Prestige to make north India debut with $195 million housing project

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

(Reuters) – Prestige Estates is planning a $195 million housing project in Noida this year, its first in north India, its CEO said, placing a bet on booming demand in a region long dominated by rivals such as DLF.

Prestige has, for years, focussed on its home turf of Bengaluru and a few south Indian cities, developing more than 280 residential, commercial, retail and hospitality projects. It launched its maiden residential project in Mumbai last year.

Prestige is now awaiting final approvals to launch a 2.2-million-square-feet, mid-income housing project in Noida in the quarter-ending September 2023, CEO Venkat K Narayana told Reuters on Friday.

He said the project is worth more than 16 billion rupees ($195.4 million), which equates to an average of around 8,000 rupees per square foot.

The average housing price in the national capital region (NCR), which includes the capital of New Delhi, has jumped 16% to 8,432 rupees per square feet in January-March, the steepest rise across the country, according to a price tracker report prepared jointly by Credai, Colliers and Liases Foras.

Housing demand in India has recovered in recent months, although the boom is driven more by demand for luxury projects rather than affordable options.

But that does not worry Narayana.

“We ensure that our ticket prices are affordable to many. The pricing has to be attractive but that does not mean affordable housing.”

Narayana said that by March 2024, Prestige hopes to have four or five projects in NCR, the turf of established brands such as DLF and Godrej.

This will push total company sales to more than 160 billion rupees for the year ending March 2024, Narayana said. This is more than 24% higher than last year.

Prestige shares are up 24% so far this year, compared to an about 21% rise in the Nifty Realty index. ($1 = 81.9055 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)