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Delhi: Real estate boom coming as Lutyens’ zone set to shrink

The leafy neighbourhood of the country’s top politicians, bureaucrats and business leaders is set to shrink as Lutyens’ bungalow zone (LBZ) could make way for modern high-rises, if a Union urban development (UD) ministry plan gets approved.


The UD ministry has accepted recommendations of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) and decided to redraw the boundary of the Capital’s iconic bungalow zone.

It will soon send its report to the prime minister’s office (PMO). The final call rests with the PMO because any policy related to the LBZ has to have its approval.

According to the UD ministry’s plan, the new LBZ map will not have Bengali Market, Golf Links, Sardar Patel Marg, Panchsheel Marg, Jorbagh, parts of Mandir Marg and Ashoka Road, Sunder Nagar and portions of Chanakyapuri.

The LBZ comprises just 1.5% of Delhi’s 1,484 sq km territory but its location — the coveted heart of the Capital — makes all the difference. Here a few square feet of built-up area could run into crores of rupees.

Keeping out these eight areas from the LBZ, which has the most stringent building norms such as curbs on high-rises, will mean relaxing building bylaws to allow construction of multi-storey residential and commercial complexes.

Also, there’s a ban on construction of new buildings in the LBZ since 2003.

If the plan gets approved, planners see a real estate boom in the area.

“It will make a big difference. These are prime areas and real estate activity is set to pick. There will be an increase in supply of real estate,” said Anshuman Magazine, CMD of real estate consultancy firm CB Richard Ellis South Asia Pvt. Ltd.

The ministry’s proposal also includes drafting four areas into the LBZ —those in the vicinity of the Supreme Court, the north-west part of Feroze Shah Road and parts of Atul Grover and Hailey Road.

In May, the DUAC recommended in its report to the UD ministry that core areas which were part of the original LBZ — comprising the area in and around Rajpath — should not be tinkered with, but building norms should be relaxed in other areas of the zone.

Discussions on rationalising LBZ guidelines were on for the past several years but the UD ministry did not take a call fearing triggering a controversy. In 2007, the ministry rejected a similar report submitted by the DUAC.

Planners advise caution in redrawing the LBZ boundary. “It has to be done carefully without any consideration of monetisation of land in Lutyens’ zone. It should not be seen as an opportunity for densification of the area and property development,” said AK Jain, former planning commissioner, Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

But DDA officials are of the view that the existing low-density development is not sustainable since Delhi is starved for space. 

Compared to some parts of east and Old Delhi, where approximately 1,100 to 1,600 people live per acre of space, the density in the bungalow zone is just 14-15 people because of the low-density development.


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Realty Trends

Home prices near most-affordable levels in over 30 years: HDFC

Home prices may have been on an upward spiral for many years, but the cost of owning a house in India remains near the most affordable level in over three decades, shows data compiled by mortgage giant HDFC Ltd.

The average price of a home, purchased with a housing loan, rose to over Rs. 45 lakh in the 2012-13 fiscal year -- marking the fourth consecutive year of uptrend from about Rs. 25 lakh in the year 2008-09, HDFC has said in a presentation.

However, factors like an even greater surge in the personal income levels, tax incentives and lower interest rates, have resulted into houses becoming more affordable to purchase, it said.



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India Property Investment Gyan

Major schemes for affordable housing to be modified: Girija Vyas

NEW DELHI: Major schemes meant for providing affordable housing to urban poor will soon be modified to make them more people-friendly, the government said today and invited the private sector to contribute more actively in this area. 

Speaking to reporters here, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) ministerGirija Vyas today said her ministry is modifying all the major schemes including the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), Rajiv Rinn Yojana and the, Affordable Housing in Partnership scheme and added enormous budgetary support has been earmarked during the current plan period. 

Secretary HUPA Arun Kumar Misra told reporters that a fund of Rs 35,000 crore had been allocated to the ministry for the implementation of three major schemes, including RAY, which was being run in as a pilot project earlier under 12th five- year plan. 

He said the ministry would require approval from the cabinet for the implementation of these schemes and efforts would be made that through these funds 2 million affordable houses are encouraged. 

He said that in addition to the central government funds, banks and credit institutions would be providing funds for construction of affordable houses. 

Vyas said that with urbanisation, the number of urban homeless and area under slums had grown. 

Vyas said there was a need for private developers to develop economic models to foster affordable housing for economically weaker sections and lower income group households in urban areas as government efforts in this direction needed to be supplemented. 

Vyas also said a technical group, set up by her ministry, had shown that out of 18.78 million housing shortage in the country, 96 percent shortage is in EWS and LIG category and for this huge investments and private sector participation were required. 

Misra said the group set up by the ministry has suggested incentives for the affordable housing sector included concessions to development-related charges and service taxexemptions. 

It also sought direct tax rebates for affordable housing projects and inclusion of the sector in the 'infrastructure facility' he said and added the task force had felt that governments need to still provide direct capital grant support to affordable housing projects. 

Misra said that in the symposium held today where states, experts and private sector representatives were present, there was unanimity on many of the suggestions.

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Green Property- Eco Homes

Reclaim your city space: Projects in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata aim to transform lives

Three projects in three cities aim to transform the lives of people who live close by. The one in Mumbai hopes to transform a congested area into a green precinct; the one in Delhi converted an open drain into a walkway, while Kolkata hopes to bring the crowds back...