CHENNAI: Just about a year ago the average home buyer did a double take on learning of the prices of top-end residences in prime areas of the city: a couple of projects offered homes ranging between Rs 3 and Rs 6 crore at the top end in large blocks of over 100 apartments each.
Well, in the works today are projects that together are 10 times bigger, at prices that start where the earlier projects left off. That’s how drastically the scene has changed.
Over the next couple of years, more than 1,000 apartments will be launched through a dozen projects in the heart of the city, priced at about Rs 5 crore to more than Rs 10 crore each. Most of these projects are to come up in what were considered “average neighbourhoods” in the 1970s — Nungambakkam, Egmore, Vepery, Adyar and Santhome, to name a few.
Every prime locality in Chennai is a potential Poes Garden or Boat Club — coveted addresses for those with deep pockets , said a developer.
One developer possibly jumped the gun by a couple of years recently when he announced a project offering individual houses for about Rs 25 crore to Rs 30 crore. Eight houses by the SPR Group were to come up on Nungambakkam High Road.
According to the group’s Managing Director Hitesh Kawad, there were only a couple of takers for the project. So we are now realigning the project, he said.
The earlier project was worked around a basic cost of about Rs 32,000 a square foot, with the houses havinga basement car park, a Turkish Bath at the second basement level, a branded gym, a common yacht for the community and an international concierge service. Chennai is not yet ready for such a project, he felt.
However, Kawad exudes confidence in another project that is to come up on EVK Sampath Road, Vepery. It will offer 40 apartments priced at about Rs 7–9 crore each.
Ravi Appaswamy of Appaswamy Real Estates is planning a project near Foreshore Estate where a popular hotel, The Oceanic, once stood. Over 100 apartments are to come up there with most of them priced around Rs 5-8 crore, some penthouses at about Rs 10 crore each.
Fit and finish
Large independent houses are tough to maintain, the middle class is looking to the peripheries were new developments are coming up fast, and there is a demand for quality of life within the city. Large developments can offer that kind of lifestyle as common amenities, Appaswamy says, the fit and finish can be of international standards, apartments can offer a ‘bungalow-like feel’, and more open spaces can be created with high-rise buildings.
Ahamed Shakir, Managing Director, ETA Property Developers, says his company will soon launch a residential project on Greenways Road offering 51 apartments priced between Rs 4 crore and Rs 9 crore. He believes the benchmark prices are inevitable as land costs are soaring within the city. At about Rs 20,000 a square foot, ETA Property’s development in this prime locality will be competitively priced compared with some of the other projects that are to be launched in the coming year. In most prime residential areas in the city, land cost is well over Rs 11,000-12,000 a sq ft in terms of built up space, which is the FSI cost — the Floor Space Index, the permitted built-up space in a given area of land. Suresh Krishn of Isha Homes which is developing a four-floor project in Alwarpet has priced the units at about Rs 7.5 crore. With three projects in the area, it has sold all but one apartment. The smallest was a 1,000 sq. ft, two-BHK unit costing Rs 2 crore. Krishn is sure there is a demand for apartments up to Rs 10 crore in small projects. People want something different, says Krishn, a quality that flaunts their taste and lifestyle whether it is flooring or bathroom fittings or elevation. People want to make a mark, a statement.