Bottom Line: The Indian property market has always been quite attractive for the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) to invest back home. The only concern has been with the opaque nature of the business where information and scientific process of due diligence has been a casualty.
With some of the key policy changes in the year 2016, like the RERA, Demonetisation, GST and Benami Transaction Act, it is pertinent to trace whether the perception of the NRIs towards the Indian property market has changed. More importantly, how much is the confidence level back in terms of making an investment decision?
- India expected to be among the fastest growing economies with real estate a major driver
- Policies like RERA, GST, Benami Act, REIT & Demonetisation expected to bring transparency
- To simplify the purchasing processes a lot of amendments in rules and regulations have been done
- The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) along with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has become lenient in the policies for NRIs who are looking to invest in India
- Factors like FDI in real estate sector; relaxation of laws by the RBI regarding property buying by NRI has accelerated investments
- The availability of affordable properties & ready-to-move options in the Indian property market a major reason to attract NRIs
Naushad Panjwani, Managing Partner with Mandarus Partners LLP agrees that Indian real estate faces trust deficit. This was prevailing on a rampant scale and developers got away scot free, largely due to absence of an effective Regulator like in other sectors (SEBI, TRAI, IRDAI etc); scarcity of organised funds for projects; nexus of developers-politicians-bureaucrats; and poor rate of disposal by courts plus lack of title insurance.
“These factors kept good business houses away from this sector. And hence the industry was characterised by many unscrupulous elements. For such developers, governance, customer care and reputation were least of the priorities. Things have started to change slowly. With RERA, easing of funds in the form of REITs, ECBs, FDI have attracted the attention of reputed business houses and customers alike,” says Panjwani.
PNC Menon, Chairman-Emeritus of Sobha Ltd maintains that Indian real estate sector has matured to a point where NRIs are now able to invest in a wide variety of products, across the affordable, mid-range and luxury segments. Based on our 22-year presence in India, NRIs continue to represent a healthy proportion of our client base.
“With tighter regulations, greater transparency, more affordability and enhanced price stability, NRIs will find interesting investment opportunities, as long as they have a long-term view and are discerning about which project to invest in. India is a huge market with over 1.2 billion people and an emerging economy on a global front,” says Menon.
Kaizad Hateria, Brand Custodian and Chief Customer Delight Officer believes that the bold step taken by PM Modi regarding demonetization will help to increase transparency in the real estate sector and curb unaccounted cash transactions.
“This renewed transparency in the sector will bring in that element of trust into the Indian realty market, thereby boosting investment. We foresee enhanced confidence of NRIs looking to invest in the real estate sector,” says Hateria.
Hiral Sheth, Director – Marketing with Sheth Creators says the real estate sector is the second largest sector in India and the most globally recognized sector. The change in the government policies in the real estate segment, within the last couple of years has attracted investments from non-resident Indians (NRIs). To simplify the purchasing processes a lot of amendments in rules and regulations have been done. The introduction of real estate bill and other favourable policies has renewed the interest and confidence of NRIs in the Indian realty market.
“The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) along with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has become lenient in the policies for NRIs who are looking to invest in India. Factors like FDI in real estate sector; relaxation of laws by the RBI regarding property buying by NRI has accelerated investments. Also, the availability of affordable properties in the Indian realty segment is major reason to attract a large number of urban NRI populations,” says Sheth.
It can be vouchsafed that the NRIs are watching closely the developments back home on the policy front. They are also conscious of the fact that India being the fastest growing economies of the world with real estate being a major driver, opportunities galore for the investment. The policy changes by the Central Government during the year, from the Real Estate, Regulatory Act (RERA) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to REITs and the latest demonetization drive have all been steps towards bringing in transparency in the sector and boosting the confidence of the NRIs.
The residential market in 2017 is hence expected to shift from a pure price play mechanism towards a market that is driven by commitment to delivery, quality and right pricing strategies. More importantly, transparency is the buzz word for them where they can evaluate right property in the right market and the right price point.
By: Ravi Sinha