Infrastructure is the key to the growth of real estate - and the cornerstone of infrastructure is roads. Even a cursory glance through history would show that the Roman Empire built stone roads throughout Europe & Northern Africa to help its armies horse-driven carriages ride faster. At its height there was a saying that “All roads lead to Rome”. And ever since, development of roads has emerged as the master key to unlock the value of the real estate market.
Many property buyers cite an area’s excellent road network as the reason for their choosing the locale. But have we thought how it actually works? Is there any ‘co-relation’ between better roads and higher real estate values?
Today it is safer to say that real estate development won’t be possible without adequate development of road networks. People need roads to travel to their destinations for office work or for recreation purposes. As the traffic volume increases they require larger, better-planned roads to accommodate the rising volumes.
The Suburban utopia
Suburbs are simply the aggressive horizontal expansion of our cities. Are they going to save our expanding cities or are they just the symptoms of the urbanization disease?
Let’s have a look at America. Its suburbs “represent the epitome of the American Dream and the promise of upward mobility.” Its Interstate Highway Act was a grand vision to connect the entire country with a world-class highway system.
But, the American governments’ suburban experiment was also a radical, re-engineering of the American society, in opposition to the existing practice (and wisdom) of building human habitats. To quote the late columnist Earl Wilson, “Modern man drives a mortgaged car over a bond-financed highway on credit card gas (petrol).”
If a link road comes up connecting two major highways, it provides easy access to various commercial, residential and industrial centers. It can significantly relieve the traffic congestion in the road network due to its provision cycle tracks, service roads and parking facilities to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
Improved Lifestyle: With the shorter distances due to its well-planned and designed roads, people can choose to use the cheaper public transport. As it not only improves the quality of lives, it also decreases pollution. Improving the road connectivity also improves the overall safety of a neighborhood, as the emergency services like law enforcement, fire brigades and ambulances can reach faster.
In Indian cities, the commuting time from their workplace can make or break its real estate market. Due to the lower commuting time, its residents get more quality time to spend with their families. Because of the increasing fuel prices, savings on the monthly fuel expenses accrue when a new road improves its overall connectivity in the locality. Communities living in areas without good road connectivity often spend between 10-15% extra on their monthly transportation costs.
The health-connect: Reduced commute time also decreases the likelihood of related physical ailments and stress. When people have to travel over longer distances daily, the time to which they’re exposed to traffic pollution increases. Several serious health problems such as lung infections & deep vein thrombosis have been directly linked to regular long car travel. Another of its by-product is the road rage and reckless driving. Improved road connectivity leads to significantly shorter travel distances make it possible for people to choose bicycle for their transportation. The higher demand for homes in well-connected areas is only because they are more accessible, safer, healthier and cheaper to live in.
Hence improved road connectivity of a location has a significant upward impact on its real estate prices.