While Metro rail implementation has a huge impact on real estate prices along its corridor and ‘influence zone’, in the larger context it improves the standard of living of a large segment of urban population, and is also a catalyst for sustainable development across large urban areas.
In India, it is indubitably Metro time. Year 2015 saw the unveiling of metro rails in Chennai and Jaipur, along with the expansion of Metro lines in Delhi and Bangalore. Currently, there are 7 operational metro systems in India. Kolkata was the first city to be blessed with a metro rail in 1984, followed by Delhi in 1995. The success stories of Kolkata and Delhi paved the way for metro in others cities such as Bangalore (2011), Gurgaon (2013), Mumbai (2014) and Jaipur (2015).
These cities show a uniformly positive change after the implementation of metros along their metro corridors. The deployment of a Metro directly impacts real estate through increase in land value, land use change and densification along the Metro corridor. International case studies prove that mass transit systems such as Metros and monorails contribute significantly to solving traffic problems. Such projects also result in increased urban real estate values, since consumers are willing to pay more for the convenience.
Real Estate Impact Of Metros:
The impact of a Metro on real estate along its corridor is direct and powerful. Of course, retail or commercial areas benefit due to improved accessibility, but residential areas receive a dual demand driver - the Metro generates jobs which result in increased demand for homes, and the reduced commuting costs and convenience draw buyers to areas close to the Metro.
In areas closest the stations, the visible impact is higher on commercial property values than on residential values, and the effect diminishes as the distance from the station increases.
Land prices are higher if a land parcel is located within walking distance, but not directly next to the station. The increase in the land values is reflected in the area served, especially around the stations.
There is a considerable increase in demand of retail and office spaces around existing metro stations.
Most commercial properties near Metros result from the conversion of standalone residential units to apartments, mixed use properties to commercial use and new development on vacant land.
Land values are inversely related to the distance of land parcels from the metro station. Ordinarily, land values decrease along with the distance from Metro stations. Technically, a Metro exerts an influence buffer of up to 1 km radius, with the maximum influence being within 500 meters. Typically in a city, the market value of properties will increase by more than 50% over the prevalent values after the launch of metro rail, depending upon the location, land use, and the micro-market’s overall potential.
The population density of nearby residential areas will increase after the launch of a Metro because of proximity preference, along with the increases demand for retail and office spaces. There will simultaneously be a steep increase of new developments in the abutting vacant land or open spaces, as the developers will seek to capitalize on the profit implications of higher developments that can result from additional FSI, if this is applicable. A constant rise in the land prices in the proximate areas is usually seen during all project stages.
Regulatory Changes To Accommodate Metros:
There will invariably be regulatory changes taking shape after a Metro is put in place. To address the needs of urbanisation in the Metro areas, the government usually addresses the specific needs of housing development by granting extra FSI (Floor Space Index) along the corridor. This increased FSI will reflect in increased prices for land along the Metro corridor, and automatically lead to increased population density near the Metro station.
Needless to say, this imposes stress on the existing infrastructure available in the region, which the government must tackle along with the Metro development. In order to control development along the metro corridor, land usage needs to be revised - failing which unorganised commercial development will crop up on the heels of the higher rentals assured by the increased connectivity. Given the influence zone of 800-1000 meters from the Metro stations, the land use for this zone must be properly mapped in order to maintain a balance. Residential to commercial land use conversion will invariably be most prominent, as commercial spaces will fetch higher rentals.
CASE STUDY: Chennai Metro
The now operational Chennai Metro network has been planned in a manner which integrates it with other forms of public transport, including buses, suburban trains and MRTS. The enhancement and easement of connectivity has had a huge impact on real estate prices along the Metro corridor. With the amplified connectivity of Chennai’s suburbs to the city centre, more and more property buyers are considering settling down in the suburbs, away from the busy city and yet enjoying rapid connectivity to their workplace in the Central Business District (CBD).
Real estate demand along the Chennai’s suburbs saw a significant increase, and this prompted developers to unleash a number of new launches in these areas. North Chennai, which hitherto had limited real estate prospects, is now seeing the green shoots of growth after the Metro connected it to other parts of the city. The Metro is now expected to find solutions for unsold real estate inventories, resale and unoccupied commercial and retail spaces.
It will also restore the lost prominence of micro markets such as Anna Salai, which was the city’s earlier entertainment and business hub. The existing developments and infrastructure at Anna Salai had not been able to cater to latter-day demand, but will now doubtlessly see a lot of commercial redevelopment as a result of the easy access provided by the Metro.
Since the Metro’s announcement in 2009, Chennai has witnessed steady real estate price increases, especially along the Metro corridor. Prices near the Metro station have already reached Rs. 7000-16000/sq.ft. and are expected to increase further about 15% now that the Metro is operational. Residential rentals will rise as more of the population moves closer to the Metro to benefit from the faster and cheaper transport. If feeder services are strengthened, this impact will amplify out to a radius of 4-5 km from the Metro stations.
Likewise, home buyers are also attracted by the reduced commuting time to work, and this will lead to a significant rise in sales and increased capital values near the Metro stations. The return on investment is considerable, given that home buyers are willing to pay a premium for residential units situated close to public transit systems like the Metro.
Overall benefits of a Metro:
- Saving on travel time
- High service availability, reliability and quality
- Higher productivity and savings across the system
While Metro rail implementation has a huge impact on real estate prices along its corridor and the influence zone, in the larger context it improves the standard of living of a large segment of urban population, and is also a catalyst for sustainable development across large urban areas.