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28 MAY 2019

How technology is changing the real estate investment landscape in India

Nimish Gupta FRICS

Nimish Gupta FRICS

Managing Director, South Asia

Gurgaon, India

RICS

An increase in construction activity, especially with a push for affordable housing and infrastructure growth, is indicating the revival of India's real estate sector.

According to the IBEF January 2019 report, the real estate sector in India is expected to reach US$1 trillion by 2030. By 2025, it will contribute 13% to the country's GDP. An emergence of nuclear families, rapid urbanisation, increase in technology, focus on affordable housing and rising household income are likely to remain the key drivers for growth in all spheres of real estate, including residential, commercial and retail. Extensive implementation of the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) in the past few months has brought in necessary regulation to a largely unregulated sector and confidence assuring a promising future for the real estate market.

Technology has been playing a pivotal role in the growth of the real estate sector in India. While real estate has been a late-starter, the recent adoptions of technology has made it attractive with the help of numerous innovations and advancements. Technology has led to gains not only for the buyer but also the sellers in real estate. Not just in terms of construction, but even in terms of simplifying the property buying process, real estate brokers and agents are slowly adapting to newer technologies. We are expecting to see major disruptions being planned in the real estate property transactions space.

Not just in terms of construction, but even in terms of simplifying the property buying process, real estate brokers and agents are slowly adapting to newer technologies.

From making user experiences much friendlier, to getting in touch with customers within seconds, today our real estate industry has edged forward significantly. Not only are paperless transactions the norm, but mobile-centric technology has essentially transformed the landscape.

Access to information, customer expectations, and client service are very different than they were even five years ago. Technology has increased the construction quality standards and reduced the time taken to build the infrastructure. What once took months and years to build, can now be achieved in weeks, without taking a toll on the project cost and labour.

ICMS: Global consistency in presenting construction costs

Enhanced automation in valuation, big data and artificial intelligence are technological innovations that are shifting the construction and real estate appraisal landscape. Below are the key trends that will have a role to play in the future of the built environment and in creating smart, liveable and resilient cities.

Virtual reality
The impact of technology on the sector

Blockchain

India could potentially become a hub for blockchain technology in the real estate sector as it will bring necessary confidence back in the system. However, there might be further considerations that needs to be taken into account in adopting the blockchain in India. Blockchain will upscale the transparency and overall efficiency of the Indian real estate sector, which comprises involvement of several transactions amongst public and private parties.

Blockchain enables safer and faster transactions with minimal manual intervention. With data encryption and no middlemen involved, Blockchain is safe and reduces the cost for the buyers. In real estate, blockchain can help overcome fraudulent behaviour, eliminate intermediaries, support data integrity, and make transferring, buying, and selling of real estate more convenient.

Read more: Unblocking blockchain's huge potential

Augmented and virtual reality

Augmented reality (AR) utilises a real-time view of the physical world around us and enhances it by depicting digital information. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) creates a simulated world via supplemental devices that render and display information rather than just reflecting the real world. The concept of augmented and virtual reality could be the next breakthrough in the real estate market, where buyers can experience the property without actually visiting the property. Many real estate firms in India now offer retina headgear to view properties virtually in 3D, and e-commerce companies have developed virtual trial rooms using AR to offer a better customer experience.

Read more: What can virtual reality do for you?

Smart Homes and Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is already shaking up the real estate industry at a building level. Today, consumers have home appliances, security cameras etc, which can be remotely controlled via the internet or through WiFi. This concept can be expanded to neighbourhood and district levels under smart city programmes.

Read more: Big data, smart cities and intelligent buildings 

Process automation

An industry which has seen adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) only in the larger players is expected to see a huge uptake of process automations using affordable ERPs based on SaaS subscription model. This helps them move up the value chain without spending huge capital costs in the development of bespoke ERPs for their businesses. This shall also create upskilling opportunity for the existing professionals.

Read more: Moving you up the value chain

Digital media

After demonetisation and RERA implementation, the Indian real estate market now understands the importance of customer connection far better than before. Developers are using digital content — not just print promotions and advertisements — to build and maintain a good brand image.

In summary, Indian real estate can no longer remain insulated from the impact of the modern age. Developers must adapt to meet society's requirements, real estate service providers must be agile and innovate their service offerings, and some smaller players may undergo consolidation or form strategic alliances. The traditional ways of doing business in India are making way for new concepts and business models. Technology and sustainability are now key agents dictating change and it is necessary for the sector to speed up the application of innovative and disruptive technologies to meet dynamic needs and implement solutions.

This article was originally published in The Statesman, 11 May 2019

Nimish Gupta FRICS

Nimish Gupta FRICS

Managing Director, South Asia

Gurgaon, India

RICS

With over 22 years' experience in real estate, construction, education training and technology adoption, Nimish built up a career within the built environment sector after graduating as an engineer from the National Institute of Technology. He started work at Larsen & Toubro, the largest construction company in India, and has since held senior positions within high-profile real estate and construction organisations, such as Vipul Modern, a leading construction services provider, Laing O'Rourke, and Lendlease.

Nimish is a chartered surveyor himself and has been closely associated with RICS since 2005. He played an integral role in the formation of the vision, planning and implementation of RICS South Asia, and was among the first to qualify as an RICS Fellow in India.