Revista - Big, glam home in Mumbai
Global designers, uber luxury amenities, huge interiors... and ready buyers.
Heard about the 12-acre India Bulls Bleu project at Worli in Central Mumbai? It will have five towers of 75-storeys, with three- and four-bedroom flats, with saleable area starting at 3,900 sq ft, and living space a little over 1,500 sq ft. This translates into a rate of Rs 80,000 per carpet sq ft, with the cost of the smallest flat exceeding Rs 12 crore. And the developers are calling it affordable luxury!
Welcome to the luxe life in Mumbai's rarefied real-estate market, where leading developers are launching skyscrapers at sky-high prices, and finding ready buyers too. Gulam Zia, National Director - Research and Advisory Services, Knight Frank India, says, “The Indian luxury real-estate market is witnessing unprecedented growth. There is a rapid increase in the number of high net-worth individuals; when the whole world was going through a recession, India was multiplying its ultra-rich population. And these high net-worth players are buying the new luxury projects.” He says the luxury market in Mumbai is restricted to a few locations in South Mumbai and some in the suburbs.
A big, luxurious home is the ultimate status symbol in a space-starved metropolis like Mumbai, and the conventional per-square-foot rate doesn't apply here; instead, you pay for the entire package — the home, the amenities, the neighbours, the location and, of course, the social standing that comes with the address. While a luxury flat in suburban Powai costs upwards of Rs 6 crore, the price escalates to Rs 12 crore for a similar flat in Bandra, going up to Rs 15 crore in central Mumbai areas like Parel, Worli and Shivaji Park, and as much as Rs 40 crore for a 4,000 sq ft home in South Mumbai's Malabar Hill and Peddar Road areas.
The view and flat size are the other determining factors. The two-bedroom flat is passé, with three bedrooms or more being the norm now. Jayant Gehi, Assistant Vice-President, Business Development and Sales, Supreme Universal observes, “There is great demand for larger flats ranging from three- to four-bedroom apartments, as everyone in the family needs personal space now… as well as additional space for a guest. The trend now is to use this additional room like a family den in the absence of guests, thus providing for more living space the year round.”
With high net-worth individuals clamouring for exclusivity, designer homes are becoming an extension of the owner's personality, reflecting individual tastes and preferences down to the smallest detail. Though theme homes have been popular at the individual level for some time now, builders and developers are tapping this segment for a niche market.
In an appreciating real-estate market, which is fetching increasingly higher margins, builders are outdoing each other in bringing the latest technology, and offering exclusive amenities and luxuries, not to mention the big-ticket designer names. “The concept of designer homes is widely prevalent in developed countries, and as the Indian real-estate market matures, we will see such concepts catching on among domestic buyers,” says Devang Trivedi of Progressive Group, adding that builders will soon scout for exclusive themes to accommodate likeminded buyers.
The Lodha Fiorenza project at Goregaon, for instance, boasts signature design by Jade Jagger for YOO. Blending India's rich and varied traditions with unique cultural elements from across the world, the development is expected to provide residents with the finest in fashionable living. Each home will be fitted with the latest specifications, including lighting and sound controls by iPad, German Poggenpohl kitchens, and Italian marble flooring.
The project will comprise 452 apartments with a choice of two-, three- and four-bedroom residences as well as duplex sky villas spread across four towers. With its tallest tower rising to 600 ft, it will be among the tallest residential buildings in the country.
Scheduled for completion in 2013, the facilities on offer include a rooftop lounge, an observatory on the 52nd floor with stunning views of the Aarey colony and the Arabian Sea, as well as an infinity edge cantilevered swimming pool. Not to mention the coveted tag of a Jade Jagger-designed home.
Says R. Karthik, Chief Marketing Officer, Lodha Developers, “Our partnership with Jade Jagger for YOO is to cater to the Indian consumer's appetite for an <em>avant garde</em> lifestyle, on par with international standards.”
And the price tag? Homes in Lodha Fiorenza can cost up to Rs 15 crore.
At the other end of the city, another tall project, with an equally imposing celebrity status, has been planned. American billionaire Donald Trump's name is associated with the 60-storey Trump Tower, slated to be developed at Hughes Road by Rohan Lifescapes. The tower will have only 40-45 apartments — mostly one home per floor — with the remaining floors dedicated to amenities and indulgences. From parking zones and podium decks to leisure floors and a 24-hour concierge, Trump Tower aspires to redefine luxury living in Mumbai. Though the developers are tight-lipped about the going rate in Trump Tower, market observers say it will command a premium of at least 25 per cent over the prevailing rate in the area — which hovers at around Rs 40,000 per sq ft.
Market watchers say that Jagger and Trump are just two big names who have been the first off the block, and it's only a matter of time before more designer names sign deals with local developers to create world-class exclusive homes. Says Anand Narayanan, National Director – Residential Agency, Knight Frank India, “The last decade has seen big players entering even the affordable housing market with quality construction techniques, and introducing projects with add-on facilities and amenities. Further, in the luxury segment, new concepts are set to dominate the market in a big way with the introduction of sports cities, designer homes, branded residences, green homes, smart homes, theme-based housing; there is stiff competition for branded residences.”
He says this trend has fanned demand for residences designed by big global brands such as Versace, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli. “Luxury homes today are more about making a lifestyle statement. High-end specifications coupled with designer fit-outs and high-tech gadgets of global standards are the driving factors. And then, the builder's reputation also matters,” he adds.
Buyers of luxury homes often want to customise their interiors to make it unique, and spend considerable time doing this after taking possession of the house, says Supreme Universal's Gehi. “The focus is on facilities which provide a holistic lifestyle, in terms of a gymnasium, a swimming pool, a common party area, space for drivers and servants in the building, and a great landscape.”