If you are looking forward to move to Chennai, here is an overview of its rental market to guide you through your housing search.
With a population amounting to 4,828,853 inhabitants in 2015, Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is known to be the 5th biggest Indian cities. Referred to as the Gateway to South India, located in the State of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is a top destination for expatriates and tourists. In fact, it even ranked 1st among the Indian cities with best quality living in 2014 by India today and best destination tourism destination due to its traditional legacy blending with modernity.
Chennai is also a huge industrial, commercial, economic and cultural hub where you will definitely enjoy your stay by benefiting from various advantages and opportunities. Hence, you should easily manage to find accommodation if you have decided to move there.
Chennai is divided into different zones, namely the North, the City-center, the West and the South. The outskirts are better known as Greater Chennai. Each of these zones consist of several business, commercial and residential neighborhoods. In the North, for instance, you will find, namely East and West Kodungaiyur, Madhavaram, Puzhal, Moolakadai, Kolathur, Parry's Corner, Royapuram, Tiruvottiyur, Perambur, etc. The city-center, for its part, includes Triplicane, Royapettah, Teynampet, Alwarpet, Gopalapuram and Mylapore.
Ayanavaram, Villivakkam, Anna Nagar, Padi, East and West Mogappair, Arumbakkam, Avadi, Pudur, Korattur and Ashok Nagar are found in the West. In the South, finally, you have Meenambakkam, Perungudi, Sholinganallur, Alandur, Adyar, Besant Nagar, Tiruvanmiyur, etc.
The following are the most popular neighborhoods with expatriates: Thiruvanmyir, Ijambakkam, Akkarai, Panatur, Nungambakkam, Bishop Garden, Mylapore, Besant Nagar, East Coast Road, etc.
Note that East Coast Road, Bishop Garden and Anna Nagar are known to be upscale neighborhoods. Mylapore, for its part, is a pleasant residential neighborhood with affordable accommodation.
As regards foreigners working in and around Tidel Park, they are more likely to settle around Old Mahabalipuram Road.
Good to know:
West Chennai, which used to be a mainly residential neighborhood, is now rapidly developing into a commercial region.
Chennai has a wide rental market, providing houses, apartments, as well as villas. Rent prices, of course, vary from one neighborhood to another and according to the different types of accommodation. However, these remain more affordable compared to other major Indian cities. For instance, you will need an average of INR 11,500 per month for a single-bedroom apartment in the city-center and an average of INR 6,900 for the same type of accommodation in the outskirts.
For a three-bedroom apartment, you will need an average of INR 27,100 per month in the city-center and around INR 16,900 per month in the outskirts.
In some cases, especially if you are moving to Chennai via a job transfer, your employer will generally take care of your accommodation. But otherwise, you can still look for housing by various means: internet, classified ads in local newspapers, expatriate forums, etc. Word-of-mouth may also help if you have friends and contacts on the spot.
You can also register with a real estate agency to have more chances of finding accommodation as per your criteria. However, you will be required to pay a commission, which is generally equal to a month's rent.