The second wave of coronavirus caused a setback to the real estate sector including the residential and commercial segments. However, the developers were in a better position this time as compared to last year, and as a result of better preparedness, the COVID impact was limited. The cases are declining along with gradual rise in economic activities and commercial real estate is now picking up fast. The developers are confident that the segment will register promising growth in the second half of 2021.
M3M International Financial Center, Sector 66, Gurugram
“The lifting of travel restrictions, increase in opening hours for commercial establishments, and a revival in demand for food and beverage facilities amid reopening of workspaces have provided a fillip to commercial real estate. From an investment perspective, commercial realty will continue being on investors radar due to lucrative and stable income potential. The recent REIT listing will further boost sentiment and increase liquidity into the segment. Buoyed by the regaining pace in business activity and economic stability prospects, real estate is poised to embark on a higher growth trajectory during H2 2021,” said Ravish Kapoor, Managing Director, Elan Group.
Driven by IT/ITES sectors, the demand for commercial space is soaring high across major cities. A recent JLL report says that India’s net office absorption stood at 4.39 million sq. ft. in the Q2, showing 32% YoY growth. “With rapid improvement driven by the efficiency and availability of a vaccine, the deep-rooted outlook for commercial real estate looks positive in many facets. This is largely due to the increasing number of IT/ITES, BFSI, startups and boutique companies. Furthermore, big companies are recalibrating their plans of bringing back their workforce to offices. This will boost the demand for grade-A offices, flexible/hybrid office spaces and others. Increase in economic activities will gradually set the pace of retail growth and demand surge will be witnessed for retailed destinations including shops, malls etc.,” said Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M.
The companies are increasingly hiring which is further driving the demand for overall leasing of large quality office spaces across top cities. As per a recent Anarock report, 7,400 office leases of 90 million sq. ft. are up for renewal in the top 6 cities in 2021. The firms are now accelerating their business operations and the office demand will grow in 2022 and 2023. “Investors with a deep understanding and knowledge of market behaviours find the commercial real estate segment a better option than others. The segment has performed much better than residential real estate in terms of ROI over the last few years. The gross leasing volume grew to 14.7 million sq. ft. in the third quarter of 2020, witnessing a whopping 138 per cent increase quarter-on-quarter. Popular locations like Noida due to close proximity to the national capital and presence of modern commercial spaces are gaining traction. An increase in economic activities will gradually set the pace of retail growth,” said Abhishek Pandey, Vice President-Customer Engagement & Distribution, Viridian RED.
The malls have been opened up and increasing footfall has caused a demand rise in F&B and the increased spending is leading to the swift recovery. “The second half looks promising for both office and retail segments. PEs have shown an avid interest in the office and retail segment, thereby signalling a stability in this asset class going forward. While an immediate reversal in demand going forward is unlikely, the vacancy levels are expected to fall in the coming quarters as physical offices resume and visitors flock to malls. Recent reports have suggested consumers’ intent to increase discretionary spending,” said Siddharth Katyal, Director (Planning & Strategy), Omaxe Ltd.
In addition, commercial real estate has also emerged as a safe investment choice in these volatile times, attracting investors looking for guaranteed higher returns. “Commercial properties typically have an annual return of the purchase price between 6% and 12%, depending on the area, current economy, and external factors (such as the pandemic). Thats a much higher range than ordinarily exists for single family home properties (1% to 3% at best). The segment innately is the best bet for investors looking for safe growth in places like Gurgaon that is home to global IT companies and businesses; pandemic has rather accelerated the need to adopt innovative tools and applications for continued sustenance of the industry,” said Navdeep JP Sardana, Founder and Chairman, WhiteLand Corporation.