Indian Property Market Takes A Small Step Out of the Shadows

 

 

Few that have bought or even rented real estate in India would be surprised by a recent survey showing the property market here can be maddeningly murky.

 

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index showed that while things have improved, Indian cities still have to work on transparency. The Chicago-based real-estate consultant said India needs to go further to create more clarity on the rules connected to property purchases and real estate prices.

 

“India still scores among the lowest in the transparency of its transaction process,” the report said.

 

Jones Lang LaSalle looked at just over 100 markets around the world and rated them on a dozen parameters ranging from the availability of data, the number of publicly-listed developers and the strength of regulators.

 

India struggles most when it comes to recording real estate transactions. Too many deals are done off the book, recorded with government offices that don’t disclose numbers or are never recorded at all, making it difficult for home buyers and even analyst to assess what a property is worth and which direction property prices are moving.

 

Most of the deals that pop up on everyone’s radars are big corporate transactions in bigger cities. Those above-board deals may very well be only a tiny slice of all the real estate activity though. Smaller deals done by smaller companies and in smaller cities are often hard to keep track of, analyst say, making it difficult to estimate what is really going on in the real estate market.

 

Meanwhile the real estate agents are too often untrained and unscrupulous in India. It seems like almost anyone can dabble in the market if they can create the right connections and grease the right palms to push through all the paperwork needed to transfer control of properties.

 

India’s standing was also hurt by its lack of a regulator for the real estate sector. While a regulator is in the works, the industry is currently being overseen by the Ministry of Urban Development, local registry offices and many others depending on the property.


Things are, however, better than they were a year ago. India’s biggest cities stepped up in Jones Lang LaSalle’s ranking to 40th in 2014 from 48th in 2012 while the medium-sized cities moved up to 42nd place from 49th.

 

The improvement is thanks to private equity firms who have been investing a lot of money and demand more transparency. India’s growing mortgage-loan market is also helping as banks require more reliable information about buyers, sellers, properties and the way deals are done, said AnujPuri chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s Indian operations.

 

Market transparency could get a further boost soon if India’s new government goes ahead with plans to improve real estate regulations.

 

“Later this year India is likely to enact the Real Estate Regulation Bill, which seeks to improve regulation over real estate agents and the quality of land registry records,” the report said.

 

Source: Indian Realty News dated June 30, 2014