Tata Realty & Infrastructure, the real estate arm of the Tata group, has achieved 120 per cent of its sales target in residential projects last financial year. Of its 17 residential projects, 13 exceeded their sales targets in FY21, said Sanjay Dutt, managing director (MD) of the company. However, he declined to share the sales numbers for FY21. He attributed this feat to the company’s focus on digital marketing, fast pace of construction, employee benefits and so on. “Before the pandemic, we had 3,400 workers at the sites and after the second quarter, we had 6,000. We were among the few firms that started construction immediately after lockdown. In the first nine months of last year, we did not have any Covid cases at our sites,” he said. Many developers in cities, such as Mumbai, faced construction delays during lockdown as labourers went back to their hometowns. Dutt said because the company could restart construction early, it has a sizable ready inventory, which is advantageous.
This is because customers are preferring immediate occupation as they don’t have to pay goods and services tax (GST). He said the company reduced marketing spend by 50 per cent by going digital. Dutt said the industry has been positioning projects from “ticket sizes/pricing and affordability” perspective. However, Tata Realty concentrated on “bigger, better and wellness” homes. He said Tata Realty also paid bonuses and did not cut salaries unlike other companies. “We saw a very positive response for employee benefits. When people are happy, sales will automatically grow,” he said. “This year, we are prepared. We know what works and what does not work,” he said, adding that the company has seen around 2,000 sales enquiries. While the first quarter of FY21 was a washout for developers, numbers picked up post Q2 due to pent up demand, stamp duty cuts in Maharashtra and Karnataka, lower interest rates, sops given by developers and so on. For instance, in Mumbai, properties worth ~1.2 trillion — 80,700 deals — were registered between September 2020 and March 2020, mainly aided by stamp duty cut in Maharashtra, said Propstack, a property data analytics firm. Growth in the value of properties registered in September-March 2020-21 was 1.4 times higher than the number between September-March of 2019-20. In commercial properties, Dutt said the company had 98 per cent rent collections and the same percentage of occupancy in FY21. “We have added one million sq ft of commercial properties last year and will be adding a similar number this year,” he said. Dutt added, last year, the company saw zero termination at its office properties and the company leased 1.5 million sq ft. “This year, we expect 100 per cent rent collections and all our rental agreements will be renewed or replaced,” he said.