Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India
India, rated as the fastest growing economy in the world, has developed a lot over the years. Of course, its metro cities are the pride and joy of India. These cities are the nerve centres of the country’s economy and cosmopolitan culture, and draw the most housing demand for numerous reasons like better job opportunities, living standards and infrastructure. However, rapid urbanization and development of these cities into mega-cities have given rise to challenges such as pollution, traffic issues, high property prices, etc.
The Governments’ initiative to provide ‘Housing for All by 2022’ is being pursued laboriously. The simple motive is to provide affordable homes within the price budget of up to Rs 25 lakh. This vision must necessarily encompass the smaller cities near the bustling cities of India.
Though affordability is a relative term, it is pertinent to look destinations where residential properties within the budget range of Rs. 30-50 lakh are available, and are classified either emerging or growing submarkets supported by good infrastructural development. These towns and cities offer a wide spectrum of investable options in real estate with relatively lower property price levels, providing the incentives for future capital appreciation and healthy returns.
Here are 10 cities that offer great lower-budget real estate investment prospects over mid-to-long term.
- Hyderabad, Telangana
After a prolonged slump due to the global recession followed by political turmoil, Hyderabad’s realty market is now once again set for an upswing. Hyderabad, with its buoyant and thriving economy and a dynamic workforce, is once again trending as a buyer’s market. The thriving IT/ITeS industry has given further impetus to the real estate consumer trend, which is evident from the growing demand for residential, commercial and retail spaces. Hyderabad is perhaps one of the most affordable cities among all tier 1 cities of India. Even the well-developed residential localities in Hyderabad, such as Manikonda, Kukatpally, Miyapur and Sainikpuri offer residential properties in the budget range of Rs 30-50 lakh. When compared to the other metros, housing in Hyderabad is relatively affordable. Property prices here are almost 60% of those of Bangalore and Chennai. In fact, due to the political uncertainty, land prices in Hyderabad have remained stable. However, with the much needed political stability and creation of new state Telangana, Hyderabad can now expect large investments into its property market in the near future.
- Pune, Maharashtra
Today, the perfect blend of Pune’s manufacturing and services sectors make Pune a standalone economic powerhouse in all respects, with a rate of job generation that is hard to match. The city has witnessed steady appreciation over the last few years, and is ranked as one of the best markets for real estate investment. The luxury homes segment has been burgeoning on the Pune’s real estate market, with many large players entering with excellent luxurious projects. However, Pune is now witnessing a slight shift in the development trend. Many new players on Pune’s burgeoning real estate market can be seen venturing into the affordable housing segment. This is obviously the segment where the greatest demand lies. Over the last couple of years, Pune has recorded good growth in the affordable housing segment. Such projects are located on the periphery of the city and offer small 1–2 BHK flats with basic, no-frills amenities. Interestingly, while there has been compelling growth in the high-end segment with luxurious 3-4 BHK homes, the budget housing story is far more attractive to investors. One of the best Indian city to live in and with more promising infrastructure development in place, Pune offers better standards of living than any most other metros.
- Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
Over the last few years, the real estate market in Navi Mumbai and surrounding areas have shown impressive growth, largely because of the planned approach taken towards development. Now, with Navi Mumbai receiving final nod for the International Airport, its property market and that of the surrounding areas have been showing great potential. While property prices have increasingly become unaffordable in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai still provides numerous options for residential housing within the budget of Rs. 30-50 lakh. There are two new major economic drivers that are planned for Navi Mumbai and will change the face of this satellite city in the times to come – the proposed SEZs at Dronagiri, Ulwe and Kalamboli, and the upcoming international airport at Panvel. Both these factors are expected to generate a massive amount of employment, providing a further impetus to the demand for commercial and residential developments. Also, the governments’ approval to the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link will prove to be a major game changer for the property market of Navi Mumbai. This project will not only open up new corridors for development, but also provide a fillip to the property market of Navi Mumbai.
- Jaipur, Rajasthan
Emerging out of its image of being a majorly tourism-led economy; Jaipur has grown beyond everyone’s expectation to become one of the top global outsourcing cities in India. The upcoming IT Parks promise a great future across all real estate asset classes. The 250-kilometer stretch between Delhi and Jaipur has become a hotbed for real estate development, with areas like Manesar, Dharuhera, Bhiwadi, Neemrana, Kotputli and Alwar becoming the new catchwords for investors. Jaipur is a fast-developing city with many influencing growth drivers in place. It has progressed tremendously on the residential as well as the retail fronts, and is considered one of the most important real estate destinations of North India. Some localities in Jaipur such as Malviya Nagar, Tonk Road and Ajmer Road are among the best emerging investment destinations in the country. The government is taking keen interest in developing the infrastructure of this region. The announcement of the Metro has triggered faster infrastructure development, and property prices are expected to witness an upward surge in the next few years. However, the development is still in its nascent stage. With yearly capital appreciation to the tune of 12-17%, Jaipur holds great potential and promises good returns on investment.
