From the crore of your heart

Updated: Jul 30 2006, 05:30am hrs
Time was when only billionaires in India had the privilege to live in furnished homes, complete with swimming pools, billiards rooms, etc. While mansions and villas are still out of bounds for most, thanks to the escalating price of residential plots in most metros, realtors in urban India have come up with a better option: high-end luxury apartments with modular kitchens, Italian marble floors, wi-fi connectivity, walk-in closets, fool-proof security system, 24-hour power and water supply, and well-equipped gyms.

Sample this: DLF Builders Aralias in Gurgaon has 5,000-sq ft apartments and 9,600-sq ft penthouses complete with a flood-lit golf course in the vicinity. World Spa (Gurgaon), with its 3,500-sq ft four-bedroom apartments and penthouses, offers a terrace and a business lounge with see-through roof that gives the illusion of clouds around you.

In Pune, Panschshil Realitys Waterfront has apartments overlooking an expanse slotted for a bird sanctuary. In Kolkata builders are exploring the high-end market viability. In Mumbai, super premium flats are available mostly in the city. In the suburbs, luxury flats are available at Rs 1-1.5 crore. Built on 3.2 acres, Kalpataru Horizon located at Worli has two premium 31 story residential towers offering three-four BHK apartments, penthouses with top-of-the-line features. Mofatraj Munot, chairman, says, The flats have been designed to give every flat a sea view. All apartments have full-length windows, professionally landscaped gardens, etc. Sumer Group of Companies has two propeties coming up at Chowpatty and Prabhadevi, in the super premium segment. Ansal Heights in Worli Naka commands Rs 2.5 crore for a 1,600 sq ft 3 BHK flat.

Smart builders are pulling out all stops to ensure that opulent and stylish interiors and a matching environment (malls, club, golf course, jogging track etc) are available at hand to lure the rich. Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers Ltd, says: Our luxury apartments have everything, from central air-conditioning to spas and modular kitchens and are priced at Rs 3.5-6 crore. The demand for these luxury apartments has gone up in the last one year.

Clearly, Indias rich are growing in numbers and for most of them owning a home worth crores is no longer a luxury, but a status symbol, and thus a necessity.

In Omaxes Forest Apartments, ducks swim in a moat and theres a make-shift forest in the backyard in addition to landscaped gardens. Avneesh Sood, director, Eros Group, agrees that price is no longer a constraint for buyers who expect some basic amenities in the apartments like modular kitchens, furnished living room. Says he: These are exclusive in terms of facilities.

Sometimes you have signature apartments, too. Punes Panchshil Developers has unveiled signature apartments conceptualised and designed by celebrities. Shobhaa De has designed the first edition of the signature line. In Chandigarh, top real estate developers in the country are eyeing the city and neighbouring Panchkula, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Mohali to develop and sell high-end luxury apartments. Offered at a price of Rs 1-1.50 crore, an estimated 2,000 luxury apartments would be constructed in the region.

In Chennai, TVH has an eco-friendly residential complex in Porur which comes complete with an artificial lake, tree cover, sun panels for water heating and so on. But due to lack of interest, Chennai has few high-rise buildings except Arihant Foundation in the heart of the city. Says P Dinakar, vice-chairman of Builders Association of India (TN chapter): Buyers are wary of heavy damages due to natural calamities and avoid highrises.

In Hyderabad, builders are also catering to the demands of high-end clients. Says Y Kiran of Suchir India, The new culture of luxury apartments is catching up here. About 45-50 such apartments are coming up in upmarket locations like Poppulguda, Narsingi, High-tech City and Nanakramguda adjoining the outer ring road project. Jurang of Singapore, Indu Projects, IVRCL and Suchir have identified the plots, he adds.

Truly, living life kingsize is no longer a luxury in India.

With inputs from Sulekha Nair in Mumbai, KVVV Charya in Hyderabad and R Ravichandran in Chennai