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Super Luxury Residential Development in Mumbai – 2011 Update
Mumbai luxury real estate is one of the most expensive in the world as well as one of the fastest in terms of price growth. While luxury real estate prices remained stagnant in most parts of the world, in Mumbai prices increased by more than 20% in 2010.
According to Knight Frank and Citi Bank’s Global Wealth Report, Asian cities such as Shanghai and Mumbai will begin to close the gap in the next 10 years with New York and London, which currently top the wealth report’s global cities index. Mumbai was also ranked the world’s 25th most expensive city in terms of property prices while Monaco remains the world’s most expensive city followed by London.
And this trend is only bound to continue with aggressive real estate appetite demonstrated by Indian HNIs. According to the report Indian HNIs would like to invest at least 10% of their total portfolio in residential property. This was double what financial advisors would make. Real estate, as an active class, however, has rarely disappointed in a city like Mumbai where stories of five pickpockets in five years are not very rare. The luxury apartment in a city like Mumbai can cost anywhere between USD 1 million to USD 12 million, and varies from 5,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet in size. The luxury real estate euphoria is fueled by bullishness in some real estate pockets in South Mumbai where luxury apartments have become 25% to 30% more expensive than they were a year ago.
However, it was a mixed bag in 2011, where the glut of apartments in Central Mumbai can play a devastating sport and some correction in prices can be seen. According to brokers’ estimates around 40% of luxury apartments coming up in Mumbai are unsold. Buyers in markets like Central Mumbai are not buying high rates of INR 25,000 per sq ft. And as a result, pre-sales (where residential apartments are usually sold before they are fully built) have fallen. This has resulted in construction delays as Indian developers want to ensure that they do not have a large number of unsold units in their finished buildings.
Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Micro Market – South Mumbai
Mumbai has basically two luxury micro markets – South Mumbai and Central Mumbai. The South Mumbai market consisting of areas like Malabar Hill, Cumbala Hill, Napean Sea Road etc. is an evergreen market with a severe land shortage and an insatiable appetite for luxury development. Price points of INR 50,000 per sq ft are quite common in this market. severe land poverty and an insatiable appetite for luxury development. Buyers are usually Indian HNI businessmen (upgrading from old builds to new fully loaded, have affluent towers), NRIs and well-to-do professionals. They usually take very small bank loans (often for tax efficiency) and are not affected by interest rates consolidating etc.
Trump Tower, Hughes Road: Donald Trump plans to bring his signature luxury homes to Mumbai on Hughes Road in south Mumbai. The Trump Towers are being developed jointly with Mumbai-based developer Rohan Lifescapes. The 60-story Tower will have 5,000 square feet of residences overlooking the Arabian Sea. The tower will have around 45 apartments and the lifestyle amenities will include a luxury spa, gym and mini-theatre. It will be interesting to see if the design or the development will have anything unique or if it will just be a case of Mr. Trump charging a large royalty fee for his brand. According to market sources considering the small number of apartments and the novelty associated with the Trump brand name, the development may command a 20-25% premium against neighborhood developments in South Mumbai.
Mukesh Ambani’s Billion Dollar Home: South Mumbai also has the privilege of housing India’s richest man, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, said to be the world’s richest man in a few years. Mr. Ambani built the world’s most expensive house in Mumbai, valued at over a billion dollars. The house called Antilia, after a mythical island, looks like an apartment tower or a set of Lego building blocks from the outside. But from the inside it is magnificent consisting of about 37,000 square meters of space, more than the Palace of Versailles. The billion-dollar tower soaring over 550 feet has three helipads, a health club, a dance studio, a fifty-seat movie theater and underground parking for over one hundred and fifty cars. The home is said to have a staff of 600.
Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Micro Market: Central Mumbai
The luxury market of Central Mumbai, consisting of Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi, Worli and Elphinstone, is facing abundant luxury development with a supply of 10 million square feet of high-end residential space coming in 2-3 years. It’s hard to go a kilometer around this area and not see new construction coming in. This zone is set to see 7-8,000 houses in 2-3 years. With the projects quoting between Rs 18,000 and Rs 26,000 per sq ft, it is difficult to see how this supply will be absorbed at these rates.
There are two segments of developers here. One set of developers, say Class A, has low inventory and/or is in a JV with the landowner (who acquired land at a nominal rate years ago) willing to hold until the market recovers. The other set of developers, say Class B, are willing to negotiate because they have a large inventory coming in and have brought land at substantially higher rates. Therefore, the price quoted by two neighboring projects could have a noticeable variation.
