Companies & Sectors
Correction due in residential property at select locations and projects, says Anuj Puri

Jones Lang LaSalle India chief believes that prices are beyond peak levels and developers will not be able to sustain

There is considerable apprehension in the real estate market over the price levels in several micro-markets that have gone beyond the peak of the boom in 2007. Now, the chorus of voices expecting a correction in residential properties is growing louder.

"While I expect selective price escalation to happen until the end of 2010, we are very likely to see corrections related to location, projects and the degree of unrealistic pricing happen after that," said Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) India. He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the company's country heads from Australia, Japan, China and South-East Asia in Mumbai yesterday.

Mr Puri said prices were at their peak and builders could not afford to hike prices any further, notwithstanding the rapid rise in cement and steel prices. "If they (builders) increase prices further, it would affect demand," he said.

It has been reported that some developers are offering fabulous incentives-like Mercedes Benz and Skoda Fabia cars-to brokers to boost sales. Asked about this recent trend, Mr Puri said, "Only developers whose projects are overpriced and who cannot hold inventory anymore, are making such offers. As there are very few or no buyers for such overpriced properties, the developers are trying to corner some sales from the improved sentiment in the festive season."

While India is struggling to see some improvement in sales in the residential sector, Singapore remains the focus of foreign investment in the residential sector with better facilities for medical treatment and education, as well as well-provided spaces for corporate offices. Interestingly, the investment by Indians in residential property in Singapore is the third highest after Indonesians and Chinese.

"Indians are positioned in third place with a 10% to 11% contribution in the residential segment investment in Singapore," said Christopher Fossick, country head, JLL, Singapore. Indonesians top the list with 35% to 45% by value, and the Chinese have 15% to 16%.

On the other hand, China's realty sector is clouded by regulatory concerns, which analysts fear could lead to a fall in the property market. The Chinese government recently introduced a regulation whereby each household is permitted to purchase only one home in Tier I cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. This has led to worries that home purchase contracts already entered could be cancelled. KK Fung, managing director, JLL, Greater China, said, "It (the regulation) will lead to suppression of demand in the short term, but in the long term the demand and supply will get leveraged."

Commenting on the commercial real estate market, Alastair Hughes, chief executive, JLL, Asia Pacific, said, "Singapore is the most-preferred destination for multinational companies-mainly financial institutions, followed by Hong Kong and Mumbai. The commercial market in Tokyo (in high demand till the recent recession) is sluggish as the country is recovering slowly from the global recession."

In terms of rental values, Jones Long Lassalle has forecast that rental value in Mumbai would increase by 7% by end 2011. The highest increase in rental value is expected in Hong Kong at 33% and the lowest in Kuala Lumpur at 1%.  JLL is a financial and professional services firm specialising in real estate services and investment management. It operates from 750 locations in 60 countries.




7 years ago

Prices are going to move upwards & not south in any case .Builder lobby claiming a growth of 20 ~40 % upwards from current price.

Experts peddle myths and misconceptions to downplay fears of FIIs pulling out

Ask a question about how much the Indian market is dependent on FII investment and fund managers will flood you with myths and wishful thinking

Indian markets almost hit their all-time high in October, primarily led by the copious inflows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs). FII investment has already crossed $21 billion in 2010. However, this begs the question, if we are so dependent on the kindness of foreigners for our bull market, what happens when they start selling? To discuss this, Indian Merchants' Chamber of Commerce recently organised a discussion, in which Sanjay Sinha, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund, participated.

Commenting on this phenomenal rise in stock markets, Mr Sinha said, "The ongoing interest in equities is shown by strong inflow in the general emerging markets (GEM) which has been more than $40 billion, rising equity weights in GEM pension fund assets, heavy IPO activity and secondary issuance."

But aren't these factors clear signals of an overheated market? The flurry of IPOs, for instance, is a telltale sign of a market that has reached a kind of euphoria. Mr Sinha cited the example of the Korean stock market, which continued its upward surge despite FIIs pulling out funds from the market.

