Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why 2017 is Likely to Be a Good Year for NRI Property Buyers

Non-resident Indians from all over the world have been fascinated with Indian real estate market. However, they are bothered by the lack of transparency and ways in which business dealings are conducted in India; especially when information is withheld deliberately from the buyers, and there is a lack of scientific process of due diligence. With several key policy changes in 2016 such as demonetization, Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the Benami Transaction Act, the debate now is if the NRIs will be interested in investing in the nation.

Here’s why NRI property buyers should invest in Indian real estate in 2017:

Firstly, there are many ready possession properties built at prime locations such as Bangalore, NCR region, Chennai, etc. There are many luxury villas in Bangalore and 2 to 4 BHK apartments in NCR that are ready to be sold. Secondly, India is expected to keep its place among the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the real estate sector steering the wheel. Furthermore, policies like Goods & Services Tax, Real Estate Regulatory Act, Real Estate Investment Trusts, Benami Act, and demonetization are expected to bring about transparency in the sector. Lastly, the amended rules and regulations will ease up the purchasing process. Relaxation of laws by the Reserve Bank of India for NRI buyers is also a major benefit.

Naushad Panjwani, the managing partner at Mandarus Partners LLP, believes that the Indian realty has major credibility issues largely due to the absence of effective regulator, which is present in other sectors (TRAI, IRDAI, SEBI, etc.). He also believes that some other reasons that hold back NRIs to invest in India could be the shortage of funds for projects, the delay in the disposal of court cases, the lack of title insurance and nexus among politicians, developers, and bureaucrats. Panjwani says, “All of these factors kept good business houses away from the realty sector, and the industry as a whole was characterized by many unscrupulous elements. However, things have started to change slowly. The Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and easing of inflow of funds in the form of Real Estate Investment Trusts, External Commercial Borrowings, and Foreign Direct Investment, have attracted the attention of reputed business houses and customers alike.”

The Chairman Emeritus of Sobha Ltd, Mr. PNC Menon believes that Indian realty sector has reached a stage where it offers NRIs a range of options to invest in, from affordable to mid-range to luxury properties. Menon said, "With greater transparency, tighter regulations, more affordability and enhanced price stability, Non Resident Indians will find interesting property investment opportunities, as long as they have a long-term view and are discerning about which realty project to invest in. India is a huge market with over 1.2 billion people and an emerging economy on a global front,”

Rustomjee Group’s brand custodian and chief customer delight officer, Mr. Kaizad Hateria has expressed his opinion that moves like demonetization will bring about transparency in the real estate sector and minimize unaccounted cash dealings. He said, “Greater transparency, will improve the element of trust in the Indian property market and this will make Non Resident Indians more confident about investing in properties in India.”

The marketing director of Sheth Creators, Hiral Sheth mentioned that realty sector has come a long way by becoming the second largest employer in India. Number of rules and regulations have been amended to ease the process of home buying as well as commercial property. Sheth said, “Factors like Foreign Direct Investment in the realty sector, relaxation of laws by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regarding property buying by Non Resident Indians and lenient policies via-à-vis the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), have accelerated real estate investments. Also, the availability of affordable properties, attracts a large number of urban Non Resident Indian buyers from across the globe.”

Industry experts believe that 2017 will be a good year for NRI buyers to invest in properties. New policies that will boost transparency and rules that will simplify the property purchasing process are the main reasons for attracting NRI buyers.

This is a guest post by Dinesh Dawde