Kochi’s Marine Drive, is one of the most sought-after property destination in the city. This picturesque promenade is popular among residents of the city, as well as tourists, due to the magnificent view of the backwaters and Kochi Harbour and its walkway, which is ideal for a relaxing stroll. The Marine Drive stretches from the Jankar Jetty in the north to the Ernakulam Boat Jetty in the south. Despite the high demand for properties, the price of land and the property rates, are not artificially inflated, which makes the destination even more attractive.
Manohar Nambiar, a property broker from Mumbai, who shifted his base to Kochi, recalls how an NRI client from Mumbai once told him that he could not afford a sea-facing property in Mumbai as it was too expensive. “It seems like all the properties in and around Juhu or Worli, are meant for celebrities or those who are born rich and not for professionals who come up after years of hard work,” Nambiar explains.
With sea-facing properties in Mumbai commanding a base price of Rs 40 crores, Nambiar is thankful that his clients in Kochi who are looking for coastal properties, do not have to face the same kind of predicament, as his clients in Mumbai. Price trends in Marine Drive, Kochi, are in the range of Rs three crores to Rs five crores and this is something that most of the well-to-do Keralites and those returning from the Gulf and other parts of the globe, can afford.
Kochi Marine Drive: Main attractions for property buyers
- With luxury properties in the range of Rs three crores onwards, Kochi Marine Drive is a sought-after location for coastal properties.
- Most of the NRIs from Kerala, are investing in Marine Drive.
- The Marine Drive walkway that starts from the High Court Junction and goes upto Rajendra Maidan, is a preferred spot among tourists.
- There are several boat jetties along the walkway of Kochi Marine Drive.
Until the 1980s, Shanmugham Road was literally the Marine Drive, with the Kochi Lake and the adjoining Arabian Sea to its west. In the 1980s the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) started the Kochi Marine Drive project, on the lines of Mumbai Marine Drive. Consequently, the face of the present Marine Drive, from Shanmugham Road to the Marine Walkway, has witnessed a significant transformation.
Even the buildings’ designs in Marine Drive are distinctly different from the trademark roofs with clay tiles, seen in most buildings in Kerala. Marine Drive houses modern buildings with concrete, glass and steel, with flat façades, instead of wood. Moreover, it is not a secluded locality. As a matter of fact, a number of food outlets and malls have come up, which make it the de facto shopping destination. Several boat jetties and the International Boat Jetty Complex, also lie on this stretch.
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Property prices in Kochi Marine Drive
The market value of land in Kochi Marine Drive is in the range of Rs 75-85 lakhs for each cent (435.6 sq ft). Availability of land, however, is a challenge, as more than a dozen builders have occupied land parcels and launched projects in this area. Apartments, here, cost around Rs 10,000 per sq ft onwards. Although these are the highest prices in Kerala, they remain modest, compared to luxury coastal housing in other major cities of India.
Ashish R Puravankara, managing director of Puravankara Limited, attributes the price disparity to the salaries drawn by working professionals. “The salaries of professionals in Kochi, are nowhere near the salaries of senior professionals in Mumbai,” he explains. While it is no doubt a market for luxury properties, some of the largest developers have also tasted failures in Marine Drive, in the last six to seven years. Nevertheless, new developments in this market remain quite attractive, in terms of pricing, offerings, value proposition and overall livability.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)