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Govt in India wants to attract more foreign real estate investors

It is looking at changing the rules to allow overseas investors to be part of smaller real estate projects. At present they are limited to investing in projects that cover a minimum of 25 acres.

It is hoped it will encourage foreign investment in property developments in places like Mumbia, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderbad where it is generally not possible to find 25 acres of land for development.

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which sets out the guidelines for direct foreign is keen on attracting more investors. It is proposing to waive minimum capitalisation for development projects which have hospitality and tourism facilities such as hotels, restaurants or entertainment facilities for visitors.

The waiver would also be available if 50% of the built-up area in a project is devoted to hotel and tourism businesses, such as food courts, resorts and restaurants and if 20% of the total built-up area is used for hotel rooms.

The property industry welcomed the initiative and said they are long overdue. These steps, when implemented, will provide relief to high-value projects in cities and projects being developed for the tourism sector.

The move comes as a relief at a time when the real estate industry is struggling with high levels of debts, strict lending conditions and a general slowdown in business.

Meanwhile there are signs that the hard hit commercial property sector is on the cusp of recovery. Values have fallen by up to 30% as many corporates have downsized and are not enthusiastic about paying high rents.

But according to Anurag Bhatnagar, associate director at DTZ, although those with expansion plans are still staying on the sidelines they are making future plans and when they start spending recovery will follow.