LOCATION AND AMENITIES: A STORY OF PARADOXES
While, real estate has always been all about location, can a great lineup of amenities compensate for a location?
TEXT: SAPNA SRIVASTAVA
Rahaul Goel an IT professional recently moved to Mumbai for a new job. Looking for a decent living place for his family, he was undecided if he wanted to pay a hefty price for an apartment in a standalone building in centrally located suburb of Bandra or take a mid-priced apartment in distant suburbs of Thane, nearer to his workplace, with host of amenities within the complex.
Prem Dave had similar concerns when he decided to move from a rented house to his own home. He
needed to choose between staying within Delhi, paying a premium for the location or move to Noida in the NCR region where price of property is within his home buying budget including the excellent amenities for the family and greenery around.
These are not uncommon dilemmas, many of us must have heard or maybe experienced ourselves. When it comes to buying a home, should one consider the upmarket address or the quality of life for the family
because in many instances in Indian metros, the both are not correlated.
The centrally located suburbs are already overcrowded and basic infrastructure is crumbling under the pressure. Such as traffic congestion, water problems scarcity of space, lack of green areas etc. But these place offer a premium address, proximity to the business district and easy access to social and entertainment hubs. On the other hand are the distant suburbs, from where it is a long commute to the workplace or even the nearest entertainment and retail center. But, the home is amidst a plush green township with well laid out parks for children and senior citizens, gym and sports facilities for the family and even a clubhouse for social gatherings, which in a centrally located addresses will cost a bomb
According to Nakul Himatsingka, Managing Director, Ideal Group location is so imperative that people are willing to give up some of their must-haves to end up in their dream location. “However,
easy connectivity with schools, colleges, office, market and hospitals is a must because one
needs to have easy access to these places and thus save travel time. Amenities are always secondary for buyers. Buyers are mostly looking for locations more than the amenities, for which they are at times ready to pay extra premiums.”
Giving his view, Nandan Piramal, Director – Sales & Marketing, Peninsula Land Ltd. says, “Buying a home comprising of all the desirable amenities and in the desired location is a dream for every home buyer. But, nowadays, more and more home buyers are inclined towards buying homes that allow them the lifestyle comforts. They are willing to pay premium for, amenities or a location as per their choice and requirements.” The middle path that many buyers have found is identifying the up and coming suburbs that are though at a distance from the city center are otherwise well connected with roads, trains and metros to the city’s main areas. It is easier to get a well- equipped home within budget in such locations. In addition, the stress of long commute is compensated by the cosmopolitan
neighborhood and availability of leisure activities to indulge in during the weekends.
Pune resident, Tushar Mehta has found an ideal solution to his problem by buying a home in a project of a renowned developer in Kharadi, an upcoming area near Pune that has well developed infrastructure like schools, hospitals, reputed restaurant chains, hotels, malls and cultural facilities. In addition, the township fulfills the family’s recreational as well as social needs.
WHAT MATTERS MORE?
Lifestyle amenities or Location? A question put up to the developers by Realty+ across the nation showed that the definition of location seemed to shift towards connectivity rather than a premium address. Also, presence of amenities in a project meant added value for the customer, tilting towards likely sales.
Geography & demographics are considered to be a vital factor in residential sales. For affordable
homebuyers the up and coming neighbourhoods are more lucrative due to price differential but
for premium buyers, the established neighbourhoods remain the preferred choice. On the other hand, amenities play an important role in offering quality living. Connectivity to work and city centre tops the list of amenity that a buyer would want followed by facilities for his family such as – kids play area and swimming pool, clubhouse & gym to garden for senior citizens.
LOCATION PLAYS A VITAL ROLE WHILE FINALIZING AN PROPERTY
Nitesh Kumar, CEO – Emami Realty Limited tends to agree, “Location and its neighbourhood
decides the lifestyle of any home buyer. In todays world, locality holds a significant influence on buying a property. The location describes you, the status and the aspiration of the person who resides there.”
