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While Indian real estate developers are going all out to woo rich Indians and expat professionals, they seem to have gone completely off target, when it comes to understanding the long-term housing needs of non-resident Indians (NRIs). As a result, a very promising segment of housing that a vast majority of the Indians are looking for back home, has not been addressed yet. According to a survey by Track2Realty, 88% of NRIs are ready to invest into senior housing. The senior housing that these expat Indians are looking for their post-retirement life, is not just an apartment with healthcare and assisted living facilities. No less than 72% of the NRIs want senior living housing solutions in India that offer luxury.
NRIs expect luxury and comfort from senior housing projects
Among the NRIs looking for senior housing, 94% would not mind paying a premium for luxury, with many of them being aware of the fact that their children may work or staying abroad or in other cities. “I have worked hard throughout my career. Once I settle down in my retired life back home, I would like enjoy myself more, as time will not be a constraint. With reasonable savings for retirement, I would not like to live an isolated life. Developers need to understand that the world has changed, for seniors who have decent money,” points out Akshat Jakhar, an NRI from Ahmedabad, who feels that senior housing should provide social security and medical necessities, without compromising on luxury and lifestyle.
These are the findings of a first-of-its-kind comprehensive global online and offline survey by Track2Realty, a real estate think-tank group and its global alliance partners. NRIs from the US, UK, Middle East, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius, participated in the survey. They were given a mix of open-ended and close-ended questions to assess their investment preferences in the Indian property market.
See also: Should you invest in a retirement home?
Why NRIs are unhappy with senior housing options in India
The survey also tried to assess why many of the existing and upcoming senior housing projects, have been unable to attract NRIs.
Nearly three-fourths of the NRIs (72%) felt that the problem is because developers have failed to create projects that are customised for affluent seniors. Most of the senior housing projects, are a mix for all kinds of senior citizens.
Location has also been one of the deterrents, for NRIs looking to invest in senior housing back home.
64% feel that developers make the mistake of assuming that senior housing should be low-cost housing and hence, in far-off locations. Nearly as many (60%) pointed out that if the location is not well-connected with the city, then, the developer may not be in a position to create all the necessary lifestyle options by himself. “I went to see a senior housing project in Hyderabad, on my last visit to India. It had the ambience of an old-age home, with modern amenities. If I wish to invite my friends there, they would not be able to commute. Similarly, for me, going to movies or other social events would not be possible. I cannot think of living in a secure, golden cage,” says Prakash N Karnik, an NRI from Muscat.
Reasons why NRIs want to settle in India
Nearly two-thirds (62%) maintained that they would like to settle in India after retirement, even if their children were being educated in foreign countries and planned to settle there. The main reasons for NRIs wanting to settle in India and looking for lifestyle-driven senior housing include:
- Having a feeling of being in one’s hometown in old age (38%).
- Poor quality of life abroad, despite affluence (36%).
- Family reasons (26%).
A substantial portion of these NRIs are even okay with a serviced senior housing option that works on the leased rental model, for lifetime. 46% of the NRIs feel that if the developer is offering a serviced apartment and charging a high premium as leased rent, as against buying the apartment, it is a better business model for both parties.
NRIs’ views on senior housing in India
- 88% NRIs are ready to invest into senior housing.
- 72% NRIs want lifestyle-driven housing solutions for senior citizens in India.
- 94% NRIs looking for senior housing, would not mind paying a high premium.
- 72% NRIs feel that developers have failed to create projects that are customised for affluent seniors.
- 64% NRIs feel that developers make the mistake of assuming that senior housing should be low-cost housing and hence, in far-off locations.
- 62% NRIs are clear that they would like to settle in India after retirement.
- Among the NRIs who wish to settle back in India, 38% want to do so for the feeling of being in their hometown in old age, 36% cite poor quality of life abroad despite the affluence, while 26% have family reasons.
- 46% NRIs would like to see serviced senior housing that works on the leased rental model.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)