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Why you should be buying a flat in an integrated township

Integrated townships offer a wide bouquet of benefits at relatively low cost. They provide for a social and physical infrastructure which may not be available on the outskirts of a city.

Tanuj Shori

Integrated townships are increasingly becoming popular in India. Often spread across large land parcels on peripheral parts of the cities, these mixed use mass developments consist of large volume of residential and commercial units side by side. Not to mention, plethora of entertainment facilities and civic amenities in the form of retail outlets, multiplexes, restaurants, clubs, banks, hospitals, power and water supply etc. ensuring high degree of self-sustainability- One of the prime objectives behind developing such mega projects.

These townships serve multiple purposes ranging from offering high quality accommodation to large volume of end users to solving some of the critical challenges of urbanization in the country, emanating out of overcrowding and unplanned expansion in the recent past.

Its rising popularity often draws comparison from standalone residential units. Notwithstanding the multiple benefits associated with integrated housing, such projects do have some drawbacks- Which sometimes defer few buyers.

Yet, it is widely believed that it is an idea, whose time has come and in the near future it will render a significant impact on the unfolding coordinates of Indian realty market.

Great value to end users

As self-sufficient development, integrated townships offer tremendous value to end users since every possible facility including schools, hospitals, retail and entertainments are available nearby. Its self-sufficient nature, which is based on the concept of a city within city makes the actual social infrastructure of the region redundant as every possible facility is available at stone’s throw away.

It should be noted that in India the magnitude of realty development outpaces the velocity with which civic amenities and social infrastructure evolves in a location. As a consequence, many upcoming real estate locations still suffer from under developed social infrastructure, thereby resulting in end user inconvenience. In such situation, the concept of integrated township seems to be an effective alternative.

Likewise presence of multiple facilities in the form of retail and entertainment options also help residents to drastically save time, which otherwise would have been spent in commuting to such places. These are in sync with the fast paced lifestyle of urban couples, for whom time is a precious resource.

Solution to urban challenges

Amidst India’s scorching pace of urbanization, most of the cities have exhausted lands in the central locations and hence extension across the peripheries is the only possible solution to accommodate the ever increasing population.

However, such peripheral locations suffer from poor quality of physical and social infrastructure. Thus development of integrated cities wherein the onus of development of physical and social infrastructure largely lies with the developers could solve the infrastructure bottleneck in such locations. It could be instrumental in stretching the city across peripheries and help the central locations decongest with masses moving out towards such townships.

Due to reasons mentioned above there has been heightened interest towards integrated townships among all major players of the real estate- end users, buyers, urban planners and developers. Major Indian developers such as TATA, IREO, Emmar MGF and Ansal API etc. are aggressively embarking on such projects.

Investment returns vis-a-vis stand alone properties

The surge in interest in integrated township projects is also translating into higher anticipated returns associated with such projects. Moreover, the presence of vast commercial space alongside residential units will also drive more demand and hence higher appreciation.

Nevertheless in absolute terms, returns associated with standalone properties with a well-known builder brand name and a range of amenities will comparatively fetch better return and larger resale value. A standalone building with fewer inhabitants imply a higher sense of affluence in contrast to large townships that are often perceived as mass development.

However, integrated townships capitalize on economic cost as they are developed on suburban peripheral landscape- Adding value to their economic prospect. Likewise, since such townships are mass development, the total cost of maintenance on account of being distributed over a large populace is low, in comparison to stand-alone blocks in which the cost is shared among a limited set of residents.

Challenges in peripheral locations

As mentioned above integrated townships are generally developed in peripheral areas due to availability of large parcels of land.

However being far off from the main city, comes at its own disadvantages. It cuts off the residents from the happening of the city. In case if the buyer is looking out to a city oriented lifestyle then a stand-alone property in the midst of the city will always offer a suitable alternative in comparison to the townships developed on the outer skirts.

It is also advisable to properly understand the status of connectivity in such townships. Many times it has been observed that due to the poor condition of roads in peripheral location, such townships witness connectivity problem.

Evolving concept

Integrated townships are still an evolving concept and will take some more time to understand how exactly the future of such developments will shape up. Nevertheless, the real estate fraternity is definitely upbeat about the prospect of townships given their multiple benefits as described above.

Notwithstanding their drawbacks, which are definitely outnumbered by the range of benefits, integrated townships will constitute a significant portion of the Indian realty landscape in the coming time. The present euphoria clearly reflects, how important these mass scale developments are going to be in the coming time.

Author is co-founder and CEO of Square Yards
First Published on Aug 18, 2015 11:40 am