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The Age of the City…Rural Migration has Reshaped India’s Real Estate Markets

By Affordable Housing, COVID-19, Housing Need, India, Mainstream Impact Investment, Modular Construction, News, Real Estate Markets

Increased levels of urbanisation in India (and elsewhere) are both an opportunity and a challenge: we have to learn to build homes better, faster and smarter, which is why Modular Construction is becoming so important: It will be a key part of addressing homelessness across the globe.

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Planned Sustainability: The Reserve Bank of India is Building for Growth

By COVID-19, Economic Growth, Environmental Policy, India, Mainstream Impact Investment, News, Sustainable Growth

In both senses of the word, ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance accountability: it means investing in sustainability, securing higher than average investor returns and working with a focus on long term outcomes, and right now it’s trending through the roof: well worth paying attention to. Over the past two years a staggering 84% of equity fund investment has been channelled into ESG platforms. And in case you’re wondering what that looks like, it’s a whopping $15.1 Billion according to the Calastone Global Investor Report: in other words, considerably more than the UK Government committed last summer to its COVID stimulus programme. Eat out to Help Out had its moment in the sun, but ESG is here to stay: it means planning for the long term, and building for growth… responsibly.

That’s why in the last four months of last year (at the height of the COVID pandemic, in case we can possibly forget), aggregate investment into ESG Funds was more than the rest of 2019 and 2020 combined. So investors are well aware of what the future requires…it needs ESG, and in increasing numbers those investors voting with their feet (and their wallets).

So what’s so important about ESG?

Well, for a start, it’s about the importance of evaluating corporate behaviour to predict future performance. Compliant businesses are more resilient and robust in the long term, and that means looking closely at issues like sustainability, ethical compliance and (yes) corporate governance, as well as carbon footprint and accountability: score high on any or all of those and you score low on investment risk. In other words, according to the Financial Analysts Guide to ESG Investing for Professionals, systematically considering ESG issues will lead to more complete investment analyses and better-informed investment decisions.”  There you are, you heard it here first, or second if you’ve already been on www.tandfonline.com

And wholly unsurprisingly, none of this has been lost on the Reserve Bank of India: with the subcontinent emerging as a key destination for ESG investment, Central Bankers in Mumbai are all too well aware that India is vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change (just think back to the Amphan “Super Cyclone’ that hit the country last May): so they’ve been pulling out the stops to keep business at the forefront of environmental and corporate best practice, and that’s not by any means a recent development.

The Central Bank released its first ESG Circular as long ago as 2008, which acted as a pathfinder for better connectivity between previously competing financial, social and environmental imperatives: raising awareness of the need for greater corporate responsibility and long term sustainable development. Since then, it has pressed remorselessly to demand improved accountability across India’s Capital Markets, providing much needed support for a series of important Green Bond issues.

In 2012 the Securities and Exchange Board of India required the subcontinent’s 100 largest companies (by market capitalisation) to publish Business Responsibility Reports (“BPR”) in parallel with annual reporting obligations, and since 2016 the number of companies complying with these requirements has increased from 500 to 1000: 70% of them independently auditing their BPR reports, and five going further by signing up to the Reserve Bank’s Principles for Responsible Investment.

India is also the world’s second biggest emerging Green Bonds Market: since the first issuance by Yes Bank in 2015, an aggregate of $7.2 Billion has been raised by the end of last year, most of it going to fund renewable energy projects. International Green Bond issues are also increasingly popular on the subcontinent, regularly oversubscribed and with higher than average coupon rates. And with the current scarcity of good news stories, that’s certainly a reason for the Reserve Bank of India to give itself a well-earned pat on the back.

Mainstream Impact Investment is the leading model for ESG investment strategies across the globe: recognising, as it does, that robust and compliant businesses are better placed for long-term success. And that’s the model Red Ribbon Asset Management has adopted for more than a decade: securing higher than average rate investor returns, and looking after the planet in the process.

All of which means that it’s time, more than time, to look to the future…

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

Sustainable investment strategies aren’t just a green wash for corporate filings: for our precious planet they’re a matter of life and death, and in these turbulent times we have to act quickly to make all our futures more secure.

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

Bubble or Boom…Bitcoin goes through the roof, but what does it mean for the Global Economy?

