Half of calendar year 2023 is over. Unfortunately, there isn’t much ‘feel good’ news in the world, except in India, Middle East & few countries in Southeast Asia.
The mindless war between Russia & Ukraine continues. Other than helping clear the stockpile of weapons in few western economies & securing billions of dollars of fresh orders for manufacture of weapons, it has only resulted in destroying large areas in Ukraine & displacing millions of its citizens. The war resulted in much of Europe to go into recession. From a unipolar world with United States ruling the roost since the disintegration of USSR during 1991-92, the world is getting back to a bipolar world with the 2nd largest economy of the world, the communist China supporting Russia.
While politically the world has become bipolar again, economically countries have become more interdependent than ever before due to globalisation & WTO policies. This is posing a huge challenge to different economies, particularly to the United States and to the countries in Europe.
The Indian Government has played its cards smartly. Our country is beginning to see the benefit of China+1 strategy of the developed economies, not only for sourcing their product requirements, but also because they see India as a good investment destination. This has greatly helped the Indian economy to become resilient and not be affected so far by the war in Ukraine. The best indicator is the stupendous increase in Sensex & Nifty indices and Indian foreign exchange reserves crossing US$ 600 billion again. Many senior bankers feel that for the 1st time after many many years, all sectors of business are doing well. One can only hope this good show sustains for a longer time thereby helping Indian GDP reach US$ 5 trillion, sooner than later. The spoil sport can be poor monsoon, interest rate increase and unexpected events like political turmoil.
The ruling party at the centre got the shock of its life by badly losing State Elections in Karnataka. The smart electorate of Karnataka has punished the unexpected poor performance of the previous Government, apart from succumbing to the lure of multiple freebies offered by the winning party. While this has invigorated the opposition parties against the ruling party at the centre, it has also made the 2024 parliamentary elections more unpredictable. Anything can happen. What India requires is political stability and retaining its position in the world order & the goodwill generated during the past few years. What all this means to the business is the question? Uncertainty to a great extent. One never knows when the current positive sentiments will start turning negative, though there is absolutely no indication at present.
The Residential Real Estate sector is continuing to grow in a healthy way. Financial year 2023 is the best so far for the sector. The WFH/ A (work from home/ anywhere) culture continuing in a big way in USA & Europe has created millions of square feet of vacant office space in those countries, which has resulted in cautious approach by Indian & MNC companies in the tech sector to sign up new office space. Most experts feel this could be a cyclical and temporary phenomena. The good news is many MNC companies are increasing the size of their GCCs (Global Capability Centres) in India as a way to cut costs by offshoring work thereby helping to retain/ improve their profitability. This is the saving grace for the Indian Office Real Estate sector. The data localisation policy of the Indian Government has also resulted in increased demand for Data Centres. So also, the growing organised retail business has increased the demand for Fulfilment Centres/ Warehouses.
In such a macro environment, Brigade is trying to play its cards well but carefully. We have made headway in increasing our presence in Chennai significantly. We are trying to do the same in the highly competitive real estate market of Hyderabad.
While a number of new launches are slated in this financial year, obtaining civic authorities approvals is becoming more challenging than ever before, for a variety of reasons. By adhering to the multiple rules, administrative procedures and after overcoming red tape, if one succeeds in real estate business in India, they deserve to receive accolades and a pat on their back.
Rightly, the new Congress Government in Karnataka is talking of ‘Brand Bengaluru’ – to improve the image of the city which has taken a beating due to severe traffic congestion, insufficient infrastructure planning & implementation. Bengaluru deserves much better treatment by the State Govt.
Bengaluru, which contributes more than 50% of the tax revenue of the State; should receive similar share in the expenditure budget of the State to improve its infrastructure. Bengaluru is not just a city of Karnataka, it is now a Global City, known for innovation and home to 100s of MNCs.
Hyderabad with its superior infrastructure is already breathing down Bengaluru‘s neck and sure to overtake Bengaluru as an attractive investment destination, if the Karnataka Government continues to be complacent.
The advent of ChatGPT & AI (Artificial Intelligence) into our lives, slowly but surely, will have a profound effect, not fathomed by us so far. It will become a necessary evil in the years ahead. While there would be demand for people with new skills, it may also lead to thousands of job losses. So, it is very important for people and businesses to gear up the skills to keep pace with the ever changing technological advancements.
The festival season is approaching. My warm season's greeting to all our readers.
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
The Completion of Brigade Gateway Residential Block is a major milestone achieved. While significant completion has happened, the snag rectification of individual apartments and overall fine tuning is a challenging process, requiring great care and patience. The Brigade Gateway campus is looking better and better as it moves towards total completion. The Brigade School will open in June 2010. The Galaxy Club should open in a couple of months. WTC Bangalore, Orion Mall and Sheraton Bangalore Hotel are also getting ready. As far as I know, Brigade Gateway is the most integrated enclave in an urban centre anywhere in the world! The total integration of residential with offices, retail, hotel, medical, educational and recreational facilities within the city, is unprecedented. The convenience of living in such an environment will truly be a great experience.
While the Indian economy has shown stability, it is getting affected by the shaky European economy. Mounting debt in Greece, Portugal, Spain and even Italy has started creating a ripple effect. I hope the governments in EU countries won’t let another 2008 kind of situation happen.
Central and State Budgets of 2010 have come and gone without giving any relief on applicability of multiple taxes to the same real estate transaction. India could be the only country with the dubious distinction of treating purchase of a property under construction from a developer as: firstly, ‘transfer of property’ attracting stamp duty; secondly, as Sale of Goods under VAT rules; and, to make matters worse, as a Service under the Central Government Service Tax Rules. The desire to get revenue has made the authorities/law makers blind, with the result, citizens have to live with this unfair tax treatment.
Brigade Group is trying to launch a number of new projects in all segments and categories—residential, office, retail and hospitality. But the procedures and the need to meet more and more rules and get permissions is making the process very cumbersome and time consuming…resulting in an increase in overhead costs, which negatively impacts on the product price.
Our Mercure Homestead Residences will soon be rebranded as ‘Grand Mercure’ (a higher rated brand of Accor Hotels worldwide). Our Mercure property recently received an award—from the globally recognised Hospitality Consultants, HVS—for Best New Hotel in South Asia in the Serviced Apartment category! To cap this, the Ministry of Tourism has also given a 5-star rating for Mercure Homestead Residences.
It is heartening to get recognized again by the well-known Realty Plus magazine as the Best Regional Developer (Residential) in 2010 for the Southern Region. So also by Construction Source India as the Best Developer in Residential Infrastructure.
In the next few months, Brigade will concentrate on total completion of its many projects which are in final stages and sale/lease of balance stock of residential, office and retail units—apart from making persistent efforts to create new stock quickly. I look forward to continued support and patronage from our clients for our new launches.