In the past two years we were the largest publicly listed developer in India bybooking value. While we are proud of this achievement further increasing operationalscale and efficiency is a critical goal for your company. Our goal is to consistently beamongst the top three developers by booking value in each city we operate in butespecially in Mumbai NCR Bangalore and Pune.
I'd like to start by thanking our outgoing Chairman my father Adi Godrej. Hisforesight in starting Godrej Properties and his constant support and guidance haveplayed an essential role in making your company what if is today. We look forward to hiscontinued guidance in his capacity as Chairman Emeritus.
Your company is at a very exciting juncture. India's economy with the benefits ofrapid GDP growth favourable demographics and transformational urbanization is rife withopportunity. And within this context we believe the Indian real estate sector is likelyto be the fastest growing major sector in the country over the next decade. A recentMorgan Stanley report predicted a 16% compounded annual growth rate in the Indian realestate sector over the next decade; the analysis drew a comparison between China in 2004and India in 2015 when on many important economic indicators the two country's economieswere very similar. In China the value of real estate sold between 2004 and 2015 has grownat 22% annually and has created a property sector worth $1.3 trillion in 2015. Comparethis to the estimated 2015 size of $105 billion for the Indian property sector whichMorgan Stanley estimates will exceed $500 billion over the next decade. Your company'spresence in what might be the fastest growing major sector in India in what is likely tobe the fastest growing economy in the world over the next decade places the scale of ouropportunity in context.
While the opportunity is immense the competition from our capable peers both domesticand international will be strong. To emerge as a clear leader in this sector we willhave to deliver excellence across various aspects of our operations. Three fundamentalareas of focus will be customer centricity employee engagement and operational scale andefficiency.
Real estate customers in India have struggled in recent decades. A lack of adequateregulatory oversight has allowed many developers to shortchange their customers while achallenging government policy environment has meant that even well intentioned developershave often struggled to deliver up to their customers' expectations. There are importantsigns of change including the Real Estate Regulation and development Act (RERA) whichpromises to bring sweeping reforms to the sector. Factors like good governance on-timedelivery and high-quality construction will increasingly become hygiene factors in theIndian real estate sector. Companies that are unable or unwilling to consistently deliveragainst these factors will become increasingly irrelevant. The leaders in the sector willhave to combine consistent excellence in those areas with an ability to offer theircustomers differentiated product design and outstanding service experiences. The country'sleading real estate developers will also have to be able to deliver this customerexperience in all parts of the country because the leaders a decade from now will benational not regional players. This is not an easy task especially in a sector asdynamic and unpredictable as real estate. Your company will endeavor to delight itscustomers. We will do this by constantly learning more about them pushing ourselves toanticipate their requirements and insisting on a culture that puts our customersinterests above other considerations.
We fundamentally believe our competitive advantage lies in being an employer of choice;we want to attract the best talent and empower and motivate that talent. In the realestate sector where many companies do not offer high quality work environments we have agreat opportunity to differentiate ourselves. While Godrej Properties has been rated thesector's best employer across several studies we have a lot of work to do to ensure webecome one of the country's most exciting workplaces across sectors. To this end a coretenet of our talent strategy is diversity and inclusion. We have improved our genderdiversity ratio from 19% women employees five years ago to 27% at the end of FY17. We'veadopted openly progressive and inclusive diversity policies that welcome women and LGBTtalent into our organization. We are focused on fostering excellence and commitment butalso on rewarding our team through competitive remuneration and flexible workopportunities including through flexi-time parttime and work-from-home options. We alsofocus deeply on ensuring disproportionate rewards for our top performers and excitingcareer growth opportunities for all our employees.
In the past two years we were the largest publicly listed developer in India bybooking value. While we are proud of this achievement further increasing operationalscale and efficiency is a critical goal for your company. Our goal is to consistently beamongst the top three developers by booking value in each city we operate in butespecially in Mumbai NCR Bangalore and Pune. These four markets represent half ofIndia's real estate market by volume and nearly two- thirds of India's real estate marketby value. As one of the only developers with a strong presence across each of thesemarkets we believe achieving this goal will make us India's largest real estate developerby booking value. Achieving our goal of consistent market leadership will offer numerousadvantages but it will only bring significant value creation if it is coupled with strongefficiency metrics. Given our strong brand and unique business model (i.e. partneringwith landowners for our developments rather than acquiring land on an outright and capitalintensive basis) we believe we must generate returns much above industry averages. Ourmedium term goal is to generate a return on equity of above 20%. The combination ofconsistently being the country's leading developer by booking value through leadership ineach of the tour largest markets and also delivering a 20% return on equity can generatea powerful and self-sustaining value creation engine for your company.
Achieving these twin goals is of course easier said than done. No developer in Indiaincluding Godrej Properties has yet been able to achieve either of the two goals.Nevertheless we do believe these goals while ambitious are within reach and we areactively taking the steps required to reach them. We've created strong and empoweredregional leadership teams who have full accountability for their own P&L and aresupported by functional centers of excellence in our head office. We believe this is acritical step to ensuring a scalable and agile presence with quick and responsivedecisionmaking. We have also designed our compensation plans to align our teams' rewardstightly with their own performance.