By COVID-19, Economic Growth, India, Mainstream Impact Investment, News

In three short months, four hundred years ago, a single tulip bulb (called a Switzer) rose in price by 1,200%, selling for 5,000 Guilders: the same price as a family home in Amsterdam. Madness? Undoubtedly…assuming it hadn’t flowered in the meantime, the same bulb was worth just 8 Guilders three months later. So you won’t see us doing that again…but wait, on 4 February this year (in a single day) the value of Dogecoin increased by 50%, and six days later it had risen by a further 300%: all because Elon Musk (the self styled “Technoking”) tweeted on 4 February that “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto…no highs no lows, only Doge”. Like Bananacoin and Ponzicoin (I’m not making those up), Dogecoin started out in 2013 as a joke, and today it has a market capitalisation of $7.4 Billion: so what does that tell us about cryptocurrencies?

And, more to the point, what does it tell us about Bitcoin, which certainly isn’t a joke and whose market price also hit a record high this week: is that a bubble or a boom…and should we be reaching for the tulip catalogue?

After all, when it comes to Bitcoin, we’ve been here before.

Market Volatility

Between January and March of 2018, Bitcoin fell in value by 80% on the MVIS CryptoCompare Index (www.mvis-indices.com), to less than $4,000: by November last year it was back up to an all time high of more than $19,000, surging to $34,792.47 by 3 January, crashing 17% the next day, and then soaring to $40,000 five days later: now it stands at $56,056. Calling that volatile is like calling Donald Trump unrealistic…but in fact there’s more to the data than meets the eye.

Bitcoin and Blockchain

Bitcoin was the world’s first cryptocurrency, created to function as digital (non fiat, non government backed) money, and like its real world counterpart it has many of the virtues of reliability and trustworthiness you can expect in conventional currencies: strictly controlled circulation, security and convertibility. But most importantly, unlike cash, Bitcoin has the potential to replace financial intermediaries, because it is inextricably bound up with the future of decentralised ledger markets…Blockchain. Just think about that for a moment: Blockchain can directly connect a buyer with a seller, safely and securely, and without the need for investment banks (or any banks for that matter) to broker the deal. The cost of the transaction falls at a stroke by up to 20%. Cross border trade is quicker and less expensive (no brokers taking their cut) and transactions in land are more transparent and cheaper (less for the lawyers to do). The list is virtually endless…and the cold, hard fact for fiat currencies is you can’t spend cash on a decentralised ledger (not least because the internet doesn’t have a till). You need cryptocurrencies…you need Bitcoin.

So, bearing in mind economic orthodoxy defines a speculative bubble as a deviation from fundamental value, the question we have to ask is what the fundamental value of Bitcoin is, and whether there is actually any significant deviation from that value in light of recent price movements. We can answer those questions easily: the fundamental value of Bitcoin is Blockchain (see above), and all those volatile movements in Bitcoin’s price over the last three years are in fact closely linked to the progressive opening up of Blockchain as a key innovator across international markets.

Regulation

First of all there’s the issue of regulation: across the globe regulators have been notoriously wary of assuming oversight for decentralised ledger markets, and Bitcoin in particular. After briefly flirting with the idea, the US Federal Reserve pulled away from full regulation in 2018, and the Reserve Bank of India went so far as to prohibit cryptocurrency transactions altogether in April 2018. As a result the fundamental value of Blockchain decreased (consumers are rightly wary of dealing in unregulated markets), and the value of Bitcoin fell with it…that’s the reason for the 80% fall in 2018 (see above again). There wasn’t a bubble at all, in fact there was a close correlation in cryptocurrency pricing and the underlying value of Blockchain markets. It was all about regulation (or the lack of it).

But then fast forward to the surge in Bitcoin’s value last year. That came in the aftermath of the Indian Supreme Court reversing the cryptocurrency ban in March 2020 (www.lexology.com), in addition to which Prime Minister Modi’s Government had by then introduced a “sandbox” programme as a prelude to full Blockchain regulation (not to mention adopting several Blockchain initiatives itself). When the world’s fastest growing large economy speaks, the world listens, and regulation was back on the cards. Add to that a move by US Regulators to consult on crypto regulation last December as a prelude to new enabling legislation (www.public-inspection.federalregister.gov): the fundamental value of Blockchain strengthened as a result and Bitcoin rose with it.