"Despite outflow of funds by FIIs from the Kospi Index, the Korean stock market was surging due to high participation from retail, mutual fund, insurance schemes and pension funds. So even if FIIs withdraw their funds from the Indian stock market, it should not plunge and retailers should show massive interest in the surging economic market."

Mr Sinha's facts may be correct but are quite irrelevant. Indeed, the facts in India are exactly the opposite. Where are the retail investors, mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds in India? Here are some facts that Mr Sinha knows better than us but prefers to put out a different point of view to the public. Thanks to a slew of regulatory changes in the financial services industry, the number of retail investors is dwindling rapidly. Mutual funds have witnessed a massive hemorrhage of funds ever since the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) abolished the entry load in August last year.

September 2010 saw equity fund outflows touching a level as high as Rs7,100 crore, taking the outflow to Rs21,000 crore over the last 14 months. Similarly, revised Unit-linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) regulations have hurt the life insurance industry, whose ULIP sales accounted for 80% of the total. Pension funds do not even participate in the Indian equity markets in any meaningful manner. The Indian situation is exactly the opposite of that in Korea.

Mr Sinha had another piece of logic as to why the market will not fall with FII selling that completely contradicted the facts. He said that FIIs are unlikely to sell since it would erode the value of their investments! If that was true, markets would fall because all equity markets in the world are substantially dominated by institutions. The fact is, and Mr Sinha knows it very well, institutions move in herds. They buy in herds and sell in herds because of two reasons. One, institutional investors do not work in isolation. They are keen to know what their peers are buying and selling and even try to follow each other. FIIs are more interested in the short-term actions of their fellow investors than the long-term returns of their holding. Those who have increased their investment heavily recently are especially nervous of a decline. A temporary but large looming global or local crisis can send stocks skidding. Didn't the Sensex drop by 5,000 points in the April-May period on FIIs worrying about what is happening in Greece of all places? Two, when the market declines quite a bit, investors tend to withdraw their money and a serial redemption will force FIIs to sell together even if they don't want to. In that case, they have no choice. Mr Sinha surely knows such a thing as selling caused by redemption pressure.

If Mr Sinha, an ace fund manager, peddled lots of misconceptions and myths about the institutional investors, another top fund manager, Sunil Singhania of Reliance Mutual fund, was not far behind. He argued that India is expected to be the third largest economy in the world. He feels that BRIC countries will double in size in 5-10 years from $8 trillion economy to $16 trillion while by that time the US economy will struggle. Hence he firmly believes that money will shift from developed economies to emerging ones. Even if you don't dispute these figures, beware of drawing any market-linked conclusions from it. It is classical fallacy to assume that economic growth and stock market movement are anything but loosely correlated. Ask yourself why does the fastest growing economy in the world not have the fastest-rising stock market? Shanghai is not among the best performing markets of the past 20 years.

Argues Mr Sinha, "Global economies especially developed economies like the US and the eurozone are giving mixed signals and pointing towards a prolonged period of benign growth which will keep the central bankers inclined towards maintaining (a) loose monetary policy stance." Well, this is the actual truth. A low interest rate regime in the West and Japan is what is giving an unusual lift to stocks in emerging markets, as also commodities. The bulk of FII money is chasing Indian stocks because of lack of alternatives and not because of the great long-term story of India. Watch out for a change in the interest rate situation in the West; a lot of money would return home and a small bout of selling by FIIs is all that is needed to bring the market down. The same fund managers who are saying FII selling doesn't matter or won't happen may be the first ones to sell.



Vikram M

6 years ago

The author of this article has not seen mathematical analyses that prove that there is negligible connection between FII money and sensex.

G R Chari

7 years ago

A good expose on the mistaken notions of senior fund managers. No wonder most of the MF schemes are underperforming the market. The emerging markets have been hijacked by fickle-minded foreign fund managers looking for short term gains.


7 years ago

Thank you for a very frank and consumer oriented article. Wise people learn form others mistakes. fools from their own. You have done your duty of creating an awarness. Now it is left to the investor.

