The expanding tribe of foreign diplomats, officials of UN and other international agencies, executives of MNCs and banks are finding it extremely difficult to find a house of their choice in Delhi. Actually, bungalows with a garden, however small, are dwindling faster than one expects in Delhi. As recently as a few years ago, the situation was not this bad.
According to Anil Makhijani of Mak Realtors, if the owners of big kothies and bungalows in elite South Delhi colonies continue to hand over their properties to builders at such a brisk pace, after a couple of years one would not be able to see independent kothies, or bungalows.
Already, one can only find kothies with a garden in posh places like Malcha Marg, Sunder Nagar, Vasant Vihar, Westend and Shanti Niketan. These are some of the most well-known areas which the foreigners have always preferred during their sojourn in Delhi. Those who have dealt with tenants of the above category know for sure that most of these foreign nationals have only two considerations before they settle for some house.
One, it has to have a nice manicured garden, where they can sit at ease, or take a walk. Second, the house should have at least four bedrooms, they can settle for a three-bedroom house even. But it is not at all possible that they would settle for a house without a garden. Now, with foreigners flocking to the country in thousands, houses of their choice are becoming scarcer by the day.
Many realty dealers say that the South Korean and Japanese nationals do not prefer a house, which is more than 20-30 years old. This is not an issue with French, British and American nationals. They do not mind living in such houses provided the house has a nice garden.
The current rates for independent 800 sq yard houses in places like Vasant Vihar, Shanti Niketan, Westend and Sunder Nagar are a staggering Rs 5-6 lakhs per month. The rates vary with location. If we talk about a 400 sq yard house in these places, then the rates are up to Rs 2.50 lakhs. Anil Makhijani says that even though the rentals are touching the roof, tenants are very easy to come by. In the last couple of years, the influx of foreigners has increased considerably.
Earlier, only the diplomatic community and some officials of international agencies used to come to Delhi, on an extended period of stay. The new market scenario has completely altered the rental scene for these areas in Delhi. Until a few years ago, the foreign community in Delhi could find houses even in places like Greater Kailash, Safdarjung Enclave, Uday Park, Panchsheel Park.
Now, it is tough to find independent houses, which are available on rent there. After all, where have all the houses with gardens gone? According to experts, a large number of homeowners in posh south Delhi areas have converted their house into floors.
Some thirty thousand foreigners live in south Delhi. As has been mentioned earlier, senior officials of several MNCs including Coca Cola, Pepsi, Seagram, Vodafone, Ericsson, Aviva are ever on the hunt for that suitable house.
Even as houses with gardens are becoming a rarity in the National Capital, the strong diplomatic and expat community is started going to DLF area of Gurgaon. It is said that there, they find independent houses, far cheaper than in Delhi, and with a park!
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The Economic Times
Where have all the houses with gardens gone?
26 Oct, 2007