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Mayur Patil, a property developer who operates in the Thane region, was surprised when Rashmi Garg, a non-resident Indian (NRI) from Britain, insisted that she would only invest in Lonavala as her holiday home. After a few interactions, Patil finally understood Garg’s reasoning.
“While greenery and open spaces are common to most of the second home locations, none can match the scenic view that the hill station of Lonavala provides. Moreover, this region enjoys good connectivity and social infrastructure. In terms of the overall quality of life, anyone who knows about Lonavala, will not settle for any other location,” says Patil.
Lonavala is well-connected with Mumbai, as well as Pune. It is about 64 kms from Pune and 96 kms from Mumbai, while Navi Mumbai is around 50 kms away. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway passes through this town. Thus, it is an ideal weekend destination, for the residents of both cities. Regions, such as Khopoli, Karjat, Talegaon, Dabhade, etc., are also easily accessible from Lonavala.
Moreover, not many property markets in and around Mumbai or Pune, can match the quality of living that Lonavala offers, with its greenery, open spaces and emerging social infrastructure.
According to a study by Track2Realty, Lonavala was among the three most-desirable weekend home destinations, with Goa and Kasauli being the other two. The study found that HNIs and NRIs were most bullish on these locations. The reason: apart from the relaxed quality of life, the first movers in these locations have been rewarded with sizeable appreciation on their investment, as well.
Lonavala has also undergone a significant change over the past few years, with new developments for those seeking entertainment and adventure. These developments have elevated Lonavala, from a mere holiday home destination. For families, where its members are employed in Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala can be an ideal first home destination, as well.
Alok Jha, manager, research & REIS, JLL India, maintains that Lonavala is likely to become a satellite town for Navi Mumbai and Pune. Navi Mumbai has the potential to emerge as a serious office district, owing to its economic activity and employment prospects. Consequently, Lonavala could transform from a weekend getaway into an investment hotspot and a residential market driven by end-users.
Affordable property prices
“Connectivity to Lonavala will receive a fillip, once the international airport in Navi Mumbai becomes operational. With office stock in Mumbai and Pune increasing, there is greater demand for training centres in the region. Lonavala, which already houses the corporate training centres of L&T and Tata, has an advantage,” says Jha.
Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO of Tata Housing, points out that Lonavala, which is considered as an aspirational destination by rich for owning private villas, offers a quick escape from the congested and hectic city life. This hill station is an ideal destination, for the stressed out residents to rejuvenate. “What makes this hill station so special, is its hospitable weather and location that offers sweeping views of the Sahyadri mountain range. Lonavala is the ideal place where beauty and serenity offer an unforgettable experience,” says Banerjee.
Additionally, properties in Lonavala remain quite affordable. While the prices of apartments are in the range of Rs 3,000-4,000 per sq ft, independent villas cost Rs 5,000-7,000 per sq ft. As the increasing population density, gruelling commute and extremely high real estate costs compromise the quality of life in Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala offers a tempting proposition, for those in need of a relaxed lifestyle in the lap of nature.
- Green scenic beauty of the region.
- Excellent liveability index in Lonavala.
- Relatively lower cost of property and high appreciation potential.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)