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Developers Pursue Smaller Cities Growth Explained for Investors

What Is an Investor? - Forage

Introduction

The article discusses top realty players acquiring land parcels across tier 2/3 cities beyond metros to tap plotted development and warehousing demand. It highlights the volume and value transacted.

Analysis for Layman

Big listed builders like Lodha, Godrej Properties, Mahindra Lifespace, Arvind Smartspaces are buying large land banks in smaller cities to expand their residential projects portfolio. As housing demand rises post-pandemic with preference for owned plots, they see major prospects there.

From Jan 2022-Oct 2023, total 3294 acres have been acquired by developers countrywide. Out of this, 44.4% or 1461 acres valued at over ₹4500 crores has been in tier 2/3 cities like Nagpur, Panipat, Palghar etc. Residential use dominates with 1399 acres planned for plotted layouts. Locals prefer such independent houses. Some holiday homes also coming up. Data shows big brands focused on these markets now.

Original Analysis

The accelerated land purchases by leading developers in non-metro areas signals the resilience of housing demand beyond larger cities. Tier 2/3 cities are expected to drive the next phase of real estate growth based on affordability, infrastructure upgrades, and remote working trends.

This is validated by branded players committing large outlays targeting the plotted development segment which requires specialized capabilities given horizontal expansion complexities. Presence of household names typically precipitates entire ecosystem participation over time. Focus by Lodha, Godrej etc follows extensive data analytics on location attractiveness.

The assets play to post-pandemic preference shifts like additional space, ownership appeal. While risks around project funding access and regulatory norms cannot be discounted over long construction cycles, the activity indicators showcase promoter confidence expecting this demand trajectory to continue.

Impact on Retail Investors

For stock investors, the rapid land bank buildup by listed realty majors in non-metro regions highlights the sustained housing demand being witnessed after COVID reversal. The plot project focus aligns with buyer preferences too. This signals exciting second growth phase for residential real estate after initial metro saturation.

Retail investors can interpret the data as proxy for durable medium term prospects across the sector. Given high upfront capital commitment required, the tier 2/3 cities expansion confirms positive industry outlook expecting volume/pricing growth in future years. Realty stocks generally see re-rating with new launches so investors can assess stock-specific plans ahead based on land procurement.

Impact on Industries

Realty sector will see construction order flows rising given the 10000+ acres already acquired to be developed over next 3-5 years. Infrastructure and construction material suppliers to housing projects benefit like cement, steel, tiles, paints, doors/windows etc. Financiers including housing finance firms and banks witness asset/loan book growth from buyer mortgages.

Adjacent industries around plotted projects include land registration, home insurance providers, and furnishings/modular solution companies. The holiday homes segment advantaged realty marketing/listing platforms like housing.com and magicbricks. Overall it cascades opportunities across housing value chain on the back of verified end-user demand metrics via branded developer actions.

Long Term Benefits & Negatives

Expanding beyond top 8 cities has been a long-standing imperative for Indian real estate to unlock its full potential. This enterprise level commitment towards non-metro regions gives confidence around sustenance of structural demand growth rather than being an intermittent blip. Benchmarking tier-2 appetite allows for policy support.

Diversification also derisks from metro-centric downcycles. Plotted projects address inherent market preference boosting affordability. Presence of trusted developers enhances credibility of entire location ecosystem – approval process, civic governance etc.

Negatives include possibility of overleveraging by players underestimating required operational expertise in new geographies. Demand crush risks if wider economic conditions deteriorate. Also supply overhang if overbuilding happens reacting to transient demand without factoring income levels.

Short Term Benefits & Negatives

Clear short term benefit is broadening revenue base and profit pools for listed developers augmenting financials allowing higher dividends or re-investments. Construction activity supplemental demand propels cement, steel etc keeping plants running at high utilization.

New project launches provide buyers more options suiting budget/preferences especially post-pandemic. Any housing uptick signifies economy formalization – secured incomes, financial access etc.

Negatives can be speculation in land acquisition for smaller cities by players with constrained balance sheet. Risk of bunching supply if most projects reach completion together 3-4 years later. Environment clearances can also pose unanticipated delays.

Companies to Gain

Listed entities benefiting directly:

  • Oberoi Realty – Plotted development focus, new geography expansion
  • Prestige Estates – Leveraging serviced plots competitiveness
  • Ashiana Housing – Affordable plotted villa projects model aligns
  • Mahindra Lifespace – Leveraging customer data analytics for site selection
  • Brigade Enterprises – Fast growing affordable housing portfolio
  • SOBHA – Plotted projects for second homes demand

These realty majors gain significantly from demand flows into aspirational lower tier housing. The players have exhibited competence around high volume projects execution over the years. Market share wins likely if stated Supply materializes leveraging brand, credibility and amenities quality.

Companies to Lose

No listed entities seen negatively impacted considering the currently underserved nature of the tier 2/3 opportunity by organized players. Infra companies gain from quantum growth in construction demand.

Additional Insights

Trend of household investments shifting from physical assets like gold and land towards financial assets over the last decade could reverse to an extent going forward given inadequate retirement corpus and inflation fears.

Conclusion

The consortium of top 7-8 Indian real estate developers making sizeable commitments towards tapped tier 2/tier 3 demand through plotted developments highlights the attractiveness of the opportunity from a medium term horizon. This positive industry outlook gets reflected in entity-specific expansion strategies.

Citation

Babar, Kailash. “Realtors Cash in on Growth Opportunity in Smaller Cities.” Economic Times

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