Saturday, December 31, 2011

House That ! Crore is the new lakh for Lucknow

The city, which witnessed a surfeit of vertical growth in the past couple of years seems to have changed track blurring the difference between luxury apartments and villas.

Crore is the new lakh for the deep-pocketed Lucknowites who are willing to shell out an eight-figure sum to live life King size. Less than a decade ago, suggestion of a flat in a high-rise building in the city invited a smirk-unless it was a job perquisite.
Higher disposable income, smaller family size, double income couples and unheard of pay packages have contributed to the profusion of housing schemes, mostly by private players, promising paradise within 3,000 square feet.
And the cityscape today reflects the change in the mindset. Penthouses atop vertical wonders are still in vogue but those looking for high-end living seem more inclined towards idyllic villa lifestyle. Terrace garden where you can relax and savour canap├ęs, a private pool and a Jacuzzi to splash around in and barbecue decks to entertain friends are some of the add-ons of the upcoming projects of SAS developers on Joppling and Way Road.
“For the first time, we will be providing a VRV system in these buildings that enables desired simultaneous heating and cooling, the year round,” says Khalid Masood, the managing director of the realty group. So what do these custom-made dreams cast in Italian marble cost? Spread over 3,000-3,500 square feet, while the base price of a villa starts at Rs 2 crore, a penthouse also costs the same, the deciding factor is what you prefer: privacy or community living.
Golf Villas at Ansal APIs Sultanpur Road hi-tech township are even steeper. They cost between Rs 5-7 crore. “Located around 18-hole golf course at Sushant City, these villas come with central air-conditioning, elevators, swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sky-lights with adjustable louver covers as well as balconies also with adjustable slated sunshades,” says a representative of the real estate developer.
The localities that once boasted of having the best bungalows in town are making way for skyscrapers with hundreds of apartments. Even the Old City is allowing some relics to crumble and make way for specimens of modern architecture. 
“Safety is the deciding factor,” says Khalid on what makes people living in bungalows or independent houses to shift into a flat. Besides walled enclosure and intercom link with the security at the gate (some projects offer close circuit cameras), we are offering facilities like swimming pool, health club, recreation hubs, power back up something those living in bungalows could not even think of, he points out.  
At a time when experts are predicting a down turn in economy, Lucknow has been billed as the most favoured destination for property buyers by a latest Crisil report. Taking the real estate scenario in 10 cities namely, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Coimbatore, Indore, Jaipur, Nagpur, Surat, Vadodara and Vishakhapatnam, the study predicts a boom in housing sector for Lucknow.
Agrees, SK Garg, chairman of Eldeco housing group, the man who is said to have single-handedly elevated the living standards of the city to a finer realm. “Lucknow because of its robust infrastructure is attracting people from all over the State. The only other city West of UP that comes close to it is Noida,” he says adding that this was true only for the residential and not the commercial sector. There is a slump in the commercial sector. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) could have come as a good rescue but unfortunately the move was shelved, he maintains.
Villas may be in vogue today but this home-grown developer known for his philanthropic approach and activities claims to have championed the concept way back when he built his Udyan township on Rae Bareli Road. “Post assembly polls 2012, the dip in commercial properties too would fade away,” predicts, the man, who made his foray into the real estate in 1987 by building the city’s perhaps first most well known group housing residential address Basera in New Hyderabad locality. “I started off by building dwelling units priced between Rs 3 to 4 lakh. Today, I have sold a duplex in my IIM Road township for Rs 1.4 crore,” he informs. 
Great value for money, yes. But Garg, however, wishes to cater to the less affluent sector for whom owning a house requires a lifetime effort. “The acute deficit between demand and availability of houses is below Rs 20 lakh,” he says adding that the luxury segment only accounts for just 10-15 per cent of this. The veteran developer says he would soon build flats priced between Rs 14 to 15 lakh on all eight-city roads that may not have the trappings but would still be a comfortable option for those with a modest budget.


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