Blackstone Group LP drives India private equity shift from home to office
Since 2005, when India opened its property sector to foreign investors, money has mostly poured into housing because of simpler investment rules while sales of finished homes provide private equity funds a clear exit. But with Indian home prices down between 5 and 30 percent since 2009, some investors are moving into commercial assets that yield steady rental income and limiting their exposure to the volatile residential market.
Despite a limited supply of commercial real estate open to foreign investment and a lack of exit options, many investors such as Morgan Stanley and Rothschild-backed Xander Group Inc are eager to grab a bigger slice of India's property market due to the country's fast-growing economy, the promise of double-digit returns and attractive valuations.
"We waited till valuations got a bit softer and more attractive. And now, we are going aggressive," Akhil Gupta, chairman of Blackstone India, said in an interview. "We have done a few large deals, and are looking to infuse more capital."
Blackstone, the biggest global private equity property investor, is the most active in India and has spent $500 million on about 20 million square feet (1.8 million square metres) of leased assets over the past 18 months.
It is now on the hunt for more.
Most of Blackstone's India acquisitions are made jointly with Embassy
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