Over the past few years, 100 per cent FDI has been permitted in construction development, with the intention of attracting foreign investment in Indian realty, says Shobhit Agarwal, Managing Director & CEO, Anarock Capital.
So, have recent reforms helped increase the interest of overseas funds in India?
“Over the past five years, overseas pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and real-estate funds have invested ~$10 billion in Indian realty, primarily towards buying out ready assets and financing for upcoming assets,” says Prateek Jhawar, Director and Head, Infrastructure & Real Assets, Avendus Capital. “In 2017, these funds emerged as the biggest investors accounting for ~70 per cent ($2.2 billion) of real-estate investments in India. Most funds are entering India at a time when developers are struggling to stay afloat and equity funding is far from frequent. Their investments in development tend to take the form of structured equity/debt in the early stages of the project for development; whereas the buyout of income generating assets provides a much-needed exit channel for liquidity-seeking developers.”
“With the government undertaking reforms in areas such as RERA and ease in InvIT/ REIT regulations, global funds seem to be gaining more confidence in Indian real estate and are opting for JV or platform deals,” Jhawar continues. “They see potential to grow over a 7-10 year horizon, especially with good developers that generate good returns over the real-estate cycle. Players such as GIC, Brookfield, CDPQ, APG, Qatar Holdings, etc, have already entered the Indian real-estate market with plans for long-term investments. Qatar Holdings has recently pumped $250 million in Arthaveda Fund Management to invest in low and middle-income residential projects.”
In future, Jhawar expects real-estate funds to play a key role in financing projects as the average size of projects is increasing and the NBFC sector is facing a liquidity crunch.
“Foreign investors are definitely interested in investing in real-estate projects in India,” says Karan Bolaria, CEO, Godrej Fund Management. “They look for projects delivering returns of 15-18 per cent to cover the currency risk, development risk and any country-specific risks along with their own returns thresholds.”