With rapid consolidation underway in the sector - which will only accelerate with theenforcement of RERA - we believe there is opportunity for more impactful businessdevelopment. Our business development strategy is focused on entering new micro-marketswithin our target cities and prioritizing projects that can be turned around quickly. InFY17 we added seven new projects with a saleable area of 18 million square feet. Toensure we are able to effectively monetize these new projects we will continue buildingour sales distribution capabilities. Adding to our existing presence in Dubai we openedour second international representative office in Singapore in FY17. Our Greater Noidaproject is a prime example of what this trifecta of objectives can produce. Withsuccessful business development in a large new micro market a quick turnaround to launchand strong sales reach and capabilities we delivered over one million sq. ft. of sales inthis project in FY17 despite weak market conditions.
We are frequently asked about our ability to ensure our execution and project deliverykeep pace with the scale of our growth. We believe our scale gives us more not lesscontrol over the quality of our operations. We have built the necessary team capabilitiesprocesses and systems to ensure delivery against time quality and budget goals. This isnot to say that execution in this industry isn't challenging but construction executionis unlikely to be a major constraint to our growth because we understand how importantconsistent delivery is and we've mapped our execution to benefit from scale not sufferfrom it. The results support this contention: we delivered 4.55 million sq. ft. of realestate across the country in FY17 and have now delivered over 15 million sq. ft. in thelast four years thereby demonstrating that our execution is keeping pace with our salesscale-up.
One project that we are especially excited about is our large project in Vikhroli. Thescale of land owned by our Group combined with its outstanding location connectedness toall parts of the city and proximity to vast open green spaces combine to make thisIndia's most exciting real estate project. Our early steps towards seizing thisopportunity through the development of our flagship project The Trees have progressedwell. We first launched residences in the project in FY16 and in FY17 we achieved revenuerecognition for the project. While clearly beneficial from a financial perspective asdemonstrated by the project's disproportionate contribution to the 30% net profit growthGPL delivered in FY17 what really excites us about this project is the opportunity tohave a meaningful impact on the quality of urbanization at the city level. We will leaveno stone unturned to ensure that Vikhroli is established as the country's most excitingmodern urban location. We are confident that it this aspiration is met the value creationfor your company will be tremendous.
We care about having a positive impact on the world around us and as a result wechoose to focus on sustainable development and safety. On sustainability we've made a lotof progress in recent years. In FY17 GPL was ranked 2nd in Asia and 5th globally by theGlobal Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) which is an industry-drivenorganization that assesses Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) performance of realestate companies globally. GRESB is widely recognized as the global standard forportfolio-level sustainability and governance reporting in the real asset sector. We aimto be the leaders in driving higher standards around safety at construction sites inIndia. We have invested in training and we employ dedicated safety managers who have theauthority to stop all work at site it they deem conditions to be unsafe. In FY17 wereceived 13 recognitions for our safety practices from a variety of third partyorganizations including the British Safety Council and the Construction IndustryDevelopment Council.
Don't let the current chatter tool you: the long-term outlook for the Indian realestate sector is bright. Urbanization demographic changes and improving affordabilitywill drive growth over the next decade. Nearly 5 million Indians move into urban areasevery year. Families are increasingly choosing to live in nuclear family units with dualincomes thereby increasing each family's disposable income and the demand for housing.Already in the past decade these demographic changes along with others have pushed theaverage age of a first time homebuyer in India down by more than ten years to aboutthirty. In the coming decade GDP growth and the resulting income growth combined withan improving mortgage-to-GDP ratio and lower interest rates will make property pricesmore affordable to a larger number of Indians. A cyclical downturn combined withdemonetization and the implementation of the Real Estate Regulation Act has createdshort-term uncertainty in the sector. However these same factors will lead toconsolidation and improved governance in the sector which in turn will drive improvedconsumer confidence. The combination of this improved consumer confidence with tarimproved affordability that is the result of rising incomes stagnant prices and reducedinterest rates will propel the sector in a very positive direction over the next severalyears. The government has put in place many policy reforms to encourage real estatedevelopment especially in the affordable housing space which will lend further impetusto the growth of the sector. We expect 2017 to be a transition year but the years aheadare likely to be very exciting ones for real estate development in India. Our brandnational presence demonstrated track record and capabilities put us in a strong positionto remain on a high growth trajectory.
My colleague Mohit Malhotra who in April took the reins as CEO of your company hasseveral traits that make him the ideal CEO for the company right now. Mohit is driven andambitious; his work in developing GPL's business development capabilities and in drivingour performance in NCR are two examples of Mohit's ability to think big and execute well.He knows how to combine high-level strategic imperatives and detailed ground-levelexecution in a holistic manner; this is a rare skill and one that I believe will help himtremendously in taking Godrej Properties forward. I look forward to continuing to workclosely with Mohit and the incredibly talented GPL team as we embark on the next leg ofthis exciting journey.
Our team at Godrej Properties is excited about the future and I am grateful to them fortheir tireless efforts and strong results. Thanks to our customers joint venturepartners and business associates for their support. Finally a big thank you to all ourshareholders for your continued belief in Godrej Properties.