The demand for branded luxury residences is likely to witness an uptrend, as buyers in this segment, who largely rely on their own wealth, look for expansive residences that offer a worry-free home-ownership experience, says Reeza Sebastian, president – residential business, Embassy Group
Q: Would you say that there has been an improvement in the demand for luxury homes, after the end of all the lockdowns?
A: The luxury housing market has been less impacted by the slowdown, as it is largely driven by end-users who are mostly self-funded by personal wealth. While the buyers are cautious, they are looking for trusted brands of developers. We are witnessing a peak in the interest for ready-to-move-in (RTMI) homes with the need to move in soon. At Embassy Group, we have seen increased demand for branded, fully-managed, ready-to-move-in luxury residences, plots and independent villas, owing to the worry-free home ownership experience. In the last two quarters, we sold properties worth Rs 210 crores, priced over Rs 1.5 crores and we are expecting a 15%-20% increase over the next two quarters.
Q: How has the pandemic changed the luxury home buyer?
A: Luxury housing has remained largely insulated from the slowdown, if past statistics are anything to go by. The luxury market is driven by end-users at the top of the pyramid and unlike the affordable and mid-income housing segments, it depends more on personal wealth, rather than on home loans.
Q: What are the changes in the design brief that luxury home providers are catering to, in order to meet the needs for increased sanitisation and more open spaces, within and outside the home?
A: The perception towards lifestyle has changed substantively, in response to the new reality, post-COVID-19. This reflects in the value buyers place on community, neighbourhood, spatial design, amenities and services. HNI buyers are evincing a greater appreciation for expansive residences within gated communities that deliver a global lifestyle. Home buyers in the luxury segment, are looking for projects by reputed developers that have multiple features, catering to consumer preferences across age groups and interests. Transcending the tangible, design, planning, maintenance and value-added offerings such as property and asset management, concierge services are imperative in the new environment.
Q: How do you see 2021 boding for luxury real estate?
A: Interest in branded and luxury residences is on an uptrend, as developers ensure an effortless and worry-free home-ownership experience. The heightened levels of exclusivity, safety and personalised services that come with the luxury experience, are perfectly suited to the present. The demand for owning branded and fully-serviced luxury residences will see a surge, as buyers come to fully appreciate the inherent value of the services and possibilities that such residences present.
Q: The sector has seen an uptick in demand, thanks to pent up demand. There are several developers who are admitting that this momentum is not for the long term. Do you see this momentum in demand as sustainable, going into 2021?
A: The learning opportunities during this phase have been extraordinary. It remains a test of resolve and resilience, compelling us to collectively adapt, innovate and find solutions going forward. Consolidation will be the new normal for the real estate sector. This will accelerate as we go forward. Currently, the top developers in the country account for a mere 6%-8% of the overall country sales and 9%-12% of the market share in key cities. Developers with strong brands and reputations stand to gain, as the acquisition model will enable an instant presence across geographies. Smaller developers will get much-needed relief from financial stress and delivery commitments, as they get consolidated with larger brands.
(The writer is editor-in-chief, Housing.com News)