The per­fect view

The pic­turesque hills of Solan dis­trict have great po­ten­tial as va­ca­tion or sec­ond home des­ti­na­tions, says Mu­niesh­wer A Sa­gar

HT Estates - - HTESTATES -

The realty mar­ket of Solan dis­trict in Hi­machal Pradesh i s i ndeed blessed by na­ture. The scenic views at­tract in­vest­ment from both the end-users and de­vel­op­ers. While Solan, (the dis­trict head­quar­ters) lacks the over­all essence of a hill sta­tion, the neigh­bour­ing ar­eas of Kasauli more than make up for it. These beau­ti­ful hill sta­tions have prox­im­ity to Chandi­garh and en­joy good con­nec­tiv­ity. There­fore these are draw­ing peo­ple who want to in­vest in sum­mer re­treats or hol­i­day homes. In re­cent years, Barog, Su­bathu and Chail have also be­come im­por­tant.

“Ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come is one fac­tor that is at­tribut­ing to the pop­u­lar­ity of hol­i­day homes. For in­stance, Kasauli has clearly cap­tured the in­ter­est of high net worth in­di­vid­u­als and pro­fes­sion­als with high in­comes,” says Brotin Ban­er­jee, MD and CEO, Tata Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Com­pany. The realty ex­pan­sion is uni­form across this hilly dis­trict. Ran­jit Ka­pur, pro­moter, Chail Heights says, “Most of the Chail area is cov­ered by a pro­tected for­est and there is lim­ited scope of large scale habi­ta­tion. How­ever, the scenic beauty and ma­jes­tic views here are sim­i­lar if not bet­ter than the Kasauli area. There­fore, both buy­ers and de­vel­op­ers are start­ing to in­vest here.” In­vestors should note that a non-Hi­machali domi­cile buyer needs to take gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion un­der Sec­tion 118 of the HP Land Re­forms and Ten­ancy Act, 1972 to buy prop­er­ties here.

Buyer op­tions

Buy­ers can choose from a range of prod­ucts in the area - land, plots, cot­tages (bud­get and lux- ury), apart­ments and vil­las. The lo­cal mar­ket, ear­lier dom­i­nated by lo­cal builders now has a size­able pres­ence of na­tional level de­vel­op­ers. “Vil­las and cot­tages of all sizes, rang­ing from 1,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft, are avail­able. Sup­ply is mainly con­cen­trated in the ar­eas ad­ja­cent to these hill sta­tions. Some de­vel­op­ers who are of­fer­ing plots are ready to build cot­tages (if the buy­ers so de­sire) while oth­ers are of­fer­ing built-up cot­tages and vil­las. Units in both bud­get and lux­ury seg­ments are avail­able,” says Vivek Sharma, a Panchku­la­based devel­oper and real es­tate ex­pert.

While lo­cal builders of­fer smaller num­ber of units at a time; na­tional level de­vel­op­ers are of­fer­ing com­plete gated projects with 30 to 70 units. They are also of­fer­ing recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties like fully func­tional club­houses with out­door swimming pools, ten­nis courts, gym and yoga rooms, sauna and steam rooms, bil­liards rooms, lounge cum read­ing rooms and dis­pen­saries and other fa­cil­i­ties.

While the fo­cus of the na­tional level de­vel­op­ers is on the lux­ury seg­ment, lo­cal builders are mostly of­fer­ing cot­tages in the mid-price seg­ment. The Tata Hous­ing pro­ject ‘Myst’ is lo­cated near Kasauli com­pris­ing of 70 vil­las spread across 24 acres. The prices start at ₹ 4 crore. Sizes vary from 1,200 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft. The pro­ject was launched in 2014, and pos­ses­sion is ex­pected by end of 2017. DLF’s Sa­ma­vana, com­ing up near Kasauli, has around 50 units, which in­clude vil­las, apart­ments and plots spread over 58 acres. The units here mea­sure around 858 sq yd to 3059 sq yd. Villa sizes are around 5,000 sq yard. The Sil­ver­glades Hill Homes lo­cated near Kasauli com­prise of four bed­room bun­ga­lows (cov­er­ing a built-up area of 4,000 sq ft to 3,350 sq ft) and two bed­room in­de­pen­dent res­i­dences cov­er­ing an ap­prox­i­mate built-up area of 1,700 sq ft. Chail Heights, lo­cated near Chail, has 16 lux­ury vil­las in the ground plus two for­mat. Each villa built on 250 sq yards of land will have a cov­ered area of 2,500 sq ft and will be priced at ₹ 1.5 crore. A buyer has the op­tion of us­ing pro­moter ser­vices for the up­keep and main­te­nance of vil­las.

Price seg­ments

In the past one year, land prices in the area have re­mained sta­ble. In­ter­est from in­vestors has been sub­dued though the end-user de­mand has re­mained ro­bust.

The price of a unit de­pends on the lo­ca­tion and the con­struc­tion qual­ity. “Lo­ca­tion in a hill sta­tion be­comes an all-im­por­tant fac­tor - the more pic­turesque the sur­round­ings the higher the price tag. Ameni­ties such as park­ing space, swimming pool, wood­work, etc also push up costs. There is a wide vari­a­tion in cot­tage prices - rang­ing from ₹ 60 lakh to ₹ 10 crore,” says Ra­man Ag­gar­wal, a lo­cal real es­tate ex­pert. Although at present cot­tage prices are stag­nat­ing, some­time back, the price ap­pre­ci­a­tion rate was high.

“Land prices vary be­tween ₹ 1.5 crore to ₹ 5 crore per acre. On the Gharkhal-Dochi Road, land is avail­able for ₹ 3 crore to ₹ 4 crore per acre. On the Garkhal- Jagjit­na­gar Road, prices are around ₹ 2 crore to ₹ 3 crore per acre. In the Kothar area you can buy land for around ₹ 1 crore to ₹ 2 crore per acre and on the Jangeshu-Par­wanoo road, prices range be­tween ₹ 1crore to ₹ 2.5 crore per acre. Close to Chail, land close to the high­way fetches any­where be­tween ₹ 1 crore to ₹ 2.5 crore per acre,” says Sharma.

Con­struc­tion costs com­prise around 60% to 70% of the to­tal costs, and gen­er­ally vary be­tween ₹ 2,000 to ₹ 3,500 per sq ft. How­ever, very few buy­ers un­der­take con­struc­tion on their own as they feel it is time-con­sum­ing and needs con­stant su­per­vi­sion.

Re­turns on in­vest­ment have sta­bilised in the past one year. Peo­ple have started ex­plor­ing the op­tion of rent­ing out their prop­er­ties ei­ther in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the devel­oper or on their own. Rentals de­pend on lo­ca­tion, scenic beauty and ameni­ties pro­vided. Gen­er­ally, rentals for the higher-end cot­tages vary from ₹ 5,000 per night to ₹ 25,000 per night, say lo­cal realty ex­perts.

A range of prod­ucts, from plots to cot­tages and vil­las are avail­able in Solan dis­trict

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