Finding accommodation will definitely be one of your priorities if you are planning to relocate in Kolkata. Here is how to proceed.
Stretching over some 185 km², Kolkata is the State of West Bengal's biggest city with more than 7 million inhabitants in 2014. It is, in fact, one of the best expat destinations in India for the numerous opportunities it provides for foreigners. Kolkata is also one of the major cities where the cost of living is more affordable due to its prosperous economy. Thus, it can be the ideal place for you and your family if you are planning to move to India. You shall not have much trouble in finding accommodation there thanks to its developed rental market.
Good to know:
Despite being a highly developed metropolis, Kolkata still suffers from several social ills such as poverty, urban pollution, overpopulation and traffic jam.
Kolkata is divided into different zones, namely the North, the City-center and the South. Each of these consists of several neighborhoods, including business, commercial and residential neighborhoods. For instance, the city center is, above all, a business neighborhood. It also hosts several government organizations, office buildings, as well as banks, schools, hotels and the Central post office. It can be quite difficult, but not impossible, to find accommodation there. Further, Hindustan Park, is a calm and peaceful neighborhood, hosting a few boutiques.
The North is considered as the Old City, including neighborhoods such as Chitpur, Cossipore, Shyambazar, Shobhabazar, Sinthee, Dum Dum, Baranagar, Belghoria, Sodepur and Khardah. As regards upscale neighborhoods, these are rather found in the South, namely Alipur, New Alipur, Ballygunge, Golf Green, Lansdowne, Bhowanipore,Tollygunge, Jodhpur Park, Lake Gardens, etc. Note that Alipur is the greenest and calmest neighborhood in Kolkata.
Finally, Ballygunge, South City and Salt Lake are more modern neighborhoods. These are especially popular with expatriates due to the presence of several facilities such as restaurants, supermarkets, boutiques, schools, and a hospital.
Types of accommodation
You are likely to find a range of accommodation options in Kolkata, namely apartments, houses and villas. In general, apartments are spacious and are found in residential buildings. These can be either furnished or unfurnished. However, some parts of the housing unit, such as the kitchen, toilets and bathroom, can surprise you at first sight. You could have to perform some repairs or renovation works before moving in.
Individual houses are a bit rarer as most of these are found in isolated neighborhoods. However, most of these have a small yard, and a garden in some cases.
Rent prices in Kolkata have been rising since a few years. Of courses, these vary from one neighborhood to another and according to the type of accommodation. Houses are often more expensive. So you will probably start by renting an apartment. Thus, a single-bedroom apartment can cost an average of INR 10,400 per month in the city-center and around INR 5,900 per month in the outskirts.
For a three-bedroom apartment, you will need an average of INR 26,100 per month in the city-center and some INR 15,200 per month in the outskirts.
Make sure to inquire on the rental market and to compare rent prices before signing lease documents as prices often tend to double when it comes to foreigners.
Internet will probably be your biggest tool during your housing hunt in Kolkata. Indeed, you can browse several general and specialized housing websites, as well as other virtual platforms. Remember to check out classified ads in local newspapers as well. But if you are in a hurry, it would be wise to register with a real estate agency which can help you find accommodation according to your criteria more rapidly. However, you will have to pay them a commission which is generally equal to a month's rent. You will also have to pay a security deposit, which is generally equal to six months rent, when signing the lease documents.