India’s Ultra-rich Class Betting on Luxury Properties

India's Ultra-rich Class Betting on Luxury Properties

Betting on one of the few promising asset classes and aided by clear ownership titles, India’s wealthy are investing in luxury properties, persisting with a trend that began last year amid the pandemic. Buyers such as business families, startup founders and top CEOs have been paying ₹50 crore to as much as an eye-watering ₹1,000 crore in the past few months for residences.

Luxury housing sales in Mumbai and Pune were the highest in four years in 2021 and may set a new record in 2022, according to a joint report by India Sotheby’s International Realty and CRE Matrix. According to this, 1,214 luxury residential properties worth ₹20,255 crore were sold in Mumbai in 2021, compared with 598 units worth ₹9,872 crore in 2018.

The list of buyers includes Shekhar Bajaj, promoter chairman of Bajaj Electricals and his family; Bharti Enterprises vice chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal; Siddharth Jain of Inox; Pooja Dhoot, wife of Anirudh Dhoot of the Videocon Group; Shailesh Dalmia and his wife Natasha; Siddharth Shah, founder of PharmEasy; millionaire stockbroker and retail mogul Radhakishan Damani; ex-HDFC Bank managing director Aditya Puri’s wife Anita Puri and daughter Amrita Puri; KEI Industries promoter Anil Gupta; Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran and his family; and the founder of Aakash Educational Services, JC Chaudhary.

Property consultants say large families selling jointly owned bungalows situated at choice locations are driving up the supply of high-value properties in Delhi and other metro cities, said top realtors. The properties are largely either owned by the elderly or multiple members of the next generation.

Uptrend in Demand Continues

Most such real estate, particularly that valued at Rs 25 crore, have come onto the market following the pandemic. In several cases, the original owner is not alive and the next generation prefers to sell the jointly inherited property sooner rather than later, said Amit Goyal, CEO of India Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Covid-19 has brought a fair bit of uncertainty into people’s lives,” he said. “We see a keenness amongst families, especially the elderly, to formalise the distribution of assets to the next of kin, in their lifetime.”

The homes are mostly located in Mumbai, Goa, Alibaug and posh Delhi localities such as Jor Bagh, Sunder Nagar and Golf Links.

Sotheby’s luxury outlook survey says one-fourth of high net worth individuals (HNIs) bought property during the pandemic. As much as 67% of those surveyed said they were keen on buying a residential property in 2022, citing lifestyle upgrades and good investment opportunities as top reasons.

“We have seen a big upsurge in demand for bungalows in posh colonies of metros or farmhouses in the suburbs from top corporate executives, businessmen and startup founders who have done exceedingly well on their equity ownership portfolio,” Goyal said. The uptrend in the luxury housing market has continued beyond the March quarter and into the months of April and May, a further indication of the strength of the market, he said.

“Since the pandemic, discerning buyers have directed their purchase decisions towards luxury homes, wherein earlier they would invest in other asset classes or luxury goods,” said Aakash Ohri, group executive director and chief business officer, DLF Home Developers. “In India, while there has always been an appetite, people have preferred other asset classes to invest in, which has significantly changed.”

DLF sold 19 units worth Rs 580 crore in the December quarter last year in the super-luxury The Camellias project in Gurgaon. In the second and third quarters of FY22, DLF sold a total 53 units in The Camellias for a record Rs 1,617 crore.

“For the ultra-luxury buyer their home is about congregating with like-minded people in an amiable community, one that is replete with amenities and material comforts that their entire family can enjoy,” said Ramesh Ranganathan, CEO, K Raheja Corp Homes. “These clients hold key positions in the corporate world, are globally travelled and socially connected with people living abroad and seek nothing less than the best.”

Mumbai’s luxury housing market performed exceedingly well last year, said Ashwin Chadha, president, India Sotheby’s International Realty.

“This is pretty much in line with the sales velocity for luxury homes we have witnessed across the globe, including global gateway cities like London, New York, and Dubai,” he said. “We believe this is just the beginning of a very positive and bullish residential real estate cycle.”

Mumbai recorded sales of luxury housing properties worth Rs 9,492 crore in the last calendar year. In terms of volume, luxury housing sales in Mumbai numbered 1,214 units in 2021, compared with 548 in the previous year.

“In Mumbai, several factors have aided strong sales, especially discounts offered by builders and incentives by way of a waiver in stamp duty given by the Maharashtra government,” Chadha said.

Pune also witnessed similar trends, with 208 units worth Rs 1,407 crore sold in 2021 against 127 units worth Rs 832 crore in 2017.

“Housing prices have remained more or less stagnant for the last five-six years across all segments and price brackets,” said Abhishek Kiran Gupta, CEO and cofounder, CRE Matrix. “Well-informed HNI buyers have used this as an opportunity to buy right-priced assets for wealth creation. We are already witnessing prices firming up and starting to rise.”

The concept of home ownership gained importance during the pandemic. Consumers are looking to buy bigger and better homes from branded developers who have a track record of executing projects on time.

“During the lockdowns, HNIs and ultra HNIs got the much-needed break to analyse and strengthen their real estate portfolios,” Gupta said.

The sales trend is likely to remain buoyant this year as 306 luxury housing units worth Rs 4,877 crore have already been sold in Mumbai in the March quarter.

Source : ET

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