Britain seeks investments from India in housing, realty sector ‘beyond London’

Building ties:The U.K. offers Indian property developers opportunities in northern England and the Midlands.Mohammed_Yousuf

Building ties:The U.K. offers Indian property developers opportunities in northern England and the Midlands.Mohammed_Yousuf  

Opportunities also exist in energy infrastructure, says U.K. minister Greg Hands

The British government is pushing for Indian investment into the country’s real estate sector, beyond London, to support its drive to create more affordable housing across the country, among other things.

“We have a diverse set of opportunities for inward investment from India,” Greg Hands, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment told The Hindu on Thursday. “We are particularly keen on getting investment beyond London as well — there are opportunities in real estate, infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure.”

Affordable housing

“I think that Indian investors could play a big role in our affordable housing agenda,” he added.

While foreign investors including from China and Qatar have made big inroads into the U.K. real estate market, the country has seen limited investment (beyond private investments in housing or hotels) from India. The exception is the Lodha group, which has two luxury housing projects in London and has expressed its confidence about moving to new price categories and beyond the residential sector.

At an event at the House of Lords for delegates of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), the Department for International Trade highlighted infrastructure and property development opportunities in northern England and the Midlands, including in and around Birmingham.

“Real estate trends across the U.K. continue to be strong from offices in London to logistics in the Midlands to urban regeneration projects in Edinburgh,” Mr. Hands told the meeting. “Investors from across the U.K. are seeing stable and profitable opportunities and we are determined to see businesses seize these opportunities as we move forward towards Brexit.”

With the next round of the U.K.-Indian joint economic and trade committee (JETCO) talks due to take place in London later this year, Mr. Hands expressed confidence in efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment.

“JETCO is a very practical way of reducing obstacles to each other’s markets…we go through a series of specific sectors and the actual obstacles to doing trade and investment between our two countries,” he said.

“We’d like to focus on the services industry and getting access. India is an enormous market and getting U.K. financial services and U.K. legal services better access is hugely important to us,” the minister said.

“These issues will be a key part of those talks as well as the trade working group,” he said referring to the joint working group on trade set up to look at opportunities and obstacles to post-Brexit trade, including an FTA.

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