Global brands entering the uber-luxury homes in NCR
The National Capital Region (NCR) has seen a slew of luxury apartment launches.
A number of such high-end projects with world-class specifications were launched in the last one-year; these come with the promise of high-quality after-sale services and, in some cases, with an assured provision of 5-star living experience.
Developers are tying up with 5-star hotels and renowned brands, which are eponymous with luxury in the world, to provide 5-star room services to their customers after the delivery of the apartments.
The major players who have already launched such projects are Supertech (with JW Marriott and Le Meridien), Ireo (with Grand Hyatt), and 3C with Four Seasons. In all these projects, room services will be provided by the hotel group in the tie-up to the occupants of the apartments.
Supertech has also launched super high-end projects with global luxury brands like Armani, Swarovski, and Disney. Similarly, as shown in the chart, a number of developers have launched super-premium projects in other cities like Mumbai and Bangalore.
The super-premium apartments in the NCR come with a price tag that is upwards of Rs 15,000 per sq ft.
Some of the developers have indicated that the price of their projects will be upwards of Rs 25,000 per sq ft. At the same time, as the size of luxury apartments varies between 4,000 sq ft and 8,000 sq ft, their net cost, too, varies in the range of Rs 6 crore to Rs 20 crore.
So far, these luxury apartments used to be constructed in Gurgaon—that too, most of them on the Golf Course Road—in the NCR region.
Most of these super-luxury condominiums like Aralias and Magnolia, which are currently quoting at Rs 20,000 per sq ft to Rs 30,000 per sq ft, are by DLF. But the company, which is the largest real estate firm in the country, is not following the latest trend of launching superluxury projects in collaboration with global luxury brands.
And now, a number of such projects have been launched in other parts of the NCR, with even cities like Mumbai and Bangalore seeing a spurt in such launches.
Jones Lang LaSalle, a global consultancy firm, in a report cautioned that ‘luxury’ is by far the most abused word by residential project developers in India. Any project offering basic amenities is classified as ‘luxury’ in marketing materials, advertisements, and sale pitches.
The interpretation of luxury in the Indian context, the report said, also includes an element of exclusiveness. In other words, the buyer of a luxury apartment—apart from superior amenities and facilities—also expects to live in a project which offers a certain socioeconomic standard as a neighbourhood.
JLL says that one of the most crucial parameters while selecting a luxurious flat is the location of the project. Though a central location is certainly an important qualifier for the luxury tag in India, a project that stands at a city junction beset with traffic congestion does not provide a luxurious experience. Buyers need to look at many other locational parameters, like whether the project benefits from approach roads that allow for convenient vehicular entry and exit.
Also, noise and air pollution makes a project that much less desirable for those who are ready to spend Rs 5 crore on a house. If the project lies in a chronic traffic gridlock zone, it cannot be termed as a premium project, irrespective of its price. Besides, the residents of such projects must have ready access to markets, schools, colleges, hospitals, and their offices. The report also pointed out that the most spectacular edifice of luxurious living falls flat on its face as an investment bet if it is located in a crime-ridden area.
The view available to the project’s occupants is also very crucial. A project may be genuinely luxurious in its internal specifications and amenities. However, if it overlooks a slum or congestion-prone highway, a graveyard or a hospital, the rental and resale potential take a beating.
Floor-to-ceiling height is also one of the most important parameter in evaluating a project’s true ‘luxury’ value. If the floor-to-ceiling height is less than 12 feet, the luxury feel is severely compromised. Moreover, apartments with low ceilings do not lend themselves optimally for tasteful interior decoration, JLL report said.
Project density is the number of people living in a project. There is no ideal thumb rule for this parameter—however, it is generally understood that a one acre project should not house more than 60 families, the report said. Anything more means that the project does not qualify as ‘luxury’.
This is because the available amenities are shared by too many people, destroying the project’s ambience, exclusiveness, convenience, and charm.
However, there is no specific yardstick to measure parking sufficiency. The commonly followed norm is that the number of bedrooms in a project should equal the number of available car parks, JLL says. A 3BHK apartment should therefore have three parking spaces within the project.
The mere provision of branded elevators does not suffice in a luxury project. The project must also have service elevators with separate entries, to ensure that domestic help and external suppliers do not populate the elevators and lobby being used by residents. Investors must also ensure that the elevators are spacious enough to accommodate a stretcher.
Security is another major issue in luxury apartments. Inhabitants of a luxury project would not expect to install ugly security grills over their front doors and windows. They expect to have the assurance that their families and property are safe in all respects. A genuine luxury project has uncompromising human security as well as electronic surveillance and safety measures firmly in place.
As is evident, it takes more than a mere word like ‘luxury’ to place a project head and shoulders above the rest—and thereby making it a worthwhile investment option, the report said.
While one cannot stop developers from misusing the luxury tag, it is certainly possible to understand what true luxury—even in the Indian context—really is.