No bubble there then…

A New World Order

And, of course, since March of last year we’ve had a series of COVID related lockdowns across the world: international commerce moved increasingly online, Jeff Bezos made a few more billions and Blockchain was back centre stage. A quantum leap that most analysts thought would take a decade or more had happened within a year. The fundamental value of Blockchain increased, Bitcoin rose price from November, and its made steady progress ever since.

So this isn’t a bubble at all: the fundamentals are fully in line with market perceptions…and you can leave the tulip catalogue in the cupboard…

Red Ribbon Asset Management

Red Ribbon Asset Management (www.redribbon.co) is constantly searching for new ways to apply emerging technologies, including Blockchain, AI and Data Analytics, to achieve its MII objectives of optimal environmental and social impact consistent with above market rate returns: steadfastly committed to enhance customer experience through intelligent adoption of mainstream impact investment strategies.

Executive Overview

It’s fascinating to track the correlation between Blockchain and Bitcoin back over three years, and if nothing else the relationship between the two teaches us that it always pays to keep your eye on the bigger picture.

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

A Time to Build and Buy…Indian Real Estate is facing a Perfect Storm of Opportunity

By Affordable Housing, COVID-19, Housing Need, Housing policy, News, Real Estate Markets

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck: which is good news if you’re looking for a duck. And the same faithful formula applies to commercial markets: forget all the background noise, if it’s growing and looks like growing more, it’s probably good to invest in. You don’t need to be Warren Buffett (or Aristotle) to work that one out, and right now the needle for Indian Real Estate is reading high on both counts. Despite the (to put it mildly) dampening effects of COVID lockdown restrictions, the subcontinent’s property markets are facing a perfect storm of growth and opportunity…so this is a time to build and buy.

The sector has grown by 11.2% over the last two years and market analysts now predict pre-COVID levels will be reached again before the third quarter of this year, with the Affordable segment expected to perform especially well in areas including Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune. 

So what exactly are the factors combining to make this perfect storm?

Disruption and Acceleration

Well, first of all, there’s COVID itself. Like most major market disrupters, the pandemic (beyond its obvious short term impact) has not delayed growth: it has turbo charged existing trends. With more time locked down at home, people are spending more time searching for (and buying) new properties online, which has created a sharp spike in demand. Competitive bidding thrives when there’s little else to look at and nothing else to do, and prices are shooting up as a result. Then, of course, that old (new) favourite Zoom has brought us virtual viewings as well, so you didn’t even need to leave home before splashing your cash. And when you bear in mind that India has the fastest growing population of any large economy on the planet, that’s a lot of cash to splash.

High Yields, Low Interest

The Reserve Bank of India has held the all important repo rate at 4% for several months, and last month announced its intention to keep it there as long as necessary to support future economic expansion, which means two things for real estate. First, the consequential fall and resulting long term hold in deposit rates makes it more attractive than ever to invest in rental properties where yields are holding up at 3% annually: making even a relatively modest appreciation year on year increasingly attractive. And, secondly, tax breaks will bring down still further the real time cost of borrowing for those in higher income brackets, making the move to property investment still more advantageous. With a characteristic sense of understatement, Prashant Thakur (Director and Head of Research at the influential Anarock Property Consultancy thinks “buying now means buying at the lowest possible price”.

He might be right there…

The REIT Revolution

Prime Minister Modi’s Government introduced the Real Estate Investment Trust (or REIT) to the subcontinent in April 2019, with the aim of expanding commercial and property investment, and the pandemic has done little to dilute its impact. Even during the most stringent lockdown restrictions, rental collections, the lifeblood of any REIT, still remained strong through to the first quarter of this year at 97% saturation (according to Motilal Oswald Real Estate): underpinned, of course, by GST and RERA initiatives that have progressively improved liquidity levels within the financial system as a whole. 

Overseas investors haven’t been slow to pick up on the opportunities either, with a surge in levels of FDI likely to drive an even strong recovery in commercial and residential assets over the course of the year.

A Brighter Future

All of which is good news for the future of the subcontinent as a whole: real estate accounts for 7% of India’s economy, the second biggest employer in the country (after agriculture) and a cornerstone for employment in more than 220 ancillary industries. And current growth trends within the sector are projected to increase real estate’s share of the economy to 13% within the next four years.

So now is the time to build in India…now is the time to buy.

