Luxury housing isn’t just about the Italian marble or German modular kitchen. It embraces impeccable amenities, flawless maintenance, high-speed lifts, tight security, an efficient concierge and more
There is a huge gap between the ordinary and the extraordinary in the realm of homes. It isn’t just about the Italian marble, the tiles and fully fitted German modular kitchen, but also about the impeccable amenities, flawless maintenance, high-quality and high-speed lifts, tight security and an efficient concierge. Everything from the specifications of the house to those of the community must be above commonplace. For instance, the foyer in a luxury condominium isn’t any different from the entrance lobby of a five-star hotel, with designer light pendants adorning the ceiling, artwork on the wall, and staff attending to your queries. Add to this an Olympic-sized pool, a clubhouse with every facility under the sun, from spa to restaurant, café, salon, sports and community events. In short, small and big conveniences that add up to the quality of life and provide a 360-degree experience that appeals to all five senses define a luxury home.
Amarjit Bakshi, chairman and managing director, Central Park, puts it succinctly: “Some of these specks may be present in a premium community, but for a luxury community these are an absolute must-have and non-negotiable.”
In a regular home, it is quite common to hear unwanted conversations, or the noise of furniture being moved at the neighbours’. These factors are a big no-no in premium communities. And that’s where sound insulation plays a key role in luxury homes. “In luxury homes, we create a thicker slab with sound insulation material both above and below so that no noise permeates to the other unit,” says Harsh Vardhan Bansal, Director, Unity group, which is building an upscale community ‘The Amaryllis’ with units priced between Rs 2 crore and Rs 20 crore in Central Delhi. Even in the case of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, Bansal says they have imported high-end glass from Germany with good sound absorbing qualities so that the resident can shut out the noise almost fully.
There are many parts of luxury that are “felt”, rather than “seen”. A kitchen is a kitchen but imagine one with thrice the working space to accommodate the servant, the lady of house, the kid or husband, all cooking, and even a kitchen island in between where you can serve the family. A bathroom with high-quality sanitary ware from the likes of Toto or Kohler, with a double-vanity sink, a double walk-in closet where the man and wife can get ready before going to a party. And a separate route for servants to go in the lifts and even entrance.
Then there is the WOW factor that comes with jaw-dropping effects. For instance, the lobby has transformed from being a waiting area to a larger-than-life space and a designer lounge of sorts. Mumbai’s One Avighna Park has an illuminated ceiling with 54,450 crystals sourced from Egypt while Lodha Group’s The World Towers in Lower Parel has a double-height lobby with white gold plating, marble paste-finished walls by Milanese interior design company Armani/Casa. DLF-5 community promises you the view of the internationally acclaimed Arnold Palmer designed golf course. The infinity pool at Amaryllis gives you a view of iconic buildings of the capital city. Says Bansal: “We are building an infinity pool on the 20th floor and its location is so strategic that from one side of the pool, you can see Red Fort and from the other, India Gate. You can witness the splendour of both Independence Day and Republic day at Amaryllis and even watch the best sunset from our 48th floor.”
Technically, there are five key parameters that define a property as luxury. Says Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants, “A property can be considered luxury based on location, amenities, size, builder and property-type.” But sometimes even a single factor can give it the required ‘luxury’ tag, he adds. For instance, a property can be in a prime location but small in size or it can have the best of amenities but built by a small builder or even located in the outskirts of the city or vice versa. From theme-based homes to smart homes, to state-of-art amenities to prime locales to associations with ultra-luxe brands like Armani and Versace, luxury homes come with different parameters.
Data suggests there has been a traction in the luxury housing market with deals between Rs 2 crore and Rs 15 crore, and even Rs 50 crore being struck across the segment. The uptake in demand is being driven by end-users looking for ready-to-move homes or those nearing completion in gated communities. These could be independent floors, plots, or villas. But plots are selling like hot cakes. Gaurav Jain, MD Samyak Developments says he just launched plots in NCR and judging by the response, he expects them to be sold out in the next nine months. Another developer observes that the demand for plots and prices which were stagnant last ten years have suddenly gone up. People have become extremely fond of clean, green, open living and they don’t mind it if they have to move a few extra miles away from the city.
There is demand for luxury homes pan India with a lot of traction in Delhi NCR region, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The table below brings you some of the key projects in the luxe category in top Indian cities.
|Developer||Project||Price (Rs)||Price/Sq Ft (Rs)||Status|
|Mumbai||HBS Realtors||HBS Tower||15.81 Cr onwards||43,245 onwards||Under Construction|
|Mumbai||Lokhandwala Infrastructure||Lokhandwala Minerva Mahalaxmi||14.23 Cr onwards||70,500 onwards||Under Construction|
|Lodha Developers||Lodha The World Towers- World One Tower II||12.25 Cr onwards||55,600 onwards||Ready to Move|
|Mumbai||DB Realty||Radius One Mahalaxmi Phase 1||10.74 Cr onwards||31,600 onwards||Under Construction|
|Risland India||Risland Sky Mansion||5.99 Cr onwards||37,100 onwards||Under Construction|
|Delhi||Unity Group||Unity The Amaryllis-Phase II||4.3 Cr onwards||27,200 onwards||Under Construction|
|Paras Buildtech||Paras Quartier||6.69 Cr onwards||13,400 onwards||Under Construction|
|Gurgaon||M3M||M3M Trump Tower||6.09 Cr onwards||17,500 onwards||Under Construction|
|ATS||ATS Knightsbridge||7.2 Cr onwards||12,000 onwards||Under Construction|
|Bengaluru||Divya Sree Developers||Divyasree 77 East||8.1 Cr onwards||17,200 onwards||Ready to Move|
|Bengaluru||Prestige Group||Prestige Leela Residency||6.7 Cr onwards||22,900 onwards||Ready to Move|
|Pune||ABIL Group||ABIL Castel Royale Excellente||4.65 Cr onwards||17,200 onwards||Ready to Move|
Credits: Square Yards
What to expect in today’s luxe home
The pandemic has pushed the size of home by at least 20-25 per cent. Users want a larger utility area where you can put everything – from your laundry washing machine, to dishwasher, to vacuum cleaner. In the absence of a maid, many people have had to do household chores on their own and buy gadgets that they operate themselves-and now they want space to stock it.
