De­cod­ing the great In­dian lux­ury hous­ing story

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NEW DELHI: Lux­ury hous­ing in In­dia is the prover­bial sit­ting duck for In­dian res­i­den­tial prop­erty sec­tor. Maybe the fact that there are a lot of wealthy peo­ple in a coun­try with so much poverty strikes some as an aber­ra­tion, rather than a rea­son for pride. Nev­er­the­less, it is a hard fact that within the Asia Pa­cific re­gion, In­dia has the fourth-largest pop­u­la­tion of mil­lion­aires with around 2.36 lakh in­di­vid­u­als who fall firmly in the high net worth­cat­e­gory. Hereis de­cod­ing the lux­ury story in real es­tate: These are the peo­ple who buy or build homes which fall squarely in the su­per-lux­ury cat­e­gory of hous­ing. Their homes can be found in every ma­jor city’s ritzi­est lo­ca­tions, tow­er­ing over the rooftops of older build­ings in the prici­est areas of land-starved cities like Mumbai, or in serene es­tates sprawled across gen­er­ous acres of prime land in cities like Delhi, Pune and Ban­ga­lore. Tak­ing a broader mar­ket per- spec­tive, lux­ury hous­ing in In­dia refers to the cat­e­gory of homes which are bought by peo­ple who do not nec­es­sar­ily come from ‘old wealth’ but have of­ten man­aged to rise above the ‘mid­dle class’ median by dint of en­tre­pre­neur­ial suc­cess, savvy in­vest­ments, sheer hard work - or, in some cases, fi­nan­cial wind­falls. They rep­re­sent the nou­veau riche cat­e­gory of In­di­ans who are on the look­out for hous­ing which gives them a great lifestyle and also re­flects their suc­cess in life.

In In­dia, lux­ury or pre­mium hous­ing , as op­posed to su­per­lux­ury hous­ing - is the cat­e­gory of homes which caters to this de­mand.

The buy­ers of such hous­ing are of­ten in their late 40s or early 50s and still quite active pro­fes­sion­ally. Of­ten hav­ing earned their money the hard way, they may not be will­ing to cough up mas­sive pre­mi­ums for snob­value ad­dresses. They do pre­fer lo­ca­tions which of­fer quick con­nec­tiv­ity to their places of work. When In­dia wit­nessed its IT boom, it quickly be­came ev­i­dent that soft­ware com­pa­nies saw sense in set­ting up shop in areas with lower land rates or lease rentals.De­vel­op­ers were quick to iden­tify this op­por­tu­nity and be­gan churn­ing out pre­mium hous­ing projects around IT hubs, giv­ing rise to an en­tirely new crop of lux­ury lo­ca­tions which de­rived their value from per­for­mance rather than from snob value.

To­day, lux­ury hous­ing in In­dia is still very much a work in progress, but the seg­ment has made giant strides in trans­form­ing and keep­ing pace with the ris­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of the well­heeled and well-trav­elled in terms of global stan­dards of lux­ury and com­fort.

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