Executive Overview

Indian Real Estate has always been a key area of focus for us, and I’m genuinely excited by the trends emerging on the subcontinent as lockdown restrictions are eased. It is, indeed, a perfect storm for growth and opportunity.

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

Building in Sustainability…Modular Construction has long-term answers for the Planet

By Affordable Housing, Construction Technologies, COVID-19, Housing Need, Modular Construction, News

What can you do with a broken brick, clotted with mortar and torn from the heart of a demolished building? Well, you could get more bricks, lay them in a line and offer them to the Tate Gallery as an “Installation”, but short of that (frankly unlikely) option, the brutal answer is “not very much”. And the same goes for all that twisted, rusting steelwork, left scattered behind on the demolition site. Like the broken bricks, it is almost impossible to recycle and will almost certainly end up in a landfill site. And at the other end of its clunking life cycle, traditional on site construction currently accounts for an extraordinary 36% of worldwide energy consumption and 40% of global CO2 emissions: all those trucks belching out exhaust fumes, crawling to and from inner city developments to feed the daily demands of dumpers, drills and jackhammers.

Across the World four billion tonnes of concrete are poured every year, adding 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2 to our precious and fragile atmosphere, which is more than double the 1.04 Billion tonnes of CO2 produced annually by worldwide aviation, even in the years before Pandemic restrictions more or less shut it down (www.ourworldindata.org).

You get the message…Dinosaur Construction isn’t good for the Planet.

Sustainable Construction

On the other hand, Sustainable Construction can put a stop to all that: making use of renewable and recyclable materials, reducing energy consumption and creating a healthy, environmentally friendly environment…not to mention protecting the Planet in the process.

So why, according to the 2018 World Green Building Trends, Smart Market Report (www.worldgbc.org), do more than 50% of construction companies still believe sustainable construction technologies are more expensive? Perhaps they simply prefer laying broken bricks in a line…in which case (to save them looking it up) the contact number for the Tate Gallery is +44 20 7887 8888 (its closed at the moment by the way).

But whatever their business plan, they couldn’t be more wrong…

Less Expensive, More Efficient

Sustainable Construction is not only less expensive than dinosaur construction technologies, it also supports lower operating costs once the building is completed: all of which feeds directly into the bottom-line.

Take Modular Construction for instance: pre-assembled units are manufactured off site in climate controlled conditions, which means fewer trucks choking their way to the site every day and fewer days lost with workers sheltered in huts from the rain. Buildings constructed using advanced Modular systems are 30% lower in price than their conventional equivalents and they typically re-use 80% of their components, which fits in perfectly with the demands of the Circular Economy (www.oecd.org): prolonging the useful lifespan of key components.

That all adds up to annual savings of more than £400 Billion across worldwide markets, added to which waste levels are lower too, so you may not need to contact the Tate after all…

Smart builders are already factoring these costings and efficiency savings into their tenders, offsetting front-end construction costs and reducing environmental impact as part of the new Circular Economy. 

What’s not to like?

Modulex Construction

Modulex Construction (www.modulexglobal.com) is the World’s largest Steel Modular Building Company. It was established by Red Ribbon (www.redribbon.co) to harness the full potential of fast evolving technologies and deliver at pace to meet the evolving needs of the community.

Executive Overview

I don’t think it’s sufficiently understood how energy hungry and polluting conventional construction technologies can be. So given current demands for affordable housing and new infrastructure projects, it really is time to look for some sustainable alternatives.

 Invest in Modulex

Modulex Construction is the World’s largest Steel Modular Building Company. It was established by Red Ribbon to harness the full potential of these fast-evolving technologies and deliver at pace to meet the evolving needs of the community

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

Sitting at the Planet’s Heart, India is set to deliver new Supply Systems and Distributive Technologies…The Economic Revolution starts here, right now

By COVID-19, Emerging Technologies, India, Mainstream Impact Investment, News

When Donald Trump told us, as he did a lot, that he was the greatest President in the history of the United States and a Genius into the bargain, we listened (to put it mildly) with some scepticism: quite a lot of scepticism actually. Who knows, however unlikely it seemed, he might have been right, but a palpable lack of any grip on reality made it all seem so much bluster and nonsense: not worth listening to. When Jeff Bezos tells us, on the other hand, that this is going to be India’s Century, it’s worth sitting up and paying attention …because, unlike Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos knows what he’s talking about. He knows that right here, right now tectonic economic change is taking place in India, and it’s nothing short of a revolution.

