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Fringe Benefits: The suburbs are expanding across urban India

As Metro links and expressways grow, they are new hubs of quality living in places like Attibele, Zendewadi

real estate Updated: Mar 09, 2017 15:34 IST
Archana Rao
(HT Illustration: Shrikrishna Patkar)

You’ve probably heard of Whitefield near Bengaluru, but how about Attibele? Hinjewadi near Pune is likely familiar, but Zendewadi?

As India’s cities boom, once-rural outskirts are turning into suburbs all over the map.

Like Old Mahabalipuram Road and Navalur on the outskirts of Chennai; Jigani, Attibele and Anekal near Bengaluru; and Shirgaon and Zendewadi near Pune.

Driving the expansion are new expressway and Metro rail links, IT parks and commercial hubs.

Even within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), areas once considered farflung are being enveloped in the fold — such as Ulwe and Taloja in Navi Mumbai and Ambernath in Thane.

“These suburbs are about convenience and shorter commutes, about fine living and a wholesome lifestyle,” says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head for realty consultancy JLL India. “There are more open spaces here, a focus on leisure and quality time. With more companies, foreign and Indian, establishing offices in suburban locations, commercial hubs are boosting these real-estate markets too.”

While city centres in each of these metros are bursting at the seams, the newer suburbs are witnessing a surge in real estate activity, both in terms of number of flats being sold as well as their value, says Irfan Razack, CMD of Prestige Group developers. “Affordability combined with quality of life make the spacious suburbs a potent combination for home buyers,” he adds.

Read: Small cities are India’s emerging business locations too

The expanding fringes of Thane and Navi Mumbai within MMR, for instance, have seen the most new launches and sales volumes in recent years.

“In 2016, Mumbai saw a 56% increase in the number of launches compared to the previous year. Of these, the maximum new launches were in Thane’s Ambernath area and Navi Mumbai’s PanvelTaloja areas,” says Anshul Jain, managing director of realty consultancy Cushman & Wakefield India.

Meanwhile, Mumbaiites investing in other cities are also looking at suburban areas.

“When it comes to pricing, the suburbs are much more affordable. Take Mysore Road in Bengaluru, for instance. It has great connectivity and is seeing more launches and more buyers,” says Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of Nahar Group developers. “Similarly, in Chennai, Old Mahabalipuram Road was identified as a key growth area by the state government. Amid improving infrastructure, it is attracting investments, which in turn is creating jobs and encouraging developers to build here, making it a growing real-estate investment option.”

The suburbs also offer the advantage of faster price appreciation. “In Pune, mixed-use projects and integrated townships have traditionally been preferred and there are similar projects now being planned in micro markets such as Shirgaon, Hinjewadi, and Zendewadi,” says Vineet Goyal, joint MD of Kohinoor Development Corporation developers. The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority, notified in 2015, is an additional boon and will boost price appreciation for early investors in Pune’s suburbs, he adds.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING

Similarly, Bengaluru’s affordable housing segment has been witnessing steady demand on the outskirts, as new commercial hubs form here and new Metro links make connectivity easier.

“Availability of large land parcels at lower price points have encouraged real estate development even in outlying areas,” says JLL’s Puri. “The planned Metro rail links and the peripheral ring road have played a large part in making these areas attractive and viable.”

With rates of Rs 4,000 per square foot, one can get an 800 sqf 2BHK for about Rs 32 lakh in these emerging suburbs.

With the budget giving a major boost to affordable housing, these suburban areas are now expected to see further growth in the months and years to come.

“The affordable segment has accounted for approximately 54% of the cumulative sales witnessed across the top nine cities during the Oct-Dec 2016 quarter,” says Anurag Jhanwar, business head for consulting and data insight at PropTiger.com. “Budget announcements such as the increase in timeline for completion of affordable housing projects from 3 to 5 years, tax relief on buildings which are stock-intrade, capital gains benefits in case of joint development agreements and a larger area per unit eligible for affordable housing benefits will give the necessary impetus to the developer community and much of this will be reflected in affordable housing projects in the suburban areas.”