Chennai: The Epicentre of Tamil Nadu’s Real Estate Activity

In a nutshell

1. Given the diversified economic base, the demand for real estate across asset types has grown rapidly over the years in Chennai

2. Since 2018, Chennai real estate sector has witnessed ~USD 4 bn+ of private equity investments

3. In CY23, Chennai residential market has exhibited a 37% y-o-y increase in residential sales, reaching 12,760 units

4. Unsold inventory (in terms of years to sell (YTS)) declined to 2.8 years in CY23 from 4.2 years in CY21

5. Net leasing absorption in CY23 rose to 6.6 msf, marking Chennai's strongest year

Chennai City

Rapid strides in Chennai’s economic development has evolved the city into an eminent commercial, IT and industrial centre in India

  • Known as “Detroit of Asia” owning to the presence of robust automobile industry
  • Known as “SaaS capital of India” with presence of 36+ FinTech start-ups
  • 2nd largest electronics manufacturing hub in India
  • 2nd highest literacy rates among Indian cities with c.90% literacy rate
  • 2nd most competitive electronic FDI destination globally
  • 2nd largest cable landing city in India with six undersea cable landing stations
  • Ranked 4th in the ‘Ease of Living Index, 2020’ released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • 3rd largest expat population in India after Mumbai and Delhi
  • Boasts top educational institutions such as IIT Madras, Anna university and Madras Medical College

Chennai Real Estate Sector

Chennai is the epicentre of Tamil Nadu’s real estate activity. Chennai’s status as a major commercial and industrial hub, coupled with its emergence as an IT hub, has fostered substantial job opportunities, driving demand for real estate across asset types.

  • Chennai’s real estate sector has seen a considerable amount of private equity investments totalling to USD 4bn+ (since 2018) especially in warehousing and office space segments.
  • In CY23, Chennai residential market has exhibited a 37% y-o-y increase in residential sales, reaching 12,760 units. Despite the recovery path observed since the waning of the pandemic, the market has yet to surpass its pre-COVID numbers
  • Unsold inventory (in terms of years to sell (YTS)) declined to 2.8 years in CY23 from 4.2 years in CY21
  • Chennai boasts of more than 25 IT parks strategically located throughout its major areas, coupled with excellent connectivity to various transportation modes.
  • Favourable business climate, marked by robust infrastructure, urbanization, SEZs, high literacy rates, efficient transportation, and government support, has contributed to real estate growth
  • Driven by GCCs (primarily from the manufacturing/industrial sector) and the flex segment, the net absorption in CY23 rose to 6.6 msf, marking Chennai’s strongest year yet in terms of leasing activity

Chennai Real Estate Sector

As per JLL,

  • In CY23, sales momentum in Chennai was quite robust in projects by reputed developers
  • In CY23, Chennai residential market has exhibited a 37% y-o-y increase in residential sales 12,760 units, primarily driven by demand from end users
  • With robust sales, developers are actively launching projects with launches more than doubling to 15,660 units in CY23
  • In spite of the recent spike in launches, Chennai’s YTS (1) has dropped down to 2.8 years in CY23 from 4.2 years in CY21
  • As per Knight Frank, despite higher demand for larger homes in Pune, share of units priced less than INR 10MM was 86% in CY23.

As per Knight Frank,

  • Units priced above INR 10 MN, constituted 24% of the total sales in CY23 and notably, a niche group of buyers in Chennai are seeking larger spaces and enhanced amenities which has contributed to the demand for luxury apartments
  • Ongoing improvement in market conditions and the plethora of upcoming projects are expected to sustain and elevate housing demand in Chennai over the coming quarters

Chennai’s Office Market

As per JLL,

  • Chennai’s commercial real estate sector has experienced a remarkable upswing, achieving an unprecedented milestone in CY23 with an all-time high of 6.6 msf in net absorption
  • Available vacancy in key buildings was quickly leased and new completions came on-stream with strong pre-commitments, supporting Chennai’s net absorption as it rose to its peak in 2023

As per Knight Frank,

  • During 2H23, rentals in Chennai increased by 6% y-o-y, with the key drivers for this upward trend being the robust leasing momentum, heightened occupier confidence, and the introduction of new office spaces with enhanced specifications and higher rents
  • Chennai’s affordability (measured in INR per square foot per month), positions it favorably amongst peer markets, highlighting a balanced and competitive pricing structure in the regional commercial real estate landscape

Chennai’s Other Commercial Markets

  • Warehousing: Due to Chennai’s advantageous coastal location and strategic connectivity, it has made the city a preferred base for heavy industries automobile, textile and other manufacturing sectors driving the demand for warehousing. According to Knight frank’s warehousing report, Chennai has seen transaction volume of around 4.5 msf with 3PL sector being a major occupier.
  • Data Centres: With 15+ operating establishments, Chennai has become a key data centre hub. The TN government’s favourable polices around data centres, preferred tropical climate, better power supply, access to undersea cable landing stations and optic fibre network has increased the scalability of data centres
  • Hospitality: In FY23 Chennai achieved its best city wise performance since 2008 with 69.1% occupancy. As per Hotelviate report, Chennai’s ARR and Revpar in FY23 was the highest over the last 13+years
  • Retail: Chennai hosts prominent malls like Phoenix Marketcity, VR Chennai, Nexus Vijaya Mall, OMR Marina Mall, Express Avenue Mall, etc.

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