Realty Report

24 Feb 2020 by Business Traveller India

The nation’s financial capital and the seat of power and politics — respectively are Mumbai and Delhi. Which is the better city to live in or travel to? There is no easy answer, as each has its merits and demerits. These two metropolises drive the country’s economy and politics, but have little in common. There are several differences in the real estate profiles of National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) too.

While Mumbai scores high on strong economics and comparatively lower crime and pollution readings, it remains India’s most expensive city in terms of real estate. Delhi has better infrastructure and ample land availability for further expansion. To compare and contrast the liveability quotient of NCR and MMR, one needs to cut through various numbers and parameters.

Economic activity 

The financial capital of the country, Mumbai is an economic powerhouse, an industrial hub and also the seat of Bollywood. From the banking and financial sector, the jewellery, the automobile and the IT industries, Mumbai has several important economic drivers.

According to a 2018 report by New World Health, a global market research group, Mumbai is the 12th wealthiest global city. NCR’s economy is primarily led by businesses, public administration, agriculture and processed foods, real estate and IT. As per the Economic Survey Report, Delhi’s economy grew 8.61 per cent in 2018-19 and is likely to attain the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of `77,96,520 million.

Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi

Tourism-Powering hospitality 

With its rich cultural heritage, a plethora of Mughal monuments and colonial architecture, Delhi attracts tourists from far and wide. The city is part of the ‘golden triangle’ connecting it with Jaipur and Agra. With Delhi drawing tourists in large numbers, the hospitality industry there is always on a roll.

From five-star luxury to quaint boutique hotels, NCR is brimming with choices for tourists with almost any budget.

Mumbai also offers several tourist attractions and gives visitors a true taste of cosmopolitan living. From religious monuments, beaches, film sets and mind-boggling slums made infamous by global reportage, the ‘maximum city’ is a kaleidoscope of varied and unique experiences. In fact, the state government has allocated a budget of Rs6,760 million for its first-ever tourism development plan to burgeon Mumbai’s tourism industry.

Delhi’s foible 

The high incidence of serious crimes have earned Delhi the unenviable tag of the crime capital of the nation. The city is widely perceived as unsafe, especially by and for women. The data released by National Crime Records Bureau, Delhi reported 1,050 crime incidences per 100,000 citizens — four times the national average of 238. Meanwhile, rising pollution levels in NCR continue to dominate headlines and bring down the liveability quotient of the city. Poor air quality may not directly impact the city’s real estate market, but it has certainly prompted home buyers to seek properties in lesser polluted areas with more open spaces.

While crime and air pollution are also concerns in Mumbai, they are not strong enough to hamper the day-to-day life of the city’s denizens.

Mumbai’s flaw 

A city’s liveability is rightly measured by the infrastructure it provides to its citizens, and real estate growth is also driven largely by the development of proper roads and transport systems. In this regard, Delhi clearly trumps over Mumbai and has steadily evolved its infrastructure over the last few years. The daily commute in the capital has been eased for millions of citizens via wide roads such as Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, Yamuna Expressway and Delhi-Meerut Expressway. With an operational network of 389 km, Delhi Metro covers all major parts of NCR and reaches Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida and Faridabad.

On the other hand, infrastructure growth in MMR has been patchy and has not kept pace with the city’s population growth. Traffic snarls and congestions are commonplace as Mumbai’s road network is unable to accommodate its expanding vehicular traffic. While millions still depend largely on the robust suburban railway network, other modes of rapid transit such as monorail and metro still cover only a small section of the city.

Delhi wins on affordability

One of the biggest differences in the real estate offerings of both cities is in pricing and affordability. Capital values of property show a stark difference in both cities. While the average base selling price per sqft in NCR is pegged at `4,565 per sqft, this is more than double in MMR at `10,610 per sqft. In fact, Mumbai continues to be the most expensive market in the country where even a hefty budget of `20 million is not sufficient to buy a spacious house in upscale neighbourhoods like Bandra and Andheri. This budget can get you a two- or three-bedroom apartment in many parts of NCR such as Noida, Indirapuram, Dwarka Expressway and Gurgaon. Scarcity of land continues to plague Mumbai where real estate development has, by necessity, only been vertical. Moreover, the city is hemmed in by the sea from three sides and can only grow northwards. Delhi faces no such issues and the NCR region — and its real estate — continue to expand and grow in a radial pattern.

Burgeoning transparency

For many years, NCR’s real estate market was traditionally more investor-driven than MMR, where end-users dominated. In the recently regulated environment under RERA (the Real Estate Regulation Authority) speculators have taken a backseat in both markets. Both markets are becoming more transparent. The cities are also working on better infrastructure and road networks. With a mammoth budget of Rs 169,090 million, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has allocated sizeable funds for the development of new metro lines, the Mumbai-Trans Harbour Link, Virar-Alibaug Multi-Modal Corridor and extension of arterial roads.

Going forward, prices in both cities are likely to remain range-bound until the unsold inventory declines significantly and the overall sentiments improve.

While there may be no clear winner in the Delhi vs Mumbai debate, most properties in NCR are more affordable and MMR provides a safer environment for its residents.

Anuj Puri 

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