From Mumbai to Pune, Bangalore to Delhi NCR, the marquee real estate story in 2021 has been the booming demand for luxurious and high-end properties. The chorus for big-ticket transactions is getting louder and the excitement among the real estate fraternity is over the moon, as HNIs and NRIs seek out spacious luxe homes to ride out the pandemic.
After almost a three-quarter dry spell in 2020, the luxury real estate market has staged a comeback, with stable prices, stamp duty cuts, reductions in circle rates and a generous supply of ready-to-move inventory, creating a fertile ground for luxury homebuyers to cash in on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
According to industry surveys, at least 73% of NRIs prefer properties between INR90 lakhs-INR2.5Cr, with 3BHK & 4BHK properties being the most preferred unit size. IT hubs of Bengaluru and Pune are witnessing the most demand among other cities, with 48,370 homes sold in 2020, accounting for 35% of the total luxury sales among the top 7 cities.
However, with a 20% slash in circle rates in Delhi-NCR, luxury home sales in posh areas have seen an uptick with fence-sitters ready to harvest this opportunity before the window closes. The cut has revved up the residential market and created an avalanche of inquiries for luxury properties since value of properties is now much closer to the current market prices. The circle rate cut pulled down the stamp duty rates too and provided a sigh of relief for buyers. Of the total 23,220 housing units sold last year, 4% consisted of luxury home sales.
This new eruption of demand for luxury housing reflects the fact that the market is oddly strong and that by the end of the year, market conditions willing, we can expect the real estate sector to be in a much better position than even pre-covid days. And while prices seem to be stable, homebuyers are not willing to wait out the current crisis and are booking properties even unseen.
All said, let us look at the trends that are doing the rounds in the luxury residential market.
Penchant for bespoke living: Luxury homebuyers are leaving no stone unturned in living a bespoke life, that keeps their families safe from the effects of the pandemic and at the same time enjoy customized experiences that sync with their emotions, needs and wants. Luxe buyers are going for heavy personalization that sets their pad apart not just now, but in the future too. They are focusing on luxury condos that come with separate office space, large outdoor areas, roof decks and also wellness services. The amenities include home automation, hi-tech lighting, air filtration and a well-connected ecosystem decked up with numerous choices to live, work and play.
Growing interest in second homes: The importance of second homes in the middle of a green oasis far away from the urban set-up has quadrupled post-pandemic. HNIs tired of living in cities that are becoming epicenters of the pandemic are looking for a refuge in the suburbs and thus are on the lookout for self-sufficient properties in hill stations and holiday destinations. Second-home destinations like Mussoorie, Dehradun, Goa, Alibaug are hot favorites for luxury clientele since they offer good architecture, favorable weather, better air quality and a true escape from the hustle and bustle of the cities.
Shift in importance of amenities: Owing a home is no more about the inner look and feel, but how the project is maintained, developed and planned. Projects that come with a bunch of amenities for holistic living including health-focused programming and wellness services, full-blown cleaning and sanitation programming, in-building healthcare options and on-site medical care, are in strict focus while shopping for homes. Luxury homebuyers are valuing residences that come with such a tranche of amenities. Residences having private gardens and homes with large decks and balconies that can double up as an entertainment zone have become the most sought-after for luxury homebuyers.
Desire for king-size living: With stable property prices, slash in circle rates and excellent offers by developers, luxury homebuyers are stretching their budgets and going for properties that are defined by the quality of living rather than just volume. Apartments built over entire floors that come with landscaped terrace gardens, central air-conditioning, central heating, private swimming pools, private lounges and exclusive lifts are some king-size perks, luxury homebuyers are on a quest for. Residential projects that have restaurants, spas, automated car wash, atm, cafes and shopping joints are also on the list of premium buyers.
All in all, an uptick in the luxury housing segment bodes well for the real estate sector bottoming out from the pandemic crisis. The segment is poised for additional growth in 2021 with real estate developers fine-tuning housing blueprints and positioning existing and new developments that cater to the evolving needs of luxe homebuyers.