Healthy office space absorption in 2011-2012 inspite of slowdown in GDP, However 2012-13 seems bleak.
Currently, the top seven cities of India that is Mumbai, National Capital Region, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata together occupy 389 mn sq.ft of Grade-A office space. During 2010-11, a total of 38 mn sq.ft of new space was constructed in the top seven cities and it was 37 mn sq. ft during 2011-12. Office space absorption in India during 2011-12 was merely 2% lower than 2010-11 despite GDP growth slowing down from 8.4% to 6.9% during the same period. This is in sharp contrast to the popular belief that 2011-12 was a dull year for office market in terms of absorption. Healthy absorption rate ensured a drop in vacancy level to 21% by the end of Q4 2011-12 from 27% in Q4 2009-10.
Share of Banking & IT sector falls in absorption while manufacturing sector has witnessed an increasing trend over the last two years and contributed 19% in total absorption during 2011-12, higher from 13% in 2010-11. GDP growth of service segment is estimated to grow at 8.8% during 2012-13, much higher than industry segment growth of 6%. Absorption of space during 2012-13 is expected to be considerably lower than the previous two years and this will make it all the more challenging for developers to maintain existing levels of rent.
However, the latest move by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of reducing the repo and reverse repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) each could provide the much needed impetus to the economy and help in reviewing the demand scenario for office space in the coming quarters.