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Posted at: Sep 12, 2015, 1:11 AM; last updated: Sep 11, 2015, 10:54 PM (IST)

Realty hopes to take off from Chandigarh airport

Can the Chandigarh International Airport, whose new terminal has been inaugurated finally, provide the much needed booster dose to the recession-hit realty sector in the tricity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, especially the catchment area of the airport?

Pradeep Sharma

While realtors and investors are pinning hopes on the positive economic impact of the new international airport on the real estate sector in the tricity region, independent observers feel the other way claiming that the it was ‘too early’ to expect a turnaround in the realty sector which is neck-deep in recession. The inaugural flight to Dubai from the airport is likely to take off on October 19.

“The opening of the international airport would prove to be a game changer for Mohali as it would prove to be a catalyst for real estate development in the region. In fact, worldwide experience has shown that the areas around airport have grown by leaps and bounds within a short span of time and tricity, especially Mohali, is going to be no different,” argues Kulwant Singh, newly-elected Mayor of Mohali.

Y. S. Bains, President (sales), Wave Estate, echoes his sentiments saying, “Chandigarh has been one of the most prosperous cities of the country and has seen tremendous growth over the past few years in terms of infrastructure, civic amenities, entertainment etc. With the inauguration of the airport the city has now completed its journey in building the infrastructure of a modern city. The city has always seen a huge influx of NRIs and hence, the international airport is one of the biggest achievements for Chandigarh. Since, there has always been an ease of doing business in the city, this announcement would pose to be a thrust for investors to park their money in real estate. Moreover, with the airport being operational, it would prove to be a catalyst for growth in the times to come.”

The area had seen a spurt in real estate activity ever since the announcement of the project. A number of residential as well as commercial projects are underway in the catchment areas of the airport. Bestech, Janata Land Promoters Limted (JLPL), IREO, Waves group, Pearl Group and Acme group besides local realty players in Zirakpur, have major stakes in the area in the vicinity of the international airport.

However, slowdown in the realty sector and slow pace of development work at the airport had taken a toll on the real estate prices in the area with some projects suffering the most. Against the background of increasing demand for residential and commercial spaces in this belt the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had launched its ambitious Aerocity project in 2010. The project having around 4,000 residential plots on offer (626 of 500 sq yd size, 43 of 400 sq yd, 610 of 300 sq yd, 438 of 250 sq yd, 720 of 200 sq yd, 402 of 150 sq yd and 777 plots of 125 sq yd size) had caught the fancy of end users, NRIs as well as investors at that time. However, GMADA has missed the 2013 deadline for handing over possession to the allottees due to slow pace of development work at the site. The prices had also seen correction here due to the slowdown

However, now the development work seem to have picked up momentum . The existing as well as new real estate players are in an overdrive to reap the expected benefits of the airport becoming operational.

While JLPL is an old name in the area, the Gurgaon-based Bestech group is coming up with Bestech Square, an integrated real estate development on 13 acres in Mohali. The project comprises residential condominiums, commercial/IT spaces, 4-star hotel by Radisson and a retail shopping mall.

Proximity to airport and alternate road are not the only USPs of the area. In fact, the area has virtually been turned into an educational hub with top institutions such as ISB, IISER, and NIPER in close vicinity bringing in elite clientele for the residential and commercial properties.

In fact, the large concentration of educated middle class can make the area still more attractive for investors.

“An international airport always helps the commercial and residential growth in its neighborhood. With this new development, the tricity will become the preferred destination for NRIs as well as commercial bodies, business houses, cargo- related businesses and hospitality amongst others to establish their operational base. Being in close vicinity of the airport, Mohali will greatly benefit with expansion and upgradation of infrastructure due to this growth catalyst. With the increased connectivity to international destinations, global companies will have ease in setting shop in this upcoming realty destination. The city already has world class roads, and an IT city is being developed near the airport reflecting the development potential of the area,” said Rajiv Gupta, assistant vice-president (north sales), Emaar MGF Land Limited.

However, Sameer Sharma, a plot owner at the AeroCity, strikes discordant note saying that the basic infrastructure is yet to be in place in the AeroCity leave alone in the other catchment areas. “It would take many years to make even the AeroCity habitable despite tall claims of the authorities concerned. The property market around the airport still remains investor-driven and is beyond the reach of genuine end users,” he rued.

However, real estate experts maintain that there is no need to be pessimistic as things will only get better from here for Mohali especially. Sam Chopra, Founder & CEO, RE/MAX India says, “ I feel that the new airport will give a boost to the slowed down realty market in the region. The good part is that the real estate in this area has a wide variety of projects that suit every budget and this major development has the potential to bring back the buyers and investors to the market. The expanding IT sector, e-commerce, manufacturing and industrial sectors, retail etc are also contributing to the commercial growth in this area. If we talk about the rise in the property prices, we will first have to wait for the market sentiments to improve and then expect a hike in the prices in the coming times. A rise between 20-30% can be projected looking at all the factors.

“It is great development for the Mohali real estate market which is struggling at this point as it is a investor driven market. Infrastructure such as airports and metro lines create exponential opportunities for the real estate market for that region. We we foresee in the near future when market picks up, Mohali will stand to gain a lot with this infrastructure development,” says Samir Jasuja, CEO and Founder at PropEquity said.

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