Igatpuri, situated in the Western Ghats on the Mumbai-Nashik Highway, is emerging as a popular second home destination.
Chaitali Parikh Mehta, owner of Inscape Designers, Mumbai, whose family has a farmhouse on the outskirts of Igatpuri says, “The primary reason we bought this land and built our farmhouse near Igatpuri, was the lush greenery, scenic beauty and cool weather that the area provides. Our farmhouse is situated on the banks of Darna Dam. Its proximity to Mumbai, makes it an ideal weekend getaway. Unlike Lonavala and Khandala, it is not as densely populated or commercialised. As a family, we enjoy growing fruits, flowers and vegetables here.”
Igatpuri lies in the lap of the Sahyadri Hills and is surrounded by water bodies. It has ghats, waterfalls, lakes and valleys, which make it a perfect place to escape from the hectic life in cities, says Sachin Baldota of Ishanya Buildcon. “It has a pleasant climate throughout the year and in the monsoon, it is engulfed in fog. Igatpuri is well- connected by road and railways. The region has developed rapidly in the past five years and is becoming an ideal destination for vacation homes. Home seekers generally buy weekend homes along the peripheral areas, 10-20 kms from Igatpuri town,” adds Baldota.
What makes Igatpuri a sought-after weekend destination?
The mountains of Trimak, Durrar and Harihar provide a scenic backdrop to the region and attract people who come here for picnics and hiking. For trekkers, there is Mount Kalsubai, which is the highest peak in the Sahyadri range. Cascading waterfalls in the monsoon, are another big attraction. The Tringalwadi Fort, 3,000 feet above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the town. Igatpuri has many dams, such as Vaitarna, Bhawali, Darna and Wilson and the popular Bhatsa river valley spot. Besides the lure of the nature, there is the Vipassana International Academy, which draws people from all over the world. Its Golden Pagoda, is a landmark for Igatpuri.
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Igatpuri is well-connected to Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Shirdi. It is just 140 kms from Mumbai, located on NH 3 and around 45 kms from Nashik. The NH3 Mumbai-Agra Highway is a four-lane road. The Ghoti-Nashik Road and the road to Bhandardara, have been improved, while the road from Bahavaali Dam to the highway, has been concretised, adds Baldota.
Homes on offer in Igatpuri
Consequently, the demand for second homes in Igatpuri, has increased. Initially, the concept of weekend homes was only confined to bungalows and villas. However, to increase their buyer/investor base, real estate developers started offering homes catering to the budgets of middle and upper middle-class buyers.
“Earlier, people bought plots to build their second homes. Now, for the past five to six years, people are also buying ready villas for their weekend homes. People from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, are also investing in one-bedroom and two-bedroom hall apartments,” says real estate agent, Sandip Bothra from Igatpuri. Besides offering a weekend getaway, properties from reputed developers, are also likely to offer attractive returns on investment.
Property prices in Igatpuri and returns on investment
When it comes to flats, the rates are approximately Rs 2,400-3,000 per sq ft, explains Bothra.
“Igatpuri offers affordable apartments starting from Rs 20 lakhs and independent houses and luxurious villas ranging from Rs 80 lakhs to Rs 1.5 crores.
“Notable projects include Jay Balaji Heights, Hemrock Realty Green Hills, Ventures Dew Drops and Popular Buildcon Rain Forest Villas.
“The weekend homes segment shows considerable potential for growth, with increasing demand from HNIs and the aspiring middle-class. The average rental potential is about 2%-7% of the property’s value, while capital appreciation depends on the town’s annual tourist footfalls and other revenue-generating activities,” states Ajay Jain, executive director, investment banking and head real estate group at Centrum Capital.