The REIT Way

Delhi, India (PressExposure) September 03, 2009 -- Are Indian REITs ready to make a mark or are they losing business to those from overseas markets? Kamlesh Pandya analyses.

In a scenario where real estate is becoming out of reach for small investors, to invest and reap profits, real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a good way for the investor class to invest in the sector. It also benefits developers, as more funds are pumped into real estate. REITs/REMFs offer an innovative option for investors to buy and trade shares in the real estate sector and collect dividends from capital appreciation and rental incomes, explains Atul Modak, head, Kohinoor City Project.

REITs are generally classified into three broad categories - equity REITs, mortgage REITs and hybrid REITs. "The best benefit of REITs is fast and easy liquidation of investments in the real estate market, unlike the traditional way of disposing real estate," he explains. However, it is important to have proper regulation and utilisation of these funds and total transparency in the whole process. For REITs to be a success and contribute to the growth of the economy, initial tax sops to the investors and REITs will be helpful, he feels.

REITs in the Indian scenario, are yet to take off, says Ashok Kumar, principal and managing director, CresaPartners India. "Certainly, we are losing out on such opportunities to overseas REITs, as it does not seem to be a priority for the government," he regrets. The real estate sector in India is still complex and the regulators have to fix a lot of policies and valuation issues, in advance, for REITs to become functional, he adds. "If one considers the union budget 2009-10, there was no mention about FDI in real estate or REITs and REMFs. However, we hope that the FM will announce some relief for the sector, post the budget," adds Kumar.

Realtor Bharat Mailk points to a paper, 'Indian REITs: Are We Prepared', by the ASSOCHAM and CRISIL and says that REITs in India would have the potential to hold at least five per cent share of the total global real estate market, by 2010. The size of this global market would touch US $ 1,400 billion, according to the paper. "According to the paper, by 2010, REITs alone would hold a market size of US $ 70 billion of the total real estate market, as the concept is gaining ground in countries like India and other developing nations," he says, laying out the statistics. In the Indian context, REITs can help provide an exit route for developers, to revolve funds more efficiently. It will also provide opportunities to retail investors to participate in the real estate sector and provide asset diversification to corporate investors, besides building a vibrant secondary real estate market, adds Malik.

REMFs are the Indian version of the international REITs, adapted to the Indian mutual funds platform, explains Shobhit Agarwal, joint MD (capital markets), Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj. "In the current context, while everybody is now working on entry and creating assets, the important question of who will buy these assets to provide an exit to the developers / investors needs to be addressed,'' he points out. The leveraging allowed in the case of Indian REITs is the lowest (at 20 per cent of the value), compared to 35 per cent in the case of Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan and 200 per cent in the case of Korea. This could result in a lower yield and because it is not really leveraged, the risk taken is also more," he cautions.

Mihir Dhruva, CEO of Siddharth Group is of the opinion that REITs should be more preferred by the 'low-risk, low-return' investor segment. "Sentiments, which contributed significantly to the depressed market in FY 08-09 are now reversing," says Dhruva. "This has been reflected in reports coming from different cities, showing revival of real estate transactions" and REITs should have a positive response as a result," he concludes.

Courtesy:- ET dt:- 31-08-09

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The real estate sector in India is still complex and the regulators have to fix a lot of policies and valuation issues, in advance, for REITs to become functional, he adds. "If one considers the union budget 2009-10, there was no mention about FDI in real estate or REITs and REMFs. However, we hope that the FM will announce some relief for the sector, post the budget," adds Kumar.

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Press Release Submitted On: September 03, 2009 at 4:32 am
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