Not so long ago, the suburbs of Mumbai were characterised by two things – residential dominance and the presence of a large number of industries.
Many of the industries have since folded up. With their closure or transfer, a string of upmarket malls and retail outlets have emerged in their place. Old buildings and structures have given way to big bright new malls and cineplexes.
A Knight Frank report says, “Rising consumerism and increasing purchasing power has led to a significant growth of the organised retail market in Mumbai. However, South Mumbai, one of the most desirable addresses in the country, has lost some of its sheen. Burdened infrastructure, lack of space for new construction and high real estate costs has limited retail development in this part of the city.”
Easy availability of land and lower real estate prices have seen families and businesses move to the suburbs. However Mumbai’s realty growth story today is somewhat akin to a bitter-sweet symphony. On one hand, businesses mushroomed in the suburbs such as the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, and Central Mumbai locations such as Mulund and Ghatkopar; on the other hand, congestion took over. While offices with steel and mirror facades sprouted along with the support micro-ecosystems around, open public spaces disappeared, however.
Says Mr. Navin Makhija, MD, The Wadhwa Group, “As Mumbai citizens, we love this city but would definitely love to have better infrastructure here. One must not forget that railway is Mumbai’s lifeline where lakhs of people travel distances to reach their destinations every day. And hence mega transport projects like Metro and Mono Rail though delayed in implementation are very important as both these projects would facilitate easier connectivity between the western and eastern suburbs in the immediate future. For e.g.: The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor reduces the travel time from 71 min to 21 min.”
But he insists that as Property Developers, one needs to create residential spaces that are not only easily accessible from all parts of the city, but have plenty of public and open spaces, and provide social conveniences such as shopping facilities, schools and hospitals.
However, due to the geographical location of Mumbai, perhaps horizontal expansion is not possible. It is, therefore, efficient land-use planning, among other factors that will help manage the city better in the long-run.
Like in the case of ‘The Address’ Project at Ghatkopar by The Wadhwa Group which will have towers in only 20% of the 18 acres of land, the rest 80% will be open area. Moreover as Ghatkopar is located in the centre of Mumbai, thus it is at a connecting distance of only 45 mins to any part of Mumbai with only 20 mins to the International Airport. It is in close proximity to Powai, Seepz, BKC, Eastern Express Highway and Navi Mumbai.
Another trend in lifestyle in Mumbai is the importance of quality living with additional amenities like swimming pool, gymnasium, play parks etc., being preferred by the youngsters these days. While earlier these amenities were considered to be pure luxury, today it has become a necessity for the younger generation.
With premium amenities like club houses, Sky Gardens & Spa, Tennis and Squash Courts, Open air Jacuzzis and swimming pools, the tag line of ‘The Address’ at Ghatkopar sums it up quite aptly, ‘where luxury is a necessity’.
However the market sentiment is that the prices in Mumbai are comparatively higher. Vikram Goyal, MD from Unesta argues “one needs to understand that in Mumbai there is a real domestic demand. The set of demand dynamics governing Mumbai leave little scope for correction in prime areas and shall remain stable even over the period of uncertainty. Additionally the rental yield in Mumbai is the highest when compared to all other cities, which accentuates its prospect as an investment”.
For those intending to purchase residential property in Mumbai in the coming one or two years, it would be an apt strategy to make optimum use of the discounts being offered by developers and banks this festive season. And as an investor if you wish to get a piece of the Mumbai makeover in the rising suburbs, then go ahead with choosing the right home depending upon track record of a developer, quality of work, timely possession and clear property title amongst other factors.