THE PROM­ISE OF LUX­URY

Even though the re­gion’s real es­tate mar­ket was hit by a slow­down, lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury hous­ing still has huge po­ten­tial, says Mu­niesh­wer A Sa­gar

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - mu­niesh­wer.sa­gar@hin­dus­tan­times.com

From multi-storey lux­ury cot­tages in the Hi­machal hills, lux­ury vil­las in the midst of a golf course in Lud­hi­ana to lux­ury pent­houses in the Chandi­garh tric­ity re­gion… lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury hous­ing has come a long way in the re­gion.

Ticket prices in this seg­ment start from around R1 crore as de­vel­op­ers claim they are not selling a prod­uct but a lifestyle. And it is not just the ameni­ties, the de­sign, size, tech­nol­ogy in­cor­po­rated that mat­ter. The brand value of these projects is equally im­por­tant. Dif­fer­en­tia­tors in the prod­uct like scenic views from hill­tops or 360 de­gree views of cities also mat­ter in this seg­ment. As far as sup­ply in the re­gion is con­cerned, it is mostly con­cen­trated in the mid-price seg­ment of R50 lakh to R 80 lakh. While op­tions and sup­ply in the bud­get and lux­ury seg­ments re­main lim­ited, the bud­get seg­ment has started to at­tract greater devel­oper at­ten­tion in re­cent years. Sup­ply in the lux­ury seg­ment, how­ever, re­mains lim­ited.

The slow­down im­pact

Slow­down in the real es­tate mar­ket has im­pacted the lux­ury seg­ment. With the en­try of lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional play­ers in 2005, sup­ply of lux­ury projects also went up dur­ing the pe­riod 200506 and later. Both the end-user and the in­vestor re­sponded pos­i­tively to these projects. In the last three-and-a-half years, how­ever, de­mand dried up, and con­se­quently, devel­oper pri­or­i­ties and sup­ply cre­ation in dif fer­ent residential seg­ments grad­u­ally changed. In the last few years, sup­ply cre­ation di­min­ished with very few new pro­ject launches. “The sales in all the seg­ments de­clined in the last few years. In the lux­ury seg­ment also the de­mand is low. Only the end-user is cur­rently ac­tive in th e mar­ket , an d this de­mand is also lim­ited to the price seg­ment of R25 lakh to R40 lakh,” says Anil Cho­pra, chair­man CREDAI Punjab.

De­vel­op­ers have been on their toes, try­ing to fig­ure out ways to check the se­vere price cor­rec­tion and slow­down in de­mand. They have changed their of­fer­ings and added at­trac­tions to their ex­ist­ing prod­ucts and projects. Dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of lux­ury hous­ing were added to the mid­priced and pre­mium seg­ments to at­tract buy­ers.

Pra­teek Mit­tal of Sushma Buildtech, a Zi­rakpur-based real es­tate devel­oper, says, “The na­ture of de­mand and land cost have af­fected the growth of the lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury seg­ments in the Chandi­garh tric­ity re­gion. Also, in re­cent years, hous­ing cat­e­gorised as lux­ury has now be­come a part of the mid­priced seg­ment with stan­dard of­fer­ings. For in­stance, well equipped club houses, gyms, com­mu­nity swimming pools, etc are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing part of the mid-priced and pre­mium seg­ment hous­ing prod­ucts. In ter ms of size and area, though, 4BHK (bed­room-hall-kitchen) and 5BHK residential units have an edge in terms of lux­ury cat­e­gori­sa­tion.”

Un­tapped po­ten­tial

Lo­cal real es­tate ex­perts say that the po­ten­tial of the lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury seg­ment in the re­gion has yet to be fully re­alised.

Hi­man­shu Pant, busi­ness-head, Ansal API, based in Chandi­garh, says the po­ten­tial of the lux­ury seg­ment is yet to be fully re­alised in the re­gion. “Lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury hous­ing is still to be fully de­vel­oped in the re­gion. Most of the residential prop­er­ties and projects mar­keted as ‘lux­ury hous­ing are not nec­es­sar­ily lux­ury hous­ing. At best these can be termed as pre­mium hous­ing. In the Chandi­garh tric­ity, a mar­ket driven by the ser­vice class, there aren’t many ex­am­ples of lux­ury and su­per­lux­ury liv­ing that com­pare with na­tional and in­ter­na­tional lev­els of lux­ury hous­ing. The po­ten­tial de­mand for lux­ury hous­ing is also lim­ited here.

If the planned IT in­dus­try and cor­po­rate ex­pan­sion ac­tu­ally ma­te­ri­alises in the tric­ity area, then the lux­ury seg­ment de­mand and sup­ply will surely in­crease. In other ar­eas of the re­gion such as Lud­hi­ana and Ja­land­har, mar­kets driven by the busi­ness class ea­ger to spend sur­plus money on lux­ury goods and ser­vices, the po­ten­tial for lux­ury hous­ing is im­mense. Al­ready, there are prod­ucts and projects in Lud­hi­ana that cater to such a de­mand.”

Ar­eas around hill sta­tions like Kasauli, Chail, and Shimla in Hi­machal Pradesh are some of the ar­eas where lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury hous­ing has taken roots, at­tract­ing buy­ers from across the re­gion.

Ran­jit Ka­pur, pro­moter, Chail Heights, says, “There is a strong de­mand for lux­ury and su­per-lux­ury hous­ing in the area. The sup­ply of lux­ury vil­las is ex­pand­ing very fast and de­mand re­sponse is also good. Re­cently, a na­tional level devel­oper suc­cess­fully sold lux­ury vil­las priced at around

R5 crore. The de­mand for such lux­ury hous­ing in the re­gion em­anates mostly from Punjab, Chandi­garh and NCR re­gions. Buy­ers of such prop­er­ties buy them as lifestyle state­ments and spend their sum­mer hol­i­days there. In re­cent years, the NRI (non-res­i­dent In­dian) buyer has also shown in­creased in­ter­est in lux­ury hous­ing in the area.”

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