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West Bengal emerges as eastern India’s economic powerhouse, spearheading high growth: CBRE-CREDAI Report

Kolkata, September 04, 2023: CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd., on Monday released a collaborative study titled ‘West Bengal: Leading the Eastern Growth Story’ in partnership with CREDAI at the Statecon 2023 event held in Kolkata. The report highlights the conducive policy ecosystem, advancements in infrastructure, and a promising business milieu in West Bengal, collectively fostering enhanced prospects for investments across diverse realms within the real estate domain.

West Bengal strengths: A snapshot
West Bengal ranks 3rd in India in terms of mineral production, accounting for about one-fifth of the country’s total production. The state also makes up 11% of the country’s total coal reserves. It is the 6th largest state in India by economic size and is projected to have a GSDP of INR 17.13 trillion (USD 221.39 billion) in FY 2022-23. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.54% from FY 2015-16 to FY 2022-23.The state’s growth can be attributed to the services sector, which contributed almost 52%, followed by the industry sector (over 30%).West Bengal also houses more than 900 IT companies, employing more than 145,000 people directly/indirectly.

Owing to its advantageous positioning and exceptional accessibility, Kolkata maintains its status as a pivotal business and financial hub in the Eastern region of India, establishing itself as the epicentre of commercial real estate operations in West Bengal. Its proximity to industrial zones and ports has positioned the city as a prominent trading centre as well. In April-June 2023, Kolkata is one of the major players in industrial and logistics leasing in India, accounting for 8-12% of the activity. This reflects significant sector growth, establishing Kolkata as a key hub for businesses and investors. This trend is expected to boost the local economy through job opportunities and increased economic activity. The city’s strategic location, transportation infrastructure, economic trends, and demand for warehousing contribute to this leasing trend. The entry of international stakeholders has propelled globalisation in the sector, encompassing local real estate developers. 

While Kolkata retains its position as the primary real estate market in the state, the impetus on infrastructure development, highlighted by projects like the Andal airport and the Silicon project, combined with favourable policies, has driven real estate growth towards tier-II cities like Durgapur, Siliguri, and Darjeeling. These cities have consistently garnered investor attention, marking a promising expansion beyond the capital.

Kolkata’s upward real estate trajectory

Office Sector – Peripheral Business District (PBD) leads the growth with a 70% share in office space

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Presently, the city boasts an office space stock exceeding 34 million sq. ft. Moreover, approximately 2.4 million sq. ft. of investment-grade space, including projects like Ideal Unique Center (approx. 756,000 sq. ft.), The Summit (approx. 350,000 sq. ft.), and Imagine Tech Park (approx. 350,000 sq. ft.) in PBD, are set to conclude construction by the end of 2024. Furthermore, the Peripheral Business District (PBD) was at the forefront of the expansion, contributing 70% of the office stock share, trailed by the Central Business District (CBD) with a 24% share and the Secondary Business District (SBD) with a 6% share. Total estimated leasing by the end of CY 2023 is likely to be around 1 – 1.2 mn. sq. ft., while new supply is estimated to be 0.9 – 1.1 mn. sq. ft. by end of CY 2023.

During Jan-June 2023, corporate occupancy reached 0.6 million sq. ft., predominantly favouring compact to mid-sized configurations. During Jan-June 2023, the Central Business District (CBD) observed an office rental value of INR 95 / sq. ft. / month, while the Secondary Business District (SBD) saw INR 75 /sq. ft. / month, and the Peripheral Business District (PBD) recorded INR 45 / sq. ft. / month in Kolkata.

Residential Sector – East Kolkata commands a 31% share in the residential segment, cementing its status as a residential hotspot

During Jan-June 2023, East Kolkata accounted for 31% of the residential supply, followed by North at 19% and South at 16%. Additionally, within the housing sector, affordable housing took the lead with a significant 45% share, followed closely by mid-range housing at 39%. High-end housing comprised 10% of the market, while premium and luxury housing segments contributed 6% collectively during the same period.

Retail Sector – South Kolkata Takes Center Stage in the Rental Scene

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Currently, Kolkata boasts over 8 million sq. ft. of organized retail area. The city’s expanding boundaries, and favourable demographic trends indicate substantial prospects for retail sector expansion. Till H1 2023, organized retail supply distribution in Kolkata favoured South Kolkata with a 31% share, trailed by East Kolkata at 24%, West Kolkata at 17%, North Kolkata at 15%, and Central Kolkata at 14%. 

Regarding rental values of organized retail spaces, South Kolkata dominated the past six months with a substantial INR 375 / sq. ft / month, trailed by Central and East Kolkata at INR 350/sq. ft/month each, while North Kolkata recorded INR 175 / sq. ft. /month. It is estimated that rentals for both High Streets and Malls are expected to grow by 5-10% by year-end.

Logistics Sector – Kolkata one of the major Industrial & Logistics (I&L) markets in India

Amid global challenges and an e-commerce leasing slowdown, Kolkata’s industrial and logistics (I&L) space demonstrated resilience in the first half of the year (Jan-June 2023). Record supply additions occurred due to pending project completions. The state’s infrastructure enhancement, including roads and ports, is set to bolster the logistics sector. Kolkata recorded a significant 8-12% share in leasing activity in Apr-Jun 2023. 

Presently, the city has a stock of nearly 10 million sq. ft. of Grade A logistics developments situated along NH-2, NH-6, Taratala, and other micro markets. Notably, NH-6 accounted for most of the supply at 57%, followed by NH-2 at 37%, Taratala at 4%, and other micro markets with a 2% supply share. Taratala recorded a significant rental value of INR 23 / sq. ft. / month in the past six months, followed closely by NH-2 with INR 21.5 / sq. ft. / month and NH-6 with INR 20.5 / sq. ft. / month.

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Commenting on the occasion, Ram Chandnani, Managing Director, Advisory & Transactions Services, India, CBRE, emphasized, “West Bengal shines as a growth leader in Eastern India, bolstered by a strong talent pool, transparent governance, and enhanced infrastructure. The real estate dynamics in the state, especially in Kolkata, is at a stage wherein the addition of quality supply is boosting absorption, further enabling the state’s real estate growth trajectory. In fact, West Bengal is well poised to attract global investments further as it continues to capitalize on the right policy incentives. Furthermore, the Industrial and logistics sector has showcased promising growth and is expected to grow further at 9-10% this year.”

Boman-R.-Irani

Boman Irani, CMD, Rustomjee Group, National President, CREDAI, said, “Statecon 2023 – ‘West Bengal: Leading the Eastern Growth Story,’ stands as a pivotal event where we take a comprehensive plunge into the state’s real estate landscape. Our aim is to deeply assess its present state and future potential, spotlighting the pivotal role of Tier 2 cities in this growth narrative. This platform serves as an invaluable opportunity for real estate stakeholders and the government to converge and engage in dialogue. Together, we can dissect emerging trends, exchange insights, and collaboratively propel the sector forward. Statecon 2023 encapsulates the synergy between aspirations and action, setting the stage for a dynamic real estate landscape in West Bengal.”

Outlook:

  • Real estate dynamics in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata, are at a stage wherein controlled supply is boosting absorption – which in turn is helping further the state’s RE growth trajectory.
  • The strategic distribution of industrial and IT parks is expected to create new demand centres and result in the development of newer asset classes.
  • With the right push from the Centre and state governments, West Bengal is expected to put itself on the global investment map sooner than later.   

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