US-based brokerage firm Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is looking to acquire local companies in India as it plans to expand its services to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Goa after entering India two months ago, Rafael Noriega, managing director for global expansion at the company, told ET.
The India vertical of the company, known as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Orenda India (BHHS), started operation in the country through tie-ups in Delhi.
“We are open to acquiring local companies. That’s the business model we follow in most international cities and the US,” said Noriega. “Through the pandemic we have been active and that’s the way we have expanded in Spain, Germany and the UK. This is the business model we would like to follow but it is not the only model.”
He said the company wanted a beachhead in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“We don’t want to miss the wave. Right time to enter India is now, although it is a difficult time for everyone due to the pandemic. We are introducing ourselves this week to potential investors, developers and agents in the industry so that we can collaborate,” said Noriega.
India is the 12th country for the company, which plans to enter Chile and France before the end of year.
“We started looking at India about two years ago, before the Covid. We decided to become partners after due diligence from both sides and signed MoU in December 2020,” he said.
“We have an expansion plan together to go to the main cities of India, starting with Mumbai.”
The company has a large exposure in commercial and property management as well as advisory business, and to expand in India, it is looking for local tie-ups.“Cooperating with local agencies is fundamental like we do in many other markets like Berlin and Milan,” Noriega said.
Indians living abroad and Indians looking to buy property in other countries are the main target for the company.
India is second in terms of number of visitors on its global website, next only to the US.
“Mumbai and Bengaluru are the next markets for us before we move to Hyderabad and Goa,” said ShreyAeren, managing director and country head of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Orenda India. “We will eventually go to tier-2 cities as well but not in the foreseeable future. In India, we will cater to every segment except the really affordable one and luxury, we will do it through luxury collection,”
Noriega said though Covid-19 has impacted everyone, it has accelerated demand for homes.
“Covid-19 has affected everyone, but it has not affected the real estate industry globally unless you are in a naturalistic destination like the Bahamas and Spain. The rest of the countries where we are present in the real estate business have actually performed better,” he said.
Covid affected the company's expansion plan because of travel restrictions, but it added some offices in Germany, the UK and Spain, and managed to open India, Greece, Bahamas and Mexico among others.
The company plans to service pan India including, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa and Ayodhya.
“We are also looking at co-working and data centre advisory. In the residential segment, we have done some tie-ups in Gurgaon where we will have exclusive international mandate. First year, we are looking at selling $300 million property,” Aerensaid.
From its inception in 2012, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has formed a network of over 55,000 agents across 15,000+ offices all over the globe. The company was the largest residential brokerage in the US in 2020 by deal volume and the second overall with a transaction volume of $150+ billion.