The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is the most densely populated urban agglomeration in India. Going by current trends, the demand and population influx to this region is unlikely to slow down, but may actually increase, being one of the country’s foremost economic growth engines. However, getting a house for oneself at an affordable rate is among the biggest challenges someone moving in faces (apart from travelling in the notoriously overcrowded local trains!). Shilphata, located on the outskirts of this region, is a ray of light for such prospective residents.
Shilphata is among the most heavily advertised real estate destinations in the MMR. Intrigued by a number of advertisements over radio, I decided to visit the place and see for myself what it has to offer to real estate end-users and investors. This article conveys my impressions of Shilphata and how it fares on various parameters, which a home buyer considers important.
Compared to most of the extremely dense MMR, Shilphata can probably be described as being in the middle of nowhere. It is located at the end of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) limits, around the junctions of the old Mumbai-Pune highway with the Kalyan-Shil road and the Mahape-Shil-Diva road. The drive along the Mahape road is quite scenic, as it passes through the green hills of the Western Ghats, with Shilphata suddenly emerging as these hills part. Most upcoming housing complexes are along the Kalyan-Shil road, with some along the highway as well.
Shilphata’s attractiveness as a housing destination is owing to it being not too far from the major industrial districts of Turbhe, Kopar Khairane and Mahape, all within 6-11 km from Shilphata. IT districts such as Airoli and the commercial district of Vashi are not too far away either. Shilphata is a far more affordable area, than those in the immediate vicinity of these employment hubs and hence, attracts plenty of interest from those working there as well as from investors.
Shilphata is an upcoming area and connectivity to it is not as good as other areas in the MMR. The Mahape-Diva road connects this area to Kopar Khairane in Navi Mumbai and Diva, while the Kalyan-Shil road leads to Dombivli and Kalyan and the old Mumbai-Pune highway leads to Mumbra and Thane. The roads are, by and large, in good condition, apart from some small rough patches.
A number of Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT), Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT) and State Transport (ST) buses ply through this area, connecting it to areas such as Vashi, CBD Belapur, Panvel and Kalyan, though their frequency is not too good. Prospective residents will need to rely on their own vehicles or on autos, which are aplenty.
Shilphata is not directly on any of the Mumbai suburban railway lines. The closest station is Nilaje (5.5 km) on the Thane-Panvel line, but train frequency is lesser here. For residents, the more convenient railheads would be Diva or Dombivli (6-7 km) on the suburban central railway line. Hence, a resident looking for an economical commute to the city often ends up compromising on time, needing to take a vehicle to the nearest station and then, a train.
Shilphata is supposed to be on the Mahape-Kalyan line of Phase 2 of the Mumbai Monorail project. However, considering the major financial issues, delays and cancellations Phase 1 is facing, Phase 2 looks unlikely and prospective residents or investors should not pay attention to the same, while making their decision.
Shilphata is not exactly teeming with various social amenities such as educational institutions, hospitals etc. and residents need to travel a bit for the same, though grocery shops are plenty. The nearest quality schools are Lodha International School and Ira Global School in Dombivli, and Symbiosis Convent High School and Mesco Crescent English High School in Mumbra, all of which are within a 4-6km radius of Shilphata.
Medical care options include Raj Hospital, Kalsekar Hospital in Mumbra and Jivdani Hospital along Kalyan-Shil road. The nearest mall is Xperia Mall in Palava City in Dombivli. With a number of housing complexes coming up, many more service providers can be expected to establish themselves here, benefiting residents.
Housing profile in Shilphata
The biggest advantages of Shilphata as a real estate destination are the large parcels of land available and the relatively low land rates here. As a result, many projects here are significantly larger than the usual single tower projects one sees in other parts of Navi Mumbai. The base price for a multistory apartment here is ~Rs. 5430 / sq. ft., which is much lesser than most other areas in Navi Mumbai or indeed the MMR and is an affordable option for end-users.
However, as of now, most housing demand in Shilphata is from investors, with some estimates that they account for as much as 70% of new apartment sales in the area. With better connectivity and more amenities expected in the area, investors can hope to get good returns on their investment.
At the same time, it’s necessary for home buyers to do their due diligence before making a purchase. Shilphata has had a chequered history with illegal constructions. In the year 2013, one under-construction building, which was already occupied by many families, collapsed, killing 74 people. The TMC has carried out demolition drives in the area to remove unauthorized constructions; in fact, one such drive was going on at the time of our visit.
Bhoomi Lawns is a project by the Gajra Group along the Kalyan-Shil road, comprising of 1 BHK and 2 BHK apartments in two towers, having G+23 and G+24 residential levels. Residents can avail of facilities such as a temple party lawn, gymnasium, yoga and meditation area and a bus shuttle service from Ghansoli and Dombivli.
Similar in nature is Arihant Aarohi by Arihant Superstructures Limited. It will have two stilt +18 level towers, containing 1 and 2 BHK apartments, which come with facilities including a hob and chimney in the kitchen and intercom service. External amenities include a swimming pool, library cum study area and a gymnasium with a steam room.
Cosmos Meluha by the Cosmos Group is a larger project, comprising of 10 buildings and 1 tower and offering 1 BHK apartments. The common area will have a clubhouse, which will contain among other things, a conference room, cafeteria and a swimming pool.
Among the biggest projects in this area is Marathon Nextown by the Marathon Group. Comprising multiple towers, this project will have 1, 2, 2.5 and 3 BHK apartments, though as of now, only 1 and 2 BHK apartments have been offered for sale. This complex comes with numerous amenities such as a landscaped garden, cricket pitch, amphitheatre and a temple.
Thus far, Shilphata has largely attracted the attention of investors, although an increasing number of end-users are also purchasing apartments here. Any prospective resident needs to weigh the lower cost of an apartment here against the greater travel time to work, school etc. and make a decision accordingly. With the cities of Dombivli and Thane (Mumbra) having almost expanded to the edge of Shilphata, residents can hope to avail of similar conveniences as those available in the main city in due course of time.