AHMEDABAD: What makes the cities of Gujarat different from the other major urban centres of India? Ahmedabad and Vadodara hold tremendous potential to grow further, unlike other cities where they have already reached, or are reaching, saturation point. At a time when the urban planners are grappling with the challenges posed by urban sprawling, with the answer of providing satellite cities, often with poor infrastructure, this absence of satellite sprawling is what makes Gujarat property market quite unique.
No one is talking about the need for developing satellite cities, at least as of now. Not because there is any lack of vision, but so much virgin land is still left to be developed that the priority is to develop those pockets first. The load on land has also not reached an alarming level where the infrastructure has begun to crumble, as witnessed in other major cities across the country.
Cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara may be the faces of urban development. A closer look shows that there are so many growth corridors in the making, that a few years down the line, these cities may look different altogether. While satellite townships and other integrated townships are throwing up challenges of infrastructure everywhere, in Gujarat, the leading cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara, have been emerging as case studies in terms of economic growth and have attracted fresh investments. Due to focused growth initiatives, these cities have leaped ahead and retained edge.
As Dhaval Ajmera, director, Ajmera Realty & Infra, points out “Ahmedabad has been declared one of the mega cities of India. Commercial and residential properties are witnessing massive demand simultaneously. Unlike other metro cities like Mumbai, cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara have abundant vacant land. This allows real estate developers to plan projects on a grand scale and thereby, think of satellite township projects at a later stage. Residential projects in Ahmedabad and Vadodara are largely gaining momentum and of course, localities like Jodhpur, Vastrapur, Vejalpur, Bodakdeo, which are termed as hot property destinations, also have the potential to develop satellite towns, in these areas.
“Prestigious property developers are making it big, with huge investment in luxurious projects in Ahmedabad. Introduction of new townships are styled in new-age luxury with modern amenities and focus is more towards building a self-sufficient housing facility with its own multiplex, post office, petrol pump and shopping mall. Introduction of digital security and solar passive architecture, has led to immense transformation and has enabled hi-tech Wi-Fi security smart homes. Ahmedabad is also hosting its first ever facility in India to follow an earthquake-resistant scheme to protect its structures,” exclaims Ajmera.
Some analysts maintain though that every city is unique. For example, Gurgaon, once termed a sluggish market, has now become an important ‘satellite’ to Delhi, as it rapidly expanded as an industrial and economic hub. The satellite model of township has been the predominant form of expansion. Ahmedabad also holds immense potential to adapt satellite townships, which has now influenced the mindset of landowners to become willing partners in town-planning.
However, according to Manan Choksi, regional owner, RE/MAX India, “Due to the recent increase in Ahmedabad city limits, a lot of land is yet to be developed. So, Ahmedabad does not need more satellite towns, as of now. The same holds true for Vadodara as well.” Choksi adds how “The infrastructure is developing so fast that in the future, the satellite towns will be as good as Ahmedabad city. Thanks to the BRTS corridor and the Ring Roads, there is excellent transportation planning. MEGA is going to link Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, which will provide high-speed cheap transportation. Moreover, the study of growing cities has shown that satellite towns offer better quality of life. Hence, people find Bopal a more inviting place vis-àvis the price they pay.”
Moreover, there is a huge requirement for luxury living in Ahmedabad, as the prime localities in Ahmedabad have become congested. This will only be possible when the government plans infrastructure before the residents come. So, maybe not now but sooner than later, places like Bopal, Narol, Ranip, Gandhinagar and Sanand, have a huge potential to grow as satellite towns of Ahmedabad.
Does it sound like in the future, the key property markets of Gujarat, most prominently Ahmedabad and Vadodara, will be no different from other urban cities of India. Not really, say the analysts tracking the property market in this part of the world. They maintain that the fundamentals of the Gujarat property market are very different from the rest of the cities and so is the investment pattern in these pockets of affluence. The infrastructure is much better over here and as of now, there may not be any compelling need to shift the focus to the satellite zones. Moreover, in the future, the market dynamics carry the potential to change for all the right reasons.
While Gujarat may not be having many satellite townships in the pipeline, the property market in this region seems to be on a growth curve, where it is facing the problem of plenty, in terms of infrastructure development. As and when the load on land in the main CBDs forces the developers to shift focus to the periphery markets, there will be much better infrastructure-ready zones with quality township options. Gujarat property nevertheless has the liberty of choice to pick its own growth corridors.