Jayesh Pattani

7 years ago

Mr Sinha and Mr Singhania You both are most famous ans respectable name in Industry, But, if your management permit and your marketing persons agree to grow your funds steadily and staying at growth advice them to plan marketing activity with a view of IFAs not corporate distributors and bank distributors, because only IFAs is first face of any Institutions to investor if they will become powerful with knowledge they will help to break redemptions pressure to you, empower your "FIRST FACES" with depth knowledge not with TRIPS

Rambabu Shastri

7 years ago

Inflation will bring this Govt down mid of next year. The next wave of quantitative easing by the US will impact commodities world wide. All that money will flow there, creating massive problems for Emerging Economies. I sometimes feel that Quantitative Easing is being used as a weapon to tame China, but is affecting countries who are not curbing these capital flows.

Ripon Malhotra

7 years ago

I fully agree with the authors that India and Korea are different and cannot be compared.

I also pity speakers like Mr. Sanjay Sinha, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund, and Mr. Sunil Singhania of Reliance Mutual fund, who in order to save their jobs and earn bonuses, try fooling the gullible Retail / small investors to invest even in such conditions, while they themselves are the first one to sell even at the sight of a Mirage of FII selling.

The India consumption story, GDP and so on is nothing but an illusion, without FII participation. The rise in market / current rally is on the strength of borrowed legs of FII’s and shall collapse like house of cards on their selling.

The Retail investors have already lost heavily, in the last melt down and shall do a favour to themselves, by not listening to these so-called experts. Better sell and, take home some profit today, and not be greedy to lose when the music stops, by the time when these experts would have already sold their investments.

Ripon Malhotra
[email protected]



In Reply to Ripon Malhotra 6 years ago

Your words are quite prophetic. Now after three months I am able to see the analyts in TV declaring that FII are nopw leaving Asia to develped markets to seek greener pastures. Central Govt's administrative abilities could be another factor of the present market behaviour. I pray for the failure of this Govt througha cut motion in the budget session.


In Reply to Ripon Malhotra 7 years ago

I fuly agree to your conclusion-The Fund managers have always 2 faces-their front face always speaks about bullishness because then only people will come to invest and earn their AMC expanses-none of fund manager has never warned investors to book profits in worst scenario-never in history-so this ROSY picture is not new-

Bimal R Bhatt

7 years ago

What is the objective of capitalisation? Earnings only. So simply demand -supply principle will apply and see the Indian stock markets-down only. Also where is the real education for retail investor?


7 years ago

Well written.
Yes, where are the retailers?
Are they caught in some other bubble of real estate ?

Dheeraj Hinduja takes over as chairman of Ashok Leyland

Dheeraj Hinduja, the second of the four brothers who have built the Hinduja Group, would now led Ashok Leyland while incumbent RJ Shahaney would become its chairman emiratus.

Hinduja Group company Ashok Leyland said it appointed Dheeraj Hinduja as its chairman.  He takes over from RJ Shahaney, who will now be chairman emeritus.
Mr Hinduja, who has been co-chairman of the company for the past three years, is a third-generation member of the Hinduja family. He has years of experience at strategic and leadership levels covering a wide variety of businesses across diverse sectors such as automotives, energy, infrastructure, finance and banking, IT and ITes, media and healthcare.

"I have very ambitious expansion plans for Ashok Leyland and right at the top of my priority list is to fast-track the company's global thrust through both organic and inorganic modes," said Mr Hinduja.  

Mr Hinduja succeeds Mr Shahaney who was earlier Ashok Leyland's first Indian managing director. Mr Shahaney, who joined Ashok Leyland in 1978, was primarily responsible in spreading the Company's manufacturing footprint in India with the establishment of facilities at Hosur, Bhandara and Alwar.

Mr Shahaney said, "Today's challenges are very different in nature but they are just as exacting and formidable as they were before. I have participated in Ashok Leyland's growth to the stature and size it now has acquired; all the engines of growth are in place and it is now for Dheeraj and his team to lead the Company to even greater heights in the coming years. I shall always follow its fortunes with passion because Ashok Leyland is very much a part of me."


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