Om Ahuja, CEO – Residential Services, JLL India
There is no getting around it – Mumbai’s property market is legendary. However, the focus of real estate investors has been constantly shifting in tandem with the changing dynamics in India’s most glamorous super metropolis. Three factors drive the property investment pattern in Mumbai – demand, price points and growth prospects. From the point of view of these three factors, some of the hottest investment destinations in Mumbai today deliver to varying degrees.
Infrastructure projects have always had significant positive implications for the real estate market, especially in an infrastructure-challenged city like Mumbai. Wadala is one example of multiple infrastructure initiatives driving an areas’ real estate market. Initially, Wadala gained prominence as a residential destination because of its proximity to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). However, with several infrastructure initiatives such as the Chembur-Wadala monorail and the Eastern Freeway, Wadala saw a rapid increase in residential demand, resulting in the doubling of property values over the last three years.
Proximity to BKC and the development of the locality into a major commercial area have been the main demand magnets at Wadala, which has seen massive spill-over demand from the more expensive central locations around it. Improved connectivity through the Kurla-Santacruz Flyover, Anik-Panjarpol Link Road, Byculla Bridge and Masjid Bridge are added advantages for the residents of Wadala.
The mono rail project has improved much-needed accessibility to the Eastern and South-Eastern regions of Mumbai. Until recently, only the western region of Mumbai had attracted significant infrastructure and real estate development. However, the commencement of mono rail coupled with the Eastern Freeway have now put paid to this limited trend. The planned roll out of phase II of Monorail will help in improving connectivity of this area with Lower Parel, the other emerging CBD of Mumbai. This phase, which should become operational in 2016, will provide very effective connectivity between Wadala and Lower Parel, Jacob Circle and Mahalaxmi and will play a big role in price appreciation.
Apart from being excellently connected with key localities of Mumbai, the presence of numerous quality educational institutes such as Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Khalsa College, The University Institute of Chemical Technology, Dr. Ambedkar Commerce & Law College and SNDT Women’s University around Wadala drives demand for residential properties to this region. Wadala also houses some renowned hospitals like BPT Hospital and Aditya Jyoti Eye Hospital. On the retail and entertainment front, IMAX, Star Mall, Inox and Manish Mall are very close at hand.
For investors and developers, Wadala has become one of the most lucrative locations in Mumbai. Over the past five years, the property market here has been increasingly on property buyer’s radar. A decade ago, property prices at Wadala were as low as Rs. 2,800/sq. ft. and rose to Rs. 14,000 a few years ago. With the announcement of development projects for this region, many people from South Mumbai started relocating to Wadala. Families expanding in or seeking to relocate from South Mumbai find Wadala the perfect destination. Today, property prices here range between Rs. 19000-21000/sq.ft., which means that residential property prices at Wadala have appreciated by 133% over the last half decade.
With the announcement of various infrastructural initiatives, Wadala witnessed increased interest from reputed developers. Developers such as Dosti Group, Lodha Group and AjmeraDevelopers have large land banks in this region, and are now rolling out residential projects catering primarily to the premium segment. Wadala is no longer a destination that scores only on its proximity to civic amenities; today, Wadala is providing a lifestyle shift to Mumbai’s aspirant property buyers with many premium high-rise buildings featuring all the accoutrements.
Bandra, especially Bandra West, is a popular residential destination since it holds high lifestyle value, despite the fact that it faces a significant degree of traffic congestion. This area is always a preferred destination for prime property seekers because of its elite profile, and because of the high level of available shopping, healthcare, education and recreation facilities. Developers there are offering products in redevelopment schemes.
Bandra East is also an upcoming residential property destination, especially for investors, since there is considerable rental demand from an enormous number of people who have come from outside Mumbai and are working in Bandra Kurla Complex. Both capital and rental values are going to increase in Bandra East, which it is benefiting from the overflow of demand that BandraWest can no longer support.
With the city’s CBD having, for all practical purposes, shifted from Nariman Point to BKC, Bandra has become the new and preferred destination by the business owners, the upper managerial cadre and expatriates. In the recent past, with many large corporate houses moving their headquarters to BKC, and many consulates as well as India’s largest diamond market also moving there, BKC has made Bandra the heart of Mumbai.
With these dynamics, people working in BKC are looking for homes that allow for no more than 30 minutes’ travel to home. Bandra West has already seen the upswing in demand. With no land supply in Bandra West and limited residential supply, the prices have moved up considerably. The price appreciation that has surprised many pundits in the industry is now making developers look at redevelopment of existing buildings.
Redevelopment activity in Bandra has, in fact, picked up considerably in the last 2-3 years – though with existing apartment owners’ expectations being high, developers are cautious about taking on projects where the viability in terms of returns in question. We expect that wherever apartment owners are more realistic, redevelopment projects will further pick up and the skyline ofBandra will completely change in the next 4-5 years.
