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Prospects of India Real Estate Investment, 2018
AREA Press Release No. 325/2017: August 18, 2017

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai, Ph.D. Dip.FIABCI, MRICS
President, Agency for Real Estate Affairs (AREA)

In mid August 2017, Dr.Sopon from Thailand humbly conducted a questionnaire survey to Indian valuers who have good knowledge about property markets in India.  The views on the economy of India at large property markets in particular were explored.  The results of this survey would be beneficial for investment planning into India.

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai, President, Thai Appraisal Foundation was invited by the Practicing Valuers Association of India (PVAI) to present a paper at the PVAI Annual Conference in Nagpur during August 12-15, 2017.  During that period, Dr.Sopon conducted a small research to reflect the view of valuers on Indian economic and real estate developments as well as other related issues.

The Petty Research

During the period of paper presentation of Dr.Sopon, he conducted a simple survey to valurs in India in order to assess the economy and property markets in India via the view of Indian property valuers who are very much matured and should understand property market well.  The questions are simple such as the assessment of Indian economy in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the assessment of property markets in the same period, property sectors which have high hope, countries where they expect to buy property abroad (if possible) and the assessment on the reputation of Indian valuers.

Dr.Sopon was invited as a honorable speaker.  There was no need to conduct this survey.  He should have stayed quietly.  But Dr.Sopon is always a researcher and was willing to conduct this survey to assess the situation for the benefits of Indian valuation profession and to reflect the view of Indian valuers to the economy and property markets which would be beneficial for India at large.  He constructed a small questionnaire in the hotel and hired hotel staff to make photocopy.  He humbly walked to each table to distribute the questionnaires to participants during their listening to a session and later to collect the filled ones.  This might be a bit annoy to the participation.  Please forgive Dr.Sopon for this.  However, the survey would be a good set of information for all.

The Assessment of the Economy & Real Estate

The first three questions were to allow Indian valuers to assess Indian economy.  It was assessed that out of the 10 as the best, the economy was assessed at 5.7 in 2016, 6.1 in 2017 and expectedly 7.4 in 2018.  It should be mentioned that the standard deviation is quite low.  This implies that the results were somewhat reliable. It implies that Indian valuers assessed that the economy has been fine and would be better in the future.  The difference between 2016 and 2017 was little but the increase in 2018 would be quite significant.  The future of Indian economy is bright.

In terms of property markets in India as a whole, Indian valuers also assessed something similarly to that of the economy.  Out of the 10, property markets in India as a whole was assessed at 5.4 in 2016 and the same 5.4 in 2017.  There was only little difference in the standard variation.  However, it was expected to 6.4 in 2018.  This implied that property market might get start for recovery from the previous boom and price escalation.  So Indian property markets would be improved in the near future.

Promising Sectors of Real Estate

The following is the list of property sectors which were mentioned to be of popular development with good profit in the future of India.

Table 1: Sectors of Real Estate
which Are Booming Now 
Sectors % of Popularity
land 5%
affordable housing 8%
rental apartments 4%
housing 17%
residential 11%
commercial 25%
industrial 17%
infrastructure 11%
township 4%

It could be found that housing are among the largest proportion of the booming of 17%.  On the whole, the overall residential sector (housing, residential, rental apartments and affordable housing) contributed to 40%  Indian economy have been recovered over time. In the past, there were a lot of street dwellers in major Indian cities.  Nowadays, the proportion of these substandard housing including slums and the like was shrinking over time.  In addition, that the proportion of commercial properties, industrial properties and infrastructure were 25%, 17% and 11% respectively, reflected the strong economic structure of the country.

Where to Invest Abroad

It was asked to Indian valuers that "if you have a chance to buy properties abroad, which country will you go to buy?".  There was a diversity of answers which were grouped as follows:

Table 2: Where to Buy Properties Abroad
Destinations % of Popularity
USA 18%
UK 13%
Thailand 9%
Australia 9%
Singapore 8%
UAE 8%
Switzerland 4%
Canada 4%
South Africa 3%
Germany 3%
New Zealand 3%
Europe 4%
Scandinavia 3%
Hong Kong 1%
Nepal 1%
Bhutan 1%
Malaysia 1%
Japan 1%
Brazil 1%
Cambodia 1%
China 1%
Others 2%
Others including Qatar, Indonesia, Israel,
Korea, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar and Sri Lanka

Around one-fifth (18%) would like to buy properties in the USA.  This was the top and dreamed destination for Indians.  UK as the centre of the former empire constituted some 13% which was very high too.  However, house prices in UK. would be exorbitant.  Amazingly, Thailand is the third in the priority with 9% responses.  Actually, Thailand and India had good relationship for centuries.  Then it would be Australia (9%) expectedly for migration, Singapore (8%) expectedly for investment and UAE (8%) as a investment as well.  It should be mentioned that very few would buy properties in China.  Dr.Sopon left this phenomenon for the interpretation of the readers themselves.

Concluding Remarks

Indian valuers who have good knowledge in property markets assessed that the economy of India would be bright.  In addition, Indian property markets would be growing promisingly as well particularly in the residential sector with the special attention to affordable housing.  In fact other sectors are also booming as well.  Amazingly, USA is first destination for Indians with the largest proportion of responses followed by UK, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.

On the whole, India possesses a bright future because of the recovery of the economy.  People can afford to buy a house in an open market instead of staying in substandard housing.  Subsequently, affordable housing is a sector of booming in today real estate markets.  Due to the large number of population of 1.3 billion, India is one of the largest markets in the world.  India is one of the largest sources of affordable labourers as well.  Foreign direct investments in Indian real estate should be quite attractive.  On the other hand, Indians are investing around the world as well.  Smaller countries such as Thailand should benefit from the boom of India as well.

About Dr.Sopon

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai was a consultant to the ESCAP, UN-Habitat, World Bank and other international organizations. He gained a Ph.D. in land and housing from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and had further property valuation training from LRTI-Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and in housing development from Katholieke Universeit Leuven (Belgium).  He is the President of FIABCI Thailand Chapter, the Thai Appraisal Foundation, the representative of the International Association of Assessing Officers (USA) to Thailand, and a member of the Global Valuation Forum of the Appraisal Foundation (USA).  Email: sopon@thaiappraisal.org