Thriv­ing in Sub­ur­bia

De­vel­op­ers are tap­ping into sub­urbs to house IT and in­dus­trial work­ers

India Today - - REAL ESTATE SPECIAL - By N. Gowri Fol­low the writer on Twit­ter @gowrinee­lamegam

In real es­tate cir­cles, Chen­nai is known as one of In­dia’s “sta­ble res­i­den­tial mar­kets”. Though the city wit­nessed a drop in sales of up to 33 per cent in 2013, af­ford­able hous­ing has shown great po­ten­tial.

As the buy­ers who in­vest in real es­tate to hedge against in­fla­tion hold back, Chen­nai is see­ing more people buy­ing houses to live in. Sens­ing this, real­tors are en­ter­ing the af­ford­able hous­ing seg­ment in 2014 in a big way.

“In Chen­nai, the skilled, in­dus­trial work­ers are far higher in num­ber than the more vis­i­ble IT pro­fes­sion­als. And it is their hous­ing needs that have sparked the boom in af­ford­able hous­ing,” says Green Home Group’s G. Gnanase­har De­vada­son. As of now, how­ever, 97 per cent of his buy­ers are from IT sec­tor.

Since prices in Chen­nai’s prime ar­eas are rock­et­ing—sales in cen­tral Chen­nai dropped by over 49 per cent in 2013—most of the af­ford­able hous­ing projects are com­ing up in sub­urbs such as Sripe­rum­budur, Ora­gadam, Chem­baram­bakkam and Siruseri. In­dus­try in­sid­ers say most un­der­con­struc­tion units are in south and west Chen­nai. “Sub­urbs are more af­ford­able. With cheap land, buy­ers as well as de­vel­op­ers profit,” says R. Ra­machantran, chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Om Sak­thy Builders, which is con­struct­ing the Om Sak­thy Eden project in Kun­drathur.

Sub­urbs though come with their own prob­lems. For in­stance, poor pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity in Siruseri, whose projects can ac­com­mo­date 2.1 mil­lion people, put off many prospec­tive buy­ers.

Af­ford­able homes in the sub­urbs range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. Arun Ex­cello and BSCPL are ma­jor play­ers. The for­mer’s com­pact homes in Padap­pai start from Rs 10 lakh.

“We in­tro­duced af­ford­able mi­cro­town­ships on this stretch with projects such as Adair, Adora, Adena and Jan­uary,” says T. Chitty Babu, chair­man and CEO of Ak­shya Pvt Ltd. They hope to re­de­fine budget homes with their up­com­ing project ‘Youniverse’.

De­spite this boom, Chen­nai Met­ro­pol­i­tan De­vel­op­ment Author­ity es­ti­mates that the city may face a short­fall of 800,000 hous­ing units in the next 15 years. But de­vel­op­ers are con­fi­dent that rise of af­ford­able hous­ing in the sub­urbs will fill the gap.

Pho­to­graph by SUMANTH KU­MAR



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