Under his leadership, Amazon had identified the subcontinent as a global powerhouse as long ago as 2013, and since then the company has invested $6.5 Billion in India (dramatically putting it’s money where Mr Bezos’ mouth is): because, like most informed commentators, Mr Bezos can see the roots of tectonic change unfolding, and he couldn’t be more enthusiastic about it’s raw potential: “I predict that the 21st century is going to be the Indian Century. The dynamism, the energy… everywhere I go here, I meet people who are working in self-improvement and growth. This country has something special”.

So what exactly has he seen, and what does it all mean?

Indian Retail Markets are Moving Online

Well, for a start, India has a $1.2 Trillion Retail Market, only 7% of which is currently online: driven by the ferocious consumer appetite of what will shortly be the most populous country on the planet: increasingly middle class, increasingly urbanised and more tech aware than ever. And now, on top of all that, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (www.weforum.org) has re-energised levels of online invention on the subcontinent, lifting it to third place in World rankings for capacity to attract investment in technology and opening up unprecedented potential for the future. All of which means that 7% figure is set to soar, and Amazon is eager to snap up its share of the remaining 93%, which accounts for its $6.5 Billion investment so far. From a base of $18 Billion in 2018, online commerce in India is now expected to grow to $200 Billion by 2028. So if ever there was a coiled spring…this is it.

Amazon, though, is facing some pretty stiff competition

Walmart bought Flipkart for $16 Billion in 2018 and Reliance owned JioMart is projected by Goldman Sachs to secure a 50% share of India’s lucrative online grocery market by 2024 (www.goldmansachs.com). Competitive, exponential growth is on the cards.

But it’s not just about retail …

Amazon is also investing in Indian Education (through the Amazon Academy (www.academy.amazon.in)), Digital Payment Systems, Video and Music Streaming as well as new infrastructure for delivery of food (watch out JioMart); and (Lord knows we need it) Medicines, with a new Amazon Pharmacy platform.

Sitting at the Heart of the World

India sits at the Heart of the World’s Supply Systems and Distributive Technologies, and Jeff Bezos knows that too. Last year he announced Amazon would invest a further $1 billion to support ten million traders and micro, small, and medium enterprises on the subcontinent, driving forward an expected $10 Billion in additional exports within the next four years: not to mention a further 1 Million jobs, which will inevitably further enhance that seismic demographic change still further and faster. Success, after all, tends to breed success…

So unlike Donald Trump, who now (so soon) already seems a distant memory, Jeff Bezos knows what he’s doing…this will be India’s Century.

Red Ribbon Asset Management (www.redribbon.co) has more than a decade’s experience of successfully investing in the subcontinent’s markets: delivering above market rate returns for investors whilst at the same time staying loyal and committed to its core values of Planet, People and Profit.

Executive Overview

We’re currently experiencing a radical restructuring of the world’s supply infrastructure. Those changes are set to put India at the very heart of a global revolution that will change the way we all do business.

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

As the World Moves Forward, AI and Machine Learning have changed everything: quicker and more profoundly every day…So get ready for Tomorrow

By COVID-19, Emerging Technologies, Mainstream Impact Investment, News

Suddenly, almost in a heartbeat, Artificial Intelligence is changing our World: what seemed impossible a few short months ago is now possible…and not just possible, AI has become an everyday part of our workaday lives. And we’re not just talking about teenagers here, stuck in their rooms and locked to their mobile phones: emerging technologies have radically reshaped global commerce at every level of society. University students in lockdown can expect to have their exam papers assessed by AI predictive technologies, and their online tutoring is already driven by AI (forget Gavin Williamson, the future’s in the box). Retailers are using AI to improve customer engagement (goodbye call centres, hello Chatbots), Banks are using AI to reduce credit card fraud and your Uber driver uses it to get you home. Robotics powered by AI are delivering vaccines along hospital corridors as you read this, using real time updates to avoid obstacles and trollies along the way. When you apply for your next job, your application will be reviewed by AI. It’s everywhere…and it’s big business.

