What is the outlook for the real estate sector as a whole now?
Coming from the positives of second half of 2015 and most of 2016, commercial real estate was the driver of real estate sales and leqasing across the country, in turn it was expected to provide a fillip to residential real estate. So, the outlook was positive. There were two major issues that were expected to impact the direction that real estate would take in 2017, RERA and GST. Add to these two the impact of demonetization, and you have a simple prognosis: I expect real estate business to be subdued till March 2017, after which positive days will be back. Going into 2017, especially the second half, real estate should do well. I view demonetisation as being good for the nation. It has the potential to create long term benefits for the economy. At present, the economy of the country has been impacted by the demonetization, real estate sector is not an exception. Sales will slow down for a couple of months, we will see real estate moving to a full cheque payment scenario, which should augur well for not just the home buyer, but also bring in transparency to the industry. In Mumbai, when our group adopted the system of accepting 100% amount in white, our sales went up, because actual buyers came forward to buy the houses. If other builders also adopt this idea, it will help them in the long run.
Your view on Real Estate Bill?
It is good for home buyers, as it empowers them; it is good for the real estate industry as it will bring in transparency and a corporate manner of working. It will not just ensure more credibility for the industry, but also in effect, make Indian real estate more attractive to global investors. And yet, amidst the positives, there is one problem: it places the burden of time-bound completion of projects only on real estate developers, while allowing other stake-holders – like authorities who provide permissions and clearances, which in most instances cause the actual delays, as not responsible for the delays they cause.