If you wish to settle in Pondicherry, here is some information on its rental market and on the most appropriate neighborhoods for expatriates.
Pondicherry is, by far, the most developed city of the Tamil Nadu, stretching over some 19,46 km² in Southeast India. It is deemed to be a top destination for expatriation. Indeed, foreigners coming from different countries worldwide, especially French, have settled there over the years. Pondicherry is also a tourist city thanks to its huge historical and cultural heritage, as well as its numerous places of interest. Its population, to date, amounts to some 241,773 inhabitants while the region, as a whole, hosts 654 392 inhabitants, including expatriate communities.
Pondicherry is an ideal city for those who wish to learn more about the colonial era while getting closer to expatriate communities. In fact, you shall not have trouble in finding modern or more traditional accommodation there.
The city is divided into several zones and residential and commercial neighborhoods. The French Quarter is, by far, the most popular neighborhood with expatriates due to its ancient colonial looks. It is, indeed, a posh neighborhood with big houses and villas that are found by the sea. You are also likely to find several green spaces, gardens and parks there, in a calm and serene environment. Further, the Muslim, Tamil, Christian and Hindu Quarters are populated by Indians who have come from other parts of the country, namely Gujarat, Orissa and Bengal, etc.
Good to know:
The East is simply the opposite of the French Quarter. It is very lively, but very noisy as it is served by traditional means of transport, including the rickshaw.
Nearer to the city-center, you will find a huge market which is famous for its spices, fruits, vegetables and tea, as well as shops, libraries, jewelers, merchant streets and modern coffee shops and restaurants.
Types of accommodation
Pondicherry's rental market is quite limited compared to that of other major cities. You are more likely to find colonial type houses with a pitched roof in the French Quarter, but you can still find more modern houses elsewhere. Colonial houses are not very comfortable, but these are part of the region's historical legacy, built into transverse strips onto parallel streets. Their walls are made of brick and limestone, painted in lively colors. If you prefer an apartment or a villa, it is better to look elsewhere.
Rent prices in Pondicherry are rather affordable compared to many other cities. Hence, you can rent a single-bedroom apartment for an average of INR 4,500 per month in the city-center and around INR 2,600 per months in the outskirts. To rent a three-bedroom apartment, you will need an average of INR 10,500 per month (equal to some 300 euros) in the city-center and around INR 4,500 per month in the outskirts. For a five-bedroom apartment, you will spend an average of 700 euros per month.
As regards villas, which are usually far from the city-center, rent prices start as from 500 euros per month.
You are unlikely to find any real estate agency in Pondicherry. Therefore, you probably have to start your housing hunt on the Internet. Word-of-mouth will also help if you have friends or contacts in the city. Indeed, you stand more chances of finding accommodation as per your criteria and budget with this method. However, do not expect these to meet European or US standards, especially when it comes to the kitchen, bathroom and toilets.
Note that your search can last for more than two weeks. You will also have to provide a security deposit, which is generally equal to six months rent, to the owner when signing lease documents. Moreover, you are advised to conduct an inventory of the premises before signing as some repair works could be required, specially in old style houses.
Expat.com – Housing in Pondicherry
99 Acres www.99acres.com
Common Floor www.commonfloor.com
Magic Bricks www.magicbricks.com