“The relatively low cost of land, much-improved physical and social infrastructure and proximity to new commercial hubs has led to increased premium real-estate activity in the Andheri-Goregaon region,” says Sunil Mishra, chief business officer at realty research company PropTiger.
The western suburbs overall, spanning the area from Bandra to Dahisar, is witnessing traction in the high-end residential segment. Launches have increased by approximately 17% from the first quarter to the third quarter of this year, according to data from PropTiger. “It is interesting to note that the suburbs from Andheri to Dahisar account for nearly one-third of the total high-end launches witnessed in the city during this period,” Mishra adds.
There are eight to 10 luxury projects currently coming up in the Andheri-Goregaon belt, says Ramesh Nair, chief operations officer for business and international director at realestate research agency, JLL India. “Some more projects are in the pipeline, with leading developers planning luxury projects in this belt.”
Lodha’s Fiorenza in Goregaon, Elements by Rustomjee in Juhu, Nahar’s Amrit Shakti in Chandivli and Ekta World’s Tripolis in Goregaon are among the highend projects that have come up between 2011 and 2016, with prices starting at Rs 2 crore.
Most of these projects are designed in collaboration with foreign architects. For instance, Elements was conceptualised by Hong Kong-based James Law and Singapore’s Patty Mak, while London-based interiors and fashion designer Jade Jagger helped design Fiorenza. Amenities in these projects also mirror the high-end luxury segment, ranging from concierge services to preview theatres, ballrooms, home automation systems and sculpture gardens.
“Buyers look at the entire ecosystem — easy access to commercial hubs, retail spaces, recreational spaces, basic facilities and amenities such as schools, hospitals and malls,” says Prateek Bhattacharya, deputy CEO with Lodha Group. “Since most commercial hubs have now shifted from south Mumbai to western Mumbai, there’s an increase in appetite amongst the elite professionals to live closer to their workplace and have access to a similar modern, developed ecosystem, hence we have experienced an increase in the demand for our luxe properties.”
The space crunch in south Mumbai is clearly one of the major reasons for the shift in the luxury belt to the western suburbs, says Vivek Mohanani, joint managing director of Ekta World developers.
Infrastructure is another key factor. “Metro rail connectivity has certainly helped, and now there are plans for more Metro links in the region,” adds Nair of JLL India. Proximity to the airport and the commercial hub of SEEPZ, and the proposed elevated rail corridor further enhance the region’s attractiveness. Andheri (East) itself has transformed into
a corporate hub and the Andheri-Goregaon region is gradually emerging as a growing commercial district with a number of offices and hotels under construction.
For garments trader Shilpi Kannan (name changed on request) it was for all the above reasons that she chose to invest in a luxurious project in Malad (West) and not in Lower Parel, as advised by her family.
“When I shifted back to Mumbai from London last year, they thought it was best for me to choose some locality from south Mumbai because it
is not as congested as the suburbs, is considered posh and provides quality amenities,” says Kannan. “But I work at BKC, and my children needed malls and play areas to go to, so Malad was a better option.”
Kannan was also able to get a four-bedroom flat for a price she would not have encountered in south Mumbai at all.
“The affordability factor vis-à-vis south Mumbai is certainly a factor for the shift in luxury housing,” says Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of construction firm, Nahar Group. “Investing in a south Mumbai luxury property is immensely capital-intensiveFor a lesser sum, you can get as good a project, and appreciation rates are faster because the suburbs are undergoing continuous infrastructure development.”
The luxury segment as a percentage of overall housing demand is still extremely small, across the city and particularly in the suburbs.
“The demand for affordable homes in this belt is expected to stay consistent,” says Boman Irani, chairman and managing director of Rustomjee Developers. “There are plenty of buyers who do not intend to upgrade lifestyles or buy smart homes; whose focus is on buying property and owning rather than renting a home.”
Mishra of PropTiger offers a reminder that before investing in a high-end project, it is even more crucial that the buyer examine the developer’s track record of delivering on promises of high-end facilities and standards.