A city whose time has come
It is often said, Navi Mumbai is to Mumbai what New Jersey is to New York. Slow on upstart, the place is now buzzing with cosmopolitan development. But is there more to this façade of modernity, Realty Plus finds out.
Legendary Indian architect Charles Correa conceived the idea of Navi Mumbai as one of the world’s greatest cities. The city development was initiated by CIDCO in 1971 and Correa was its chief architect for five years. Anil Dharkar, Correa’s friend without mincing words had stated that Correa knew, the city had failed in its main objective and the failure was not of the planners but, was a result of political will.
If Correa’s proposal to shift Mantralaya and other government offices to Navi Mumbai had been implemented, it would have instantly decongested Mumbai and turned Navi Mumbai into Mumbai’s twin city in a true sense. However, with government’s refusing to do so, for the first three decades, Navi Mumbai just managed to cross the halfway mark of the two million population, that was envisaged.
Fast forward to today
Though the government set-up did not relocate to Navi Mumbai, massive infrastructure growth in the form of roads, flyovers, rail network as well as city’s planned approach and proximity to Mumbai attracted corporates and IT sector that needed large office spaces. No wonder, commercial business districts slated to come up around Mahape are set to be the growth drivers for residential and commercial real-estate here. Some of the major corporate parks in Navi Mumbai are Reliance Corporate Park, Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City, MIDC, CBD- Belapur and institutions like NIFT and TATA Memorial Research Centre in Kharghar.
Moreover, this 350 square kilometre satellite city across the harbour and east of Mumbai is now part of the Smart City initiative and has new developments coming up including an international airport, many SEZs, expansion of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and revival of Sewri-Nhava-Sheva trans-harbour link. Manohar Shroff. –Partner, Shivam Builders is of the view that, there is lot of potential in Navi Mumbai because of the plan of the development has taken place in a very proper way. “The advantage of Navi Mumbai is that it is still affordable and 2 BHK flat is easily available in 52-55 lakhs in Ulwe & Panvel whereas in Mumbai minimum costing for 2 BHK is 1.25 CR. Emerging avenues in Navi Mumbai are Inorbit Mall, Seawood Mall as well as Branded educational institutes. Seawood Uran Railway Line remains one of the delayed infrastructure project but, future prospects remain strong. We have completed four projects in KoparKhairane and our up-coming projects are in New Panvel and Ulwe.”
The city comprises mini towns or nodes connected with wide roads and railways. The central business district (CBD) Belapur is envisioned as an office district, Kharghar, an educational and residential zone, Mahape as an IT and technology node and Vashi as a retail hub. In a span of four decades, Navi Mumbai has also become the second-largest settlement within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in terms of population share. Harjith D. Bubber, M.D & C.E.O, Rivali Park commented, “Navi Mumbai real-estate market is linked to IT, ITeS industries. In last few years quite a few corporates have moved their offices and have established themselves in Navi Mumbai. These movements help in generating demand in commercial as well as in residential sector. Navi Mumbai development had started in phase wise / sector wise manner and its major driving force are the proposed airport, expansion of JNPT, Metro project, Mono rail, highway expansion, huge open spaces, recreation areas etc.”
According to the Census of India, Navi Mumbai saw a frenzied growth of 88 per cent over the past decade.
The Emerging Markets
The extension of the suburban railway line, linking Vashi to Thane and now Panvel has boosted growth in the entire Navi Mumbai corridor, from Airoli in the north to Panvel in the south. The widening of the Sion-Panvel highway has made Panvel the fast rising micro-market,Prices in Kharghar, one of the well-planned nodes, shot up by 87 per cent between 2007 and 2012 after the announcement of the airport and the announcement of special economic zones at Dronagiri, Ulwe and Kalamboli have made them attractive for developers and investors. Localities beyond Navi Mumbai, Kamothe, Taloja and Karanjade are the other upcoming nodes.
- Panvel and New Panvel: Panvel has major industries like Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Reliance, Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd., ONGC and IPCL which offer huge employment hence increasing housing demand. It also houses various educational institutions.
- New Panvel being developed as residential and commercial node is strategically located on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and eastern side of Bangalore-Mumbai National Highway. The upcoming metro will provide more connectivity options and with the proposed Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), the travel distance between New Panvel and JNPT and Sewri in Mumbai will get drastically reduced.
