The Top Suburbs of Mumbai

Finding a home to live in the metropolitan of Mumbai isn’t an easy task. It has some of the most diverse residential options to choose from, spread along the vast length and breadth of its suburbs. Here is a guide to help you choose from the different areas of the city.

Mumbai has always been the center for commerce and business activity in India. The city attracts a huge migrant population from different corners of the country in search of a better life. Being home to a number of multinational companies, a large number of expats also live in the city.

There is no dearth of comfortable housing options in the city, with most of its suburbs well developed and looked after by the government. However, the cost of living can vary from area to area, depending upon the vitality of the location. While the most important factor in choosing where to live is the distance between the workplace and home, other factors such as proximity to civic amenities, cost of living and connectivity also play a major role in making the final choice. The city is always teeming with new real estate activity and projects like Aura Biplex keep the residential market ticking by attracting new buyers and investors. Here are some of the major suburban areas of the city:

Bandra West

Bandra is the southernmost suburb of Mumbai, and is fondly called as the Queen of Suburbs. The area is mostly populated by the upscale residents of the city that includes the Bollywood stars and members of expat community. Bandra is a highly cosmopolitan area, known for its liberal lifestyle as against many other conservative localities of Mumbai. Buzzing with activity throughout the year, the area is home to some of the best restaurants, biggest shopping malls and luxurious homes. Bandra is also synonymous with the famous Pali Hill neighborhood and the Mount Mary suburb, which houses the largest group of Catholic population in the city. Some of the top real estate developers have their projects here; names include Celestial, Dunhill, Hill Roof and Aqua Marine amongst others.


The largest suburb of Mumbai, Andheri has a population of about 4 million. Andheri West is situated is largely a residential area, whereas East Andheri has a mix of commercial and residential settlements. The Chhatarpati Shivaji International Airport is also located in Andheri East. The east and west sections of Andheri are separated by a railway line which passes through the Andheri station, which happens to be the busiest and most hectic. The whole region has now developed into a trendy residential settlement replete with popular restaurants and international brands showrooms. It has the famous Lokhandwala complex, one of the largest residential complexes in the suburb and located near the Infiniti mall.


Lying at the northern tip of the Western Mumbai, Borivali has a rich history, which is seen in evidence in the form of a Christian church and the Kanheri Caves. Sanjay Gandhi National Park is another major landmark of Borivali and is located in the eastern part of it. On the foothills of this national park are located many newly constructed residential projects of which Aura Biplex, Parinee Adney are the prominent. Aura Biplex Borivali West is a 21 storey mixed-use project that consists of a commercial tower that offers 3 level vertical showrooms and a wide range of office space.


Located just south to Andheri, Juhu is yet another fashionable neighborhood. Swanky hotels, luxurious shopping malls, trendy restaurants, and coffee joints are the main attraction of this place. An evening at the Juhu beach is on a must-do activity list of tourists to Mumbai. The local population of Mumbai also loves to flock here for an evening stroll or catch some fresh morning air.

Premium for open space deficit hits redevelopment projects

MUMBAI: Redevelopment of housing societies across the city could slow down after the civic administration recently decided to charge a 100% premium to developers who want norms for compulsory open spaces around their buildings relaxed. These concessions are generally sought in case of smaller plots where developers are hard-pressed to leave sufficient open spaces around the built-up area.
Builders accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of “arm-twisting” and said their projects have become “unviable”. Many developers had signed redevelopment agreements with cooperative housing societies and procured initial permissions to commence work. Now this sudden demand for an additional payment, running into a few crores for each project, has upset their calculations, they said.
A civic official said the administration had received such protest letters, from developers but is yet to decide on the issue. Other sources said builders are riled because it cuts into their profits. The BMC justified it, saying the levy will boost its revenue.
The open space premium comes at a time when the civic body raked in Rs 1,500 crore in the past year as premium from developers seeking to utilize 35% extra floor space index (FSI) for their residential projects. Known as Fungible FSI, it is already the third largest money-spinner for the civic administration after octroi and property tax. But an architect complained that the new demand for a premium on open space deficiency is turning out more expensive than what developers pay for Fungible FSI. “This is unacceptable,” said an architect with redevelopment projects in the suburbs.
Builders said the latest premium, levied on a percentage of the area’s ready reckoner rate, has forced them to rework or stall their projects. But some paid up under protest. Builder Nayan Shah said he recently paid up Rs 4 crore under protest for two of his projects in the eastern suburbs.
Property market sources said in the past few months, civic officials were issuing only oral instructions to architects to pay the full premium in exchange for the mandatory permission to commence work. But nothing is in writing. “The repercussions on the redevelopment market will be grave,” they said.
“Many projects are held up although plans are already approved. Developers are unable to execute the projects because the open space deficiency premium charged by the BMC is not viable. It has affected the overall viability of such projects,” said Manoj Daisaria, architect and past president of Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association (Peata).
In a separate letter to the civic administration, Peata said, “such exorbitant demands are not affordable to developers…” The premium is levied only for housing society redevelopment projects and not on redevelopment of slums, cessed properties and Mhada colonies.
“There is no premium for open space deficiency for rehab buildings in slum projects while the sale component buildings are charged at 10%. However, there are different parameters for redevelopment of co-operative housing societies and other redevelopment in suburbs where the open space deficiency is charged at 100% including the rehab component,” said an architect, not wishing to be identified.

