Boom time for retirement homes

Last Updated: Wed, May 15, 2013 13:06 hrs

Prakash and wife Purnima, both doctors and in their 50s, are busy planning their life ten years from now, and a home that is equipped to take care of all their needs for an independent living is their top priority.

Indians are increasingly craving for ideal retirement homes, quite like the American trend.

And, real estate players are in no mood to let go of this opportunity, established firmly by numbers.

Although India's young population, with more than 50% of its people falling below the age of 25, is seen as the country's strongest point, it is also ageing rapidly.

According to projections, India's older population would rise significantly by the middle of the century.

People aged 60 and above may increase from 8% in 2010 to 19% in 2050, according to United Nations Population Division.

India is likely to have as many as 323 million 'seniors' by the middle of the century.

So when last year Max India announced entry into the senior living business with an investment of Rs 240 crore through group firm Antara Senior Living Pvt Ltd, it promoted the project as fun and laughter, 60 and after'.

Max is among the many groups tapping the niche elderly housing market, promising them good living with facilities ranging from medical to security to recreation.

A report by international consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) estimates that there are about 30 senior living projects in India spanning across cities, but concentrated mainly in Kochi, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore and Coimbatore.

In addition, over 30 such projects are in the pipeline, says JLL.

Developers such as Ashiana offer such projects in the north and the west including in Bhiwadi, Jaipur and Lavasa with plans of opening 3 more this year, one in Kolkata and the other two down Southand The Golden Estate has its project in Faridabad with plans to enter Hyderabad and Bangalore later this year.

The space has also grabbed the attention of Tata Group, which last week announced its senior living project 'Riva' in Bangalore. Among the other companies that have such senior living projects include Covai in Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore and Athashree in Bangalore and Pune.

Both lease and sale models work for these projects.

The price tag of retirement homes could be anything from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore, depending on the size and location. One could take a pick from studio apartmanets to 3 BHK (bedroom, hall and kitchen) to villas.

Amit Vaidya, Director, The Golden Estate, said, "There is a serious requirement for senior homes and we see a big opportunity in this segment." Currently, only 3,000 such units are available in the Indian market while the demand is much larger, around 3 lakh units, he said.

A Tata Housing spokesperson also said that there was a huge latent demand for such homes, especially from NRIs. The company came up with its elderly home project after a two-year research in this space.

So far, south has been the preferred destination for senior homes. Gaurav Pandey, Senior Vice President & Head – Research and Consulting, PropEquity, explained why. "A few cities like Coimbatore, Pune, Goa, Bengaluru, Chennai have traditionally served as retirement destinations.
The presence of more than half of the senior homes in these cities confirms the same.

The reasons for people settling down in South are varied, like pleasant weather, comparatively a lesser crime rate from North India, availability of huge land parcels facilitating the development of townships with abundant open spaces, an end-user driven realty market keeping a check on speculative prices amongst others."

According to Pandey, senior housing does not offer high margins, which is why large developers are not focusing on it. Also, such housing is usually affordable and targeted towards smaller cities, thereby attracting mainly local or regional developers.

Sumit Jain, co-founder and CEO, CommonFloor said, "interestingly, top four southern states – Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala-- all are among the top in terms of maximum percentage of 65+ population in a report published by Population Foundation of India."

Moreover, these states are typically where a huge NRI population belongs to. Either the people settled abroad are coming back to retire in their own country and are looking for international quality product.

There are also cases where children settled aboard are looking to ensure well being of their parents, Jain said.

The Golden Estate is among those offering the lease model, wherein residents will have to pay monthly charges. A minimum of Rs 15,000 is fixed as the base price, which include regular check by doctors, nurses, housekeeping, library, recreational things, internet and cable TV connections.

The price goes up to Rs 24,000, depending on the food requirement and electricity and phone consumption. In addition, there's a security deposit of Rs 15-26 lakh, of which 75% is refundable.

In the case of Tata Housing's Riva project, that will comprise 187 units in the price range of Rs 45-65 lakh, with area of 800-1200 sq ft, the monthly expense would be around Rs 6000-8000 and can go up to Rs 10000-12000 per month depending on customized requirements, the Tata Housing spokesperson said.

Globally, the industry for senior housing is pegged at around $25 billion, says JLL. The report pointed out that the current demand for senior housing in India was about 3 lakh units. "By 2025, it is estimated that there will be 173 million seniors above the age of 60 compared to the 76 million today," it pointed out.

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