CHENNAI: The upper-middle class families’ desire to own holiday homes where they can unwind on weekends is driving realty prices up in many hill stations and coastal locales within driving distance from metros. With 8% to 12% appreciation per annum, many holiday home locations in the country are comparable or better off than some of their urban counterparts that are constrained by space limitations, says realty consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
While some have their second homes in hill stations like Lonavala and Ooty, within two to three hours’ drive from their first homes in Mumbai and Coimbatore, there are others who head towards lonely beaches on the East Coast Road near Chennai or farmhouses in places like Mehrauli, Bijwasan, Rajokri and Chattarpur in the National Capital Region, says JLL India residential services CEO Om Ahuja. Prices of second homes in most locations across the country are upwards of Rs 1 crore.
Ahuja says lifestyle quotient is low in most metros where property prices are prohibitively high. “There are insurmountable space limitations in locations close to office hubs and central business districts. Hence, in the choice of first homes, people sacrifice comfort and natural ambience with a view to cutting down on commuting distance,” says Ahuja. Indians who buy holiday homes hail from middle and top management segments, mostly in the age bracket of 35-45, he says.
Preferred locations for second home buyers in Mumbai are Lonavala, Alibaug and Karjat. Some go as far as Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar and Goa. However, by far, Lonavala is the favourite, where many leading builders offer row houses and bungalows. While the price of row houses range from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 3 crore, bungalows cost Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 5 crore. Those who have a penchant for the coast, head towards Alibaug. The proposed Sewri-Nhava Sheva sea link may push realty market in the region. Goa is the costliest among the lot, where villas range from Rs 75 lakh to Rs 6.5 crore.
“Hill stations and waterfront locations appreciate faster than urban centres because demand is high in such places, but supply is limited owing to restrictions on development,” says Lalit Kumar Jain, MD of Pune-based Kumar Builders. Despite competition from other hotspots, Mysore has stood the test of time as a favourite second home destination for Bangaloreans.
But there is nothing to beat Delhi’s NCR in pricing, which has a healthy farmhouse culture, where independent villas are priced between Rs 3 crore and Rs 14 crore. Many outlying areas of Hyderabad, where the affluent had set up farmhouses about three decades ago, have appreciated by 30 to 40 times over the past 15 years, says C Shekar Reddy of CSR Estates.
Similarly, prices have appreciated by 75 to 100 times along the coastline between Chennai and Mahabalipuram over the past one decade. The entire East Coast Road is dotted with bungalows and villas that range from Rs 1 crore to Rs 15 crore. Some own half-a-dozen farmhouses with even independent swimming pools on the ECR, most of which have been rented out to CEOs of multi-national companies. The trend of owning second homes on ECR started in early 2000, says Indiaproperty.com CEO Ganesh Vasudevan. Though Yelagiri in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu showed some signs of promise a decade ago, it has failed to live up to expectations owing to low altitude.