The recent trend of non-resident Indians (NRIs) rushing to buy homes in India could be likened to the plot in the Hindi movie “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, where one of the protagonists asks her partner to come back home from a foreign land, epitomised by the song "Ghar aaja pardesi tera des bulaye re".
A report by real estate firm Anarock found that 71 per cent of NRIs consider investment in the Indian housing market as the best bet, markedly higher than 55 per cent in a pre-Covid edition of the survey.
So, why is it the best time to invest in India’s real estate market?
"Securing homes in India remains a priority for Indians everywhere. While domestic homeownership sentiment remains strong despite hardening home loan rates and property prices, the depreciating rupee value against the US dollar gives NRIs a distinct advantage," says Prashant Thakur, senior director & head of research at Anarock Group.
Opportunity for NRIs
The value of one US dollar is currently around Rs 82. Indian industry observers see it as an opportunity for NRIs to invest in India's growing and lucrative real estate sector.
"The slide of the Indian rupee to a record low has unlocked a golden and unique opportunity for expatriates to turn their foreign-earned money into a profitable investment, and what's better than investing in a property," says Anupam Rastogi, co-founder and CBO-NRI sales at Square Yards, a prop tech organization.
India's real estate market has grown rapidly of late. The prices of residential units in key cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region), Chennai, and Pune rose by almost 7 per cent in 2022 and are likely to maintain the same pace in 2023 and 2024, according to Anarock.
"Technological intervention has helped real estate gain ground, and developers are showing clear intent to utilise the tools at hand to the maximum. Moreover, NRIs have noticed the change in real estate functioning post-RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) and pandemic, leading to the creation of safe investment scenarios for them," says Harsh V Bansal, convener of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Delhi sub-committee on real estate and co-founder of real estate developer Unity Group.
Favoured Indian Destinations for Investment
A recent joint survey of CII and Anarock shows that Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru were the top picks to buy homes for non-resident Indians (NRIs). Sixty per cent of respondents will buy houses in one of these three cities, with 22 per cent picking Hyderabad, 20 per cent Delhi-NCR, and 18 per cent Bengaluru, the CII-Anarock Consumer Sentiment Survey said.
Ashwinder R Singh, CEO of real estate developer Bhartiya Urban residential, says there is a robust supply of homes costing Rs 1 crore and below in the NCR region, especially Noida and Greater Noida." Singh added that this is the reason for increased NRI investment, especially in the mid-income group aged 45-50 working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), primarily for retirement homes.