Property Management: Unleashing New business Opportunities in Indian Realty

Prashant Thakur, Director & Head - Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants Prashant is a seasoned corporate strategy & management-consulting professional with over 18 years of experience. His expertise lies in Business Development, Stakeholder Management, Market Research, Business & Economic Research, Financial Modelling & Benchmarking, and many other areas.

Expanding the scope of traditional housekeeping and security services into an efficiently operated facility managing all requisites of both corporates and homeowners, property management services are fast emerging as a stand-alone business proposition for many developers and even new entities. Interestingly, many leading developers, who earlier provided limited services via their in-house division, are now diversifying their portfolios and setting-up a completely brand new entity that provides an entire gamut of services to the discerning customers. After all, there is huge potential in this industry not just globally, but also in India. As per the Markets and Markets report, the global property management market is pegged to grow from $14.47 billion in 2018 to over $22.04 billion by 2023, growing a CAGR of 8.8 percent.

In today's age and era, business entities realise that to be successful, it is imperative for them to have an efficiently operated facility. And they can easily pass this task - earlier a part of their non-core business - to professional organisations, which will not only aid in increasing their efficiencies, but also reduce their overall costs in the day-to-day maintenance of the property.

Why Property Management?
The burgeoning construction activities in Indian cities across different verticals, including commercial office spaces, residential, retail, hospitality and others are largely driving growth in the property management business. Additionally, various Government initiatives such as the development of Smart Cities are further expected to positively influence India's property management market in the coming years. Largely dominated by unorganized players currently, there is a need for more professionals in this business who can provide a one-stop solution for managing the entire building, from supporting the various technical aspects to cautiously managing safety, security, cleanliness, and so on.

Furthermore, rising population across Tier-1 cities and continuing growth in
IT/ITeS and banking sectors would further steer India's property management market. So, what makes property management stand apart? More than anything, property management today helps integrate people, processes and technology to ensure the smooth running of the day-to-day operations of a real estate asset. They take care of the routine operational functions like engineering, security, landscaping, and many others on behalf of companies or buildings. Thus, they are involved in everything, right from the planning stage to its final implementation, including coordination with task bearers and vendors to procurement of service agreements, risk management, operational health & safety, and even entire human capital management. Some even extend their service by assisting in all legal & financial aspects. What is even fancier is the fact that they are proving to be not only more efficient, but also more cost-effective for the discerning clients.

The Indian Story
The concept of property management is yet to reach its pinnacle in India because it still continues to be largely limited to commercial office spaces and in retail malls. The taboo of such services being expensive and non-reliable has effectively slowed its progress within residential real estate. However, the concept is gaining significant prominence among the NRIs who are largely investing in India for better returns. Practically, it is impossible for them to sit outside and manage their property. Hence, for them, the best option is to scout for such professional services, because a good management company not only brings with it their know-how and experience, but also gives a peace of mind to property owners. In recent years, several property owners are increasingly opting for such services that are also proving to be more cost-effective for them. That said, the level of trust of customers in India is yet to mature completely. Along with it, the legal clarities post engaging with property management companies still continues to challenge its popularity among the home buyers.

Emerging Trends: The Future Growth Drivers
Being largely unorganised in nature, it is very difficult to put a number to the overall property management companies in the country presently. However, realising its immense growth potential, this service is not only becoming a natural extension for most developers, but several startups are also venturing into it.

In fact, real estate portals that started with mere renting and selling solutions have now altered their business model and become a one-stop solution for the discerning homebuyers and property owners. What's more; being a highly specialized field, this service has become the key differentiator for many developers. Gone are the days when developers' task was limited to just building the structure. Those who provide services much beyond are now attracting many homebuyers.

Moreover, emerging sectors in office spaces such as co-working are also enhancing the demand for property management services. These offices require maintenance at a different level altogether because people come and go within hours in a day and the facility has to remain spic and span for the next available client.

Last but not the least, the growing hospitality business in the country is also creating a massive demand for property management companies that can efficiently look after the day-to-day activities of major hotel chains. By availing the services of these professional companies, the hospitality players are able to work on other core areas like marketing and others. All in all, with the Indian real estate sector becoming more organized and mature, there is an increasing demand for property management service providers who follow a more sophisticated and professional delivery model.