Super Luxury Residential Development in Mumbai – 2011 Update

Mumbai luxury real estate is one of the costliest in the world also one of the fastest in terms of price growth. While luxury real estate prices remained stagnant in the most parts of the world, in Mumbai prices increased by over 20% in 2010.

According to Global Wealth Report by Knight Frank and Citi Bank, Asian cities such as Shanghai and Mumbai will start to close the gap in next 10 years with New York and London that are presently on top of the wealth report’s global cities index. Mumbai was also ranked the world’s 25th most expensive city in terms of property prices while Monaco remains the world’s costliest city followed by London.

And this trend is only bound to continue with aggressive real estate appetite demonstrated by Indian HNIs. According to the report Indian HNIs would like to invest at least 10% of their total portfolio in residential real estate. This was double than what financial advisers would have done. Real estate, as an asset class, however has rarely disappointed in a city like Mumbai where stories of five baggers in five years not very uncommon. The luxury apartment in a city like Mumbai may cost anywhere between USD 1 million to USD 12 million, and range from 5,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet in size. The luxury real estate euphoria is fuelled by bullishness in some real estate pockets in South Mumbai where luxury apartments in have become 25% to 30% costlier than they were a year ago.

However it has been a mixed bag in 2011, where the glut of apartments in Central Mumbai can play a spoil sport and one may see some correction in prices. According to broker estimates around 40% of luxury apartments coming up in Mumbai are unsold. Buyers in markets like Central Mumbai are not buying into high rates of INR 25,000 per square feet. And as a result, pre-sales (wherein residential apartments are typically sold before fully constructed) have come down. This has resulted in construction delays since Indian developers want to ensure that they don’t have a large number of unsold units in their ready buildings.

Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Micro Market- South Mumbai

Mumbai has basically two luxury micro markets- South Mumbai & Central Mumbai. The South Mumbai market consisting of areas like Malabar Hill, Cumbala Hill, Napean Sea Road etc. is an evergreen market with severe paucity of land and an insatiable appetite for luxury development. Price points of INR 50,000 per sqft are fairly common in this market.severe paucity of land and an insatiable appetite for luxury development. Buyers usually are Indian HNI businessmen (upgrading from old constructions to new fully loaded, feature rich towers), NRIs and well-heeled professionals. They usually take very small bank loans (often for tax efficiency) and are not affected by interest rates firming up etc.

Trump Tower, Hughes Road: Donald Trump plans to bring his signature of luxury homes to Mumbai on Hughes Road in south Mumbai. The Trump Towers are being developed along with Mumbai-based developer Rohan Lifescapes. The 60 storey Tower will have 5,000 square feet apartments overlooking the Arabian Sea. The tower will have around 45 apartments and the lifestyle amenities will include a luxury spa, gymnasium and a mini-theatre. It will be interesting to see whether the design or the development will have anything unique or whether it will be a just a case of Mr. Trump charging a hefty royalty fee for his brand. According to market sources given the small amount of flats and the novelty associated with the Trump brand name, the development may fetch a 20-25% premium vis-a-vis neighbourhood developments in South Mumbai.

Mukesh Ambani’s Billion Dollar Home: South Mumbai also has the privilege of housing India’s richest man, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, tipped to be the world’s richest man in a few years. Mr. Ambani has built the world’s most expensive house in Mumbai estimated to be above a billion dollars. The house named Antilia, after a mythical island, resembles a condo tower or a set of Lego building blocks from the outside. But from the inside it is grand consisting of around 37,000 sq metres of space, more than the Palace of Versailles. The billion dollar tower soaring over 550 feet has three helipads, a health club, dance studio, fifty seat movie theatre and underground parking for over hundred and fifty cars. The home is rumoured to have a wait staff of 600.

Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Micro Market: Central Mumbai

The Central Mumbai luxury market consisting of Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi, Worli and Elphinstone is facing a glut of luxury development with a supply of 10 million square feet of high-end residential spaces coming in 2-3 years. It is difficult to go a kilometre around this area and not see a new construction coming in. This belt is set to see 7-8,000 houses in 2-3 years. With the projects quoting anywhere between Rs 18,000 and Rs 26,000 per square feet it is difficult to see how this supply will be absorbed at these rates.

There are two segments of developers here. One set of developers, say Class A, have low inventory and/or are in a JV with the land owner (who acquired land at a nominal rate years ago) willing to hold on till the market recovers. The other set of developers, say Class B, are willing to negotiate since they have a large inventory coming in and have brought land at reasonably higher rates. As a consequence the price quoted by two neighbouring projects could have a noticeable variation.

