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Election results play a big role in real estate consumer sentiment: Anuj Puri, ANAROCK Property

Anuj Puri

If you want to know what Indian Real Estate is and how it works, you just need to have a coffee with a person who has ‘Been There, Done That’. Yes, by spending almost three decades in the sector, Anuj Puri knows it all. He recently commenced his own venture, ANAROCK Property, disassociating himself with JLL after almost twenty years. Team RealtyMyths got an opportunity to interact with the man himself about his plans at ANAROCK Property and his opinion about the sector at large. Here are the excerpts of the interaction.

After being associated with JLL for more than 20 years and witnessing it grow inch by inch, how difficult it was to part your ways and start on your own with ANAROCK Property? What objective do you want to achieve through ANAROCK Property?

It wasn’t difficult. We had planned the launch of ANAROCK quite a while ago and were putting in the footwork long before the launch. Our vision and objective is to provide 100% transparent and ethical real estate consultancy services, providing an environment where every client – from developer to end-user and investor – is completely wired into the process. ANAROCK Group’s key strategic business units comprise of its residential business, which provides broking and advisory services to clients, the investment business which handles debt, equity and mezzanine funding, and the research and consulting business. Our residential business team was picked with great care, and we now have the industry’s finest residential real estate professionals who understand the ever-changing consumer needs and market trends. Our experience and expertise gained through serving some of the most reputed developers, corporate houses, portfolio investors and individual investors make us the unchallenged residential real estate market leader in India. ANAROCK’s Investment arm has built a revolutionary business model of bulk-purchasing residential apartment inventory through a proprietary investment fund.

It is widely perceived that the Indian real estate market is reeling under stress; the sector has not recorded remarkable growth in last 4-5 years. Do you think this was indeed an opportunity to start something new such as ANAROCK Property? Where do you see your business coming from?

ANAROCK Property Consultants bridges a massive gap between providers and consumers of real estate in India. It is this gap that has caused the slowdown. The market did not slow down because of lack of demand but because of lack of customer confidence. By picking our projects with care and providing complete transparency and knowledge about every option, we give our customers the confidence they need to make purchase decisions. We also take up entire inventories of developers and thereby ensure that customers get the best possible deal with all the information they require to invest confidently. In that respect, our firm could not have been launched at a more opportune time, because customers have become extremely circumspect and need this confidence.

Considering India will witness general elections next year, the year 2018 holds vital importance for a sector like real estate which is primarily sentiment driven. Do you see some big announcements coming your way from the government? What’s your take on developments like RERA and GST?

The Government has already taken several important steps for the real estate sector and is unlikely to make any new announcements this year other than those related to its ‘Housing for All’ program and possibly the formal launch of REITs, with the first listings. The Modi Government has proved that it is not here to take populist measures for the sector but to make the Indian real estate market a more wholesome, healthy and transparent. RERA, GST, DeMo and the Benami properties act are decisive steps in this direction.

Post the Great Slowdown of 2008, the Indian real estate market could not achieve its past glory, barring the 2012-2014 period. What, in your opinion, is the reason behind this stagnation? Do you see some recovery post the general elections? 

While it is generally believed that election results play a big role in real estate consumer sentiment, the fact today is that consumer sentiment is dictated by the state of the market. Election results may have a bigger bearing on the stock market, but real estate investment is now all about the quality of the product and its pricing. Whatever actual end-user demand exists now exists regardless of which way the political winds blow. It is primarily end-users who are driving the Indian real estate market now, with investors having become extremely thin on the ground. It is true that in the case of some states, political instability has played a role in subduing overall investment sentiment, but the stability of the Government at the center is by now beyond question. Whichever Government is in power after next year’s general elections, the country’s real estate market will have become a more credible and transparent arena by then as a result of the incumbent Government’s efforts.

Some of the recent reports suggest that government’s big announcements like Smart City failed to initiate on the ground due to lack of proper planning and adequate fund allocation. Do you think Smart City mission has potential to turn around India’s socio-economic development issues? How can this be achieved? 

I must say that there is remarkably little progress on the ground when it comes to the Smart Cities mission. Even PMAY has not reaped the results which everyone was expecting. No doubt, the Smart Cities mission has the inherent potential of reviving the real estate market in the designated regions, but only if there is tangible progress on it. For now, we are in wait-and-watch mode on this; meanwhile, the real estate market has enough challenges before it as it strives to align to the new ground realities.

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