CW Design Build

What Buyers Want? - SOUTH

October 2018
Jipu Jose James, Operations Director-Project and Development Services, JLL India 'The market is evolving and developing. In Tamil Nadu, cities like Coimbatore have large chambers of Dell and Cognisant. Similarly, AIIMS have been planned in Madurai and Sellum. Cities such as Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada and Vizag are picking up as well. So a lot of traction is evident. Bengaluru is no more a single city and can actually be divided into four to five parts. Similar is the case with Chennai. This fragmentation along with the cities will surely grow and you will see a lot of growth happening. The quantum of money available in the South in these micro markets is huge.

Indrajit Kembhavi, Managing Partner, Kembhavi Architecture
The past few years have witnessed a lot of globalisation. Today, everyone wants to reach a certain benchmark as a country with aspirations. So we have all run fast and reached a certain benchmark of quality, which we see in all these places today. There is a lot of pressure in terms of cost, taking people in and getting people out. Today, offices are the first place where we see major disruption with co-working spaces coming up. We are seeing efficiencies increase and design elements become more interesting. In the hospitality segment, this is the time to probably look at creating hotels that fit our pocket and, at the same time, are smart. When you do larger projects, there are two types: One where the budgets are extremely tight, so budgeted housing, and mid-budgeted housing. We offer clients two options: One where they can be differentiators or going back to the roots if you are in a historical part. What the buyer ultimately wants is value for money.'

Swaroop Anish, Executive Director-Business Development, Prestige Constructions
'The customer is clear: This is the outlay and this is the space he wants. He is looking for solutions. On the luxury side, supply is limited and so is the number of buyers. The larger emphasis of the developer community is to address the sub Rs 1 crore kind of a budget, where there are still a large number of buyers who have not made their decision yet. Then, the buyer gets driven by various parameters, such as whether it is along a metro line. Many have jobs located in IT zones, which could be quite far away from each other, so all he needs is a good line as far as transportation is concerned. We entered Mangaluru with large expectations, but it is a slow-moving market. We did quite a bit of work in Kochi and will continue to do more. We did explore Coimbatore but did not see volume growth. We are looking at smaller formats of homes, say, below Rs 40 lakh. There seems to be a segment of buyers who now like ready homes.'

Vineet Verma, Executive Director & CEO, Brigade Hospitality
'Today, potential demand lies in the mid segment, which is around Rs 1 crore. My understanding of the market is that, earlier, we had two categories of buyers: One was investors looking at potential investment in an apartment that would appreciate over a period of time quickly; the other was people buying for their own use. Today, the degree of self-use has gone up. And, because the buyer is looking at an apartment for self-occupation, he has started nitpicking on what he really wants in the apartment. In terms of super luxury, people have the money and are waiting and watching who is offering them the best value-add. Speaking of Mysuru, it has not seen the kind of growth we had anticipated; connectivity has still been a challenge. We have been talking about a 1.5-hour corridor to Mysuru and I do not know when that is going to happen. I do hope cities like Mysuru and Chikmaglur are great cities to take notice of in terms of hospitality. Value for money is what a customer is looking for today. And that is a challenge we are facing, in terms of how we satisfy today's customer.'

Chandrashekar Hariharan, Chairman, Group BCIL
'There is clear inclination towards investing in the South. What has happened now is that the builder pays 10 times more than his construction cost. This also means that many builders, large and small, have conceded after resisting for four to five years. No one is building at anything more than, say, 100 sq m. The other thing is that the younger generation in the age group of 30 to 40 years do not want to own homes; they are emotionally way more secure than the previous two generations. Commercial buildings are coming up in a big way in three popular cities in the South, with one being Hyderabad. And the new-generation buyer, apart from this tendency to rent and not own, is looking for substance, not size. Speaking of price, anything above Rs 50 lakh is becoming a tough challenge in the market.'

Gita Ramanan, Chief Design & HR Officer, Design Cafe 'The context of price has always been a reality for us. We have never escaped that and we have never ever seen mega budgets. We have been part of projects where there has been luxury. We have done homes for Rs 5 crore in interiors only. But they are going to be a small percentage. Everybody wants a different concept; everybody wants to see what's new. Then you are innovating at every level, whether it is space, the usage of it, if you can have multipurpose furniture, etc. People are talking about connected homes. There is demand for apartments with green spaces inside. The idea is how to keep the customer informed from the beginning and offer a holistic solution.'

Shriyal Sethumadhavan