Since it is next to the country’s most prominent CBD, Bandra’s real estate potential remains very high. It is a matter of prestige for every reputed developer to have a signature product in this micro-market. Recently, Rahul Saraf of Forum – one of the most reputed developers in Kolkata – took up a large SRA project in Bandra East for development. This signifies that the area is going to witness dramatic interest levels in the years to come.
Currently, residential prices in Bandra East quote on par with commercial properties there, and can go up almost 100-150% up from the current levels. Supply is a big challenge in both BandraWest and East today. With the upswing in the economy, demand will rise further in the coming months. Infrastructure in Lower Parel is collapsing, and many residential projects are yet to get occupied there; the situation in Lower Parel will only worsen in the coming years, driving corporate houses to re-locate to BKC. This will further fuel the demand in the residential pockets ofBandra West and East.
Chembur, the central suburb of Mumbai, is one of the prime residential destinations in Maximum City. Chembur has very desirable profiling on the Mumbai real estate map as it connects the central Mumbai to Navi Mumbai. Its close proximity to Eastern and Western Express Highways makes commuting easy to Bandra-Kurla Complex and the other business districts of Mumbai.
Known for prominent landmarks such as Tata Institute of Social Science, the famous Golf Club, RK Studios, Sadhu Garden, Dr. Ambedkar Garden and Diamond Garden, Chembur is also one of the greenest localities of the city. It is rated as one of the fastest growing suburb of central Mumbai and with rapid infrastructural development, Chembur has witnessed large-scale residential development over the last few years.
Recent infrastructure initiatives such as the Santacruz-Chembur link road, Chembur-Wadala monorail and the Eastern Freeway have connected Chembur to various prime office areas of Mumbai. The social infrastructure is well developed with numerous malls, restaurants, hospitals and quality educational institutes. Chembur is seen as one of the most desirable residential locations in Mumbai. Its traditional tree-lined bungalows are slowly giving way to multi-storied apartments. Many reputed builders have their residential projects in Chembur. With prices ranging between Rs.16800–17500/sq.ft. and an annualized appreciation to the tune of 15-18%, Chembur remains an important investment hotspot.
Mulund is a well-planned suburb of Mumbai. Located close to the boundary of Navi Mumbai and Thane, this suburb has seen synchronized growth in both residential as well as commercial sectors. Mulund once catered mainly to buyers from mid-income segment, but now offers various prime residential options as well. Despite rapid growth in its residential and commercial sectors, it continues to retain a serene atmosphere that appeals to home buyers. The most developed area here is LBS Marg in Mulund West.
Mulund is very well connected to other suburbs and even other cities with a good network of trains, BEST buses and roads – including a national highway. The fast-improving infrastructure is one of the prime growth drivers for the burgeoning commercial sector here. Additionally, Mulund has good recreational and entertainment facilities and quality social and civic infrastructures such as educational institutes and hospitals. It has well-defined industrial presence as well, though many of the industries there are redeveloping their excess land for residential and commercial use.
Sometimes referred to as The Prince of Suburbs, Mulund has a host of large and small residential projects in progress. As compared to the more affluent property destinations of Mumbai,Mulund’s residential market is still quite reasonable and is therefore seeing considerable demand. Residential property prices in Mulund range between Rs.14000-18800/sq.ft. and annualized appreciation is at around 12-15%.
Kanjurmarg is an emerging business district in the heart of Mumbai, and has become a new focal point for residential demand as well. Located in the central suburbs, the area enjoys advantageous proximity to Powai and Vikhroli. Its strategic positioning on the central line provides easy accessibility to both the Harbour as well as Western lines of the city’s local rail network.
Job creation as a residential market driver is a powerful force in a city like Mumbai, and Kanjurmarg has had more than a fair share of it. This area has seen a host of developments from industries shifting their bases there to benefit from lower costs and larger floor-plates. Corporate campuses such as OneWorld, Akruti Corporate Park and Lodha iThink Techno are some of the most notable business complexes that are providing impetus to this growing business district. With several leading developers offering world-class commercial spaces in this area, there is very decent demand for homes emanating from the mid-management cadre of the occupying firms.
The highest demand for homes in Mumbai continues to be in and around the primary and secondary business districts, with connectivity being the primary mantra for home buyers. In this respect, Kanjurmarg certainly wins out. The Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), which commences from the eastern part of Kanjurmarg connects the area to the Eastern and Western Express Highways. Also, LBS Marg provides easy accessibility to other parts of Mumbai.
Apart from connectivity, Kanjurmarg is more or less self-sufficient in terms of social infrastructure and facilities such as quality schools, colleges and hospitals. With a number of shopping/entertainment hubs such as Huma Mall, Magnet Mall and Neptune Mall in the vicinity, Kanjurmarg is seeing rapid-fire residential developments – with corresponding demand.
