High prices in Mumbai have forced many potential buyers to look for houses in Navi Mumbai and Thane.
One indicator of this was the response generated last week by a property fair in Navi Mumbai — 5,000 flats booked in four days.
Experts said buyers were abandoning Mumbai. “Affordable housing is no longer possible in the city. Navi Mumbai, with its excellent infrastructure, is a good alternative,” said Pranab Datta, vice-president, Knight Frank India, a real estate consultancy.
Thane has several projects by the Lodha Group, Keystone, Acme and Harmony Builders, with prices hovering between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per square foot.
Abhishek Lodha, director of the Lodha Group, said: “[Our Thane project] is in the affordable segment, and it succeeded.” Lodha Univas, at Ghodbunder Road, is selling at Rs 3,700 per square foot.
Navi Mumbai — with the exception of Vashi, where rates are high at Rs 5,000-Rs 9,000 per square foot — is turning into the destination of choice for homebuyers. The rates for Kharghar, Jui Nagar, Sanpada and Panvel range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500 per square foot.
“We are offering larger flats at very low rates compared to Mumbai,” said Nalin Shah, director of the Shah Group, which is constructing 700 flats and 70 bungalows at Kharghar.
Rajesh Fatnani, a deputy manager with Tata Teleservices, is looking for a house. He said buying one in Mumbai was out of the question. “There was no preference for Kharghar, but since I could not afford a flat in the city I was forced to buy one there,” said Fatnani, who purchased his 1 BHK house for Rs 17 lakh. He said the prices quoted in Mumbai defied logic.
Experts warned that investors — not genuine buyers — could spell doom for the affordable segment. “Prices are being jacked up because there is great demand from investors out to make a quick buck,” said Pankaj Kapoor, CEO, Liases Foras, a leading real estate research firm.