A PROMISING LAND
Ask any die-hard- south Mumbai or western suburb resident about- Navi Mumbai, and he would say it is a city of tall buildings and an affordable housing- a breath of fresh air, from the chaos of Mumbai.
By: Shubham Singh
Having said that, what cannot be denied, is that Navi Mumbai is a bit too far from the city. The place is buzzing with youth and is very cosmopolitan. It boasts of top-notch hospitals, educational institutions, an IT hub, massive exhibition centre, malls, big railway stations, wide roads and uninterrupted power and water supply. No wonder, youngsters from all over India with high disposable incomes are moving to Navi Mumbai.
The idea of creating a new city as a counter-magnet to Mumbai was originally envisaged in the Regional Plan of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in 1965.The actual planning began in 1971 after the formation of CIDCO, a government-owned company, mandated with the task of developing cities.
Today, Navi Mumbai is witnessing a mega infrastructure boom. Around Rs 53,000 crore will be pumped into building new infrastructure in the city including a new airport, expansion of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), a metro project, affordable housing- highway expansions and crucial Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area(NAINA) together, spread over 1,200 hectares.
Land availability and an aggressive CIDCO (City and Industrial Development Corporation) are both igniting growth in Navi Mumbai. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has cleared the much-delayed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, which has been planned to facilitate decongestion by improving connectivity-between island city and main land (Navi Mumbai).
India’s top real estate majors are already-in the city, building everything from mid to high-end housing and commercial complexes but- real estate prices are still affordable as compared to the island city.
Despite its fast growth, Navi Mumbai is defined by the spatial openness. This is Navi Mumbai’s key defining aspects and its biggest USP as a real estate market is the high quality of life.
The success of Navi Mumbai is attributed to the efficient integration of economic activities and infrastructure. Even before the development of the city, there were two major industrial clusters-here, namely TTC and Kalamboli. The new plan envisaged growth of a commercial district at CBD, Belapur, an IT and technology node at Mahape, wholesale and retail activity at Vashi, etc. All these economic nodes were later on integrated with residential nodes by way of roads and railways network and an efficient public transport system.
There are two new major economic drivers that are planned for Navi Mumbai- the proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZ) at Dronagri, Ulwe and Kalamboli and the proposed international airport at Panvel. Both are expected to generate massive employment and, further boost the- demand for commercial and residential purposes.
Ulwe-The hub of infrastructure of Navi Mumbai
Ulwe, a locality in Mumbai, was characterized by large wetlands and mangroves. Today it is the hub of infrastructure activities with many affordable properties coming up. Property developers in this area mainly offer one and two BHK units starting from Rs 20 lakhs. The development of localities such as Ulwe, Kharghar and Kamothe with affordable housing has come as a huge relief for the home buyers.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) owns a 400 acre plot in Ulwe. It had initially acquired this land to develop it as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). According to some reports, with so many ambitious projects in the offing in Ulwe, the price of residential units is bound to rise in the coming years. It has become one of the sought after destinations for those looking for affordable and quality homes.
“Today, Navi Mumbai’s success is vouchsafed by its tremendous growth overtime. It is growing at the rate of 20 per cent per annum,” said Rajesh Prajapati, Founder-President of BANM (2000-2004), who has also served as the Founder-President of MCHI-CREDAI, Raigad (2010-2013).
“Planned approach to development has led to good infrastructure, connectivity and better residential facilities, which in turn led to good human capital getting drawn to the city,” said Subhankar Mitra Head Strategic Consultant (West), JLL India.
The brokers are already doing good business, but they point out that buyers are not interested in under-construction buildings: they want ready-to-move-in houses.
Pravin Phanse, President of Navi Mumbai Association of Realtors and governing body member, NAR India said, “The current market scenario is good and houses in Rs 50 lakh to 80 lakh range are in great demand. Kharghar is one of the most attractive places for investment. The demand is weak in places like Panvel, Khopoli and Shilpahata areas.”
The builders and developers have their own explanations for the real estate market trends. Almost every developer is facing charges of delays in completion of projects, which also signals government’s laidback attitude.
“The market is sluggish. The builders who start constructions with buyers’ money get stuck midway. Quick governmental clearances would go a long in enabling the builders to complete their projects within the time limit. After builders pushing for single window clearance, the government has assured that it would look into the issue,” said Aditya Vaish, Sales Manager, Hiranandani Constructions.
The future of Navi Mumbai is poised with next stage transition, which is likely to be by way of expansion of service sector. What it particularly lacks is the faster and smoother connectivity with the existing commercial hubs of the Greater Mumbai, particularly the suburbs. Without such linkages, the transition will be difficult.
The current real estate scenario in Navi Mumbai is saddening. Projects are getting delayed and, the buyers are dragging builders through the courts. It’s tough time for the builders too.
After Thane builder, Suraj Parmar committing suicide last year, another builder Raj Kandhari, who operated in Navi Mumbai shot himself.
According to the reports, Kandhari was finding it difficult to pay back investors whom he had borrowed money from. Several buyers had filed cases of cheating against him for delay of projects.
There are several small and some big builders who are facing the same kind of financial constraints and are in a similar situation with their lenders and investors.
There are delayed projects, lenders to be repaid, and thousands of agitating buyers to manage. Amid, all this many builders are finding it difficult to manage things.
Home buyers, having paid their hard earned money to buy homes, certainly have the right to complain or file cases about the delays, but there are issues that the home-buyers also need to address. Filing of too many cases in courts would result in builders facing more problems in finding resources to complete the projects. That will further delay projects, which is not good for buyers as well as developers.
Buyers and developers have to work together. Sometimes slowing down of markets along with low property appreciation price often creates a roadblock for the developers for completion of projects.
Looking at the recent trends and figures, it is clear that Navi Mumbai is an attractive place both for the end-users and the investors-to get their dream house at affordable prices. It is a boon for those who-hail-from middle class backgrounds. However, the delays in execution of projects and buyer-builder conflicts should be curbed so that timely completion of projects can be assured.