The rental edge

Areas like Thane, Belapur and Kalyan are emerging as new rental micro-markets. They offer affordable rates, easy connectivity and new office zones close by

The growth of office space on the fringes of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and rising rental rates in prime locations such as the western suburbs, are leading to the emergence of new micro-markets as rental hotspots for residential real-estate. Among these is the Ghodbunder Road area of Thane, Belapur and Kalyan.

“Mumbai continues to see a necessity-driven inward migration of people from across the country,” says Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock Property Consultants.

“This drives demand for rental homes. In a city where base property prices are so high, most people can only afford to rent, and so new micromarkets are emerging in the affordable category.”

The affordable rent category is generally considered to be between Rs 9,000 and Rs 25,000 a month.

“Investors in real-estate are buying houses to let them out, and so are now choosing certain fringe areas over prime locations to invest in. Hence you see fresh supply of rental homes in areas such as Mira Road, Wadala, Dombivli and Ambernath,” Puri says.

HOMES FOR ALL

“I only pay a fraction of my salary in rent for my semi-furnished 1BHK in Dombivli,” says Swati Kungwani, 28, a finance executive who moved to Mumbai from Jaipur two years ago. “My home is close to the railway station. There is a supermarket nearby and it’s in a good area. Dombivli is also well-connected to Thane, where I work. The cost of living here is low and single women get homes more easily.”

Over 21,000 new homes were delivered here in the last one year and this has kept rental prices in check, says Ankur Dhawan, chief investment officer at real-estate portal Proptiger.com. “Even in Ulwe and along Ghodbunder Road, you can get a 1BHK for Rs 5,500 to Rs 7,500 a month.”

As infrastructure projects — Metro and monorail links, and expressways — stretch out to meet these areas, connectivity is becoming more seamless, commutes are shrinking, and these areas still have the traditional advantages of more greenery, less congestion and large open spaces.

“New infrastructure is allowing many renters to prioritise value-for-money,” says Vivek Rathi, senior vice-president for

research at realty consultancy Knight Frank India. “The entire stretch between Thane and Belapur, in fact, is seeing the development of huge townships, with much of the occupation set to be rental.”

High unsold inventory in Kanjur Marg, Ambernath and Thane and Kharghar has led to an oversupply

of homes you can rent in these areas too.

“The commercial spaces segment is also flourishing here and hence there’s employment growth,” says Rathi. “These are also quickest pin codes to let. You get to rent homes easily and there are varied choices across budgets.”

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