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Indian Real Estate News : Delhi NCR
Bespoke Luxury Beckons INDIAN REAL ESTATE
Source: The Times of India Nov 08, 2013
Global luxury is being served locally, as India steadily incorporates global standards of living with developers executing projects in this space and creating superluxury condominiums and villas throughout the country. NAMRATA KOHLI writes

Interiors by Armani, Swarovski, and Versace, hospitality by JW Marriott, Four Seasons, and Grand Hyatt, concierge by Quintessentially and Vertuwelcome to the world of luxury and good living! Currently, there are nearly 40 super-luxury projects under construction in different parts of the country, which are expected to be completed and delivered to clients in the next five years.

The growing appetite for luxury homes clearly signals a trend and is driven by the growing numbers of the high net worth individuals (HNI) and NRIs and their growing aspiration levels.

Indian real estate seems ready to embrace luxury in its true format. And we are talking of homes in the price bracket of Rs 5-50 crore, in prime geographies, with branded partners, exclusive features, select community of homes, which come with personalized treatment-homes that are high on luxury and good life and come with convenience, safety and technology.

Luxury real estate is distinctly superior to high-end and premium housing. Does luxury housing have a standard definition The problem is luxury cannot be defined and yet there are certain basic criteria it must meet.

First is the location. In real estate, it's all about location, location, location. There can be no compromise on this major attribute. It may not be the heart of the city but even if it is a suburb, it must be the most compelling address or the best road or zone in that suburb.

Second, a luxury project preferably has companies with proven track record in delivering quality and a vast portfolio of projects that brings confidence to the homebuyer or the investor. Luxury project is defined by the people who execute luxury and, so, it must have developers having a reputation of building in time with quality, branded, and well-known partners in design, construction, architecture, interiors and maintenance.

"Foreign partners like Arabtec double the speed of construction and their quality is incomparable, coupled with the local expertise, "says Navin M Raheja, president of Naredco and CMD of Raheja Developers, who has roped in Arabtec, one of the leading construction companies of the world that built Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Apart from Arabtec, Raheja's Revanta also has the services of Thornton Tomasetti, structural engineers of the Petronas Towers (Kuala Lumpur) fame. Revanta Royalty's luxury tower at Sector 78, Gurgaon has branded tiles, fittings, and fit-outs by Versace. A spokesman of Rahejas says, "Our project will have designer Versace tiles with Italian marble, sanitary ware from Villeroy & Boch, built-in wardrobes, concealed ducted (VRV) airconditioning, etc. "

Third, for Indian luxury homes, the size of the apartment is a critical parameter and it should be well above the norm. Take the case of a Four Season's Private Residence, where each apartment is nearly 7, 500 sq ft or the Grand Hyatt branded residences where each apartment is 4, 500 sq ft plus.

Vidur Bhardwaj of 3Cs who is creating the Four Seasons residences at the mixed use development, Delhi One, s ay s t h at there are different horses for different courses- "Indian luxury homes should have large floor plates. This is luxury redefined and customized for India. "

Christopher W Hart, president of hotel operations (Asia Pacific) of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, says: "In Hong Kong, the Four Seasons Residences come in one, two or maximum three bedroom configuration but luxury homes in India, in particular the Delhi NCR region, means larger floor plates as these are multigenerational homes. Also, we have provided for living space for the domestic help, something so characteristic of the India market. "

The fourth attribute which distinguishes a luxury home from a regular home, is project specks and the lifestyle amenities. While these amenities have become common in regular condominiums-state-of- theart clubhouse with the facilities of spa, steam, sauna, gymnasium, yoga, aerobics, swimming pool, badminton court, tennis court-a luxury project may have a helipad as a unique feature, a branded architect or interior designer, a mini theatre, valet car parking, sky bridge with infinity pool, finedining restaurants as some of the ubiquitous features.

But why are so many developers creating luxury projects which are high on investment, especially in a downturn situation. Vidur Bhardwaj of 3Cs says that the maximum wealth globally is created during recession, as that is the time to capture opportunities.

Navin Raheja of Raheja Developers says: "The best part about creating luxury is that psychological advantage you get as a builder. At the level of perception, one leapfrogs into the upmarket developer category. "

Finally, God lies in details. Luxury is all about doing every bit meticulously.

R K Arora, CMD of Supertech Limited, says: "In Armani homes, when they put the tile in toilet, there are no joints or separations. There is a world of difference in how we and they operate-there is so much focus on the minutest details-from planning and detailing to the latest and smallest bit of information, they plan it all;once they freeze the drawings, only then does the construction start. We, on the other hand, leave a lot to the discretion of the carpenter and fit-outs people. We conceive, plan and execute side by side at the site. "Supertech is constructing Armani homes of 4, 000 sq ft, available for Rs 8 crore.

Technology is becoming an important differentiator for luxury homes. An automated home is sometimes called a smart home. The wireless automation system is activated through a keypad, touch buttons, mobile, internet or any device which can connect to the internet. Home automation is the use of one or more computers to control basic home functions and features automatically and sometimes remotely.

Sachin Deshpande, COO Radius Group, says: "A luxury home should have a home automation system which essentially provides controls that allow users to change the setting of lighting, fans, airconditioning, heating, sensors for moisture, pressure, temperature, fire-they must monitor a variety of conditions with various forms of data and video transmission. Home automation integrates the machines and hardware to lead to convenience, energy efficiency, and safety benefits. "Radius Group is a technology firm that designs and supplies technology solutions for smart metering, home energy management, etc.

Luxury is as much about the software as the hardware. The latter is a given and is expected but the former is where the typical goofs tend to happen. "It's about creating a seamless 'womb to tomb' experience. The level of service should be consistent with the level of product. Ultimately, it's about the level of service, and the level of personalization which determines the overall experience of the luxury homebuyer, "Samarjeet Singh, an expert in the area, says.

The Indian consumer is extremely brand conscious but also value driven. So, luxury developers will have to be cautious when creating a branded home for this niche clientele.

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