Senior-centric housing in India, only took-off about 15 years ago but is a fast-growing niche real-estate market today with several big developers entering the fray. The Mantri Group in Bangalore, Pune’s Paranjape Group and the Ashiana Housing in Delhi-NCR are well established names in the market. By 2015, the Indian senior citizen population is expected to cross 17 crores. Add to that the increasing numbers of senior NRIs who are returning to settle in India after years of living abroad, and developers have a real opportunity for growth and expansion that has not been fully addressed! Most senior NRIs returning to India do so for one of two reasons – they want to spend their old-age with family, friends and in familiar surroundings, and/or they have a poor ‘quality of life’ in their adopted countries despite their affluence.
Track2Realty recently conducted a first-of-its-kind survey among senior NRIs about their willingness to settle in India and invest in customised senior citizen properties. NRIs from the US, UK, Middle East, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius, participated in the survey.
- 88% of those polled were willing to invest in senior-centric housing in India, with an overwhelming 72% of them preferring lifestyle driven senior-centric options instead of just basic facilities.-term.
- 94% said they wouldn’t mind paying higher premium for such life-style driven properties.
- Location is key! 64% of those polled felt that developers prioritise cost over location, choosing locations far-away from the city to minimise costs. However seniors today are still active socially and do not want to live a secluded life in a remote location! They want to be easily accessible for their friends and families to visit.
- 72% felt that developers’ focus on low-cost housing has left the affluent senior population without viable options. They may not want large spaces, but they want a elegant, comfortable space within reasonable distance from a thriving, self-sufficient neighbourhood that offers not only medical, but entertainment and social opportunities.
- 46% NRIs said they would consider leased rental housing options lasting their lifetime if they met their requirements. They felt this would be a mutually beneficial business model to both the developers and the seniors in the long-term.
- 94% of affluent NRIs are willing to pay a premium for luxury. Since they have worked hard throughout their careers, they have reasonable savings and would like to use their retirement to pursue activities for which they didn’t have time before.
- Location, Location, Location! Like all buyers, location is key for affluent senior NRIs as well. They do not want to be isolated in low-cost housing with basic medical and assisted living facilities. They want to be within easy reach of their friends and family and also of facilities like theatres, restaurants, libraries, gardens, shopping etc., in addition to good medical care.
- The property itself – whether owned or leased, should be elegant, comfortable and easy to maintain. Materials used in construction should be senior-friendly – slippery, dark floors and passages should be avoided; bathrooms should have bars for support for seniors with mobility issues; when offering furnished accommodation, furniture and commode heights should be adjusted for maximum comfort.
- Floor plans & doorways should be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs for those that need them.
- Medical care and assisted living facilities should be available round the clock. Most properties are now tying up with nearby Hospitals to provide emergency care when needed.
- 24 hour safety and security within the property are of vital importance since seniors are often targeted by miscreants due to their physical weaknesses. TV monitors within the home should be provided for extra security.
- Canteen facilities offering healthy food options would be beneficial for those seniors who might not want to cook.
- Landscaped gardens and common areas for board games, reading, prayer rooms and other events are also desirable.
- A 24-hour on-call maintenance staff is mandatory to keep things running smoothly.
With the changing times, and changing needs of senior NRIs, developers need to understand and adapt their projects for these affluent seniors who not only want comfort and luxury but are willing and able to pay for them.