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Guess where smart money is moving from stocks: real estate!

That’s the view of Ajay Srivastava, CEO of Dimensions Consulting, who says a “great HNI unwinding” in the stock market is under way.

A “great unwinding” on the part of high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) is taking place in Indian stocks, and smart money is moving out from equities to — you read that right — real estate. That is the view of Ajay Srivastava, CEO of Dimensions Consulting, who says that the recent decline in stocks has unnerved investors who were looking for quick gains.

“They’ve been sitting on losses, after having realized that the expectation of 20 percent returns this year is not happening,” Srivastava told CNBC-TV18 in an interview, adding that a number of premium real estate projects in plush areas such as south Mumbai have attracted investor attention of late.

The Nifty has fallen off a peak of about 9,100 — a loss of over 15 percent — amid worries that a much-expected turnaround in corporate earnings has got protractedly delayed. On the other hand, there are some signals that after a prolonged slowdown, pockets of real estate across the country are witnessing a rebound in activity.

Further, Srivastava, known for his contrarian views, warned that if earnings don’t turn around in the first quarter of next year, a much bigger exodus of capital from the stock market is not ruled out.

Interview transcript to follow.

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