Hyderabad: Hyderabad emerges as the world’s most dynamic city, pushing last year’s JLL’s City Momentum Index winner, Bengaluru, into second place. Another five Indian cities that make the top 20 include Chennai (5th), Delhi (6th), Pune (12th), Kolkata (16th) and Mumbai (20th).
The JLL’s City Momentum Index 2020 identifies the world’s most dynamic cities from a real estate perspective. In its seventh edition, the annual Index combines socio-economic and commercial property metrics to provide insights into the rapidly evolving geography of business activity, covering 130 major established and emerging business hubs globally. Out of these, 50 cities are from Europe, Middle East and Africa, 38 are from Asia Pacific, 34 are from North America and eight represent Latin America.
Hyderabad and Bengaluru vie for top spot in the index, with Hyderabad just edging out its southern Indian neighbour in a reversal of last year’s ranking. While both cities place in the top two globally for their socio-economic momentum, a more active real estate market helps elevate Hyderabad to the top position.
The Index weighs cities over sub-scores of 18 variables. These variables are combined to assess short-term economic momentum (covering ‘engine room’ population with 20-40 year olds, economic output, retail sales, air connectivity, corporate headquarters, foreign direct investment) and real estate market momentum (covering absorption, rents, supply (offices, retail, hotels), investment transactions and transparency).
Hyderabad recorded the highest office net absorption in 2019 (as a proportion of existing stock) of any city globally, while it is also among the world’s best-performing cities for prime office rental growth.
A thriving technology sector is driving this momentum, with the city’s reputation receiving a further boost last year with the opening of a large campus by Amazon, joining tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook, who have all established a presence in Hyderabad in recent years.
While all seven Tier 1 and Tier 2 Indian cities feature in this year’s Global Top 20, the southern Indian cities in particular–Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai are ahead of their northern peers, supported by favourable demographics and business climates. Their expanding tech industries and startup culture make them a magnet for young and ambitious talent from across the country.
Innovation continues to be a major driver of momentum and is a key contributor to the performance of Silicon Valley (9th) and Austin (19th) in the Index, the only representatives in the Top 20 from the advanced economies.
The Index highlights emerging cities that are embracing and adapting to the innovation economy such as Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Shenzhen and Shanghai.
But these fast-paced cities in emerging markets are also facing some of the greatest challenges associated with rapid urban growth. The real estate industry will need to play a key role in helping to meet these urban challenges through promoting sustainable, scalable and smart development.
Indian cities were slow off the mark but are catching up fast with an extensive urban infrastructure programme including new metro lines (Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru), new airports (Delhi and Mumbai) and expanded airport capacity (Bengaluru and Chennai). Hyderabad is introducing smart bikes and e-autos.
Hyderabad has seen most development concentrated on the western side of the city, resulting in congestion and bottlenecks. The Telangana State government is formulating ‘Look East Policy’ (LEAP) as a way of alleviating congestion by encouraging development on the city’s east side.
Mechanisms include developer and occupier subsidies, and a relaxation of development approvals. As part of LEAP, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has started exploring land management techniques such as land pooling.
In 2019, Delhi broke its all-time high temperature record, reaching 48 degrees Celsius. In response, cities across India have been implementing Heat Action Plans (HAP). Meanwhile, the national government has launched the India Cooling Action Plan to reduce long-term demand for air-conditioning, with cool roofs identified as a major solution. This has been implemented on a large scale in Hyderabad, where the State government has introduced the Telangana Cool Roof programme.
Other global top
China sees five cities in the Top 20– Shenzhen (10th), Chongqing (11th), Wuhan (13th), Hangzhou (15th) and Shanghai (17th). South East Asia is represented in the Top 20 by the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City (3rd) and Hanoi (7th), while Manila (8th) sits in its highest ever position.
Once again, Nairobi (4th) is Africa’s sole representative, while Dubai (14th) reappears in the Top 20 for the first time since 2017. The Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh (18th), makes its maiden appearance in the top 20.
Here is the list of the top 20 cities:
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Silicon Valley