A webinar on “Future of the Real Estate Sector in Kerala” was organised by World Trade Center. Mr. Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India was the Speaker. In his talk, Mr. Nair described the changes that have been happening in the residential, commercial and retail spaces and also gave his predictions and suggestions on the way ahead. He said that the recently before lockdown, housing market had benefitted from returning NRIs. Ready to move in property sales have also increased considerably. age of construction, home loan interest and builder reputation are the key factors that customers are looking for at the time of purchase. Developers are tying up with interior designers due to consumer demand to provide interior solutions. There is a trend to move further away from CBDs to suburbs among customers as long as they have access to modern facilities. He shared his observation that tier 1 developers reached 40% of pre COVID sales and tier 2 have reached 25%. Over a 10-year period, real estate prices have gone up in India by 40%.
With respect to office spaces, Mr. Nair mentioned that there is a trend of de-densification. Earlier, 100 sqft was allotted to a person and this has now come down to 80 sqft. IT is likely to go back to 100 with the relaxation in lockdown rules. Tenants are asking for reduced office spaces, rent free spaces, flexible lock in period. He suggested that landlords will need to upgrade their buildings, limit rental increases and will need to be flexible and agile in these times. Designers are more focussed on building spaces cleaner environments with flexible working schedules in place.
Mr. Nair stated that retail has been the most impacted sector. Individual stores in malls have 25 – 40 % pre COVID sales currently. He added that vacancy levels are likely to increase and Govt. intervention is required to revive the sector. Supply chain is disrupted leading to product shortage. Warehouses are least impacted at these times. Hypermarkets and supermarkets are also doing well. He also observed that shoppers spend lesser time in malls and are serious buyers of essential goods.
The session was organized in association with the Indo American Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bose K. Nair, Vice President, World Trade Center; Mr. Sajiv Menon, Chairman, IACC also spoke. Vivek George, Manager, WTC moderated the discussions.