According to the influential market research agency Tractica (www.businesswire.com), global AI is expected to generate an astonishing $118 Billion annually by 2025: 37% of companies have already implemented AI in one form or another, and the percentage of businesses using AI has grown by 270% in the last four years…95% of customer interactions will be driven by AI within five years.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a key part of that process: from speech recognition to machine translation, language processing to vaccine design, deep learning technologies have matched and often exceeded expert human performance. And “deep” really does mean deep here, reconciling multiple layers within any given network and finding connections and links where there weren’t any before. Its why you can get a ticket for speeding when there isn’t a policeman within three miles…its why Google send you all those annoying “recommendations” for wedding rings when you announce your engagement on Facebook. 

And combined with the increasing traction of Deep Learning, the pull of Big Data and powerful Graphic Processing Units (or GPU’s to the over initiated) has placed the whole system into overdrive.

As John Smith, Manager of Multimedia and Vision at IBM Research (www.research.ibm.com) put it: “We’re seeing deep learning have a huge new impact, whether it’s in speech or vision or some problem in natural language processing. This is going to continue for some time”. 

You can say that again…

Doing New Things

So whenever a business wants to introduce a new way of doing things, whenever we need a new design solution, making the complex simple and turning commercial ambitions into a reality…that’s where you’ll find Artificial Intelligence (however scarce or otherwise the commodity might be in Gavin Williamson’s Office at the moment). In a world where anything can (and does) change so rapidly, you need an algorithm that allows for and anticipates change.

Machine based learning is part of the process, so we’d better get used to it: self-driving cars and speeding tickets by post…Get ready for tomorrow.

Executive Overview

AI and Machine Learning have had a huge impact on our lives over recent months: changing the way we all live, work and do business. It is, indeed, time to get ready for tomorrow…

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

Can Unprecedented Demand Create a Slump in Property Prices…Of course not, Global Real Estate is as Strong as Ever.

By Affordable Housing, COVID-19, Housing Need, News, Real Estate Markets

Buying an average London house would have set you back £55,000 in 1985: but the same house would cost £84,000 five years later, and by 2010 it was selling for £283,000. Last year it was worth £490,000. That’s an aggregate increase of 890%, which is a pretty good going, bearing in mind £55,000 invested in equities over the same period would now be worth £359,700 (240% less): added to which you can’t live in a pile of share certificates, and (unless you happen to be married to him (or her)), your broker won’t be cooking Sunday lunch any time soon. With bricks and mortar consistently outstripping equity markets for decades, it’s no wonder Englishmen (and women) treat their home as their castle: because their castles are more like Fort Knox…but that seemed set to change last year.

With gruesome inevitability, we are (of course) talking about COVID…

Economic growth slumped dramatically in the aftermath of the Pandemic: in the third quarter of 2020 the US Economy suffered a precipitous 31.4% fall in GDP (the biggest since the Wall Street Crash), and in the UK GDP fell by 16% over the same period. In India the equivalent figure was 23.9%. All of which had an immediate impact on property prices across the globe, with forecasts from March 2020 predicting a deep and sustained slump in real estate…because, so the theory goes, it’s hard to buy a new home if you’re locked down in the one you’ve already got.

All that changed in six short months…it was, after all, only a theory.

Property Markets on the Rise

By the end of the 2020 US real estate was already looking at record-breaking returns (in the right direction): according to Zillow (www.zillow.com), a total of 5.64 Million homes were sold in the United States up to the end of last year, a 5.6% increase on 2019; and average house prices rose by 8.4%. India had an even more spectacular year, particularly in the tech heavy, Chennai and Bangalore sectors… ESR Group (www.esr.com/en) predicts sales will continue to increase by a steady 3.8% going into 2021: the most optimistic projection since 2016.

And part of the reason for all this is, of course, the Internet which has become a much bigger and more ubiquitous part of all our lives: stuck at home and glued to the screen, buyers are more competitive these days, forced to move quicker to snap up their new home at the speed of an electron. And then there are lower interest rates too, the lowest for over three hundred years: the Reserve Bank of India is now widely expected to reduce its benchmark repo rate by a further 50 basis points by the end of 2022, expected to bottom out at 3.5%.

So however difficult the times might be (and there’s no denying they’re difficult), there’s never been a better time to buy a new home…

Over on the supply side, and largely as a result of the same criteria, construction companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace with the demand for new homes and houses, all of which has contributed to higher prices: demand has increased by 50% since 2010, but supply has fallen by 33%, with a particular shortage in supply of previously owned properties. 

Affordable Housing

Sounds like good news then … but there’s a problem.

