Russia’s WTO accession last August opened up commercial real estate opportunities, says Indian envoy

India and Russia are poised to diversify their cooperation in real estate, as the realtors’ apex body CREDAI is holding its national convention here for the first time.

Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Girija Vyas, who is attending the 13th CREDAI annual convention, expresses the hope that the forum “would be a good beginning for India-Russia collaboration in the realty sector.”

“I know that Russia’s real estate market is growing and we’re going to explore opportunities for partnership with Russian realty companies,” said Dr. Vyas. “We would welcome Russian petrodollar investment in the Indian real estate, especially in view of the current liquidity problems faced by the sector.”

“I’m sure that many participants in the current CREDAI convention will come back to Russia for tie-ups with Russian companies,” Dr. Vyas told The Hindu after addressing the opening session of the two-day convention on Saturday.

In her address, Dr. Vyas underscored the need for more affordable housing to be built in India to cope with the country’s fast rate of urbanisation and highlighted steps taken by the government to attract more private investment into construction of housing for the poor.

Unprecedented event

The CREDAI convention was an unprecedented event for Russia. Never before has Moscow witnessed such a massive gathering of Indian businessmen, with 700 top realtors descending on the Russian capital to discuss problems of their industry.

Even though the Indian realty sector is yet to establish a foothold in the Russian market, some Indian businessmen based in Moscow have invested tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in local real estate.

“Russia’s WTO accession last August has opened up commercial real estate opportunities, especially in major Russian cities,” India’s Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra said. “Some Indian real estate developers are also looking to evaluate opportunities in the new territories added to Moscow last year, which has more than doubled the city in size.”

The Russian government was mulling over opening housing construction in Russia for foreign developers, who could take up to 10 per cent of the local market, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

Last year, Russia built 65.5 million square metre of housing, which is several times more than India did, both in absolute terms and in proportion to the size of the population.