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Real estate outlook very positive, says Aakash Ohri, DLF

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DLF, the country’s largest real estate player, continues to remain “very positive” about the sector’s demand as it readies a “strong pipeline of launches” across categories like Floors, highrises and so on.

The real estate major expects a revenue of around Rs. 400 crore from sale of 92 luxury independent floors which it will develop in Gurugram, said Aakash Ohri, Joint Managing Director and Chief Business Officer, DLF. Floors will be sold in a price range of Rs. 4 – 6 crore each with size between 2,400 square feet and 3,100 square feet.

DLF Independent Floors were launched in October 2020 and has generated over Rs. 7600 crore in revenues – across NCR (Gurugram – Rs. 6350 crore and Chandigarh, Mohali & Panchkula – Rs. 1300 crore).

In an interview to businessline, Ohri talks about the outlook, NRI response, return of retail investors to real estate purchases, among others.

Edited excerpts:

How does the full year demand outlook look like? 

Outlook is still very positive and from our point of view, the pipeline of launches are quite strong. Post-Covid real estate, specially residential, has become a priority; perhaps a habit.

When you look at sales and projections, what you need to see is the product types and the certain regions which draw better demand over other.

For example, Gurugram is a major attraction now in terms of launches or in contribution towards turnover, something that Mumbai was previously.

Any particular noticeable trends?

There is now a lot of people who are willing to come back into real estate for investment. Previously, there were issues across some developers and that led to deliveries not happening, money was stuck, etc. Now all that is changing. Recent results of most established players (listed real estate companies) are proof of that change.

After 2013, a lot of investors moved to the markets – stock markets, capital markets. Many of them were genuine, good investors. And, they started believing that investing in real estate would lead to their funds being stuck, and they may suffer losses. Over the next five years, there was streamlining of regulations – RERA, GST, etc – and time-bound delivery of projects by DLF and some other organised players. A certain sense of faith that was restored. And from 2018, there were green-shoots and money started to come back (through retail investors, end-users).

In Covid, every one was boxed in, and they felt they needed bigger and better homes. And this time, it generated another demand which was very need-based. It changed real estate habits, especially in the residential segments.

So, is there a shift-back from capital market investments to real estate? 

A substantial amount of retail investors moved away (post 2013), or deferred their real estate investments. So when they came back there was a bit of wariness, but as they came back the endorsements have been phenomenal.

From DLF’s point of view, we structured ourselves to be there, whenever a discussion was happening – across projects and across price-points.

How has the NRI response been to your launches? 

The NRI sales contribute to 20 per cent of our revenues.

We worked tirelessly, for over a year, in the NRI markets. Because of that there is a continuous flow of information to them, engagement on a quarterly basis, apprised them about launches, and so on. We stepped-up our outreach; whether upcountry, across NRI markets, in the NCR market and beyond. Every launch that we are doing now is a global launch rather than concentrating on just one geography. We are reaching out to more people, including present home-owners of DLF, apprising them.

How is the company’s debt position like? 

As of now, our debt is about Rs 50 crore-or so; which for the sector and for a company of our size is negligible.

Would you look to move beyond the Delhi – NCR region? 

The NCR is our hub; and will continue to be here (NCR). We are deeply invested. When we talk about super-luxury, one would need to have these markets for products to come up in areas where there is demand. Space and costs are other factors too.

We have projects in Delhi, in Gurgaon – including New Gurgaon, and in Q3 there will be a couple of launches as well.

In Mumbai, where we are re-entering, it is going to be launched sometime in Q4. But that’s a mid-segment product in Andheri West.





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