May 12th, 2023
Connectivity and aspirational lifestyle are fast converting greenfield and redeveloped brownfield projects to aspirational localities in cities. As young users migrate there, real estate returns grow at up to a healthy 10 percent per annum
What makes a locality or a suburb a hotspot? Infrastructure is normally the biggest driver and city after city is responding to the rapidly developing infrastructure today. Developers who foresaw it, got in and secured land. But they need to have the holding power till the area achieves its intrinsic potential. They are able to make better returns once consumers start seeing value in that locality.
Following these fast-access infrastructure projects to select local areas is a host of metronomials who aspire to the good life in the city they live and work in. Usually with double incomes and one or two kids, these citizens look for easy access to work, social infrastructure and entertainment. Gentry of the neighbourhood matters, as also does the connectivity to commercial hubs. They don’t mind if the personal space is shrunk marginally to fit their budget. But this has to be compensated with clubs, walkways and gyms within the complex. Using all these insights, developers are now working on delivering these lifestyles in newly evolving hubs.
So let me pick three such hubs – one each in the megacities of India – Delhi NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Bengaluru.
Once well away from the city, today’s New Gurgaon (Sectors 82 to 115), has suddenly catapulted to prominence on the back of arterial infrastructure – the 1,350 km Delhi-Mumbai access-controlled corridor. The yet-to-fully-take-off Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor too is under construction. From a peripheral suburb whose only advantage in 2009-11 was price arbitrage, today it is becoming the destination of choice to the young upwardly-mobile Gurgaonites. Anticipating this at least two decades ago, large developers such as Vatika and DLF created land banks and launched townships there. Today over one lakh houses have been handed over and it has a population of over four lakh. On an average, about 4,000 families are estimated to be moving to the area every month.
The Gurugram-Manesar master plan 2031, released in 2012, projected a population of 42.5 lakh spread over an area of 32,988 hectares. This plan was to be executed in the neighbourhood concept. All community services were planned for a density of 250 persons per hectare. This brought with it planning for large highways such as the Dwarka Expressway, the Southern Peripheral Expressway, Pataudi Road and the Kundli Manesar Palwal Expressway. The Central Peripheral Road and the Dwarka Expressway are the last two to be commissioned shortly. Tardy execution has led to these neighbourhoods coming of age only a decade later, in 2023.
But in this period local, neighbourhood and high street retail came up, as also schools, hospitals and entertainment centres. So, with wider roads, modern facilities and the best brands available in the neighbourhood, it becomes an aspirational locality for young urbanites to move into. In the aspirational index, the New Gurgaon sectors score. In the pipeline are the metro and regional rail lines. New Gurgaon’s proximity to the industrial hubs of Manesar and Bhiwadi and signal-free rides to the established corporate hubs of Cyber City and Udyog Vihar also help.
Young professionals working in Gurgaon have been moving in. The cost of apartments here are about 20 percent lower than that of premium established Gurgaon areas such as Golf Course Road and Sohna Road. Accounting for 67 percent of retail and 50 percent of the residential development of New Gurgaon, the Vatika group is heavily invested in this locality. So, the planning has been for future growth. Green-rated buildings, underground electric and fibre optic cabling, 100 percent sewage treatment plants, dual plumbing systems for water conservation and one lakh kilometre of shaded walkways, all help to draw in the young residents and global corporate houses.
Metro Line 2A from Dahisar to DN Nagar and Line 7 from Dahisar to Gundavali, Andheri (E) in the western suburbs that became operational at the beginning of the year have enhanced connectivity, improved ease of travelling and reduced travel time by more than half. Umesh Jandial, Chief Business Officer of Omkar Realtors & Developers believes this to be the major factor when it comes to establishing the credentials of any new and aspirational locality. They mostly move from the outskirts in North Bhayandar and Borivali. The lure is ease of travel, lifestyle amenities, highway and metro connectivity to commercial hubs and good amenities.
A Knight Frank report noted that these Western suburbs accounted for 55-62 percent of sales registrations in February and March 2023. The age group of customers buying here is 35-45 years old, with a ticket size of Rs 1-3 crore for a unit. They are salaried and have two incomes and usually two kids. When unit prices had gone very high, sizes were reduced from 500 to 275 to match ticket sizes. But developers ensure that all amenities like a gym and walking area are present in the complex.
Malad-Goregaon is seamlessly connected to the central business districts (CBDs) of Andheri, BKC via the Western Express Highway as well as to the upmarket areas of Powai and Vikhroli through the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road. Malls such as Oberoi and Infinity are in the vicinity. Schools and other social infrastructure are also present. All these are perks for the young urbanite. Andheri onwards, Malad-Goregaon has had its own identity.
Redevelopment opened up fresh tracts of land for development here. For developers like Omkar with access to 30-35 acres via redevelopment, the first task was to meet all government norms such as road width, schools and dispensaries. Today a 1 BHK is available for Rs 65 lakh to Rs 1.2 crore and 2 BHK is priced at up to Rs 10 crore. Even more promising is the average annual 10 percent rise in values and therefore returns from investment.
This was Bengaluru's first planned IT hub, which came up over three decades ago. The wait was only for the mythical metro line which would ease the pain of travel. With one line commissioned and another soon to be completed, Whitefield is a modern hub ready to take off. The suburban rail line is another major connector to the city and beyond, to the far-flung airport. Large corporate users such as Wipro had been running special fleets of buses for employees. After all, the new non-access controlled airport connection via Budigere has reduced the time to travel from Whitefield from a 2-3 hour ride to mere 45-55 minutes. Today young professionals stay there by choice and not merely because they work there. Responding to this new crop of residents, cloud kitchens, Bengaluru’s staple format, and big brand retail has been making a beeline to the suburb as well.
If planning was a norm in Indian townships, these equations would have been taken for granted. But in a chaotic, organically developing city format, transport links and new developable areas can be lifelines to ageing, creaking city infrastructure that does not match the aspirations of the new metronomials.
We deliver a high level of craftsmanship with a stress-free approach.