Widening of NH-24: The highway to affordable housing

The construction of Delhi-Meerut Expressway would improve connectivity between small cities while increasing residential housing spots, say experts.

National Highway Authority of India
For NHAI, the targets are more steep with target execution of 8,000 km (21.92 km/day) and awards of 15,000 km. The target for 2016-17 is almost four times higher than what was achieved during 2015-16.

National Highway Authority of India
Among the several highways/expressways that connect Delhi to cities — Meerut & Hapur (NH-24), Jaipur (NH-8), Panipat (NH-1) and Agra (Yamuna Expressway and NH-2) — NH-24 is probably the most densely populated, as there are several small cities along the corridor. (Express photo)

Connectivity and infrastructure development are the two most critical elements needed for the development and evolution of a real estate destination. If construction of the Yamuna Expressway saw realtors moving to develop residential housing and townships, developers in the Delhi-NCR region feel that the construction of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, recently launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will not only improve the connectivity of various towns in the region with Delhi, but will also change the dynamics of the real estate market in the zone.

Developers and real estate experts told The Indian Express that the NH-24 Expressway may emerge as a hub for affordable housing and could offer solutions for accommodation in the 1-2 BHK category within the price range of Rs 15 lakh-Rs
30 lakh.

Manoj Gaur, managing director, Gaursons India and president of Credai-NCR, pointed that it is a long stretch and the development around the highway was stuck because of heavily clogged roads. He added that the widening of the road would not only ease the traffic and reduce travel time but would also result in development of residential housing along the road.


“I think that this has the potential for development till Hapur-Pilkhua and it will be one of the most preferable stretches because of its approach and access to Delhi-NCR,” said Gaur. However, he added that while there has been a slowdown in sales across Delhi-NCR, there is demand in the affordable housing category and developers should ensure that they cater to the demand of that segment. “I see development of affordable housing around this road going forward,” he said.


Importance of NH-24

Among the several highways/expressways that connect Delhi to cities — Meerut & Hapur (NH-24), Jaipur (NH-8), Panipat (NH-1) and Agra (Yamuna Expressway and NH-2) — NH-24 is probably the most densely populated, as there are several small cities along the corridor. Providing access to Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida, the road, once fully developed, will connect up to Meerut and Hapur and is set to be a very busy stretch. Therefore, widening of the expressway will only act as a catalyst for real estate demand and development on both sides of the road in the future.

Rami Kaushal, head of consulting and valuations at CBRE said that while decongestion of the roads will help the existing cities such as Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, it will also help in decongestion of Delhi.

“All the cities leading up to Hapur will become more accessible and habitable. Since a lot of manpower comes from adjoining cities, lack of good connectivity forces them to stay in NCR only. However, once this expressway is built and there is good public transportation available, a lot of these people will live in their home towns or in the new destinations that develop around the road and can commute to Delhi for work,” said Kaushal.

There are others who agree to this fact. Gulam Zia, executive director at Knight Frank said that it is a long highway and passes through dense localities. “By declogging, it will provide a new lease of life to all real estate destinations along the road. The widening of road will also result into realignment as the travel time will reduce significantly and therefore will allow people to move away from the cities,” said Zia.

Activity and impact on pricing

While it is too early for things to kick-start, existing projects around the proposed road have received a shot in their arm. Gaur said that his existing projects around the road in Noida Extension and in Crossing Republic will benefit as the connectivity will improve. While he said that he would look to take up new projects on the proposed expressway, he said that he would take up the phase II of his project in Crossings Republic.

Aman Agarwal, director, KV Developers also did not rule out the possibility of land purchase and development of residential housing project on the stretch. Stating that the activity will pick up over the next two years, he said, “Most of the activity will be in the affordable housing category and there will be a number of projects offering 1 and 2 bhk flats in the price range of Rs 15 lakh and Rs 30 lakh,” said Agarwal. While aspiration for better housing is growing, the need for better livelihood will see fresh demand in the affordable housing segment.

While prices in the Delhi NCR market is currently impacted by high unsold inventory, the market has not seen any uptick in prices over the last couple of years. In fact, the prices have witnessed some correction. Experts say that fresh supply on NH-24 in the coming years may keep the prices under check even in the existing markets of Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.

“Over the last couple of years the prices in Noida and Greater Noida have been stable because of huge supplies. With more supplies, the prices may remain under check in these existing markets,” said Zia.

Even Kaushal said that the prices in these areas may not rise in a hurry and there will be stability in prices across these markets.

While it is almost certain that the development of the expressway will add a new dimension to the real estate market in Delhi NCR and help decongest Delhi by development of affordable housing in the proposed expressway, the planners will have to be thoughtful and ensure that better connectivity is complemented with a stable public transportation system so that residents have multiple options to reach their work places in Delhi NCR.

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