If you want to understand the impact that an efficient transport network can have on the overall real estate market in a locality, simply recollect the transformation that the Delhi Metro brought about in the Dwarka sub-city in the National Capital Territory (NCT). In the pre-Metro era, scores of people rushed to dispose of their DDA flats in Dwarka because commuting to the area was a nightmare.
It was Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s Blue Line and later the Airport Express that changed the face of the area, and property prices moved sharply upwards. Today, the Dwarka sub-city has emerged as one of the prime residential hubs in Delhi, especially West Delhi.
This is also true for all the localities that have been connected to the Metro rail network. And now it’s the turn of Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) to weave its magic along its route.
The country will soon witness another revolution in rail connectivity, thanks to the upcoming RRTS. High-speed and high-frequency commuter trains will connect small towns in Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh with Gurugram-Delhi-Noida. The modern transit facility would bolster connectivity, accentuate real estate prospects and boost economic development along the corridors and in the heart of NCR.
In Phase-1 of the RRTS, three corridors are under development. The work on the Delhi–Ghaziabad–Meerut Corridor is moving at a fast pace. The first phase of this project is likely to be opened in early 2023. In the other two phases, the RRTS corridors are Delhi-Gurugram-SNB and Delhi-Panipat. Work on these two corridors is at different stages of implementation.
Commuters will be able to travel from one RRTS corridor to another without changing trains. The trains will be three times faster than the current Delhi Metro trains. All the trains will converge at Sarai Kale Khan RRTS station in Delhi.
The RRTS corridors are expected to integrate the Delhi Metro, Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs), railways, and airports for faster and hassle-free connectivity in the region.
As per the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), the implementing agency of the RRTS across NCR, travel time between Meerut and Delhi will reduce to less than an hour from the current three to four hours by road. Similarly, it will become very convenient and fast to reach the heart of NCR from as far away as Panipat in Haryana and Alwar in Rajasthan.
TOWNS ALONG RRTS CORRIDORS
Experts and real estate developers opine that cities like Sotanala, Rewari, Bhiwadi, Alwar, Shahjahanpur, Neemrana, Sonepat, Panipat, Ghaziabad, Modi Nagar, and Meerut, along the three RRTS corridors, are fast becoming hot markets for residential and even office space. As the work on the three corridors progresses and awareness increases, property prices will go up.
The prospective homebuyers who work in Gurugram, Delhi, Ghaziabad, or even Noida, can now think of owning a spacious home or a plot along one of the three corridors.
NCR TO BE THE BIGGEST GAINER
Reports suggest that the upcoming network of these fast trains would also revive the real estate market in Delhi-NCR. As RRTS would take connectivity to Delhi-NCR to the next level, infrastructure such as roads, transportation, educational institutions, hospitals, shopping malls, banks, commercial hubs, and other facilities will also develop further.
WHAT THE CORRIDORS OFFER POTENTIAL HOMEBUYERS
Let’s take the example of a millennial who works in an MNC in Delhi, and pays Rs 25-30,000 rent for an apartment in the city. Once the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB corridor becomes operational, he could consider buying an apartment in Bhiwadi, 40 km from Gurugram, and still easily travel to his workplace.
Property prices in Gurugram, Delhi, and Noida are currently high, both for residential and commercial real estate. Also, these localities are no longer the first choice of investors due to dense population, high prices, and stretched infrastructure.
So one of the main advantages these RRTS corridors offer is affordability, be it an apartment or a plot. Property prices, as of now, are significantly lower compared to the NCR or in its immediate periphery. For instance, the per square foot rate of a residential property in Gurugram is at least Rs 6,000 whereas in Bhiwadi, you can easily get an apartment in the best project for Rs 2,500 per square foot.
Experts believe that RRTS will have a positive impact on the capital values in towns which it connects to metro cities.
“Property prices preempt benefits of infrastructure projects like RRTS. Prices tend to escalate when projects are announced and plateau till completion, as initial euphoria is subdued by the reality of completion timeline to derive economic benefits as envisioned. RRTS pushes prices of real estate at nodes they connect rather than the entire corridor, as the intent is to save on travel time and vehicular operational costs including controlling pollution that result in considerable savings which can be measured through economic rate of return,” said Ajay Sharma, Managing Director, Valuation Services (India), Colliers.
In the long run, real estate prices will recover in the nodes post-completion as the perceived benefits will accrue only when commercial and industrial centres are connected. Unless the RRTS project is just announced or completed between two urban centres, the short-term price recovery from the impact of COVID-19 is not perceivable, added Sharma.
Another plus point is that air pollution in these smaller towns is much less than one experiences in Delhi. Like big cities, the smaller towns too have the social infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and shopping areas in place. And as realty prices go up, this infrastructure is bound to become better.
Once the RRTS network is fully operational, Gurugram, Delhi, and Noida will also benefit as many people residing in these cities would prefer to relocate to smaller towns due to improvement in public infrastructure.
Reverse migration, experts believe, will reduce pressure on the social infrastructure in these cities. However, rentals or real estate prices are unlikely to be affected as these cities would continue to remain dream destinations for work seekers from across the country.
Large domestic companies and MNCs situated in Gurugram, Delhi, and Noida would also benefit. Labour in the adjoining smaller towns will become available to them.
ALL ABOUT THE THREE RRTS CORRIDORS
Delhi-Gurugram-SNB (Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror Urban Complex)
As per the NCRTC, the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB RRTS will benefit the region between Gurugram and Alwar, and increase the productivity of the commuters travelling from Delhi and Gurugram to Manesar, Bawal, and Neemrana.
This line will also originate from Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi and connect Munirka, Aerocity, and move via Gurugram, Sotanala and Rewari to reach Alwar in Rajasthan. The length of the RRTS corridor will be 164 km and will have 22 mainline stations.
This 103 km corridor aims to connect Delhi to towns such as Sonepat, Gannaur, Samalkha, and Panipat in Haryana. This line will reduce travel time for commuters and at the same time bring environmental and economic benefits to the entire region. There will be 16 mainline stations, including Sarai Kale Khan.
The estimated 82 km Delhi-Meerut Corridor will pass through one of the most densely populated sections of the National Capital Region (NCR) connecting Delhi to Uttar Pradesh. This stretch of the RRTS, between Delhi and Meerut, is being built at a cost of ₹30,274 crore. The priority section will be the first stretch to be operationalised in March 2023 and the full project is likely to be commissioned in 2025.
There will be 16 RRTS stations on this line, besides six additional stations for the Meerut MRTS. The 17 km Duhai-Sahibabad section of the corridor in Ghaziabad is likely to be operational by early 2023.At its board meeting held on August 26, the Ghaziabad Development Authority gave its nod to a proposal that sought to develop 650 hectares along the Guldhar and Duhai stretch of the RRTS corridor as a special area development zone (SADA).