Even as the overall real estate market in India cools, the demand for super-luxury residential properties in India’s top cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, is showing no signs of a let-up, with the super-rich still opening their wallets for talk-of-the-town homes.
“The demand for quality premium residential apartments has been strong,” said Vibhor Gupta, additional general manager, marketing, Jaypee Greens Ltd, whichis making premium homes set in a golf course in the Delhi suburb of Greater Noida that it says have been mostly sold out.
Super-luxury residential complexes are coming with swimming pools, gyms and jacuzzi, themed-landscaped gardens, water bodies and meditation centres. Developers such as Unitech Ltd and Emaar-MGF Land Ltd have all launched large super-luxury residential projects mostly around Delhi, some set amid lush golf courses, to cater to a growing appetite for luxury homes.
Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj, a real estate consultant firm, in a report titled India Exclusive Homes Anthology, found that prices of luxury housing being developed in India compare favourably with those of premium residences in some of the world’s top cities. Prices in south Mumbai are at $1,400 (Rs54,440) per sq. ft while Dubai is at $1,000 per sq. ft and Hong Kong at $2,000 per sq. ft. Only London, at $7,000 per sq. ft, and New York, at $3,000 per sq. ft, seem a lot more expensive.
As incomes rise and investors make money on stocks that have risen to record levels, the surge in demand at the high end of the property market in India is noticeable. The robust economic growth and the influx of many multinational companies have contributed to the increase in salary levels in the country, commensurate with easy availability of bank loans.
People are waiting in line to buy luxury apartments, claims Shammi Thapar, managing director of the Delhi-based Thapar Homes Ltd. Homes, often large apartments, built by Thapar, mostly in expensive areas of south Delhi such as Vasant Vihar, have features such as walk-in-closets, jacuzzis, splash pools and landscaped terraced gardens with floors typically spread over 4,000 sq. ft. The company never does more than seven projects a year, which makes these homes exclusive.
“Our clientele consists of non-resident Indians, senior executives in multinational corporations and technocrats, who have access to bank loans,” Thapar said. “Banks offer senior executives loans of Rs10 crore, which helps aspiring home owners buy these properties.”
According to Thapar, there is a scramble for such properties and their projects are usually sold out as soon as they are completed.
These high-end homes come with a hefty price tag. An apartment built by Thapar can cost anywhere between Rs10 crore and Rs15 crore. So, for a 4,000 sq. ft apartment costing Rs10 crore, the price works out to Rs25,000 per sq ft, which compares with between Rs4,000 and Rs5,000 per sq. ft for regular upper-end homes. Prices of luxury homes have jumped 10% in the last six months, Thapar said, while non-premium home rates have fallen 20% in about eight months.
Premium properties get picked up even before they come into the market, says Vicki Oberoi, managing director of Mumbai’s Oberoi Constructions Ltd. Early this year, the 52-apartment Oberoi Skyz, being built by his company in Worli, sold 50% of the flats within an hour of opening bookings. “We are holding the other 50% to cash in on the upside,” claims Oberoi.
In Greater Noida, the 452-acre luxury township of Jaypee Greens is 80% sold. The township has around 1,600 units.
Barely a few kilometres away, Unitech, India’s second largest listed developer after DLF Ltd, has started Unitech Grande, offering skybridges between towers, plunge pools and apartments overlooking a Greg Norman- designed golf course.
(Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai contributed to this story.)