In city?s heart, dozen dazzlers rise

Updated on Nov 27, 2006 04:08 PM IST

The super-rich are frantic to find homes. Prices skyrocket even before an exclusive lot of towers is complete, writes Gurbir Singh.

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None | ByGurbir Singh, Mumbai

You might think the prices of Mumbai’s luxury flats have gone through the roof this year, but that might be an understatement — the roof is pretty much being blasted away .

Super-tall, super-expensive buildings are sprouting across west-central Mumbai, fertilised by growing fortunes and a rush for exclusive living.

It’s a price spiral that’s restricted to the micro luxury market because there simply aren’t enough flats to supply the growing demand from the super rich.

In graphics: Skyrocketing prices of flats in Mumbai's prime locations.

Click to enlarge

“There’s the feel-good factor about the Indian economy too,” said Chanakya Chakravarti, CEO of realty broking house Cushman & Wakefield. “People have a lot of money and they are rushing to buy up whatever is available. They feel if they don’t snap up these properties now, today… it will be more expensive tomorrow.” And so Tardeo’s once-controversial Shapoorji Twin Towers of 65 floors — under construction and claiming to be Mumbai’s tallest — found it easy to ask a base price of Rs 25,000 per sq ft during their recent private soft launch.

That’s the price for what’s called the virtual ground floor, or the 15th floor, from where the apartments start. As the floors rise, a Rs 3,000 sq ft apartment on the 25th floor would cost Rs 9 crore.

The big brokers say this rate may not be sustainable. But they won’t bet on that.

Not far from the M.P. Mill compound — the site of the Shapoorji towers — next to Samudra Mahal is builder Suresh Raheja’s ‘Anchorage’. Located on an elevated, picturesque peninsula, the exclusive building with less than 10 flats has been sold out at an average rate of Rs 34,000 per sq ft. Each floor has a single, sea-view apartment. Parking? On every floor.

An elite bunch of builders now caters to the super rich. Like Suresh Raheja, who pioneered the gargantuan 6,000-sqft flat after his success developing the Buckley Court heritage property in Colaba. Or the Munots of Kalpataru, the first to offer apartments only from the 15th floor — so everyone gets a sea view.

After a hiatus during the monsoon, the price spiral continues. There just too few flats availabe in the above-Rs 1.5 crore segment, say property pundits.

The mill lands supplied barely 5,000 units, with most developers opting for commercial projects, malls and hotels to offset the high prices paid for the land.

In the US and elsewhere in Europe property prices have plateaued and even fallen. So for international realty funds and individual investors India is the hot spot.

But why does Powai’s Hiranandani Gardens with its bumpy, tiresome approach now command Rs 9,000-Rs 10,000 per sq ft? This eastern spiral began after executives from financial services firm Lehman Brothers began buying. The company has 3 lakh sq ft of office space in Hiranandani Gardens’ Winchester.

Sometimes, the right neighbours make all the difference.

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