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Tier II & III cities hub for economic activity

CII Conference on Real Estate 2020

Bienu Vaghela

03 Jul 2008

"To transform Indian real estate sector into the best paradigm in the world is vision 20-20" said Mr Anuj Puri, Conference Chairman & Chairman and Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj at the Conference on Indian Real Estate 20-20 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai on June 27, 2008. Mr. Puri added that coming 18-24 months are crucial for the Real Estate Sector where infrastructure is a key challenge to the growth of sustainable Indian real estate sector. The conference was also addressed by key people in various fields of the sector.

Mr. Puri laid down the issues impacting the growth of the Indian real estate sector and the need to focus on those challenges to move ahead. Mr. Puri stressed on the need to recognize and address the issues which have been impacting the growth of the industry:   

1.      Demand & Supply: With rising interest rates and inflation, residential real estate demand remains. However the need is to anticipate the needs of the end users and match demand with supply;

2.      Liquidity: Though liquidity was not an issue earlier, a balance between risk and return is gaining importance and therefore look at innovative financial structures becomes important;

3.      Market performance: Stock markets and real estate markets being interlinked, market performance is critical;

4.      Infrastructure: India's leading cities are strained for infrastructure. With the infrastructure gap ever widening, it remains an important challenge;

5.      Talent: Skilled manpower and training is a definite requirement;

6.      Sustainability: Changes at the levels of developers, occupiers, funders and regulators called for.

In his keynote address at the CII Programme, Mr Jamshyd N Godrej, Past President, CII & Chairman & Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd dwelled on the importance of sustainable development and environment friendly real estate development. "Green buildings are not only socially important but also economically", said Mr Godrej. He emphasized that cities can be sustainable in case there is holistic growth.

This was followed by a panel discussion consisting of eminent panelists, who discussed and debated on the challenges posed by infrastructure and whether the Indian real estate sector was sufficiently geared up to meet them. They agreed that development would happen only where there is adequate support of infrastructure.

Discussing on how to improve infrastructure links with real estate, Mr Hemant Joshi, Managing Director & CEO CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions Ltd, stressed that with proper infrastructure township policies of the government can succeed and this would also lead to realistic fall in real estate prices. "An increase in spending on infrastructure from the current 5% to 9% is critical', said Mr Anish Nanavaty, Principal, IDFC.

"Innovative concepts in terms of real estate development in the peripheral areas, alternative funding and power trading can be regarded as some of the factors necessary to ensure the sector's growth", expressed Mr. Mayur Shah, Director Marathon Realty. Supporting his views was Mr. Anuj Puri who stressed that over the next decade large economic activity would start in the Tier II & III cities and the market forces would push the real estate growth.

Representing the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation was its Managing Director Dr P C Sehgal, who highlighted the problems of increasing population migrating towards the periphery of the cities without adequate transport support. He called upon the industry to come together and support state railways in implementing their projects by part funding.

Panel discussion on growing trends of the real estate sector in Tier II & III cities saw industry players and participants exchanging ideas on the opportunities and risks associated with development of these cities. "Opportunities are abundant, what is required is an attitude change", proclaimed Mr Ashish Raheja, Managing Director, K Raheja Universal Pvt Ltd. 

The panelists agreed that key drivers to development of Tier II & III cities were industrialization, type of industry and education. "Affordability and pricing are important in Tier II & III cities", said Mr Rajeev Piramal, Executive Vice Chairman, Peninsula Land Ltd.