BANGALORE: Once the end point of Bangalore city in the north, Hebbal is set to redefine its stature over the next five years. Taking into account launched residential projects and projects that are to be announced in the coming months, with the Hebbal lake as the centre point, a whopping 2,000 residential units, mainly apartments , are set to come up in the area. And what's interesting is that all units are priced above Rs 1 crore, of which close to 1,000 units are priced above Rs 2.5 crore.

This development can be geographically split into two parts — one part of the development is around the Manyata Embassy Business Park, and the other is along a 3-km radius on Bellary Road from the Hebbal lake. As J C Sharma, MD, Sobha Developers, puts it, "This stretch will be the new M G Road of Bangalore." "Hebbal is where the new Bangalore is going to be. Hence, the demand," says Jitendra Virwani, CMD, Embassy Group, adding that most of the infrastructure projects on Bellary road are running ahead of schedule. Besides primary infrastructure, the area has attracted a lot of social infrastructure like high-end hospitals and schools that's fuelling real estate development.

"In the Hebbal micro-market, availability is low in the Rs 60- to Rs 90-lakh segment, and the new products being launched are in the higher price segment of above Rs 1 crore," says Karun Varma, MD (Bangalore & Kochi), Jones Lang LaSalle India, a real estate consultancy firm.

From clubhouses in the sky to designer homes by Jade Jagger, to apartments that tower 40 floors high, Hebbal's skyline would represent a bespoke luxury lifestyle.

Even in times of real-estate ebb, Hebbal is the new destination for those seeking high-end , premium addresses.

But why Hebbal? "Basically , you are targeting the second-home buyer who can't afford to buy on Palace Road or in Sadashivanagar or in any of the other central locations," says Cherag Ramakrishnan , CEO, Equinox Realty, who is developing a high-end residential unit, Water's Edge, near Manyata Embassy Business Park. Besides Equinox, Mantri Developers , G:Corp, and Karle have also launched projects in the same vicinity. Golden Gate Properties is also slated to launch a high-end residential project in the area.

"There is a shortage of high-end space within the city limits, and here you have a destination that's 15 to 20 minutes away from the city centre, and has land available," adds Jitendra Virwani, CMD, Embassy Group. Bespoke projects from RMZ, Embassy, and Godrej Properties, priced above Rs 2 crore, have been launched along the Bellary highway after the Hebbal flyover. Century , Brigade and Salarpuria have also planned high-end projects in this area. Last year, Sobha launched its mega township project of 1,500 units — Sobha City — located off Bellary Road. The average per sqft rates that developers are quoting is in the range of Rs 5,000 per sqft to Rs 8,000 per sqft.

"The airport has definitely magnetized this part of town as it attracts a lot of senior management of companies . Hence, you see the pricing in the area is line with the customer profile," says Raj Menda, CMD, RMZ Corp. Interestingly, the spike in residential activity in the region has brought back some amount of investor demand, though developers reiterate that Bangalore's residential market is very much end-user driven.

"There has been a lot of interest from investors from Mumbai and Kolkata for high-end projects in Hebbal," says Sudeep Chandran, owner, Terrafirma Developers , adding that 15% to 20% of offtake seen in Hebbal is by investors. However, there are no signs of bulk buying by investors, which could potentially create a price bubble.

"The senior management of IT companies is looking at north Bangalore as an investment opportunity. As of now, they are investors . Once the developments are ready, many of them would become end-users ," explains Ram Chandnani, deputy MD of South India CBRE South Asia, a global real estate consultancy firm.

Says Farook Mahmood, CMD, Silverline Group, "Bangalore is turning to be a very mature market, and our prices are still one of the lowest as compared to other metros."

According to another global consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield (C&W), "The purchases in Hebbal are mostly led by long-term investors and the prices have appreciated consequently." Considering the first two quarters of 2012, C&W says, "Hebbal has witnessed a price appreciation of around 8% in the high-end residential segment."

However, the city's eastern micro-markets such as Marathahalli, Whitefield, and Old Airport Road have witnessed the highest price appreciation of 32% year on year, which is in the mid-segment residential market, according to C&W.
Times of India 03/08/2012
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