The front run­ners

Old sub­urbs in­clud­ing Chem­bur, Powai and Thane have wit­nessed a boom over the decade. They are posh, well­con­nected to Mum­bai and prom­ise good in­vest­ment re­turns

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - HT ESTATES - Di­pan­jan Sinha di­pan­jan.sinha@hin­dus­tan­

One of the hall­marks of Mum­bai’s real-es­tate mar­ket is the way it keeps grow­ing, en­velop­ing ar­eas fur­ther and fur­ther away as its fringes con­tinue to ex­pand.

And while most vi­brant new mar­kets are scores of kilo­me­tres away, some are also right here in its older sub­urbs.

They’re called mi­cro-mar­kets and they’re typ­i­cally places that had been by­passed by realty de­vel­op­ment un­til grow­ing de­mand, lack of space and new in­fra­struc­ture com­bined to make them hot prop­erty for res­i­den­tial projects, com­mer­cial projects or both.

“In Mum­bai, the past seven years have seen such mi­cro- mar­kets boom in Chem bur, Ban­dra-Kurla Com­plex (BKC), Powai, Thane West,” says Pankaj Kapoor, CEO of real-es­tate re­search com­pany Li­ases Fo­ras.

Chem­bur is a unique case even among the new mi­cro mar­kets, says Ashutosh Li­maye, na­tional di­rec­tor for re­search at JLL In­dia. “Thear­rival of sig­nif­i­cant in­fra­struc­ture projects boosted the im­por­tance of the area in a way rarely seen in the city in re­cent times,” Li­maye adds. “The Eastern Free­way came in 2013, con­nect­ing it with both Navi Mum­bai and CST, then the mono­rail in 2014. With a res­i­den­tial base and ba­sic re­tail spa­ces al­ready present, it grew very rapidly as a mar­ket.”

Sud­denly, Chem­bur be­came cen­tral, con­nected, ‘prime’. “It en­joys a strate­gic lo­ca­tion in terms of con­nec­tiv­ity to south cen­tral Mum­bai, the western sub­urbs, Thane and Navi Mum­bai — but this was only dis­cov­ered once the new links were in place,” says Amit Wad­hwani, di­rec­tor of con­struc­tion com­pany Sai Es­tate Con­sul­tants .“Its prox­im­ity to the eastern and western ex­press high­way makes com­mut­ing easy too.”


In other cases, it was sat­u­ra­tion in nearby prime sub­urbs that saw a new mar­ket emerge and boom. Thane, for in­stance, went from be­ing a pop­u­lar af­ford­able hous­ing des­ti­na­tion for mid­dlein­come fam­i­lies to a top real-es­tate in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

Two fac­tors con­trib­uted to this: Ar­eas alike Ghatkopar, Mu­lund and Bhandup be­came rel­a­tively sat­u­rated, driv­ing de­mand north. “The fo­cus started shift­ing to­wards Thane as it had suf­fi­cient land avail­abil­ity. Prox­im­ity to the Airoli-Be­la­pur com­mer­cial-in­dus­trial belt helped too,” says Vikram Goel, CEO at realty ad­vi­sory group HDFC Realty. “There is now an 11-km tun­nel road planned to link Thane to Bori­vali, mak­ing it a good place to in­vest to­day.”

Busi­ness an­a­lyst Sheela Sing­hal, for in­stance, picked Thane over Powai and And­heri East in 2010. “Com­ing from Delhi, I was re­ally not com­fort­able with the size of the houses in most parts of the city. They were too small,” she says. “Here, the roads are wider, the area is greener andthe flats are much big­ger. Even cul­tur­ally there is a lot more to do within a smaller area. In other parts, you may have to travel all the way to Juhu to watch a play.”


Powai, mean­while, has ac­quired such a buzz over the past decade — thanks in large part to the Jo­gesh­wari-Vikhroli Link Road —that it’s be­come a leisure des­ti­na­tion even for peo­ple who don’t live there. “Powai was once a de­serted lo­ca­tion, out of the way and hard to get to,” says Aniket Haware, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Haware Builders. “But it is now a key busi­ness and res­i­den­tial des­ti­na­tion. The pro­posed Metro line will add on to this lo­ca­tion’s appeal.”

Powai is al­ready scor­ing over parts of And­heri. “In Mum­bai, we have a tough time find­ing open green spa­ces, Hi­ranan­dani has two big grounds, where I send my chil­dren to play,” says Binu Hal­lan, a home­maker who moved to Powai from Saki Naka 18 months ago.

Hal­lan says the fam­ily moved be­cause Saki Naka had be­come too con­gested.

“In Powai we find the con­ve­nience of And­heri, with none of the chaos. There are good schools, nice restau­rants and plenty of space,” she says.


The Airoli­Be­la­pur com­mer­cialin­dus­trial belt is among the fac­tors that have helped Thane be­come a realty hotspot.


Chem­bur has wit­nessed mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and of­fers ease of com­mut­ing to res­i­dents.

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