NH24: Is Ghaziabad ready for a smooth ride to Delhi?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the Rs 7,566 crore project for widening the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, commonly known as NH 24. Delayed for over six years, the project is now finally ready to take off in the next two months, with completion timelines set at 30 months.
As seamless connectivity will make traffic jams a thing of the past and slash travel time to Delhi, HT Estates tries to gauge the mood and the impact the project will have on the realty markets – both developed (Indirapuram, Vaishali) and emerging (Greater Noida West, Crossings Republik, Siddharth Vihar and Hi-Tech City).
Raghav Chandra, chairman, National Highway Authority of India, reveals that land has already been acquired for the project except for a few patches — such as built-up encroachments in Pandav Nagar area. Along Dasna to Meerut bypass, too, processes have been completed and compensation amount for farmers has been deposited with the local authority.
The project has been proposed in four sections — Nizamuddin Bridge to UP border; UP border to Dasna; Dasna to Hapur and Dasna to Meerut. Work has been awarded to two sections already while two others are in the pipeline. “We expect to award these in the next one month and hope that work on the project will begin by March,” Chandra adds.
Real estate experts say that improvement of infrastructure around this corridor is more of a necessity than a choice and any further delay in widening will lead to piling up of unsold inventory around the area. One must remember that unlike other micro markets such as Gurgaon or even Noida Expressway, the Ghaziabad realty market is primarily an end-users market and is largely dependent on the right price, completion status, location and the infrasructure available in and around the project.
“There will not be any impact on real estate prices in the next 12-18 months. Nobody seems to be excited about the NH 24 story yet because everybody is waiting for actual work to begin on the ground. There are no fireworks. Also, like any other infrastructure work, prices bump up when the project is announced. This one was announced almost six years ago. When work actually begins, there is chaos and confusion due to ongoing construction and prices actually dip. Prices recover only when the project nears completion,” says Anckur Srivasttava of GenReal Advisers. The immediate beneficiaries once the project is completed will be Indirapuram and Vaishali, which will eventually develop into premium markets in the area.
Having said that, maximum appreciation in prices is likely to be seen in affordable markets such as Greater Noida West, Crossings Republik (the Rs 3,000 per sq ft to Rs 3,500 per sq ft market) and even mid-segment markets such as Siddharth Vihar.Going forward, more affordable projects are likely to come up along the stretch.
In Indirapuram, which is primarily a developed/exhausted market, new launches are likely to be few and far between. Also, a massive increase in prices, currently at Rs 5,500 per sq ft to Rs 7,500 per sq ft, is also unlikely because of a huge amount of inventory in neighbouring affordable areas such as Greater Noida Extension, Crossings Republik, Wave City etc. Market forces will not allow prices in Indirapuram to increase, and will cap prices due to the huge amount of housing stock in the neighbouring areas of Ghaziabad and Greater Noida. (Almost 30% of the unsold inventory in Delhi-NCR — that is around 2 lakh units).
“Price rise is not important here. What the NH 24 connectivity will do is improve sales volumes. In any case `5,500 per sq ft not an easy price to absorb in this market, so developers will not play around with it. One will see a marked improvement in
sales volumes as construction nears completion,” says Samantak Das, chief economist and national director-research, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd.
Having said this, two basic problems will continue to remain unresolved – electricity supply and perception of law and order, he says.
Areas that will have an immediate impact include Greater Noida West, Siddharth Vihar, Crossings Republik and Hi-Tech and integrated townships. As the widening in the second phase gets underway, one will see developments in Dasna, Pilkuah and Hapur belt. Many areas such as Siddharth Vihar (Dilshad Garden Metro) and Greater Noida West will benefit both from the Metro as well as widening of NH 24.
The Gaursons India Group plans to launch phase 2 of its project in Crossings Republik, which will be spread across 8 acres at about Rs 3,500 per sq ft. The builder also has about 12 acres in Siddharth Vihar where it plans to launch a project once the final approvals are in place in the next six months. Prices are likely to be kept at `4,000 per sq ft. It is also exploring possibilities of launching projects in Hi-Tech City at a price point of Rs 2,500 per sq ft to Rs 3,500 per sq ft, says Manoj Gaur, MD, Gaursons India.
The Ramaprastha Group, which has a 150 acre land bank near the CISF camp in Indirapuram plans to launch a group housing project this calendar year, says Nikhil Jain, CEO, Ramaprastha Group, adding that the project will be priced as per market dynamics.
Prashant Tiwari, chairman, Prateek Group, says that the first phase of the group’s project located in Siddharth Vihar area, next to Indirapuram, will be delivered in two-and-a-half years around the same time that the NH 24 is expected to be completed.
The commercial market in Sector 62, which has not taken off due to infrastructure issues, will also benefit from the widening of the highway. The office spaces in this area command rentals of Rs 35 per sq ft to Rs 45 per sq ft per month. These may go up by at least 15% to 20% once the widened stretch is ready.