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.
Much has happened since the publication of the last issue of Brigade Insight - Indian economy has become stronger with the positive impact of GST taking shape, slowly but surely; Stock indices have zoomed with Sensex touching 38,000; BJP was not able to form the government in Karnataka in spite of being the party to win the largest number of seats; Passing away of the doyen of Tamil Nadu politics Sri Karunanidhi; Brigade launching a flurry of projects et al.
Unfortunately, the international scene is quite uncertain with Oil prices going up and the unpredictable approach of the US President resulting in a trade war between the United States & China, the world's two largest economies. This has brought in a lot of uncertainty to the external macro environment though, the United States economy, which contributes more than 25% to the world's GDP, is doing well. The resultant impact on our currency is negative as the Indian Rupee has weakened by 7% and will affect the country's balance of payments.
Though the Indian manufacturing sector is showing good order books, companies are declaring better financial results and though the Monsoon is by & large good, there is a certain amount of anxiety amongst trade and industry due to interest rates beginning to go up, apart from the uncertainty of impending parliamentary elections in early 2019.
After three years of a recessionary trend in real estate, the sector seems to be on the recovery path. With not many new project launches during the last two years, unsold numbers have come down and prices have stabilised. With the implementation of RERA, much-needed customer confidence and positive sentiment are returning back. The Central government is doing its bit by increasing the thrust on infrastructure improvement. The spoilsport can be rising home loan interest rates.
In this background, Brigade has launched a number of new projects and is gearing up to launch several more in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad & Mysuru. With ‘Parkside' as the brand for ‘Independent Living for Seniors', we are offering well thought out residences in all four directions of Bangalore. We are back to offering Ownership Offices for investment, lease or for own use. In fact, the first three projects of Brigade in the late 80s & the early 90s were all commercial projects. We have also started the concept of ‘Managed Residences' in our villa projects in Devanahalli - Brigade Atmosphere & Brigade Orchards. With ‘Ease of Occupation' for the customer in mind, we have introduced ‘Brigade Plus' initiative offering a host of conveniences. With the launch of ‘One Brigade App', our customers can avail a number of benefits.
With the commencement of the festival season, business & investor sentiments will improve. I seek the continued goodwill and patronage of our customers.