PUDUCHERRY: Rapid unplanned development and high real estate prices, triggered by a boom in migrant population, has left the middle class in this former French colony chasing an elusive dream of finding affordable homes.
With assured power and water supply, investors both from within Puducherry and abroad opt to invest in real estate. Those in the IT sector in bigger states also invest in immovable properties here.
The salaried class too are buying property with loans from banks though rental income for their investment is not sufficient, officials said.
However, prospective buyers find no homes available for less than Rs 40 lakh in areas even outside the boulevard limits. Even those opting to go in for plots have to contend with smaller sites, down from 1800 square feet to 1200 sq ft.
Apartments have gained momentum recently in the city which once prided itself in having individual or separate homes.With rise in flow of migrants, demand for plots, houses or flats has increased manifold, the officer said.
Green cover is fast becoming a thing of the past, with vast tracts of land on the Puducherry-Cuddalore stretch being converted to residential plots or houses.
Leading business concerns and jewellery shops have also set up business in the town. Old buildings have been converted into palatial premises housing jewellery shops, garment sales units, hospitals and other business activities.
A local architect said that rise in the population to 12 lakh is the immediate cause for increase in demand for houses. Those settling down here from other places feel infrastructure is better than in neighbouring pockets.
Education and assured power supply too are an added attraction, he said.
Another official said though attempts were made in the past to provide underground drainage in many housing colonies, it was either kept on hold or could not be continued for want of funds.
But investors continue to park their funds in immovable properties as they expect the situation to improve sooner or later, he said.
A Central government officer from Tamil Nadu said he wanted to purchase a site in Puducherry, but the price was too high and he ultimately found a home at a village in his home state bordering Puducherry for a reasonable price.
A civil engineer suggested that government relax bye-laws on height of buildings, saying high rise apartments could become a reality if this was done.
Many retired IAS officers also prefer to stay in the Union Territory.
Colonies have mushroomed at the instance of associations of various staff, workers and others. Advertisements by banks and other institutions highlighting features of home loans appear often and people go in for loans.
With disappearance of green cover and fodder rich lands, most traditional families have disposed of milch animals and depend on private vendors or milk society to meet their needs.
A builder said there is good patronage for apartments, with Non-Resident Indians among those opting for flats. With steady disappearance of joint family, nuclear families are gaining root and hence the priority to seek a flat, he said.
Some relief for buyers is through the Puducherry Housing Board which has constructed flats for low, middle and high income groups.
A flat promoter said Puducherry offers good scope for flat systems. Even within town limits residential complexes are coming up fast, he said.