The Class A developer prefer slowing down the project instead of reducing prices. The cost of land for these developers is low and the selling price for the apartment may be 5-10 times the cost of land. These developers bought land in cotton and textile mills at INR 3,000-5,000 per square foot around a decade back. They recover their land cost selling a small percentage of the apartments. They can thereafter afford to wait to sell most of the inventory at high prices. This will obviously cause a lot of delay in construction of these projects.

The Class B developers who has a large inventory of properties is feeling the crunch due to high interest rates (affecting buyers as well) and cautious financing by banks. These developers will be the first one to cut prices and price cut of 10% to 15% may be in order. The price correction may also be disguised by offering freebies like free parking and a waiver of stamp duty.

Central Mumbai is however also witnessing some exciting super luxury developments some of which are Lodha’s World One & Indiabull’s Sky developments.

Lodha’s World One: Lodha’s 450 metres, 117-storey World One tower is scheduled to come up by 2014 on the erstwhile Srinivas Mills in Lower Parel. World One is tipped to be taller than the Empire State Building in New York and scheduled to beat the record for tallest residential tower which is currently held by the 323-meter residential complex in Australia called “Q1.

World One will be a super luxury development consisting of about 300 units incorporating principles of sustainable and green living by recycling its water, harvesting rain water and using solar power. The building is targeting an Indian HNI who prefers a lot of outdoor space in apartments unlike insides of the apartments in New York, Hong Kong or London. Indian families don’t want to be shut in and need an access to outside air so each apartment has a balcony. The foreigner or an expat in India will detest that on account of pollution & dust.

The height and the unique curved form of the building will allow a 360 degree panoramic view of the city including the Bandra Worli Sea Link, the Race Course and the Arabian Sea. The height will also cut down noise, pollution and heat. The flats on the higher floors will have 4.5 centigrade degrees lower temperatures than the ground floor. Lodha has already pre-sold some of these flats to its old customers at a 30% premium to neighbourhood development at INR 25,000 per square feet.

Indiabulls Sky Project: Indiabulls Sky project, a high-end offering from Indiabulls Real Estate will be hopefully delivered by 2013. The Sky project is made up of three towers – Sky, Sky Suite and Sky Forest.The project has choice of villa-like presidential apartments, duplexes and penthouses. The living spaces target the rich to the super rich with spaces from 2,600 square feet to 13,500 square feet.

Apart from the lavish spa and the massage parlour, the building comes with its own housekeepers and personal butlers. It boasts of spacious reading rooms, a home theatre, a cigar room, a wine cellar and an American deli. To meet the needs of a global jet setting Indian, the development has an ultra modern business centre and services like concierge service for travel bookings, limousine hires, or currency exchange airport.

Add to all the above, an in-house convenience store with a pharmacy and a 24-hour coffee bar, the project promises to provide a scintillating lifestyle.

Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Emerging Micro-Market: Western Suburbs

It is estimated that by 2020, people earning above Rs. 20 lakh will increase from 4 percent to 10 percent of Mumbai’s population which translates to roughly six hundred thousand families. There will be a need for luxury housing for these families in Western Suburbs.

The Western Suburbs are a hub of commercial activity with Bandra-Kurla complex & Andheri Kurla Road emerging as thriving commercial centres. This is fuelling a great demand for luxury housing in the vicinity of these centres. The emergence of luxury housing in suburbs is supported by higher land availability and a high FSI (twice as much as in South Mumbai).

The luxury residential in Western Suburbs is being led two developers: the Lodha group and the Oberoi group. These developers have developed differentiated projects in suburbs backed by good sales & marketing programmes.

These developers burst into the scene when they picked up real estate that is not easy to come by in Mumbai. Oberoi got 80 acres of land that had been pharmaceutical company Hindustan Ciba Geigy’s research centre in Goregaon (a suburb near Andheri). Oberoi has developed this area into an island of luxury development and commands a 25-30% premium for its residential & commercial luxury development.

The Lodhas have launched a project called Lodha Fiorenza in Goregaon as well. This project has been launched with Jade Jagger, the daughter of Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger. Jagger has partnered with London-based design firm Yoo Design Studio and is set to design 400 homes priced between Rs 3 crore and Rs 12 crore.The project has received a good initial response with close to 100 units sold since the launch.

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