The increasing importance of amenities in housing
Residential real estate in India has been evolving rapidly. The evolution took place in tandem with Indians' exposure to global trends in style and comfort. If I were to put a timeline to it, I would say the Indian IT/ITeS revolution really kick-started this trend, as more and more young Indians attained the opportunity and financial ability to travel abroad and witness international home trends for themselves.
Another factor that has been driving the increasing importance of amenities have been the escalating stress levels involved in professional life, coupled with the inconveniences imposed by rapid urbanization. In many of our cities, the previously mundane function of commuting to and from work has become a nightmare in itself. The rapid multiplication of vehicles on our roads and the inability of our cities' infrastructure to keep pace with this automotive avalanche are the main contributing factors. As a result, the home has become more than just a place to arrive at after work - it must now serve as an oasis of calm and comfort after a day of chaos.
As a result, the amenities offered by residential complexes, both on a unit and project level, now represent one of the pillars of success for any residential project - the other three being location, construction quality and pricing. This holds true for all segments from mid-income to luxury housing. The only exception would be LIG housing, where price remains more or less the predominant criterion.
Today, India's home buyers expect value for money that goes beyond four walls, a floor and a ceiling. They expect convenience, ambience, comfort, security and means of relaxation and entertainment. As such, multiple car parking, club houses, swimming pools, gymasiums, jogging tracks, green open spaces, express lifts and 'smart home' features are definitely on the wish-list of most mid-to-high income home buyers from the younger set.
Young married couples and the middle-aged also look for means to fraternize and socialize within the project, and the elderly show a greater concern for features such as ramps in addition to stairs in common areas and a higher level of indoor safety. They will prefer projects that offer healthcare and wellness facilities and advanced security measures. Many projects by the more established developers have been able to achieve a happy blend of most of such features.
In the case of mid-income housing projects, developers are often able to add a number of value-adding amenities at relatively lower costs due to the economy of scale. The advanced amenities offered in luxury housing projects obviously involve a higher premium, and are focused on a target clientele with matching financial means and aspirations.