- Surat, Gujarat
Surat, known as the diamond capital of the world, is a well-developed metropolis in Gujarat. Rated as one of the fastest growing cities of the world and also recently conferred with ‘Best Urban City of India’ award, Surat has also gained prominence and recognition for being the Cleanest City in India by INTACH. Rapidly improving infrastructure initiatives have helped modernize Surat significantly. Micro-markets in New Surat such as an entire stretch of Dumas Road are dotted with variety of malls, multiplexes and top-notch residential apartment projects. Even though Surat is not as populated as Ahmedabad, the excellent road network within the city – defined by several flyovers and wide roads – mean that this city will see rapid transition in times to come, with many more influencing drivers in place.
- Ghaziabad, NCR
Ghaziabad is an emerging residential neighbourhood of NCR which has a very high supply of residential properties in the budget of Rs 30-50 lakh. Well connected via Metro and roads to the job markets of Delhi-NCR region, the city caters largely to the mid-segment home buyers. The city has a high supply of ready-to-move-in properties offered by renowned developers. Some of the well-established residential clusters in Ghaziabad that have gain prominence in the recent time include Indirapuram, Kaushambi and Vaishali. Upcoming residential corridors such as Raj Nagar Extension and developments along the NH-24 beyond Indirapuram are attracting a wide spectrum of end-users and investors on the back of relatively affordable property rates. Infrastructural developments such as the extension of the Metro Rail and the widening of the NH 24 will further boost Ghaziabad’s realty market.
- Nagpur, Maharashtra
Although a city with extreme climatic conditions, Nagpur is one of the fastest-growing cities in India. Nagpur’s main claims to fame include its MIHAN and SEZ projects. However, with the Fadnavis-led BJP government taking keen interest in turning Nagpur into the next IT hub of Maharashtra, the city is set for a major transition in its real estate profile. The already-established MIDC corridor along with the upcoming IT parks have made Nagpur one of the cities that bear close watching by real estate investors. Several government initiatives such as connecting Nagpur with Mumbai via Expressway and an International Airport will further work in city’s’ favour. Now is the right to invest in Nagpur, as the city is all set to see a great deal of development transformation.
- Kochi, Kerala
Kochi is a metropolis in the making where modern urban lifestyles are settling into antiquated old traditions. During the days of its realty boom, Kochi grew exponentially, with more people migrating to the city and consuming even the outlying catchments of Palarivattom, Vytilla, Kakkanad, Edappally and Kadavanthra. Development of IT/ITES projects such as the Kochi Smart City and initiatives to channelize traffic and improve connectivity, such as the Mobility Hub at Vytilla, have fuelled significantly increased demand for real estate, which more and more developers are cashing in on. Gone are the days when the city’s builders focussed only on affluent buyers. Today, the Kochi residential real estate market is dominated by affordable housing segment, which accounts to about 60% of the total housing projects in the city. The soaring land prices have made it difficult to own or build independent houses, and there is increasing demand from the emerging mid-income segment that wants homes packed with amenities at affordable prices. The demand for affordable housing is so strong that it has made its way through the poshest of areas. The prime localities that previously offered only luxury multi-storey apartments, such as Marine Drive, are witnessing the arrival of affordable and mid-income housing projects, along with waterfront apartment and villas.
- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Coimbatore is the major industrial centre in Tamil Nadu after Chennai – and as incentives are given to IT companies by the Tamil Nadu government, Coimbatore has gained momentum as a preferred destination for IT/ITeS. With a proactive government in power promoting the city by enhancing infrastructure development, Coimbatore’s property market has witnessed an upward push in demand for residential units in the core areas of the city such as R S Puram, Avinashi Road and Race Course, which are considered posh areas. Nevertheless, it has no shortage of affordable housing options. Coimbatore is a market where 40% of real estate investments come from investors living in cities such as Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai. Apart from the demand from professionals engaged in IT/ITeS, Coimbatore is emerging as a retirement destination, and demand for 2 BHK homes is high from senior citizens. Demand for smaller apartments is primarily from young IT professionals, while villas and row houses see demand from NRIs, retirees and IT professionals with a preference for such properties.
- Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Ahmedabad may be the last one in the list, but it is in no way the least. With the city being a prime example of organised and fast-paced development for the rest of the cities in India, Ahmedabad has come a long way. With huge investments pouring into the state, rapid infrastructural development in the form of bullet trains, GIFT Smart City, the entrepreneurial nature of the population and a supportive, stable government, everything is going right for Ahmedabad. The oil, gas and energy industries, petro-chemical industries and automobile manufacturing industries are some of the major factors driving perennial demand for real estate in the city. The maximum supply of properties within the range of Rs 30-50 lakh is evident along the SG Highway and in areas such as Gota, Bopal and Satellite.
About the Author:
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India: Over 20 years of experience in multi-disciplinary advisory and transactions ranging from real estate to social development projects. Expertise in planning, undertaking demand assessment studies and transaction services including marketing strategies based on technical real estate market analysis, feasibility studies, program requirement derivation and fund and investor sourcing.