Listing of more REITs will gather pace and investment momentum in 2021: JLL

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Mumbai: Institutional investments continued the momentum during the first quarter (Jan-March) of 2021, registering 21% growth in volumes at USD 922 million, indicating sustained investor interest in India’s real estate market, according to JLL’s Capital Markets Update Q1 2021 released today.

Investments during the quarter were driven by more activity from funds and closed development stage deals and were further supported by external macroeconomic factors. However, the pandemic surge during the second half of March 2021 is expected to delay the investment pipeline in the second quarter, says JLL.

Significant recovery of investments in Q1 2021 at USD 922 million

Source: JLL Research

“Institutional investment momentum continued during the first quarter of 2021, registering 21% growth in volume at USD 922 million, indicating the sustained investor interest in India’s real estate market,” said Dr Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research & REIS (India), JLL. “The remarkable resilience of the office market and confidence in its long-term growth led investors to chase quality assets available at the core and development stages. We also see the maturing listed REIT market providing an alternative to other asset classes, which lacked income stability,” he added.

Commercial office space drives investment momentum

Commercial office assets dominated deals with USD 864 million transacted, translating into 94% of the total value in the first quarter. Office space developers liquidated their portfolios to deleverage or raise growth capital for the next phase of expansion. In addition, investors are actively scouting for warehousing assets at present and deals are likely to be concluded in the coming quarters. The housing sector, meanwhile, continues to experience an infusion of last-mile funding for project completion.

Investments by asset class

Source: JLL Research

Hyderabad leads investments with 42% share, followed by Mumbai at 21%

Hyderabad witnessed the highest capital flows of USD 384 million, accounting for a 42% share of investments during the first quarter of 2021, due to the launch of new developments by the Phoenix Group. Mumbai accounted for 21% share of investments with USD 193 million deployed in its office and residential segments, supported by the reduction in stamp duty introduced by the State Government of Maharashtra.

Investments by city

Source: JLL Research                                                 

Institutional investments to boost growth of India’s REIT market

The successful debut of three listed REITs further positioned India on the radar of institutional investors. The Brookfield India REIT issue of ~USD 521 million was successfully launched in February 2021 and was eight times oversubscribed, with domestic mutual funds being major anchor investors. The market capitalisation of India’s listed REITs stood at USD 6.6 billion as on 16th April 2021, which is around 30% of the total market capitalisation of Nifty Realty Index companies.

Looking ahead

Though resurgence in the number of new Covid cases has caught the nation off guard, a swift response to the pandemic and lessons from the past are expected to guide our current actions.

Following broad trends are likely to emerge:

  • Investors are likely to continue evaluating deals and concluding investment processes with relaxation in conditions
  • JLL believes that the listing of more REITs will gather pace in 2021, also influencing the investment momentum
  • Apart from commercial office space, recovery in the housing sector is expected to attract funds, especially for projects in the last stages of completion
  • Residential sales in Q1 (January-March) 2021 recovered to more than 90% of the volumes witnessed in Q1 2020 (pre-Covid) across the top 7 cities. Smart recovery in demand in 2021 is expected to improve investment prospects. Opportunities for construction finance and last-mile funding would be available
  • Entry of new data centre operators and expansion plans of major players supported by infrastructure and PE funds are expected to drive deals
  • Platform deals in the logistics sector are likely to remain active as the segment benefitted from growing e-commerce demand as well as pandemic induced demand for cold storage facilities from pharma sector

Institutional investments have stayed on a firm wicket despite the pandemic in 2020 and are likely to gain further pace in 2021.