The Class A developer prefers to slow down the project instead of reducing prices. The cost of land for these developers is low and the sale price for the apartment can be 5-10 times the cost of land. These developers bought land in cotton and textile factories at INR 3,000-5,000 per square foot about a decade back. They recover their land cost by selling a small percentage of the apartments. They can later afford to wait to sell most of the inventory at high prices. This will obviously cause a lot of delay in building these projects.
Class B developers, who have a large inventory of properties, are feeling the pinch due to high interest rates (affecting buyers as well) and cautious bank financing. These developers will be the first to cut prices and a price reduction of 10% to 15% may be in order. The price correction can also be hidden by offering freebies such as free parking and stamp duty waiver.
Central Mumbai however is also witnessing some exciting super luxury developments, some of which are Lodha’s World One & Indiabull’s Sky developments.
Lodha’s World One: Lodha’s 450 meter, 117-storey World One tower is scheduled to come up by 2014 on the former Srinivas Mills in Lower Parel. World One is reportedly taller than the Empire State Building in New York and slated to beat the record for tallest residential tower which is currently held by the 323 meter residential complex in Australia called “Q1.
World One will be a super luxury building consisting of approximately 300 units incorporating principles of sustainable and green living by recycling its water, harvesting rainwater and using solar energy. The building targets Indian HNI who prefer lots of outdoor space in apartments as opposed to apartment interiors in New York, Hong Kong or London. Indian families do not want to be confined and need access to outside air, so every apartment has a balcony. The foreigner or expatriate in India will detest it because of pollution and dust.
The height and the unique curved shape of the building will allow a 360-degree panoramic view of the city including the Bandra Worli Marine Link, the Racecourse and the Arabian Sea. The height will also reduce noise, pollution and heat. The apartments on the higher floors will have 4.5 degrees Celsius lower temperatures than the ground floor. Lodha has already pre-sold some of these flats to his old clients at a 30% premium to a neighboring development at INR 25,000 per square foot.
Indiabulls Sky Project: Indiabulls Sky project, a high-end offering by Indiabulls Real Estate will hopefully be delivered by 2013. The Sky project consists of three towers – Sky, Sky Suite and Sky Forest. The project has a selection of villa-like presidential apartments, duplexes. and penthouses. The living spaces target the rich to the super rich with spaces ranging from 2,600 square feet to 13,500 square feet.
In addition to the lavish spa and massage parlor, the building comes with its own housekeepers and personal butlers. It boasts spacious reading rooms, a home theater, a cigar room, a wine cellar and an American deli. To meet the needs of a global jet setter, the development has an ultra-modern business center and services such as a concierge service for travel reservations, limousines or airport currency exchange.
Add to all the above, an indoor convenience store with a pharmacy and a 24-hour coffee shop, the project promises to provide a sparkling lifestyle.
Mumbai’s Luxury Residential Emerging Micro-Market: Western Suburbs
It is estimated that by 2020 people earning above Rs. 20 lakhs will increase from 4 percent to 10 percent of Mumbai’s population which translates to about six hundred thousand families. There will be a need for luxury housing for these families in the Western Suburbs.
The Western Suburbs are a hub of commercial activity with Bandra-Kurla complex & Andheri Kurla Road emerging as thriving commercial hubs. This is fueling a great demand for luxury residences in the vicinity of these centers. The emergence of luxury housing in suburbs is supported by higher land availability and high FSI (double that in South Mumbai).
The luxury residence in Western Suburbs is led by two developers: the Lodha group and the Oberoi group. These developers have developed differentiated projects in suburbs supported by good sales and marketing programs.
These developers burst into the scene when they took up real estate, which is not easy to come by in Mumbai. Oberoi was given 80 acres of land which was the research center of pharmaceutical company Hindustan Ciba Geigy in Goregaon (a suburb near Andheri). Oberoi has developed this area into an island of luxury development and commands a 25-30% premium for its residential and commercial luxury development.
The Lodhas have launched a project called Lodha Fiorenza in Goregaon as well. This project was launched with Jade Jagger, the daughter of Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger. Jagger has collaborated with London-based design firm Yoo Design Studio and is set to design 400 homes priced between Rs 3 crore and Rs 12 crore. The project received a good initial response with close to 100 units sold since launch.
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