- Ulwe have emerged as one of the fastest developing nodes of CIDCO. Apart from proximity to the upcoming international airport, recreational activities and affordability drive Ulwe market. It lies on the junction of Sion-Panvel Expressway, Panvel By-Pass, NH-4 and NH-17. All these roads provide the region better connectivity to other cities.
- Kalamboli, city in the eastern periphery of Navi Mumbai adjoins Taloja Industrial Estate popular for the steel and iron market build by CIDCO and is spread across 302 acres.The growth drivers of Kalamboli are proposed metro stations, recently announced international airport and prices which are affordable as compared to Kharghar and Kamothe.
- Karanjade is situated between JNPT Road and Kalundre River. Various industries are being set up in the vicinity providing employment and the availability of basic amenities make it favourable for affordable housing segment.
Arihant Superstructures Ltd has nine projects in Navi Mumbai – MMR regiont. The projects are at Badlapur, Thane, Panvel, Kharghar, Khopoli, Karjat, and Taloja, Navi Mumbai. The residential projects offer studio, 1, 2, 3 and 4 BHK costing from Rs 20 Lakhs – Rs 2.0 crore. The premium property Arihant Aalishan is the tallest tower of Navi Mumbai offering luxurious lifestyle. Ashok Chajjer, Chairman and Managing Director Arihant Superstructures Ltd said, “Taloja region is one of the emerging avenues as metro is scheduled to start in 2018. The residential prices in the region range around Rs. 4000- 4500 per square feet which is half the price of Kharghar residential zone where prices range from Rs 8000 – 10000 per square feet. The connectivity should have a benign effect on the perceived value. The Proposed Panvel-CST elevated train corridor is expected to give connectivity to Panvel a major boost. Also, the 74km Vasai-Panvel suburban corridor will have 10 suburban stations and will connect Navi Mumbai directly to the Vasai-Virar-Dahanu section. The project is expected to be complete by 2022. The projects approved under MUTP III involves expanding the suburban rail network up to Dahanu by constructing a third and fourth line between Virar-Dahanu (63km) and Airoli-Kalwa (4km),which will provide easier access for commuters between Kalyan-Panvel and Panvel-Karjat (28km). On the other hand the ambitious Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) will give a huge impetus to the real estate scene in the Panvel region.”
With Mumbai bursting at its seams, Navi Mumbai is where people would like to settle. Land availability, an aggressive CIDCO (City and Industrial Development Corporation) approach, the sector wise well-planned development, high-end connectivity with Mumbai and the presence of an upwardly mobile community are pushing Navi Mumbai growth. With its own economic and social centres, the city offers entrepreneurship and employment opportunities as well as affordability. Property prices in Nerul range between Rs 6-15,000/sqft, in Kharghar between Rs 6,000 – 8,000 and in Ulwe and Panvel at Rs 4,000 to 7,000 each. The state government is also promoting Navi Mumbai with 6,600-acre parcel of industrial land around Mahape in Navi Mumbai being converted in to international Business and Finance Centre (IBFC).
Vipul Shah, Managing Director- Parinee Group elaborated further, “Areas like Kopar Khairane are witnessing development of new projects from premium developers. Also areas like Palm Beach Road, Khargar and Nerul are great for investing. For those wanting to invest in under-construction projects, areas such as Ulwe and Kamothe will definitely serve the purpose. Affordable projects are greatly springing up in areas beyond Khargar. Airoli in Navi Mumbai can be called a self-sustained suburb offering enhanced lifestyle with superior residential projects available at affordable rates. Land rates in Vashi and Ulwe have doubled up creating interest across the property demographics in these areas. Navi Mumbai would further continue to woo developers and buyers with its appealing price points mixed with vital infrastructure developments like the forthcoming airport, Metro Corridor and the increased connectivity with Thane and Mumbai.”
The Flip Side
Navi Mumbai could attract a lot more foreign investors by positioning itself as an infrastructure-rich city and an educational hub near financial capital- Mumbai. Navi Munbai has failed to leverage its positives to be an IT hub like Whitefield in Bangalore and Hinjewadi in Pune that came into existence much after Navi Mumbai. Also, the lack of Grade-A product offerings in the office space means limited commercial real-estate development.
