Ten years ago, few newcomers to Mumbai would have opted to live in the eastern suburb of Chembur, they would have plumped for the more cosmopolitan Andheri in the western part of the city, which was more easily accessible.
But today, Chembur is probably a more sought after area because it’s so well-connected both with the western suburbs and also with south Mumbai. The once leafy, serene suburb is fast turning into a bustling neighbourhoood with highrises everywhere; very few of the quaint one or two-storeyed Christian bungalows remain. Property prices have gone up by about 15% over the last three years while in the rest of Mumbai they’ve stayed more or less flat.
The big gainers of this transformation have been the early bird builders. Between January 2013 and June 2016, over 3,000 units have been launched. Samantak Das, national director (research) Knight Frank India believes the run rate of 1,000 units a years speaks volumes for a location where the high-rise culture is new and there is little fresh land to build on. Some construction had started even before January 2013 so sales over the past three and a half years have crossed 5,100 units.
That’s not surprising since Chembur scores high on connectivity. India’s first monorail starts in Chembur and currently goes up to Vadala; it will soon go all the way to Jacob Circle in the island city, providing connectivity to office districts in Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi and Worli. The country’s first double-decker flyover connects Chembur to SantaCruz — via the first east-west connector. More crucially, Chembur is now just a 15 minute drive from Bandra Kurla Complex the biggest and toniest office district in Mumbai today.
Five years back the drive would ahve taken the better part of an hour.
Through the eastern freeway, the time taken to travel from Chembur to the business district of Nariman Point has decreased from the earlier 90-120 minutes to 40 minutes maximum during peak traffic hours. In addition, Mumbai’s first metro rail line that runs between Andheri and Ghatkopar is also close to Chembur from Ghatkopar side.
Amit Bhagat, CEO and managing director, ASK Property Investment Advisors who invested Rs 100 crore in the first re-development project of Godrej Properties in 2012 says the bet placed on the micro-market was a good one. “We were confident Chembur will be the growth corridor of the future and it was evident then that the micro-market would get re-rated,” Bhagat said. He added 85% of the project, which is nearing completion has been sold.
Executives at Godrej Properties say demand for apartments is strong. Mohit Malhotra, executive director, Godrej Properties Limited told FE prices have risen substantially over the past two years primarily because the location is so advantageous. Godrej was one of the first marquee developers to enter Chembur and while it started selling apartments at Rs 12,900 per square foot, the price now is closer to Rs 15,000 per square foot. Given the popularity of the micro-market other prominent developers—Radius, Spenta Infra, Veena Developers, Tridhaatu Developers — have also hit Chembur.
Shveta Jain, managing director (residential), Cushman & Wakefield says that the average capital values in Chembur are in the range of Rs 12,500 – Rs 19,000 per sq.ft at the absolute base quoted rate without other charges included.
“The capital values of residential units are expected to remain largely stable given its strategic location and good connectivity,” she says.
However, Jain observes that given that large township projects are currently under-construction in Chembur, project launches may a see apause in the next one year.