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Mumbai Residential Real Estate – The Workplace Connection

Anuj Puri / Mumbai 05 Jun 12 | 12:08 PM

Mumbai has a deeply-ingrained work culture, of a magnitude that rivals Manhattan and Tokyo.  As such, its citizens tend to attribute ultimate location value to homes that are within reasonable commuting distance from their work places. The key concept here is ‘reasonable', and must be seen in context with the legendary intra-city accessibility challenges that this city faces. In the Island City, a home close to the CBD or SBD is a premium offering on the residential real estate market.

The rapid opening up of the further suburbs has resulted in new commercial-residential catchments. The same mantra always applies - demand for residential spaces in any locality of Mumbai results from that area's ability to generate employment. The success of these areas lay in the fact that they were developed on the basis of a certain plan with regards to public transport viability.

As long as this system could meet the demands placed on it, all locations within its purview worked. Navi Mumbai, as a unique economic microcosm with relatively well-planned infrastructure and connectivity, has proved to be something of a game-changer.

On the whole, the viability of Mumbai's public transport system has reached a plateau that is almost impossible to transcend. Newer locations open up only under the unrelenting hammer of urbanisation - the required infrastructure is often an afterthought, if it happens at all. Without sufficient connectivity to the city's workplace hubs, some of latter-day residential areas are finding no takers.

This puts paid to the myth that anything with four walls and a ceiling will sell in Mumbai. If buyers cannot reach their offices in time from there, it will fail for the simple reason that it does not fulfil the quintessential Mumbaikar's primary objective.

Meanwhile, in a city where the walk-to-work concept remains an elusive dream for the majority of its inhabitants, the highest demand for homes continues to be in and around the primary and secondary business districts. In fact, this brings one to the root of the dizzying price spiral that gets more and more unreal as one closes in on the central areas of the city.

It has nothing to do with a higher grade of construction quality, amenities or social infrastructure available town-side. Simply put, buyers are willing to pay for the privilege of an hour off their daily commute.


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The author is Chairman and Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India

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