India Insight

from Summit Notebook:

A bubble in the real estate market?

INDIA-URBANISATION/Have you tried buying or renting a house in Mumbai recently? If so, then I won’t be surprised if you think real estate prices are plain expensive, and incredibly so. But that’s almost always been the case in India’s commercial capital. After all, when was the last time someone told you they got a cheap house in the city?

So is the real estate market in a bubble? We asked Adi Godrej, the man who controls Godrej Properties, if things could get bubblicious. This is what he had to say: “I don’t think we are in a bubble, because demand is strong, but we could get into a bubble.”

Godrej, whose family fortune is estimated to be about $5.2 billion, doesn’t really care if prices go up in south Mumbai’s old-money neighbourhoods such as Malabar Hill or Altamont Road, where Reliance Industries chairman, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is building a 27-storey $1 billion home.

“I would be more disturbed if middle-level and lower-level housing in Mumbai were to go up much,” Godrej told the Reuters India Investment Summit in Mumbai.

Godrej Properties, which is developing a lot of what is termed ‘affordable housing’, expects revenue to jump more than 50 percent in the fiscal year ending in March as rising incomes boost demand for housing.

from Summit Notebook:

Paranoid governments and conspiracy theories

Adi Godrej

Adi Godrej

Adi Godrej, who marshals his namesake $2.5 billion diversified group, believes the Indian government is “paranoid” about the possible effects of allowing more foreign investments into sectors such as airlines.

“They (the Indian government) have not allowed foreign airlines to invest in private airlines, and they cite security. I don’t see what security would be compromised,” Godrej told the Reuters India Investment Summit in Mumbai.

“If British Airways or Delta got to own part of an Indian private airline, they are worried about what would happen in times of a war, etc. You are in control of your country. What can they do in difficult times to stop it?” he said.

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