“Location has and always will be a top consideration for property developers. The location of a property will always be tethered to the positioning and ticket-price of the project. The amenities provided by a
developer is inter-linked with the location of the property. Buyers are willing to forgo amenities for
a property which is conveniently located with connectivity to the city, vicinity to their work
place, and sentiments /familiarity with certain areas,” said Abhilash C Baldota, AVP – Marketing, Karle Infra Pvt. Ltd
But, in some circumstances, the location is interlinked to the amenities one can get, like
water, electricity and Wi-Fi signal, expressed R G Anil, Executive Director, Concorde
Group. “There is no hassle when it comes to providing high-end amenities in the
luxury home spaces, but the location definitely holds mor significance. When looking at areas for new residential projects, hospitals, schools, restaurants and good gree cover are some of the things that are vital as they serve as a strong foundation for community building. While internal amenities can be modified upon or added based on whom you are targeting and sale price, the location can’t be,”
Srinivasan Gopalan, CEO, Ozone Group mentioning the drastically changing preference among home buyers in the last decade stated, “We give the location, our first priority since the demands for residential real estate is significantly higher in industrial/IT/upcoming economic hubs. It is important
therefore to ensure that projects are well-located in terms of connectivity and proximity to hospitals, schools, commercial establishments, etc. So overall the location has an important role to play.”
LOCATION IS THE PRIMARY CONCERN BUT, AMENITIES ADD VALUE TO THE PRODUCT
Rajat Rastogi – Executive Director, Runwal Group was of the view that with the demand
for lifestyle homes rising, modern amenities such as community centres, clubhouse, children
parks, jogging tracks, swimming pools, gymnasiums, etc are also being much sought after. “One
person’s ideal home is likely to be different from others. As incomes rise and people want better quality of life and access to leisure facilities without travelling far, amenities within the project have gained importance.” Sunil Sharma, VP – Marketing & CRM, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd added, “Amenities are importan but not the starting point for evaluation of a project. However once a shortlist of projects is made amenities then come into play in the decision making. Today’s home buyer is well exposed to global trends in real estate and is looking to invest in a ‘way of life’ that goes beyond
just brick and mortar. Amenities are a key differentiating factor in this context, especially in
the premium/luxury segment.”
“Today, developers are more inclined towards deliverin properties that offer the best amenities along with a good location. Also, everyone wants modern amenities in their homes so the developers try
to deliver a project that has a proportionate mix of both. When it comes to own a house, buyers today are focusing on such projects which have both the features,” said Gaurav Mittal, Managing Director, CHD Developers.
Actually both are important in a certain order was the perspective of Sandip K. Patel, Chairman & MD, Avirat Group. “We always first decide the location and then we shift our focus to amenities. Homebuyers generally have a particular area or location in their mind. Then they compare
various properties in terms of price, amenities, credibility of the developers. When it comes to paying a premium location definitely has the upper hand.”
FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN PRICE, LOCATION AND AMENITIES IS NOT AN EASY TASK
An affordable home buyer would prefer to settle for basic amenities rather than paying extra for added amenities, stated Gaurav Mittal. “For a budget housing buyer, the priority is to have a home of his own. A luxury home buyer wants more than the basic amenities and is ready to pay extra for it because of rich uber-luxury experience is what matters the most in their case.” According to Sunil Sharma, the decision making process is usually a four-pronged approach based on –quality of product, location, amenities and budget.
“Amenities do i nfluence home buyers, but importance of individual amenities varies by
segments.” Abhilash C Baldota considered a key factor that persuades a buyer to pay a premium for
a property is the br and trust. “Image of the brand and past associations with the brand can influence a buyer to invest more out of sentiment. Amenities at times also attracts buyers to pay a premium. Developers that offer amenities which are unique to the brand are held at a higher regard over developers who continue to provide generic offerings.”
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION IS WHAT ALL THE REAL ESTATE GURU’S WOULD ALWAYS ADVICE. AND INDIAN HOMEBUYERS TEND TO AGREE, AS THE RECENT CONSUMER SURVEY COMMISSIONED – BY REALTY+ REVEALED.
For an overwhelming percentage of home buyers location of a project matters a lot, especially if it’s a first home. Amenities stand second. However, in case of Kolkata, amenities reign as first priority.
CONNECTIVITY THE KING
In today’s fast paced world, connectivity tops the buyer’s wish list. It ranks well above comfort. The survey done in metros like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru reveal that transport and excellent connectivity ranks way above internet/Wi-Fi and fully furnished kitchen.
AGE DOESN’T MATTER
Realty+ survey reveals that home buyers across age groups from 25 to 45 and above are looking for a project in the right location with superb connectivity and social infrastructure. The property in close proximity of all amenities like shopping malls, theatres, schools, hospitals, market rank higher than anything else and consumers are ready to pay a premium.
About 81 per cent of consumers in Mumbai rank location as their first choice and in Delhi its 71 percent. Kolkata, it’s just 37.5 per cent of population that prefers location over amenities while, Bengaluru seems to be equally divided on the option with 51 percent for those surveyed opting or location as their first preference.