Mumbai’s Vasai Virar belt offering affordable homes
Jun 15, 2014
Source : The Times of India

 

MUMBAI: For most homebuyers who are looking for affordable homes, the Vasai-Virar belt has many good projects to suit their budget and needs. With office premises shifting from south Mumbai to the city’s western suburbs and rehabilitation of slums going on in full swing, the areas are witnessing huge interest from buyers.

Talking about the increased buyer’s interest, Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan, EVP and CIO, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate says, “The city of Mumbai is already saturated and the way to expand the real estate supply within the city, is through redevelopment. Enhancing this supply further is only possible through development beyond city limits, which is the key reason for the growth of areas like Virar. The prices in this region of Navi-Mumbai and surrounding areas have increased substantially. This was bound to move demand for budget housing to the northern suburbs of Mumbai where we are now witnessing extensive real estate development.“

In today’s time and age, buyers are typically looking at Virar as a second or third home investment due to its affordability. The high interest rates and economic slowdown is encouraging people not to look for spaces in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, but towards more affordable locations like the Vasai-Virar belt.
Santosh Naik, managing director and CEO, Disha Direct, highlights that “Many projects are coming up in Vasai, Virar and Palghar belt and people from the western suburbs are buying these homes who could not afford homes till Borivili.“

Hariprakash Pandey, VP-Finance and Investor Relations, HDIL, explains, “Vasai, Palghar and Virar have land in abundance. Large tracts of land are always available for building affordable townships of large areas, something which is impossible in Mumbai. The belt is going to be the f ‘township hub’ of the MMR region. The township projects are being built on a large scale basis in an absolutely cost-effective manner. As a result, the region is showing the largest density of residences in the MMR.“

“One constraint this sub-region had was insignificant economic development. The infrastructure present in 1980 (before the development phase) was insufficient and very few new buildings were constructed. Only 7 per cent of the area had proper roads. However, the urban development scenario has been improving consistently over the last decade. Today’s Vasai-Virar area has rapidly changed due to the large influx of people, attracted by the availability of more affordable f housing than in Mumbai,“ opines Subhankar Mitra, head Strategic Consulting (West), JLL India.

Further adding to this, Chandresh Mehta, director, Rustomjee, feels that “Virar offers a well-planned area with a scenic, picturesque landscape. The area has developed at a good pace over the last ten years and has emerged as a major residential accommodation venue for the MMR residents. Good connectivity via rail and road, better infrastructure, facilities like shopping complexes, schools, colleges and affordability, are amongst the foremost reasons that have attracted homebuyers to Virar. Also, corporate offices have been shifting to Goregaon, Andheri and Malad from south Mumbai, thereby , providing easy access to Virar,“ he says. He further adds that “The region has around 1500 acres of land that has been offered to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) for developing a business centre like the BKC, as a commercial hub.“

Pandey shares a similar view and adds that “We are seeing a large section of city’s population from the central suburbs like Dadar and Parel, selling off their small homes and moving to much bigger accommodations in less congested places like Vasai and Virar. So, a family which typically owns a 400 sq ft house at Dadar or Parel, can easily afford to own a 1,400 sq feet, 3BHK apartment at a decent locality in Virar and Vasai. There is more breathing space and an enhanced lifestyle in Virar and Vasai.“

Mitra adds, “Most of the growth in the region is a result of the migrant population from all across the country, particularly from northern and western India. Low-income families, who find employment opportunities in Mumbai, prefer to settle in this region and commute to Mumbai.“ Experts point out that the improved infrastructure of the area is expected to drive property prices higher in the region. The region typically shows an average annual investment return of 10 per cent. This sub-region’s current USPs in terms of real estate is availability of land, affordable homes and easy accessibility. There is a definite growth driver in the fact that the government is providing a lot of impetus to it. Hopefully, CIDCO’s development plan will soon result in various initiatives to address the problems the area is facing at present.

Mehta signs off by saying that “Going forward, Virar will be a mix of good quality residential and commercial establishments, encouraging the walk to work concept.“ Thus, it comes as no doubt that Vasai-Virar today, has gone beyond being just another suburb of Mumbai and is emerging as a realty hotspot for residential home buyers to invest in the coming few years.

Good rail connectivity from Panvel to Churchgate.

Road network connected to Western Express Highway.

Virar-Alibaug Corridor Project undertaken by the MMRDA will change the face of area.

Corporate offices have been shifting to Goregaon, Andheri and Malad from South Mumbai, thereby, providing easy access to area.

Educational institutions such as Viva College of Arts, Science and Commerce, National English High School and Shastri Vidyalaya.

Biggest attraction in Virar is the Yazoo Park.

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