Fractional ownership is driving a paradigm shift in real estate investment

Fractional Ownership is an investment model aimed at retail investors who can gain access to the high-value commercial segment. 

With the real estate sector expanding across key markets, driven by demand sales, investors are increasingly looking for ways to capitalize on the bullish run. The real estate sector has matured due to regulatory changes, which has sparked investor interest. What truly democratized the industry was the introduction of investment concepts such as Fractional ownership, which allows individual or retail investors to invest in high-value properties while earning fixed returns on rent-generating assets. 

While alternative investment options such as AIFs and REITs are gaining popularity in India as profitable and effective investment vehicles, they are primarily geared toward institutional and high-net-worth investors. On the other hand, investment models such as Fractional Ownership are aimed at retail investors, who can access the high-value commercial segment through this model. The good news is that this model provides new avenues for retail investors yet allows developers to consider various funding options.  

According to a report by a leading real estate consultant, the market for fractional ownership in India was USD 5.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 8.9 billion by 2025, growing at a 10.5%  CAGR. This is an unambiguous sign of fractional ownership’s rapid growth as a viable investment opportunity. 

Fractional Ownership became more popular among investors after SEBI proposed various Fractional Ownership Platforms (FOPs) to register with SEBI MSM REITs and made it mandatory to follow some specific registration procedures. According to the proposal published by a leading real estate firm, MSM REITs should include separate and distinct entities serving as trustees, sponsors, and investment managers. SEBI also proposes that MSM REIT be established as a Trust under the Indian Trusts Act, with the ability to create separate schemes for owning real estate assets. This would be accomplished through SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) established as companies under the Companies Act of 2013. MSM REIT Scheme shall have complete control and 100% equity share capital in all SPVs. 

These regulatory changes benefited investors because they can now leverage benefits such as fair pricing, transparent transactions, and the flexibility and opportunity to exit or liquidate their investment at any point. 

With the digitization and technological advancement of the real estate industry, investors can also benefit from easy tracking via web-based FOPs, making it easier for them to make data-driven decisions. It also provides visibility previously unavailable when proper real estate investment space was not in place. 

Diversification is another important factor that has redirected investors to fractional ownership, particularly since the pandemic, when the stock and commodity markets have become volatile. The uncertainties caused by global economic headwinds necessitated the exploration of more promising avenues and markets. In contrast, India’s real estate market has continued to show promise, with the commercial segment breaking records for leasing and demand. According to a report, the Indian Commercial Real Estate Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% between now and 2028, from USD 33.62 billion to USD 87.57 billion. 

As India’s ease of doing business index ranking improves in the coming years, more global corporations will establish their headquarters here. Global occupiers in sectors IT, manufacturing, BFSI, startups, and the booming service industry will require high-quality workspaces for their employees. These will result in more Global Occupier Centers (GCCs) operating from India’s key cities, thus increasing and accelerating demand for Grade-A office assets. In this scenario, fractional ownership will benefit both developers and investors. As the sector grows, fractional ownership will continue to open up new opportunities for investors in the coming years. 

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