Buying a house has been like chasing a moving target in the past few years. Though property prices have been soaring for some years, the recent climb in interest rates on home loans has made owning a house increasingly less affordable. That’s true not only within the municipal limits of cities, but even outside—in the now burgeoning suburbs. Time was when suburbs were where middle-class Indians hunted for homes that suited their pockets and dreams. That’s no more true, with real estate prices in some suburbs rivalling those in city centres.
Yet there are suburbs and there are suburbs. Till as late as 2001, a 1,400 sq ft threebedroom apartment in Delhi’s neighbouring Vaishali was available for Rs 15 lakh. Today it costs Rs 45 lakh—a three-fold increase in six years. For a large number of house buyers Vaishali is unaffordable today.
The question for millions of Indians looking to buy a home is: what and where are today’s Vaishalis? MONEY TODAY made an attempt at identifying affordable suburbs across 16 Indian cities, where realty is relatively cheaper today, but there are reasons to believe that these suburbs could sizzle in the foreseeable future.
And what are the reasons? First, of course is the availability of land. Supply must match with expectations of demand for property—you don’t want to live in splendid isolation, however affordable that may be. To gauge the extent and type of demand, we scanned through the list of real estate projects that are either under construction or scheduled to come up in the next couple of years in and around the emerging suburbs. The projects could be commercial or residential. The current and future connectivity of the suburbs with the city centre was also considered.
Sure commuting to work or schools would be longer from these suburbs now and many basic facilities will be sparse. But you are investing in the future. Residents of some of today’s most in-demand suburbs also had these teething troubles once. If it is the second house that you are investing in, then you can afford to wait. “Areas which aren’t well-connected yet, but are on the route of major roads to be constructed, are a good bet. Be wary, though, of locations where prices have escalated for no obvious reason,” says Ankur Srivastava, managing director, DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.
However, it is in upcoming suburbs that you could get into a messy deal too—unclear titles, false promises. “A number of developers are booking thousands of flats in suburbs without waiting for government clearances,” warns Srivastava. So do your homework well before buying property. Treat the list that follows as your first guide to hunt a home.
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