A combination of reduced interest rates and rising property prices is also likely to create a shortage in affordable housing. For those in housing need, escalating prices only exacerbate the problem, which in turn places an added burden on construction companies. That’s why more and more suppliers, every day and supported by government programmes and incentives are turning to Modular Construction to deliver that most basic of human aspirations:  the home of their dreams. 

A Castle they can call their own…

Executive Overview

As Mark Twain might almost have said, rumours of the death of Real estate have been greatly exaggerated: despite COVID restrictions, global property markets are booming and seem set fair to prosper over the course of the coming years.

 Invest in Red Ribbon Asset Management 

Red Ribbon is committed to identifying and building on investment opportunities that are fully in compliance with its core Planet, People, Profit policy: not only offering above market rate returns for investors but also protecting our Natural Capital.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

There’s Nothing New under the Sun…Modular Construction meets the Needs of Public Infrastructure

By Construction Technologies, COVID-19, Mainstream Impact Investment, Modular Construction, News, Productivity

In the Nineteenth Century our forebears used a wood based search engine, called a Catalogue: and, in the days before Amazon, it was surprising what you could get. Farmers in New Zealand (and anywhere else for that matter) could buy a Church in a crate from Isaac Dixon & Co, whose 1896 catalogue offered to box it all up, ship it over (in as little as four months (the Amazon Prime of its day)), and drop it off for collection “at your local railway station”. A top of the range, 500 seat church cost £875 in new money, but you had to dig your own foundations: and if you wanted lights and heat that was an extra £70.  For the more ambitious, you could also buy a School in a crate, a Clubhouse (gin and tonic extra) and even a Billiard Hall (cues and balls included)…all boxed up and delivered to your local station platform.

So there’s nothing new about prefabricating public infrastructure…its all about public need.

Schools and Hospitals

A hundred years ago colonists scattered across the British Empire didn’t have much if anything by way of local builders, never mind materials to build with, but they still needed Schools and Hospitals (perhaps not Billiard Halls but, hey, everyone needs a hobby): and today Public Infrastructure Projects have rarely been so important, think Nightingale Hospitals, COVID Vaccination Facilities and Schools. But, with such unprecedented public pressures currently created by the COVID pandemic, how can we hope to deliver to those needs at the pace required? 

Just Imagine you could construct a fully functioning Intensive Care Unit inside a month. It’s not science fiction… it’s science fact. Modular construction has never been so important as it is now… Building on more than a hundred years’ experience.

Facing up to the Future

Working through the Crown Commercial Service (www.crowncommercial.gov.uk) the UK Government has now introduced a Modular Building Service to provide public sector bodies with facilities to buy or lease pre-designed, pre-fabricated and ready to install modular buildings: everything from Schoolrooms to Hospital Wards as well as Housing, Defence Installations, Commercial Units and Retail Shops. So-called “Framework Prices” are fixed for two years with design minima to help ensure high product quality. Social value and sustainability are important too: customers can ask suppliers to tailor the product to match their individual priorities.

Just like other Governments and private construction companies across the globe, the UK is waking up (again) to the full potential of Modular Construction: a ready-made and more effective alternative to costly and drawn out traditional building techniques.

Low Cost, High Quality

Public Buildings and Facilities created using advanced Modular systems are 30% lower in price than conventional equivalents, delivering space, people and technology at the core of the asset itself: with added inbuilt digital technologies, think life support systems in those new Nightingale Hospitals put together in less than a month. And Modular Construction also typically re-uses 80% of its components, which fits in perfectly with the demands of the Circular Economy (www.oecd.org): prolonging the useful lifespan of materials by combining modularity with durability and reducing embodied energy. 

Executive Overview

To secure the public services we all need in these difficult times, we have to learn to build better, faster and smarter: and that has inevitably increased reliance on Modular Construction technologies by public bodies across the planet. The latest UK design initiative is just part of a much larger process.


Find out more about Modulex

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Modulex is setting up the world’s largest steel modular buildings factory based in India. It was established by Red Ribbon to harness the full potential of fast-evolving technologies and deliver at pace to meet the evolving needs of the community.

If you would like to know more about joining our Mainstream Impact Investment journey click here

Red Ribbon

At Red Ribbon we understand that the transition towards a resilient global economy will be led by well-governed businesses in mainstream markets, striving to reduce the environmental impact of their production processes on society at large and on the environment as well.

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