Home is where the heart is, seems to be the new mantra for real estate owners in Indian investment – even when these homes are in distant foreign lands like Dubai and other Middle East countries – where real estate players are bullish about rising Indian investment. This was evident at the Dubai Property Show held recently in Mumbai, where numerous developers, builders and real estate giants from the Emirate of Dubai – also famously called the “City of Gold” – came in their numbers to woo Indian real estate buyers.
Bollywood’s celebrity and style icon Malaika Arora Khan kicked off the three-day property extravaganza that showcased the best of the Emirate’s latest real estate offerings in luxury apartments from Rs 65 lakhs to villas around Rs 2.5 crores, besides beach properties and commercial properties galore. The event, which was organised by the Dubai Land Department and Sumansa Exhibitions, witnessed participation of 35 reputed property developers from Dubai including; Falconcity of Wonders, Emaar Properties, Al Hamra Real Estate Development, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Tebyan, Select Group, Nakheel, Dubai Properties, Deyaar Development, Meydan Sobha, Damac Properties, Dubai Sports City, Kleindienst Group, among others, besides also seminars, promotional offers and financing facilities.
Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of the Dubai Land Department, said Dubai properties would be particularly attractive to the middle-income group, which no longer have to choose between affordability and luxury. “Indians have long understood the value of Dubai real-estate – as evident by their growing investment in the emirate – and they realise the long-and-short-term financial dividends that they can attain. This is why Indian nationals continue to rule the foreign real-estate investment chart. In the first half of 2015 alone, they sliced a significant 15 per cent share – the highest in Dubai’s real-estate market by a foreign nationality,” he said. Alharith Almoosa, Vice Chairman and Deputy General Manager, Falconcity of Wonders LLC, noted that while Dubai’s real-estate sector provided value for money, more significantly – the emirate offered political stability and an easy access to global and regional markets, besides boasting one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Sunil Jaiswal, President, Sumansa Exhibitions, said Dubai real-estate became a sound investment because economic activity in Dubai witnessed healthy figures due to its diversification across various sectors including finance, logistics, tourism and retail, besides also Expo 2020 round the corner to improve the economy further.
“Indians are continuing to be the most prolific foreign investors in the property sector in coming months too, as they have adopted Dubai as their second home and expect high return on their investments,” Kalpesh Sampat, Director of SPF Realty – a leading real estate broker in the freehold property sector of Dubai and Middle East – told Millennium Post on the sidelines of the Show, while highlighting the USP and hassle-free purchase procedures offered by the Dubai realty market. “The key advantages Dubai property markets offer – vis-à-vis investment in Indian properties – is that one does not have to deal with complicated sections and provisions related to Income Tax as there are no personal and income taxes in Dubai. Quick transaction procedures ensure that Indian investors get their money as a seller in 10 days (cash) or 45 days in case of a mortgage.”
“Dubai’s other top draw reasons include: Relatively affordable living for middle and upper class compared to Delhi and Mumbai; Easy assimilation due to prevailing Indian culture; Monetary gains due to fastest-growing economies and rising demand for property; Lucrative yields with world’s highest returns; Close proximity to India; Expo 2020 (to attract estimated 30 million visitors and multiple business opportunities; Strong tourism sector (millions global tourists monthly),” Sampat said.
Official statistics show Indians as the top foreign property investors in Dubai with investments of over Rs 30,000 crore in 2014 alone, which is more than a quarter of around Rs 1 lakh crore of Non-Arab property investments recorded that year, according to the Dubai Land Department. Real estate investors from India have shown a marked preference for properties in Dubai owing to the close proximity of the UAE to India. Indians were the most prolific overseas investors in Dubai’s realty market in H1, 2015, clocking 3,017 transactions valued at more than $2 billion.
“Dubai is poised on the brink of becoming one of the world’s leading investment hubs, and SPF Realty is an extended selling arm of several premium real estate developers in the UAE. Our Dubai USP is simple: 1) price per square feet is compelling, from investors perspective. Payment plan is 65 per cent post-handover over three more years. So, besides Indians, about 50 per cent buyers are from UAE itself and GCC countries itself who realise the importance including Meydan and “Mohammed Bin Rashid” (MBR) City having an “Etihad Rail Link” with other cities and countries in the GCC region in barely two to three years time, besides a bicycle track of a massive 50 kms length that sees even leaders and VVIPs doing their exercising bit. In fact, SPF’s sales turnover rose from $545 million (2007) to $2 billion in (2014), even as our (G&Co) “Viridian” Millennium Estates will be witnessing handing over of 198 villas by January 2016,” Sampat added.
Elucidating on the emergence of Dubai as a prime investment destination for Indian investors, Ranjeet Chavan, Director of SPF Realty which is representing the regions premium property developer G&Co at the Dubai Property Show, reiterated, “Indians accord a second-home status to Dubai – by coming in massive numbers to live, work and invest with a long-term perspective. Lower interest rates, lucrative yearly rental yield in the range of 4-7 per cent, security, tax-free returns on investments or around 20 per cent, a regulated market structure and attractive payment options are additional triggers for driving Indian investments in huge numbers in the Indian market.”
Meanwhile, nearer home in India , some developers believe the sky’s the limit and are therefore reaching for the sky. Oberoi Realty launched its “Sky City” at Borivali, Mumbai across 25 acres and featuring multiple towers of 60 storeys each, besides offering connectivity to business districts and leisure options like malls, hotels, theatres and parks alongside multi-terraced gardens, recreational area and lush green landscapes. Describing “home” as the best real estate asset people can experience with value creation, Vikas Oberoi, CMD, Oberoi Realty, said the apartments in Sky City would comprise expansive three-bedrooms, while the City itself would be an aesthetic experience at all levels including swimming pools, aqua gm, courts for tennis, badminton and squash, rock climbing, jogging track, skating rink and kids play areas.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently noted that the real estate sector has huge potential for growth, and expressed the hope that the period of slow down would end soon. Delivering the key-note address at the CREDAI-BANKCON 2015 on Role of Banking and Finance in Real Estate Development in Mumbai, Jaitley had described the real estate sector as being the next big mover as far as the Indian economy is concerned, but added that the industry must survive on market economy and subsidies should not be the essence of survival.
The Finance Minister said the government was committed to housing for all – a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- and would adopt a positive approach, though easier availability of land was crucial to realising the dream of affordable housing. “It is not cheaper availability of land, but rather easier availability. If we complicate procedures too much, then we will be preventing people from acquiring affordable homes” he said, while emphasizing on the need of more townships, suburban townships and smart cities to lead the economic development of India.
About the taxation proposals made by CREDAI, the Finance Minister suggested the Real Estate body to make a presentation before the newly-appointed committee reviewing the Income Tax Act. With inflation being brought under control and the Reserve Bank also reducing interest rates four times this year, these measures would impact the real estate sector positively, Jaitley said, adding that recapitalization of public sector banks would give more strength and muscle for banking sector’s lending.
Focusing on macro-economic issues, the Minister said, “India as a country has become more aspirational and the constituency which supports growth has become bigger”.