Narayana Murthy invests in realty, Azim Premji to follow suit

BANGALORE (TIP): Property has always been a major investment avenue of the rich. Now, some of the people one would expect to focus on enterprising ventures are also looking at rent-yielding property. Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy’s family office has bought high-end luxury apartments in Bangalore and Mumbai, said sources familiar with the development. Catamaran Ventures, which manages part of Murthy’s wealth, has previously invested in e-commerce, FMCG and education ventures.

Another source said that Premji Invest, the family office of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, is also scouting for real estate assets in metros. A couple of years ago, Premji, in his personal capacity, had picked up a few properties in Mumbai that were subsequently rented out, sources in the real estate industry said. Sources said Catamaran Ventures, which manages Rs 600 crore of funds, had invested at the pre-launch phase, providing scope for steep appreciation once the projects are completed.

TOI couldn’t ascertain whether Catamaran is also considering investment in commercial real estate. An email sent to Catamaran remained unanswered at the time of going to press. Murthy’s colleague and former Infosys CEO S D Shibulal’s penchant for real estate has been much reported. His family office, Innovations Investment Management, has property investments in the US, including in New York and Seattle, as also in Germany and India. In Seattle, it has a portfolio of over 700 apartments.

The real estate investments, managed by a professional team, comprise both residential and commercial assets. Another Infosys co-founder NS Raghavan, through his family office Nadathur Estates, manages an investment portfolio of multiple asset classes, including hospitality and real estate. “Residential real estate does not bring the highest yields globally, but it is a reliable source of rental revenue coupled with capital appreciation and relatively better monetizing potential than commercial real estate,” said Anuj Puri, country head of real estate consultancy JLL India. While A-grade commercial office space gives a annual yield of 10% in India, residential properties give an average yield of 3%-4%.

In some luxury residential properties, the yield could touch 7%. “Residential properties sit well on balance sheets and in inheritances, too. Not surprisingly, it is a preferred investment class for Indian HNIs with global reach and business interests,” said Puri. J Vishnu Shankar, founder of real estate consultancy firm Crorepati Homes, said that much of the investment action by family offices has been happening in top dollar markets like Mumbai and New Delhi. “My guess is that Bangalore has a limited number of properties that cost Rs 20 crore upwards, which is the typical asset class that interests such high-profile buyers,” he said.

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