Before the Namma Metro got commissioned, a double bedroom house in Baiyappanahalli was available on a rent of Rs 6,000 per month. The demand for houses was little and tenants could even bargain with potential landlords.
But as the gleaming Namma Metro coaches roll into the brand new Baiyappanahalli station, connecting it to the central business district around MG Road in 10 to 15 minutes, rents have skyrocketed. The same two bedroom house now rents for Rs 15,000 to 20,000 per month.
K Sridhar, a member and former chairperson of the general council of Builders’ Association of India (BAI) in Bangalore, lives in Baiyappanahalli. He said the growth in real estate will be higher in the years ahead as the Namma Metro extends its reach through phase 2.
“Even the purchase rates of built up properties and vacant plots have gone up. I have seen property sales worth Rs 2,500 per sq ft before Namma Metro entered the scene and pushed property prices to Rs Rs 5,500 per sq ft,” he said.
Besides providing fast connectivity, the rules have allowed increasing the floor area ratio (FAR) from 3.2 to 4 for properties in a 400-metre radius of metro stations.
Dinesh R, another member of BAI, said this was a major reason for growth in real estate.
This means there can be more built up area as a proportion of the plot area. “The effect of the FAR relaxation is visible along stretches like CMH Road, MG Road where commercial office spaces will go vertical soon,” he said.
Property rates have increased not just in Baiyappanahalli, but also along the all corridor of Namma Metro’s Phase 1 lines - east-west corridor from Baiyappanahalli Terminal to Mysore Road (18.1 km) and along the north-south corridor from Hesaraghatta cross station to Puttenahalli cross (24.20 km).
Phase 2 corridors run north to south from Puttenahalli to Anjanapura Township (NICE Road) and along the Kanakapura Road and from Hesarghatta Cross to Bangalore International Exhibition Center (BIEC) on Tumkur Road. The extension of the east-west corridor is also proposed on both ends, i.e. from the Mysore Road terminal to Kengeri and Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield.
U A Vasanth Rao, general manager (finance), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), said one of the main changes the Namma Metro is expected to bring is the so-called ‘transit oriented development’.
This means once the first two phases of the Metro are running, people will increasingly look for job opportunities as well as living spaces within the proximity of metro lines. “With the FAR relaxation in place, the very look of commercial spaces and workplaces will change in coming years in the City,” he said.
But experts are sceptic about the real estate boom along the Namma Metro corridors. Some of them warn that basic facilities, especially drinking water, for development fuelled by metro lines and relaxation in building rules.
Vasanth Rao said urban development should not deviate from existing or future master plans for the City. He said it was hard to predict if the growth was going to be good or bad for the quality of life. “One cannot predict the exact volume of growth along the Metro corridors. The real estate market will decide its course in coming years,” he said.
However, Sridhar expressed concern about permitting higher FAR in properties along some metro corridors, where basic resources were scarce. “Apartments with huge swimming pools and recreation areas are coming up. Forget water for pools, there is a big question about drinking water to these areas. Underground water levels have gone down and there is no hope of getting Cauvery water either,” he said.
Milind K, a member of Bangalore Realtors Association of India (BRAI) said it’s high time the city planners should intervene and draw some lines on the sporadic bursts in real estate along the metro lines. “Otherwise, the City is going to witness an unplanned growth just like it happened during the 1990s because of the IT boom,” he said.