Due to the upward shift of property values in Powai, Vikhroli and Thane, Kanjurmarg is seeing spillover demand from these areas as property prices there are between 10-20% lower there. The affordability quotient has been the primary driver for residential housing projects there, with a number of smaller developers active. Property prices range between Rs. 14,000-15,000/sq.ft., and the locality offers a fairly wide spectrum of residential projects catering mainly to the demand from office-goers.
Considering the overall real estate trends in Mumbai and factoring in affordability, infrastructure and connectivity, Kanjurmarg offers good returns on investment. This area is likely to see rapid growth in real estate development in the future.
- Ghodbunder Road, Thane
Over the last decade, Thane has grown from a small suburban town on the outskirts of Mumbai to a self-sustaining metropolis. Previously a town with narrow roads and low-rise residential developments, it is today to a city with sprawling flyovers, uninterrupted highways and wide roads. The Thane suburb now has integrated townships and high-rise towers, and its commercial real estate sector has progressed in tandem.
With the property price surge seen in all locations in and around Mumbai between 2010 and 2012, Ghodbunder Road in Thane held its own as a preferred residential destination for price-sensitive home seekers due to the relatively lower rates when viewed against core Thane city. Today, Ghodbunder Road is seeing rapid appreciation, as well.
This location has a lot of fresh inventory driven by several infrastructure initiatives and good connectivity in the pipeline. The development authorities have planned a monorail network in this region to serve as a feeder system to a Metro project planned in Thane. The MMRDA has finalized a Metro corridor extending from Wadala to Kasarvadavali on Ghodbunder Road in Thane.
In addition, the road provides quick accessibility to Mira Road from Thane, and to other micro-markets such as Mulund, Bhandup and Ghatkopar. Ghodbunder Road is approximately 20 km long and links the two main arterial roads of Mumbai – the Eastern Express Highway which starts at Sion and terminates at Thane, while the Western Express Highway, which starts at Bandra(East), becomes the National Highway leading to Gujarat.
Due to the rapid development in this region, the area has attracted many reputed developers. This has led to a surge in the launch of many affordable and premium housing projects. Ghodbunder Road is interesting to developers primarily due to the easy availability of large land parcels. From affordable apartments to premium properties, the area offers a wide assortment of housing options.
Capital values of newly-launched multi-storey apartments vary between Rs 40 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore, depending upon unit configurations and the amenities offered. Some of the reputed developers present on this stretch are Runwal Group, Puraniks Builders, Harmony Lifestyles Group, Vijay Group, Rosa Group and DS Group. The average property prices of this region range between Rs. 8000-10000/sq.ft., and annual appreciation has been to the tune of 7-10% depending on the specifications of the project and amenities offered.
Ghodbunder Road is seeing a lot of commercial development. Apart from the upcoming MGM IT Park, new corporate offices and other commercial establishments such as retail outlets, malls, showrooms and banks are mushrooming all over. The area has well-developed social and general infrastructure. Also, the Kapurbawdi Flyover has become operational and considerably reduced traffic congestion in this region. The proposed monorail, which will connect Thane to the Western suburbs in its next phase, is yet another major draw for this location.
- Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai
With rapid saturation and escalating property prices, the answer to the pressing questions that home buyers are asking in Mumbai is increasingly being answered by the planned satellite township of Navi Mumbai, which has witnessed tremendous real estate development in recent years. Kopar Khairane is a fast-developing micro-market of Navi Mumbai whose realty market has been sending out increasingly positive signals.
Many large multinational companies have set up their corporate offices in Kopar Khairane, resulting in steep rise in the requirement of residential and commercial units. A large number of investors both from Mumbai and Pune are choosing Navi Mumbai as their second home destination, and Kopar Khairane ranks high on their list of preferred destinations because of its strategic location near the Mumbai-Pune expressway and very good connectivity to various key city centres via its strong rail and road network.
Several infrastructure initiatives are adding value to this location. These include the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai and infrastructure projects such as the Kopar Khairane-VikhroliLink Bridge and Sion-Panvel Expressway, and the proposed metro line which will connect the eastern suburbs of Navi Mumbai. The social and general infrastructure at Kopar Khairane is improving rapidly, and many quality educational institutions and hospitals are close at hand. The residential supply here is robust, with many reputed developers offering a wide spectrum of residential options at relatively affordable prices. Some projects even cater to the requirements of the luxury segment. This combination of favourable market attributes has attracted a massive amount of investors and end-users to Kopar Khairane. Rental values in this micro-market currently range from Rs. 14,000-35,000 and the capital values for residential properties range between Rs.7500–9000/sq.ft.. Appreciation here currently clocks in at 12-15% p.a.