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