The recently held event included a rich mix of realtors and real estate experts in Bengaluru.
On August 23-24, 2015, NAR-India held its 7th Annual Convention in Bengaluru. Hosted by the Bangalore Realtors Association-India (BRA-I) and supported by the Karnataka government, the event included a rich mix of developers, architects, lawyers, investors, venture capitalists, project and facility managers, property valuers, chartered accountants and financial experts from India and over 24 countries across the globe.
The event was inaugurated by Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka, accompanied by R Roshan Baig, Minister-Infrastructure Development, Information & Public Relations, and K Rahman Khan, Member of Rajya Sabha. In his welcome address, Siddaramaiah stated that his government was keen on faster approvals of projects and single-window clearances and laid emphasis on facilitating the completion of industrial corridors to encourage employment and growth of the real estate industry. He also expressed pride over the fact that the year-on-year growth of the Bengaluru real estate industry was on a par with other developed economies like Singapore and Hong Kong.
The event was also supported by members of CREDAl. Congratulating NAR-India for putting up an event of international standards, Irfan Razack, Chairman, CREDAl-National, laid stress on the importance of understanding new technologies in the real estate business and mentioned that the final transaction can happen only if there is a strong base of trained personnel on ground. Speaking on the importance of a cohesive alliance between the state government and the developer fraternity, Razack pointed out that private developers and MNCs play an important role in building the infrastructure of a city, which in turn leads to job creation.
Farook Mahmood, Convention Chairman & Vice Chairman NAR-India, apprised the audience on the objectives of the convention and highlighted the networking potential and value additions such a platform would bring to the industry. NRB Garda, President, BRA-I, welcomed the guests by citing Atithi Devo Bhava and hoped it would be a fruitful two-day event for all the delegates. Ravi Varma, Chairman, NAR-India, added that the industry status had turned realtors into stakeholders of the industry, thereby ensuring growth in the various facets of real estate. HL Bagra, President, NAR-India, gave a gist of the activities of NAR-India during the year and made a special mention of the education programmes held in Mumbai and Bengaluru. The convention saw the participation of associates from different countries. Carmen Chong, National Chairwoman, AREAA, said she was honoured to represent over 14,000 members and 37 chapters across the US and that she believes it is important to start partnerships with the members of NAR-India.
Danielle Grossenbacher, World President, FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation, apprised the audience on the role of FIABCI and how it can help realtors in India leverage business opportunities globally.
The mood in Bengaluru was indeed vibrant. Akash Gupta, Managing Partner, Capaegis, undermined the argument of dwindling growth in real estate, citing the fact that FDI arrival had been robust in the past six to nine months and REITs had gained traction and will expand the realty market. Harish Bijoor, brand domain specialist, mentioned that the USP in the industry has changed from ´best practices´ to ´clean practices´ and ´e-commerce´ is yielding place to omni-commerce, emphasising that a good brand answers before questions are asked.
Aamer Azeemi, Managing Director-Emerging Solutions Advisory, Cisco Asia Pacific & Japan, said cities should turn ´smart´, and that by using digitisation technologies, the real estate industry can play a transformational role in enabling safer streets, smarter homes and healthier and better-educated citizens. Further, KT Chandy, Partner-Tax & Regulatory Services, Ernst & Young, said real-estate investment trusts (REITs) are attractive to investors as they make it possible for small investors to invest in the real estate market.
John Mayfield, Proprietor, Mayfield Real Estate, spoke widely on technology for real estate and the use of social media for marketing and to attract buyers. To add to this, David Faulkner, Trustee, International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC), said that IPMS will greatly facilitate cross country property purchase and leasing transactions. And then, Jay Patel, CEO, India MLS, elaborated on how multiple listing services, which are an asset, can be used effectively to target buyers. The first panel session on the ´Real Estate Regulation Bill´ was moderated by Advocate Anup S Shah, Anup S Shah law firm, and comprised K Rahman Khan, MP, Rajya Sabha; JC Sharma, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Sobha Ltd; Ravi Varma, Chairman NAR-India; SK Mittal, GB Member, NAR-India; and Farook Mahmood, Founder-President & Vice Chairman, NAR-India. The panellists were quite optimistic about the Bill, saying it is a welcome move and a much-needed one. Believing it will instil faith in the people, they also felt the penalty aspect in the Bill needed amendment.
The panellists for the second panel session on ´Bengaluru û A Preferred Destination for Real Estate´ comprised Hites Ahir, Senior Research Officer, International Monetary Fund (World Bank); KT Chandy, Partner-Tax & Regulatory Services, Ernst & Young; Akash Gupta, Managing Partner, Capaegis; and Farook Mahmood, and was moderated by Shashank Jain, Partner-Transaction Services and Leader Real Estate Deal, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). According to the panellists, the housing industry in India is on a rebound and prices are rising. Averring that Bengaluru is one of the best markets with good quality construction and no excessive inventory, they observed that prices and taxes go hand in hand, and the government push is much needed to boost the Bengaluru real estate market further. They also noted that the personalised touch realtors offer is something portals cannot.
The third panel session on ´Building and Retaining Customers in Challenging Times´ was moderated by Zahed Mahmood, Director, Silverline Realty, and comprised NAR-India members - President Vijay Sarathi, Hon Secretary Ayub Khan, and GB members Jitendra Khaitan and Vinod Thakkar, and Pramit Parikh. Emphasising that customer satisfaction is an important aspect of business, the panellists said they prefer the personalised approach. While they added that customers need to realise that online portals were only complimenting their business and not replacing it, the panellists believed that customers can be retained by providing added services like property management, collection of rent and paying of bills and clearing taxes free of cost, which will help get business in the long run. An important point was made about using social media to connect and stay in touch with customers, which will help retain business in future as well.
Nearing the end of the convention, Mahmood said that through the event, NAR-India had showcased Bengaluru to delegates from 24 countries as well as 25 cities in India. With positive discussions, he said that it is likely that deals will be inked with potential investments going up to thousands of crores, further adding that delegates from abroad expressed interest in partnerships for residential projects mainly, as well as commercial projects.
The convention also included a cultural and entertainment programme.
It ended with Ayub Khan, Honorary Secretary, NAR-India and BRA-I, proposing a vote of thanks. In all, the event provided a huge networking opportunity for all.