“Connectivity has to be faster by train from Panvel to VT terminus, Mumbai. Even if it gets improved by 10 minutes, it’s a big deal. Secondly, NAINA has to gain momentum. CIDCO has to really work hard and get the first phase of NAINA rolling. Once the first phase gets rolling, IT sector gains momentum and connectivity improves then Navi Mumbai has great future prospects. It has the required infrastructure as far as residential purposes are concerned. Progressive group has projects in Ulwe, Koparkhairane and Ghansoli. We have also acquired a land bank in the periphery of Panvel,” stated Devang Trivedi, Managing Director, Progressive Group.
While there continues to be a large potential for development in the Navi Mumbai, owing to lower cost of housing, the city is witnessing strong population growth. Hence, it is important that suburban developments in emerging pockets are taken up on priority basis. The challenge also lies in creating a more environmentally sustaining development as water availability is fast emerging as the deciding factor in urbanization.
Office leasing to the IT sector is around 40% of the total demand for leasing and foreign companies look for green, contemporary and energy-efficient buildings. Developers could focus on catering to such demand.In the past, developers had promised capital gains to investors and now the ticket sizes and product offerings are not aligned to consumer needs. While, Mumbai’s poor infrastructure and high prices have been the push factor for Navi Mumbai growth, there is no strong pull factor to drive residential and commercial real-estate demand.
Srinivasan Gopalan, Group CEO – Ozone Group added, “CIDCO has done a brilliant job in executing micro-markets like Kharghar and Palm Beach Road. If the Government is able to complete all the proposed projects in a time-bound manner, Navi Mumbai has the potential to become the biggest satellite city in India. In my opinion, there are two main infrastructure challenges for Navi Mumbai – in certain micro-markets, real-estate growth has outpaced the required social and urban infrastructure required to support that kind of growth. Secondly, connectivity from mainland Mumbai needs to be further improved. Initiatives like the metro and trans-harbour link need to be delivered as soon as possible.
Vikram Goel – CEO, HDFC Realty
At present, both commercial and residential real-estate in Navi Mumbai have good growth potential. Being a well-planned city, Navi Mumbai has good public infrastructure and well balanced ecology. Furthermore, the city is witnessing considerable growth in terms of IT and commercial development. As a result Navi Mumbai stands among the most livable cities in the MMR from end user perspective. Even from investor point of view, properties in Navi Mumbai have registered healthy growth in capital values and lease rentals.
During the past quarter, Navi Mumbai was amongst the highest appreciating micro-markets for residential yields and had stable commercial yields. Presence of large employment centres makes Navi Mumbai a sought after residential market. Also, Navi Mumbai real-estate composition benefits both – large investors interested to acquire RIET type properties and HNI/institutional investors who can acquire smaller commercial strata.
The city, which was developed systematically, offers from affordable residential units and studio apartments, to 1BHK, 2BHK and 3BHK apartments with lifestyle amenities. There are also bungalow plots, villas and projects that cater to the luxury segment. It is well-connected to all the railway nodes of Mumbai, and also has proximity to Pune. Furthermore, the upcoming international airport at Ulwe has led to a healthy price appreciation.
Ghansoli is one of the most emerging micro markets of Navi Mumbai owing to its advantageous location and good supply of residential units. The micro-market has proximity to key IT and industrial corridors of Navi Mumbai. Furthermore it has strong connectivity with Thane which is another important commercially driven locality in the MMR. A major infrastructure planned around Ghansoli is the JVLR-Koparkhairane-Ghansolibridge which will directly connect the micro-market to commercial hubs of Powai and SEEPZ.
The rapid development of the SEZ and other projects are bound to create numerous employment opportunities in Navi Mumbai. This will have a domino effect, resulting in an increase in the demand for residential properties and an escalation in prices. Navi Mumbai is slated to emerge as an IT hub within the next five to ten years. Real-estate Investors are expected to earn by gaining high yields by investing in residential units in Navi Mumbai. The market had been languishing earlier due to the long delay of land acquisition for the airport. The non-existence of such constraints now and the completion of other infrastructural endeavors would soon result in the increase in prices of real-estate.