MUMBAI: Sunil Kher, a Chembur resident, commutes to south Mumbai daily for work by road. Earlier, he used to be quite frustrated by the traffic jams on his way to work. However, with the start of the new Eastern Freeway, his life has become much easier. Kher informs, “I had decided to shift to Dadar or some other place near my office three years ago but now, after the Freeway becoming functional, my life has taken a big turn. We are planning to buy a flat either in Chembur or Bhandup due to the increased connectivity of these areas. Also, we are witnessing many new upcoming projects in the area after the Freeway has been launched.”
Most of the builders in Chembur, Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Vikhroli, are selling their property by emphasising on the fact that there are many gains to be had by buyers by investing in properties near the Freeway. According to a property consultant in Chembur, “Despite a slowdown in the real estate segment in the country, some areas in Mumbai have better real estate prospects along the Eastern Freeway, which is up and running since June 2013.”
Built at a cost of Rs 1,135 crores, the Eastern Freeway project is divided into three parts. The first part is the 9.3-kms long elevated road from P D’Mello Road to the beginning of the Anik-Panjarpol Link Road. The second part is the 5-kms long corridor from Anik to the beginning of the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road. The third corridor is the Ghatkopar-Panjarpol Link Road, which is a 3-kms elevated road starting at the Sion-Panvel Link Road and ending at the junction of the Chembur-Mankhurd Link Road.
The Freeway connecting P D’Mello Road to the Eastern Express Highway at Ghatkopar, has caught the attention of builders and is influencing the real estate market in its adjacent areas. The localities witnessing the highest demand in the past 2-3 years include Chembur, Mulund, and Bhandup west, etc.
Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson, Nahar Group, opines, “The 13.59-kms stretch of the Eastern Freeway will make Mumbai a world-class city. The Freeway will not only serve Mumbaikars and change their way of commuting but will also showcase the pathway to infrastructural growth of the city.”
According to Ramesh Nair, COO-business, Jones Lang LaSalle India, “In Chembur, property prices rose by as much as 25 per cent over the last two years, primarily because of this area’s advantageous juxtaposition to the Eastern Freeway. Also, markets such as Kanjurmarg, Kurla, Powai and Ghatkopar, saw residential property prices rise by 32 per cent, 29 per cent, 27 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively in 2012. This year-on-year increase in prices is also attributable to reasons such as the increase in superior quality projects with innovative concepts in these areas. The LBS Marg has seen the arrival of luxury hotels.”
A senior official of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) adds, “The infrastructure determines the value of the property in that area. Better connectivity and the availability of essential services makes a destination lucrative for property buyers.”
Experts predict that due to the Freeway, there will be further eastward movement of real estate development to locations like Sewri. However, it is the areas closest to the Eastern Freeway’s entry and exit ramps – specifically, Orange Gate, Anik Junction, Chembur-Mankhurd Link Road and Panjarpol Link Road, which will emerge as the stronger locations.
Ram Raheja, director and head-architecture and design, S Raheja Realty, opines, “The Freeway significantly enhances the connectivity of the island city and eastern zone respectively and has been one of the most prominent infrastructural developments in the city, which going to change the real estate market scenario dramatically.”
Real estate pundits believe that due to the new surge of property requirements along the Eastern Express Highway, real estate markets in the surrounding areas will witness a high degree of property absorption and greater demand, consequently driving the property prices upwards.
Also, the prices of properties in the eastern suburbs are expected to rise at the rate of 10-12 per cent year-on-year over the next two years.
A number of developers launching new projects are using the development of the Eastern Freeway as a marketing tool by highlighting the reduced commuting time to south Mumbai from the peripheral locations.
Over the mid-term,properties in Wadala will also see a marked increase in value due to the combined influence of the Eastern Freeway and the fact that the MMRDA is fast-tracking this area’s development as a business district.