AgaKhan Palace in Pune. Kasturbha Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi, died here
By Kishor Pate
The Oxford of the East title is commonly used in context with Pune because of the number of reputed schools, colleges and management institutions in the city.Apart from the real estate spaces required for the many educational institutions seeking to make an entry or to expand in Pune, this fact has also served to drive demand for residential real estate.
Many families prefer living in Pune because of the variety of schools and colleges available within easily commutable distances. Reputable developers make it a point to source plots in areas that have ready access to these institutes by private and public transport. Large schools too have responded by ensuring that their own school bus services reach all parts of the city.
In fact, access to schools and colleges is an important criterion for families who are looking for homes in Pune. For that reason, property prices also tend to be higher in locations which are close to established educational institutions.Nevertheless, the marginal premium that home buyers pay for this convenience is still far lower than it is in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Nor does proximity to schools and colleges necessarily carry the same market clout in all cities.
In a city like Mumbai, home buyers are primarily concerned with buying flats that allow them to travel to and from work. In smaller cities like Pune, reaching work is not as serious a challenge.
The public transport system may not be cutting-edge, but most families find that their personal vehicles suffice for most commuting purposes. Nor is shopping anywhere as perilous in a retail boom-town like Pune, as it is in the larger metros, where few people can hope to access anything better than a ‘kirana’ store for their daily needs.
Also, Pune has more hospitals, clinics and assorted healthcare facilities per square kilometer than most other cities in Maharashtra (with the exception of Miraj and Sangli, which are more or less hospital towns). With a number of other home buying considerations taken care of in many of Pune’s established and upcoming areas, proximity to schools continues to be high on priority list of property buyers. This is why, from a property investment point of view, buying a home in Pune which is close to one or more established educational institutions is an important hedge against real estate market variations
A cursory study of pricing trends certainly indicates that residential properties which are near to a couple of good secondary schools appreciate better than others. Savvy property investors know that even in a recessionary market, a city’s social dynamics do not vary far from the norm.
With shopping, healthcare and workplace access not necessarily serious constraints, families in Pune nevertheless give utmost importance to the needs of their children. It is not without reason that developers in Pune whose project locations justify such claims highlight proximity to schools in their promotions.
Most families in Pune see such proximity both as a cost-saving advantage, as well as a source of peace of mind. Thanks to the fact that prestigious and established educational institutions are not transient by nature, these advantages are locked into a location over many years. It is therefore also much easier to sell such properties later on. This is an important investment factor that everyone considering the purchase of a home in Pune should take into consideration.
Kishor Pate is Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Limited, one of India’s most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic in Undri and Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.