to observe two massive private equity investments in the commercial sector. While DLF is in the course of selling a 40% stake in its lease assets arm to get about $2 Billion, another $1 Billion investment is being invested by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. to purchase the office and reality assets of Hiranandani Developers in suburban Mumbai.

Like the developers switched focus to the residential market post the financial crisis of 2008, the commercial office projects are gaining popularity now. Some developers are rearranging their portfolios to build more office spaces.

Bijay Agarwal, MD of Salarpuria Sattva Group said, “While entry barriers are low in residential and there are too many developers, office development is not easy and as a result, we have a few serious developers building good projects,”

This is a guest post by Deepak Yewle

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