The number of rooms should at least be equal to the number of family members, especially when somebody has to quarantine. If you are four in a family you need four rooms, one for each family member with an attached balcony and a personal bathroom with access to hot water, geyser in case isolation becomes necessary. The pandemic has also created the need for a study/library with WFH, a yoga room, and puja room etc.
Luxury is not about exclusivity but about creating inclusive communities. Amarjit Bakshi compares his latest project Central Park III- Flower Valley to something like an army cantonment where the owners of both, a plush ten-bedroom villa and a two-bedroom apartment can access the same upscale amenities, the same clean air, same schools, dispensary, bazaars, super-speciality hospital, sports university, academies, along with horse-riding facilities, fish pond and a 25-acre land for organic farming. The value of his project has moved up from Rs 35,000/sq yard to Rs 1 lakh per sq yard during the past two years. Says Bakshi: “Luxury is not snobbish – it’s about very comfortable co-living with all strata of society.”
Luxury is also about flexibility. You can design your home as per your wish and developers often keep no beam or column in luxe show flats. A luxury apartment offers 100 per cent flexibility – you can remove any wall, increase your master bedroom size by fifty per cent, you can remove your guest bedroom, increase the size of your kitchen or dining area. The requirement of every person is different. Says Bansal: “The luxury customer knows his mind as against the customer of a premium home who wants everything fixed- they only put mind and money in furniture and furnishing. But when you go to luxury, people want everything designer or bespoke. They have specific tastes such as a library or a bar or a mandir or a music room. Also, the floor to ceiling height is very important.” Whether it is 11 feet high or 12 feet high, every foot counts. If you have more height, you have more volume, more space. Ditto with the window height– Higher windows with big, double-walled glasses that absorb sound and give you an unobstructed view of the outside are also a part of luxury.
The white elephant
When you buy a luxury home, be prepared for inflated prices across the board. It’s like buying an Audi, whose service parts, maintenance everything will cost you dearly. Says Gaurav Jain, Vice President, Naredco, who has just finished a farmhouse project on periphery of Delhi region: “When you buy into the need, you worry about the cost and expenses – one is satisfying a need because the budgets are limited and you don’t have the extravagance of exceeding. But the minute you enter the segment of wants, things change. A Maruti and a Mercedes both serve the purpose of mobility, but look at their price difference. If you are using a clubhouse over 150,000 sq ft which is better than five-star and similar facilities, be prepared to shell out more. Those who buy a Rs 20-crore house are mentally prepared to pay 2 lakh per month for maintenance.” As a developer, he says the biggest difference is in the aspect of density. The apartment size increases, and less people use the same facilities – eg if a swimming pool is typically for 200 families in a premium society, its only for 50 families in a luxury one.
Apart from the staggering price tags attached to these projects, one has to shell out significantly on monthly maintenance. Get a clear estimate about what you would pay every month. Go ahead only if you’re comfortable with a lifetime of making that payment. Rahul Purohit, National Sales Head, Square Yards gives a sense of monthly outflows: “For instance, the average maintenance charge in most luxury projects in Gurgaon is around Rs 4.5/sq ft. This means, if you own a 5-BHK penthouse in DLF Magnolias sized around 10,000 sq ft, you will end up paying close to Rs 45,000-55,000 a month as maintenance. For a 4-BHK in DLF Crest of around 3,500 sq ft, maintenance amounts to Rs 15,000-16,000. The charges in Noida are much lower as it is a relatively affordable market. The average charge hovers around Rs 3/sq ft. For instance, in ATS Hamlet, one of the most premium projects in the city, monthly maintenance varies from Rs 5,300-9,400. Cleo county with unit size ranging from 1,618-2,448 sq ft, the maintenance is Rs 2.65 including GST.” In a regular group housing society, the maintenance is computed at the rate of 2- 2.5 Rs/ sq ft, while in premium it is 5-6 Rs/sq ft and in certain cases it may be Rs 8-10/sq ft.
Developer over development
Don’t get swayed away by the beauty of the project. Dig deeper to find out about its developer. Pick a trusted builder to enjoy consistent after-delivery service. The quality of services can go bad beyond a point if the builder doesn’t have a good track record. Says Shveta Jain, Managing Director, Residential Services, Savills India: “While buying a luxury home, buyers should focus on the profile of the developer and ensure that the builder has a good track record of delivering and managing residential properties. The concept and ideation alone are not sufficient. Technical expertise and focus on customer experience should also be looked into. In case of any inadequacy on the part of the developer, buyers can approach the Real Estate Regulatory Authority as it covers the consumer on all defaults.”