Covid gave a fresh lease of life to the otherwise flat market for vacation homes in India as a growing number of NRIs, HNIs and high-income professionals are exploring luxury pads within driving distance of metros and nearby holiday destinations such as Lonawala, Panchkula, Alibaug, Panjim, Karjat, Kasauli, Shimla and Dehradun, among others. Analysts opine that Covid left a deep impression on the well-off homeowners in metros, who are reviewing their options about investing in vacation homes in smaller towns for living and working from there for long durations, without compromising on work or family life.
DLF’s chief marketing officer Karan Kumar attributes the demand for holiday homes being fuelled by HNIs, NRIs and C-suite corporate professionals. Especially with respect to NRIs, the economic uncertainty amid Covid helped real estate emerge as a resilient investment asset amid diminishing returns from mutual funds and stock market. “While Dehradun, Kasauli and Shimla have always been popular for quick getaways from Delhi NCR, cities close to these hill stays have also got a major boost, for example New Chandigarh, Panchkula, etc,” he added.
Ashish R Puravankara, managing director of Bangalore-based Puravankara, agrees that Covid altered people’s behaviour and perception. “Be it hills near Delhi, Lonavala near Mumbai or Goa. These hill stations and coastal destinations have seen a surge in demand for homes. As markets eased back into action, there has been a surge in customers looking to buy a second home for vacations and weekend getaways. We at Puravankara saw this with our marquee project in Goa, Adora De Goa. In the past six-eight months, we sold close to 100 units,” he noted.
Boutique developer Silverglades, which has luxury projects near Gurgaon and Kasauli, said vacation homes are here to stay. “Our Kasauli project is an exclusive luxury project with 40 units. We have had enquiries for 20-30 units and have sold 12. The price is in range of Rs 2-5 crore,” Silverglades CEO Anubhav Jain said. In the company’s Tarudhan Valley golf resort (Manesar), which offers farm houses and villas, the company sold two farms and three villas. “States like Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are increasingly preferred for stacation homes,” Jain explained.
Pointing out trends in vacation homes, Anarock Property Consultants vice-chairman Santhosh Kumar said many prefer to buy such properties within driving distance of their primary unit so that travel restrictions (inter-state) do not play spoilsport. “Many now prefer green and salubrious environment with ample open spaces, dedicated work station, larger space to accommodate family needs and wi-fi connectivity, among others,” he added.
Square Yards’s co-founder & head (NRI business), Anupam Rastogi said ready-to-move-in and near-finished homes are on the wish list, with transactions closing in mere 35-40 days which earlier took four-six months. “Developers have become more rational in their pricing to rein in this demand and increase cashflow. Peripheral locations are the focal point for second-home buying owing to huge growth potential and possibility of capital appreciation of 8-10% in the next four-five years,” he added.
DLF’s Kumar adds that with competitive prices being offered by developers and low-interest rates on home loans, non-metros have become a preferred choice of investment for second-home buyers. This is gradually attracting even the travel-savvy upper-middle-class, who earlier enjoyed annual holidays.