Real estate stocks have been hit hard during the current stock market meltdown. In addition, home prices have fallen by as much as 25% in certain urban markets. This is a new phenomenon in India, where boom and bust cycles in property markets have rarely occurred in the past. Rising interest rates and loss of jobs in the financial sector are squeezing demand, and home foreclosures have begun in some areas. We know that the commercial real estate market has been on a tear in the last few years. Banks, insurance companies and institutional investors have funneled money into the market because its returns, in an environment of low interest rates, exceeded those of other asset classes. Commercial high rises, residential townships, industrial parks and shopping malls are exploding into existence, fueled by both long-term and speculative investors. But astute industry watchers are poking holes in that picture, pointing to the relatively small size of actual investments, sharply reduced expectations of returns and continuing concerns about the country’s regulatory environment.
I think the market for first public offerings by real-estate companies has been severe this year, but that might be about to change. Several companies are affecting to capitalize on the newest real-estate sectors, as well as the early signs that the housing market, at long last, may be poised for a rebound.