Monday, July 23, 2018

The rise of India’s commercial real estate market

While talks about the residential real estate sector have got people gripped, commercial property is not far behind. Thankfully, good days have returned for office real estate property in India, with lots of domestic and foreign companies looking for space and many businesses in expansion mode. Bangalore being the prime location for office spaces, many companies are purchasing apartments in Bannerghatta road Bangalore and converting them into office spaces.

  • Change in government

One of the most stabilizing factors is last year’s general election and that was one of the reasons behind the upswing of the real estate. It brought with it new confidence in the country’s economic development. Though, the country witnessed uncertain times in the first quarter of 2014, and market morale was low, sentiment improved gradually following the elections. Apart from buying apartments in Bannerghatta road Bangalore, the city of Mumbai, for example, witnessed 65 per cent appreciation in average deal sizes between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015.

The growth of the real estate sector can also be attributed to expanding businesses, especially due to India’s emergence as an attractive offshore destination. The government’s decision to introduce incentives to attract foreign investors plays a role. Also, the availability of a large pool of highly skilled technicians and engineers, customer-friendly banks and housing finance companies, the country’s favorable demographics, and increasing purchasing power. Increasing professionalism among real estate brokers is also cited as an advantage.

  • The big three cities

Major shares in the profit are gained from tier 1 cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, and New Delhi. These cities are technological, commercial, and political hubs respectively. According to a survey, these cities even outperformed global commercial property market when it comes to annual rental yields. The Indian office market has been maintaining a healthy traction in 2014 and has clocked office space transactions of 18 million square feet in the first six months of 2015.

It is a record year for Bengaluru, which is expected to transact office space to the tune of about 12 million square feet in 2015. The three cities have also endured the largest individual transactions in the sector, with big corporations and expansive start-ups such as Flipkart and Snapdeal picking up a lot of office space. Some of them are purchasing apartments in Bannerghatta road Bangalore and expanding them to set up their offices. And with the growth in office activity, other commercial spaces follows suit, particularly retail, as well as hospitality due to increasing demand for lodging in the trade hubs from business travelers.

  • REITs on their way

The Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is expected to come up with a future boost. However, due to some legal barriers, the scope of taxation proceeds from such trusts remains unresolved. Foreign investors will be allowed to buy units. It will help reduce pressure and stress on the banking system to fund the real estate sector as REITs will enable the industry to propose fresh equity by attracting long-term finance from domestic and foreign investors. The Indian REIT sector is expected to give a further push to commercial real estate and is tipped to attract investments. So far, REITs worth a total of $20 billion in assets are mainly focusing on Grade A office space and parks, logistic space and warehouses, malls and shopping centers, hotels and other commercial space.

Today, the potential of the Indian real estate sector is enormous, but there needs to be a clear solution with regards to REIT taxation. Among other trends, there's been a steady growth of the commercial sector, which is favorable for organizations.

This is a guest post by Deepak Yewle

Monday, July 2, 2018

Can development of Secondary Mortgage Market help fix the housing shortage in India?

Author: Sachin Gupta | Find me on Twitter

As has been documented on numerous occasions about the shortage of housing in India, till 2012 (as per the census results) the housing shortage in urban areas stood at 18.78 million units**. About 99% of this housing shortage pertains to the economically weaker section (EWS) and low income group (LIG) categories. That’s a whopping number and constructing those many housing units for growing urban population will take enormous effort on the part of government, private businesses, and finance ministry.

Providing low cost housing finance to plug the housing shortage is seen as the key ingredient. However, most banks use traditional products such as using funds from deposits to finance long term housing loans. Therefore, to provide housing on a scale as large as in India, the concept of secondary mortgage market may well soon be adopted in India. In this article, we will briefly talk about the secondary mortgage market and why it is difficult to implement in India.

What is a Secondary Mortgage Market:

The secondary mortgage market is active in developed economies such as USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, etc. The primary function of this market is to provide a mechanism for refilling funds used by mortgage originators (Banks, Housing Finance Companies, etc.). This, in turn, enables them to maintain a flow of new mortgage origination during periods of rising and falling interest rates. They may accomplish this by selling mortgages directly to government agencies or private entities. Or they may form mortgage pools and issue various securities, thereby attracting funds from investors who may not otherwise make investments directly in mortgage loans. Hence, much like any corporation raising funds for doing business, the primary goal of mortgage originators in today’s market is to replenish funds by reaching broader investor markets.

In addition to direct sales of mortgages from originators to investors, many large mortgage originators found that they could place mortgages in pools and sell securities of various types, with mortgages in these pools serving as collateral. With the assistance and expertise of investment bankers, large mortgage originators can then issue securities in small denominations which would be purchased by many more investors. Firms with smaller mortgage origination volumes could continue to sell mortgages directly to government agencies, which in turn would create large pools of their own and issue securities.

Many types of mortgage related securities have been developed in recent years. The number and types of securities are continuing to increase as mortgage originators, investment bankers, and government agencies continue to innovate and reach investor markets that provide the ultimate sources for many of the funds used in new mortgage origination. Major types of mortgage backed securities are:

  1. Mortgage backed bonds (MBBs)
  2. Mortgage pass through securities (MPTs)
  3. Mortgage pay through bonds (MPTBs)
  4. Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs)

Why it is difficult to implement in India?

RBI recently came out with a report listing down the reasons for non-implementation of secondary mortgage market in India:

  1. Low Investor Base
  2. Cultural factors
  3. Poor capital market infrastructure
  4. Regulatory environment
  5. Legal hurdles
  6. Lack of proper accounting standards
  7. Taxation
  8. Poor quality of assets
  9. System deficiencies
  10. Lack of standardization

Road Ahead:
It is clearly evident from the discussion above that development of secondary mortgage market in India is inevitable given the scale of housing stock that needs to be provided. And sooner, we as a country fix some of the issues facing secondary mortgage market; the better it is for growing urban population and economic growth of the country. In 2011-12, the housing loan disbursed to individuals stood at Rs. 68221.12** Crores. With secondary mortgage market in place, this disbursed loan amount can achieve the global levels. And at the same time, provide a mechanism for transparent debt markets.

** Source: National Housing Bank

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