Mumbai to beat NCR in commercial realty

Central Mumbai has emerged as the country’s most attractive investment destination for office properties with 19% net annual return as prices are expected to rise 63% and rentals by 47% over five years, global real estate consultant Knight Frank said in a report.

But in National Capital region, returns on investment in commercial properties expected to fetch one of the lowest return of 10%. Peripheral Business Districts in Noida and Gurgaon will yield 11% return per annum. “At 19% per annum return, Mumbai’s central district, which comprises Parel, Lower Parel, Dadar, Prabhadevi, will yield the best return on investment in the country,” Knight Frank India chief economist Samantak Das said.

Mumbai’s (SBD-West) will give a return of 15%. Availability of talent, conducive business environment, international air connectivity, presence of prominent stock and commodity exchanges along with headquarters of several banks form the backbone of the financial industry in Mumbai, the consultant said. India’s financial capital’s office space has seen highest occupancy of 26% from the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, followed by IT/ITeS segment with 25% demand.

As against this, micro-markets such as Connaught Place, Nehru Place, Saket, Jasola and Bhikaji Cama Place in Delhi will witness a subdued return of 10%. Around 50% of the expected supply to be added during 2013-17. However, vacancy levels are also expected to peak before stabilizing at 18.8% by 2017. The report said as the economy is likely to revive in the coming years, the demand for office space in Mumbai and Delhi will increase.

Hyderabad (SBD), Mumbai (BKC & off BKC) and Pune (SBD East) are at third position in terms of investors return at 14% per annum. The business districts of the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bengaluru, despite being the largest office markets in the country, will lag behind other cities in terms of investor return, Das said.

“While IT dominates Bengaluru and BFSI remains significant for Mumbai, NCR has a more diversified demand for office space. Also, more and more corporates are evaluating NCR due to better infrastructure and availability of manpower,” Knight Frank India director (occupier solutions group) Viral Desai said.

Re 1 rent for 1,672 square metres in Matunga

In 1873, K S Thakkar and four others were given 2,350 square metres of land in Mazgaon for next to nothing. The lease rent was Rs 1.53 a year. The lease expired in 1972, but the collector has not bothered to renew it and meekly collects the rent set 140 years ago

Yahyabhai Adamji Jasdanwala and two others leased a land measuring 1,814.39 sq m in Byculla in 1885. The lease lapsed in 1994, but the amount collected continues to be Rs 5.65 a year

M/s Prithvi Cotton Mills has two leased properties admeasuring 1,597.83 sq m in Malabar and Cumbala Hill, for which the lease expired in 1996. But the rent the state gets stands at Rs 4.98 a year.

Yo San Ching Than Bing and two others leased a 1,672.25 sq m property in Matunga. Despite the lease ending in 1998, the collector’s office collects a pittance of Re 1 annual rent, which was set in 1889.

The lease rent of Rs 1,592.94 a year for Retreat House in Bandra, with an area of 94,200 sq m, has not been revised since the lease expired in 1950

Lease deals for close to 700 properties in the island city and suburbs have run out of time. For most, the leases ended years ago. Yet the lessees continue to pay rents set over a century ago, sums that amount to a trifle today.

Former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi sought information under the Right to Information ( RTI) Act on lands that Mumbai’s two collectors let out. Gandhi estimated that the city collector books an annual loss of about Rs 1,550 crore and the suburban collector a loss of about Rs 1,200 crore because leases have not been renewed.

What is shocking is that the city collector’s office is clueless about another 103 properties that have been given out and hence does not know when those leases end. “Some leases are renewed, while some are allowed to continue at the old rates. What are the reasons for such irrational actions? This is due to carelessness or corruption,” said Gandhi.

Currently, the annual revenue from all the 1,278 properties leased out by the city collector is Rs 48.82 crore and the 295 plots let out by the suburban collector fetch Rs 20.59 crore. City collector Chandrashekhar Oak said it is true that the leases for about 550 properties have ended, but his office had started sending out letters asking lessees to shell out the new rent or buy out the property. Mumbai suburban collector Sanjay Deshmukh said his office had already sent out 129 notices for expired leases.

Both the collectors reasoned that there had been a delay in collecting new rents because the 1999 rent renewal policy of the state had been challenged in the Bombay high court and the state had drawn up a fresh one only in December 2012.

Gandhi said citizens must speak against the state policy of selling off these properties at subsidized rates of 20% for residential, 25% for industrial and 30% for commercial. Applying an average of 25% on all plots, Gandhi said the ownership rights would be given out for Rs 2,248 crore by the city collector and Rs 1,841 crore by the suburban collector if all the properties were sold. “Citizens must protest before the government dispossesses us of our land and legitimate revenue. If we can get the government to auction off the leases in Mumbai and all over Maharashtra we could have a revenue stream of over 25,000 crore each year,” said Gandhi.

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