Navigating life in the suburbs of Mumbai now easier
MICRO-MARKET SPLIT OF LAUNCHED UNITS
While the state of affairs of the Mumbai region’s real estate market continued to remain in the doldrums in the first half of 2014, this period has seen significant completion of transit infrastructure that has the potential to alter the dynamics of the region’s property market, the most significant being the completion of the VersovaAndheri-Ghatkopar corridor of the city’s first metro rail. Covering a distance of 11.4 km, this efficient and comfortable urban transport system has boosted the west-east connectivity in the city considerably by reducing the travel time from 1–1.5 hours to 21 minutes. Another significant project that has reached completion is the Chembur-Wadala corridor of the city’s first monorail. An efficient and convenient form of transport, the monorail is suited to operate in crowded and narrow roads where the metro cannot be implemented. The benefit of this first phase, which covers a distance of 8.9 km, is limited at present because it does not connect any employment hubs. However, once the second phase of 11.2 km connecting Wadala and Jacob Circle is operational by 2016, this monorail link will become an important transit corridor from the perspective of the realty market,according to Knight Frank India Real Estate Outlook report January-June 2014.
The Eastern Freeway, a 16.8 km controlled-access highway connecting the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road to PD’Mello Road, also became operational in the first half of 2014. The first of its kind, this transit project has enhanced the connectivity of the central suburbs with south 25% Peripheral Central Suburbs 19% Western Suburbs 19% Peripheral Western Suburbs 11% Navi Mumbai 11% Central Suburbs 9% Thane 6% Central Mumbai <1% South Mumbai Mumbai significantly. Improving connectivity with the employment hubs of Nariman Point, Colaba and Cuffe Parade, this infrastructure development has increased the north-south connectivity of the region.
The Santacruz– Chembur Link Road (SCLR), a 6.5 km arterial road connecting the crucial Western Express Highway (WEH) and Eastern Express Highway (EEH) at Santacruz and Chembur, respectively, is another milestone project that became operational in the first half of 2014. The SCLR has improved the west-east connectivity significantly by cutting the travel time between Santacruz and Chembur from an hour to 20 minutes.
While these four important projects have come up within the Mumbai city limits, they are redefining the property market dynamics of the entire metropolitan region. On account of high residential property prices in and around office markets, a large section of the region’spopulace travels from the suburbs and peripheral suburbs to their workplaces. The travel time in most cases ranges from 30–60 minutes for road travel and 60–120 minutes in the case of suburban train travel. These new infrastructure projects have shrunk travel time for people who stay in the affordable peripheral suburbs and commute to work in the city. In effect, they have increased the acceptability of residential markets in the peripheral suburbs. Another critical factor that has contributed to the acceptability of the peripheral suburbs is the development of new office projects towards the north of the city, mainly in the western and central suburbs. Hence, these two dominant factors of infrastructure development and access to employment opportunities will determine the fate of the residential property market in the foreseeable future.
With a new, stable government at the Centre, stakeholder sentiment has witnessed remarkable improvement. The first budget under the leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi offered several positive surprises to the realty sector, with special focus on housing. The BFSI and IT/ITeS sectors – dominant employers in the region – have indicated their increasing optimism for business in the financial year 2015. Considering these factors, after a dull first half, there is every possibility of new launches.