Achhe din ahead for Navi Mumbai’s property market?

With progress being made on the long overdue Navi Mumbai Airport, is this the time right to buy property? We look at the suburbs that are likely to derive maximum benefit

Long queues, insufficient parking space and traffic jams in its vicinity, have become synonymous with Mumbai’s airport, which has reached a saturation point. Consequently, the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai, is no longer a luxury for Navi Mumbaikars but a crying need for the entire region, encompassing Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

With the government having obtained the environmental clearances and acquired 80% of the required land, it has now called for financial bids from three major airport developers. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ indication that the airport will be functional by 2019, has created optimism. Infrastructure projects, including the Rs 4,000-crore port-based multi-product SEZ at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the Rs 1,900-crore under construction port connectivity highway project at JNPT and upcoming premium hotels in and around Navi Mumbai, will generate more jobs and thereby, boost the demand for residential housing.

Suburbs that will benefit

Dronagiri, a node that is situated to the south of JNPT, will be a hotspot for port-related realty, feels Rajesh Prajapati, MD of Prajapati Constructions. “Ulwe and parts of Panvel will benefit the most from the new airport, as other nodes in Navi Mumbai are already well-developed and have reached saturation point. There is a huge scope for price appreciation in these areas, over the next five years,” he maintains.

According to Shveta Jain, managing director – residential, Cushman & Wakefield, “While areas such as Ulwe, Uran, Kamothe and other surrounding locations in and around Panvel, have already witnessed heightened activity (mainly residential), the latest development will provide a further push. Capital values are presently in the range of Rs 5,000-7,000 per sq ft and we anticipate a gradual appreciation, once the construction work begins. Also, clarity on the airport development will put retail and other commercial activities (hotels, offices, etc.,) on a fast track. Other planned initiatives, such as development of the smart city of NAINA and the brownfield smart city in south Navi Mumbai, will further compliment the expected traction in real estate.”

Wait and watch mode

The Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) will benefit, with the airport coming up, agrees Prajapati. While this area is expected to see a spurt of projects, with demand and supply matching, nobody knows how it will shape up. As a result, most people are in a ‘wait and watch’ mode, he adds.

Abhishek Sharma, managing director of Shree Sai Developers is of the opinion that Pushpak Nagar is closest to the airport and will benefit the most, with a spike in construction activities.

“With the coming of the new airport, commercial activities will increase, thereby, resulting in an increase in residential projects. For instance, a commercial space of 100 sq ft will drive a demand for 1,000 sq ft of residential space,” says Sharma.

Despite the latest positive developments, the track record of the government has been slow, with poor planning resulting in delays and cost escalations in numerous infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, this could be the right time for people waiting on the sidelines to invest in a property in Navi Mumbai. Developers and brokers feel that this is an opportunity to dispose of the unsold inventory.

For buyers in the residential segment, the euphoria over the Navi Mumbai airport remains subdued and sentiments will turn positive, only when the work actually starts, points out Prajapati. “Owing to the turbulence in the market and delays in the completion of infrastructure projects, a majority of buyers are opting for ready possession flats, or those that are almost nearing completion,” sums up Dinesh Doshi, managing director of Tulsi Realty.

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