Football legend Zinedine Zidane stares from hoardings across Mumbai, his star power used to sell luxury homes for Kanakia Spaces. The project called ‘Paris’ quite literally attempts to recreate a little bit of the city of love within its premises, with a four-story model of the Eiffel Tower and a reproduction of the Louvre Pyramid. This is just one of the many examples of what Indian builders are doing to boost sales of luxury properties. Another project, titled ‘1973’, from Omkar Realtors and Developers has a state-of-the-art Pet Hotel and Day Spa inside, while Ekta World gives homeowners a BMW 5 series car with the purchase of every four-bedroom apartment in ‘Invictus’. Nirmal Lifestyle has a world-class sports facility, created by the organisers of the US Open, among other luxuries.
With competition increasing dramatically and prices hovering at all-time highs, developers of luxury properties are exploring new ways to attract home buyers with customised homes, personalised services, and uber-luxe facilities. According to Babulal Varma, Managing Director, Omkar Realtors, it “is not just luxury, it is beyond luxury… when a client buys an apartment in 1973, they are given the flexibility to design it completely to their own taste and preferences, ranging from the size of the bedrooms to adding personal gyms and dip pools.” Some of 1973’s customers include cricketers such as Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh, noted industrialists, and Bollywood stars.
Customer demands range from having an area within the house to celebrate their achievements, a mini “me museum” to specific chandeliers flown in from a particular store in the Czech Republic to a personalised cigar room for unwinding after a long day. “A lot of requests depend on our consumer’s profession. For instance, a photographer wants to incorporate a photo studio in the house, a cricketer wants a practising area… we figure out ways to incorporate these things inside an individual’s home,” says Amar Tendulkar, President – Design, Omkar Realtors. Companies like Germany’s Poggenpohl offer completely customised kitchen solutions for luxury homes. Built-in refrigerators and microwave ovens can be custom-made to accommodate odd shapes and spaces, colours and layouts can be handpicked, and each kitchen can be absolutely bespoke.
Many developers have tied up with luxury providers to create branded homes. One of the most talked-about of these is Lodha Group’s ‘World One Towers’ which boasts of being the world’s tallest residential tower. The flats have been designed in association with Armani, while other developers have tied up with Versace, Swarovski, Bulgari and Cavalli. Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO, Residential Services in property consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle India, says that “branded homes are more like plush hotels with hospitality services… prices are up to 30-40 per cent higher than a normal luxury home. The names and labels associated with [these properties] add to the brand value, and the design is usually quite unique.” Makaan.com, an online real estate platform, conducted a survey on the most important factors that buyers consider when purchasing a luxury property. Location, brand and quality of fittings proved to be the most important factors.
Creating one-of-a-kind spaces for each buyer is also an attempt by real estate developers to avoid bringing down market rates. Pankaj Kapoor, Managing Director, Liases Foras, calls these “marketing gimmicks”. As a result of this, he says, there is surplus inventory. “Everyone wanted to exploit the luxury market and private equity money was available in the early 2000s, hence there was a surge in luxury properties.”
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