“I am extremely bullish about Real Estate and the allied sectors” – Ritwik Das, MD, Bluechip Group

cemnt“It is not always a politically correct thing for a businessman to say, but I am not one to mince my words” says Ritwik Das, MD and the moving spirit behind the Bluechip Group, “yes, I am extremely bullish about Real Estate and the allied sectors.” Before one can comprehend the true purport of his prophesy, he continues, “the worst is already behind us and I foresee that 2013 will be a watershed year for the industry as such.”

There is reason behind the optimism and Ritwik is quick to point out the fact that the Government having freed itself of the compulsions of coalition politics is keen to push through the reform process, especially in view of the fact that the 2014 elections are almost on us. “The best thing that has happened to the industry is the approval of FDI in multi brand retail. This will create in its wake a huge demand for floor space and the infrastructure to support such ventures, adding an entirely new dimension to our industry segment. Besides, the FDI approval is expected to act like a magic wand – that will enthuse one and all about the intentions of the Government and help change the sentiments overnight.”

If FDI is the key mover, then one must admit that what is in store is equally potent as far as the industry’s demands go. “I am also sure that the Government will push through two vital pieces of legislation within the next couple of months” says Ritwik, warming up to the subject, “The Real Estate Regulation Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill are eagerly awaited and once they are though many of the bottlenecks that plague the industry today will be removed, easing the way towards even smoother functioning in the near future.”

The optimism with which the industry is heralding the new year will be justified if one looks back at the year that went by, when plagued by mounting costs, a slowed down economy leading to cost curtailments and an all pervading negative sentiment, the industry had suffered tremendously. But Ritwik and his fellow builders are only keen to look ahead. “Add to all this, the fact that RBI too is widely expected to chip in with a favourable monetary policy which will ensure greater amounts at attractive rates in the hands of the investors and home makers.”

“There is another very interesting thing that is happening in the realty sector” said Ritwik, “a lot of new investors are coming into the segment and making very smart investment plays in real estate.” And, why not? Investment in land and real estate has always been considered as one of the best hedges against inflation. “Yes, but the new age investors, thanks to the proliferation of web based advisors / facilitators, have really overcome the geographical constraints and are investing wherever they find the best bargains, irrespective of the location. These new investors are really driving the markets in some segments and are the prime reason for the prices going northward. They are not here for the killing. Unlike speculators, they get married to the stock and are long term investors. Their presence has given the entire segment a new found maturity – a kind of depth.”

But isn’t all the real estate action in the top end and in growth centers in the North and West like Noida, Gurgaon and Pune? “Not really” says Ritwik, “as a matter of fact our projects in West Bengal and Odhisa too are witnessing brisk business. I guess, at the end of the day, the quality of the construction and the reputation of the builder apart from the price points to which the products are targeted matter. We have been able to establish the fact that we at Bluechip are a zero tolerance entity and that we never compromise on the quality. Which is why, even during the gloom of the immediate past, Bluechip had a full order book position.”