Fire is the test of gold; adversity is the test of character”. The year 2017-18 was a ''trial by fire'' for the real estate industry. After the monumental regulatory changes and reforms rolled out in the previous year, implementation of RERA and GST was particularly impactful for the real estate industry. These developments led to a decline in sentiment and sales traction for the sector during the initial quarters, continuing the declining trend due to impact of demonetization. Slowdown in the economic growth of the country during this period exacerbated the hit on the sector, making it a particularly tough year. However, the industry has responded admirably and adapted itself to the new environment of transparency, accountability and efficiency ushered in by these reforms. This has benefitted the sector, especially credible names in the industry, as they have regained the trust and business of customers. Increased footfalls, accelerated sales velocity and positive sentiments, especially in the residential sector, in the last quarter of the financial year are a demonstrable proof.
It is the same with the Indian economy, which has regained its momentum and outpaced all the major countries in the world with a 7.7 per cent GDP growth in the last quarter of 2017-18. With the consumption and public investment continuing to swell, and private investment showing signs of revival, prospects for the economy are shining. The Government has continued its determined march to plug the infrastructure deficit by consistently increasing the fund allocations and maintaining focus on speedy implementation. Exemplifying this resolve of the Government are the two projects of Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) and Phase 1 of Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) recently inaugurated by the Government. EPE is the first smart and green highway, whereas the Phase 1 of DME was completed in record time of 18 months, as against scheduled period of 30 months. This action-oriented governance is being replicated across all the key infrastructure sectors including Rail, Shipping & Ports, Power, etc. and is sure to increase the economic growth and improve Ease of Living”, benefiting the real estate sector.
Consolidate, Adapt and Transform” is the mantra that we adopted during the year to align Omaxe with the changing environment. The ride was rough, however past practices of keeping customer interests at the core of our business and fulfilling all promises on quality and timeline, held us in good stead during this turmoil. Our turnover expanded by 12.6 per cent to reach Rs. 18,391 million in FY2017-18 in an extremely difficult year and the Company delivered a total of 3.3 million square feet area in FY2017-18.
Our presence in 8 states across 27 cities has given us scale and our focused strategy to penetrate Tier II and Tier III cities has given us an early mover advantage in markets that have seen lower volatility vis-a-vis the larger markets. We have further consolidated our presence in these markets by launching new projects only in the Tier II and Tier III cities. With increasing urbanization, growing incomes and government investments in improving administration capacity of Tier II and Tier III cities, these markets are poised for further growth. Omaxe with its lead, is well positioned to leverage this opportunity. Projects in Tier II and Tier III cities, which are our prime focus area in real estate, contributed 61.45 million square feet (78 per cent) of the total delivered area. New projects were launched in 6 cities, across 4 states, during the year and were all in Tier II and III cities, in line with our strategy. Overall development potential of these new launches was 2.70 million square feet.
Overall sector is also going to benefit from Government''s initiatives on Affordable Housing to achieve ''Housing for All by 2022'' and multiplier effects of improved infrastructure. With the dampening effects of reforms out of the way, a positive demand environment is likely to greatly rally the industry''s financial performance. Increase in interest rates and input inflation may however pose some challenges in the coming year. Your Company is however well prepared to capitalize on the opportunities and address the challenges.
Trust and support of all our stakeholders is of utmost importance to us, and we are grateful and thankful to our investors, bankers, partners, suppliers, employees and customers for extending it to us during our journey. May we all reach glory and success on our chosen path, have a great year ahead!