The Comfort of Home
The total value of luxury homes in key Indian cities touched $ 30 billion between 2008 and 2012. It can only grow.
After returning to Kochi from an eight year assignment in Brussels, IT professional Sandeep Menon wanted to invest in property that gave him easy access to his office in Kaloor as well as a scenic location to help him unwind after a hard day’s work. It also had to be close to his daughter’s school, where his wife works as a teacher. He invested Rs 1.6 crore in a plush, furnished waterfront flat near Vytilla, with imported wooden floors, branded faucets, a modular kitchen and teak- wood doors. It has its perks. In the evenings, he finds time to work out at the society’s gym, and enjoys a steam bath twice a week. But what he cherishes most is an occasional evening drink on his balcony overlooking the backwaters. “If you discount the frequent power cuts, which is the bane of Kerala, life here is heavenly,” he says.
A CLASS APART
As Kochi’s Menon proves, owning a luxury home is no longer the prerogative of the rich and famous in the metros. High- net- worth individuals ( HNIS) are making a beeline for luxury homes with easy access to work and top- class amenities, even in Tier- II cities such as Lucknow, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. Catering to this demand are developers such as Lodha, Sunteck, DB Realty, Kohinoor, Sobha, DLF, Puravankara, Prestige and Hiranandani. Property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle ( JLL) India says the total value of luxury homes in 2008- 2012, with 25,570 units on offer across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune,
NCR- Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, was around $ 30 billion. Experts say there is new demand for luxury and ultra- luxury homes with prices ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 20 crore, driven by new offerings, an influx of non- resident Indians ( NRIS) and changing lifestyles. The value of luxury homes will be fuelled by the presence of around 153,000 HNIS. In cities like Mumbai, some projects have even crossed the Rs 100- crore mark.
In Mumbai, traditional luxury housing hotspots stretch from south Mumbai — covering the golden triangle of Napean Sea, Altamount Road and Peddar Road— to Bandra, but this is being supplemented by new properties on land that once belonged to textile mills in central Mumbai, comprising Parel, Lower Parel, Elphinstone Road and Worli. Consultants say south Mumbai still remains twice as expensive, with homes ranging between Rs 60,000 and Rs 1.2 lakh per sq ft.
In Pune, where luxury homes are moving beyond the traditionally affluent localities of Aundh and Koregaon Park to NIBM, Pashan, Bavdhan and Baner, an influx of expats, professionals and GenNext of business families is creating new demand. Understandably, this July, US tycoon Donald Trump partnered with Panchshil Realty to launch Trump Towers that will house 44 condominiums.
Delhi’s luxury hotspots on Prithviraj Road, Amrita Shergil Road, Shanti Niketan and Akbar Road are homes to industrialists and NRIS. ITC Chairman Y. C. Deveshwar reportedly bought a 650 sq yd plot in Shanti Niketan for Rs 85 crore, taking the rates to over Rs 10 lakh per sq yd. In Gurgaon, societies such as Aralias and Magnolias cost Rs 25,000 to Rs 32,000 per sq ft. In June, Godrej Properties announced their entry into NCR with a luxury project in Okhla. “NCR is key to our growth. We believe this project’s location will help grow our presence in the region,” said Pirojsha Godrej, MD and CEO of Godrej Properties.
In Bangalore, the upmarket Sadashiv Nagar is priced around Rs 18,000 per sq ft, and offers mostly villas or bungalows. Of other premium areas, Sankey Road is rated at Rs 20,000 to Rs 26,000 per sq ft, and Lavelle Road at Rs 18,000 to Rs 24,000 per sq ft.
In Chennai, premium properties, priced at Rs 20,000 per sq ft, are coming up near Boat Club Road. In Kochi, the luxury realty market is booming in localities such as Vytilla, Thevara, Kaloor, Edappally and Kadavanthra.
Experts say high pre- sale activity in luxury projects indicates the sector is growing. “In metros— Mumbai, DelhiNCR and Bangalore— luxury and ultraluxe projects have seen tenfold rise over launch prices in the last decade, a more- than- 100 per cent annual return on investment,” Santosh Kumar of JLL said in a note in July. However, not everyone is upbeat. “The luxury segment holds great potential,” says Mudassir Zaidi of property consultant Knight Frank India. “But with the bleak global economic scenario, transactions are slow.”
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