Track2Realty Exclusive: To say that expressways are lifeline of urban centres would be like stating the obvious. The expressways across the country have been a connecting point of the main city with the periphery locations, thus ensuring that satellite cities are sustainable for the working class who can otherwise not afford to buy a house in the main city. In the process, expressways have been catalyst to the vibrant economy of the region as well.
In plain real estate terms, these satellite towns have proved to be the only affordable destination for most of the urban cities. Some of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have also flourished across the expressway. However, the story of one expressway in Gujarat goes beyond just serving as the lifeline of real estate and economy; it is a case study of two vibrant economies connecting through.
Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway is not like one major city connecting to the other satellite one. It is, in fact, cross connection of the vibrant economy of the two cities where the smooth traffic has come as a blessing for the business of the region. Ahmedabad and Vadodara are two of the main cities for vibrant economic activities. As far as real estate and property market is concerned, these two cities attract nearly two thirds of the entire market size of the state.
Hence, along the Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway the real estate market has seen an upward movement and it is not just the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have flourished along the stretch of this highway. As a matter of fact, the big ticket corporate presence in the region indicates the expressway has been a catalyst to the growth of the region. It is estimated that most of the big ticket investments in these two markets, of late, has been along the stretch of the expressway.
Analysts hence make it a point that that Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway is not just strategically important for the Gujarat real estate market, rather no other expressway is as much strategically positioned as this one. ¬†
Manan Choksi, the Regional Director RE/MAX MGM agrees that the strategic importance of Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway for Gujarat property market can not be denied. According to him, Ahmedabad Vadodara expressway has reduced the travel time from Ahmedabad to Mumbai and all the main cities between. The movement of people and goods have facilitated trade like never before. People can commute from Nadiad/Anand/Vadodara to Ahmedabad and vice versa. This has led to increase in the floating population in Ahmedabad. A lot of warehousing options have come up in the either ends of this expressway.
‚ÄúAt present the opportunities seem limited. However, if proper planning is done it can be a gold mine. For example, if we have entertainment options in middle of the expressway it would be a big draw for crowd in all nearby towns. It is one of the most industrialised segments in the country and I think that opportunities do exist. However, people fail to recognise them. It is known as the golden corridor. SME sector can blossom only when there is a healthy eco system. The expressway at present does not provide the much needed incubation. Services are more likely to develop along the road,‚ÄĚ says Choksi.
Market watchers in this part of the world suggest that more efforts should be taken for the fast track growth of property market along Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway. To have development along the expressway there should be more exits from the expressway. At present once one enters the expressway only exit one can take is in Nadiad and Anand before Vadodara. More exits will help in developing other towns also. Apart from the exit, there should be more flyovers. This will ensure that one can cross the expressway instead of going around the entire road.
Some of the other suggestions include different pricing for peak hours and off peak hours, as the expressway is mostly not used by trucks at present and they still use the old national highway. This results in underutilisation of the infrastructure. So, may be during the off peak hours, the toll should be reduced to say half that will drive more traffic. Emergency services should be placed at frequent intervals to make people feel safe in travelling the expressway.¬†Expressway should be extended upto Mumbai.
Sachin Nigam, President and Business Head, CRISIL Real Estate Ratings says Ahmedabad and Vadodara are the key economic centers of Gujarat.¬†A¬†hassle free connectivity between these two cities, through the expressway, has gone a long way in improving the trade and commerce in the region. Both the starting and end nodes of expressway have already seen large scale economic development in¬†the¬†form of industrial development and resultant impact of real estate development.
‚ÄúThe expressway is expected to play a significant role by facilitating smooth transport connectivity within the Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor and hence would be critical for overall economic development of the stretch.¬† Property market will be impacted by the overall economic activity both direct and indirect being supported by the expressway,‚ÄĚ says Nigam.
Experts suggest the property market growth along any such stretch could be driven by creation of economic cluster and pockets further aided by smooth entry and exit points. It would be critical to identify placement of such clusters and the implementation should be done in a systematic and phased¬†manner, without hampering the smooth functioning of expressway.
Probably the best example of the success of this expressway is the fact that the property prices have gone up be around 50 per cent along the stretch in the last three years. This appreciation at a time when the market sentiments are low and transactions pretty slow indicates that the peak of the property cycle in the next few months will make Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway as one of the key magnets of investment and the region will lead the property rally to a new high. Many of the developers from Gujarat and even neighbouring markets of Mumbai and Pune are already exploring the feasibility of land acquisition in the region. In a collective sense of growth drivers, this shows the way forward for a new investment destination.¬†