Interview with Amarjit Bakshi, Chairman and Managing Director, Central Park
Livability Defines Luxury
Central Park is an ultra-luxury realty brand with an established presence in National Capital Region over the past 16 years. Amarjit Bakshi, Chairman and Managing Director, Central Park talks to Realty Plus about various aspects of luxury real-estate.
Consumer inclination towards the luxury residences
Luxury has now trickled down to middle class buyers. The growth driver is the generation next consumers who are educated, tech-savvy and well-travelled. Their aspiration for high living standards, better pay-packets & purchasing power as well as the ease of getting finances is fuelling the demand for luxury amenities in real-estate. HNIs (high net worth individuals) too are allocating part of their investment portfolios to luxury realty. Implementation of the RERA will help improve the confidence of NRIs to invest in the Indian residential market and luxury residential is in sync with the kind of lifestyle they are leading in foreign countries. Therefore, the project quality, customer centric approach and professional property management become the deciding factors.
According to Global Wealth Report by Knight Frank, India will add about 1000 ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNIs) each year for the next ten years. With the Luxury Real Estate growing at a CAGR of about 25% and estimated to reach a whopping $ 180 Billion by 2025, these are positive figures for real-estate players in the ultra-luxury housing segment.
What defines ultra-luxury residential in India?
The ultra-luxury housing appeals to a specific segment of homebuyers who want high-class, sophisticated homes adorned with all the modern amenities at great locations. The market for luxury homes continues to thrive within the specific segment of discerning, affluent buyers who continue to look for nothing but the best. Every player in the ultra-luxury real-estate market is offering the best services and amenities. However, they almost sound the same in terms of quality, area, specifications etc. But, for an Ultra high net worth customer, service and exclusivity is a key proposition. Earlier, the address was the determining factor; today it is the world-class experiences and exclusive living that is the benchmark of ultra-luxury. For example, the Central Park Resort offers 5-star resort living experience and services like concierge, housekeeping, laundry, business center, guest house for resident’s guests, pet hotel and doctor on call 24X7, among others.
As per ‘Top of the Pyramid 2016’ report by Kotak Wealth Management, the number of Ultra HNI Household (HNH) will increase to 294,000 by FY21 with a combined net of INR 319 trillion driven by new Ultra HNHs from emerging sectors. The metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai are the top hubs of ultra-luxury properties. Emerging cities and small towns such as Ludhiana, Amritsar, Surat and Indore continue to create new ultra HNIs who are also propelling the demand further.
The UHNIs and HNIs are attracted to ‘exclusivity’ tag. Developers are resorting to experiential marketing tactics which matches their mindset. Events such as exclusive dinner invitations with cuisine crafted by Michelin Star Chefs, a private gathering of finest art connoisseurs, preview of vintage watches or pens are more likely to appeal and interest this class of buyers.
What is REITs potential in bringing investments to realty sector?
There are huge funds available in the country and globally. The underlying strategy for REIT is to invest in rent-yielding assets and generate rental income for investors. That is why commercial real-estate is seen as potential for REITs but investing in residential assets via rental housing schemes is yet not viable as rental housing schemes in India are still not prevalent. The residential projects in metros giving returns of 11 to 12 percent might see some investment due to return potential but that is yet to happen. As the real-estate sector gets mature, such fund options will bring liquidity and the cost of capital for developers in the commercial segment will come down.