Senior citizen living or retirement housing, whichever way you call it, is set to be the next big growth avenue for Indian real estate. This is not just casual speak; several industry experts, realty players and other market biggies have already highlighted the same thing. This is one trend which is picking up now and how!
The fact remains that life expectancy levels have gone up (which is a good thing) and with access to better healthcare services, the average population has gone up for senior citizens in the country. By senior citizen, we mean a person aged over 60. This segment should account for a whopping 25% and more of the Indian population by the year 2050 as per several reports. However, the desired infrastructure to cater to this age group is still in catch-up mode.
Factors boosting the growth of senior citizen living/retirement housing
- Old-age homes were regarded as a matter of taboo when placed in a collective and family oriented culture earlier.
- The perception is steadily transforming with more nuclear families and a huge number of NRIs who have parents and other elderly family members in the country.
- Old-age homes which are mostly under-staffed and devoid of basic infrastructure are slowly giving way to retirement housing communities dedicated towards the wellbeing of elderly citizens.
- These establishments usually provide tie-ups with leading hospitals and medical care providers while staff members are trained on caring for the elderly while meeting particular nutritional and food based requirements.
- The infrastructure is tailored to enhance the convenience of senior citizens who can live in these communities on their own terms without having to depend on their children.
- Children who are away from their parents can let go of their guilt while providing their parents a better life in these communities while relationships improve with their parents since the latter have access to everything they need and have a higher sense of independence as well.
Examining the potential of the senior citizen living market
- India’s senior population is expected to triple to 300 million by the year 2050 as compared to approximately 130 million at present.
- However, supporting infrastructure for this growing age group is not present in a big way.
- Housing demand in this category is close to 300,000 units at present across 9 specific formats of senior living.
- Formal supply levels have been mapped at an abysmal 20,000 units or so by several reports and studies.
- Companies emphasizing on senior living have increased almost to 40 over a decade in India with there being close to 100 such residential communities for seniors across multiple economic sections.
- Senior living is the right mix of healthcare, housing, service and hospitality.
- The value proposition here is not just in the amenities and security but also a like-minded peer group, activities, social events and assistance.
- Real estate developers operating in this category are usually able to sell units at prices which are higher by 15-20% on an average while sales also take place at least 25-30% faster.
- By the year 2025 itself, 173 million is the expected approximate population of people over 60 years of age in India as per reports, thereby presenting a massive opportunity for the Indian real estate sector.
- Senior living projects were usually built in southern areas like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on account of factors like migration (outward).
- Kerala is a hot market for senior living along with Coimbatore, Goa, Puducherry and Dehradun which are preferred retirement cities.
- These projects are also coming up in peripheral zones of major cities, offering ample open spaces and amenities.
- Satellite towns of Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai are witnessing such projects and so are cities like Jaipur, Kochi, Rishikesh, Bhopal and Mathura as per reports.
- Reports also state that Bangalore is home to the highest number of retirement living units priced between Rs. 40-70 lakhs on an average while Coimbatore and Chennai have housing units in this segment priced between Rs. 30-50 lakhs approximately.
- The overall approximate budget for these homes is somewhere around Rs. 35-45 lakhs as per experts.
What senior living offers to buyers?
Senior living homes are designed to cater to the needs of their occupants in a highly specific manner.
- These homes often have facilities like wheelchair compatible ramps
- Areas for social interaction and gatherings
- Anti-skid tiles and chamfered edges of walls
- Emergency response systems
- Regular activities, both physical and social
- Libraries, movie theatres and other classes for keeping residents active and healthy
- Advanced medical services and facilities
- Ambulance services round the clock
- CCTV cameras and other surveillance systems
- Dedicated staff to cater to food, daily chores and other needs of residents
- Community environment and a serene ambience
As per reports, the Housing Ministry has already issued guidelines for developing retirement homes for senior citizens in the country. Developers will have to register such projects under RERA along with following the building regulations as mandated in various laws such as the Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disability and Elderly Persons and Model Building Bye-Laws along with the National Building Code.
Special amenities will have to be present in these projects in order to classify them as senior/elderly living projects. All in all, this is one category that may contribute considerably to the growth of the Indian real estate sector in the future.