Along with villas and independent floors, farmhouses — once a status symbol amongst the affluent class in India — are seeing a big surge in demand among homebuyers in post-pandemic times. Apart from being used as regular weekend gateways, amidst the growing flexible working culture farmhouse properties are also seeing promising capital gains and rental incomes, which is further helping the segment thrive.
According to industry experts, traditionally, hectic work life, overall lifestyle changes, and the dearth of personal time have considerably desisted buyers from investing in real estate assets (mostly farmhouses) in far-off locations as opposed to where they live. The reason for this is that farmhouses are a costly affair which do not prove to be a value-for-money investment if one visits the place once or twice in a year or two.
However, the desire to expend in farmhouses has not seen a dead end. The modern sedentary lifestyle has ineluctably motivated buyers to invest in farmhouses close to their permanent location. As a matter of fact, the mushrooming purchasing capacity and annual income sizes of high net-worth individuals, also concentrated in Delhi-NCR, have soaked in their finances in farmhouses.
Discussing the consumer markets of farmhouses, Sachin Gawri, CEO and Founder, Rise Infraventures Ltd, said, “Farmhouses have a niche yet reliable and dependable consumer market. They have long-term and inventive investment plans and belong to the school of thought which espouses ‘think twice and act once’. An intelligent and well-read consumer base makes sound and prudent decisions. Investments in farmhouses are seen in multi-faceted ways, first as lucrative investment opportunities with promising future returns as they are located near expressways and corridors where land rates will find a good appreciation and resale value over time. Secondly, farmhouses are seen as second homes and temporary getaway and respite homes from tedious work life. Third, they are also seen as secondary sources of income either by farming or renting purposes during the wedding and holiday seasons.”
Farmhouses are not a very significant business model in terms of overall market size, but there is certainly demand for them. “Delhi is the only Indian state that has designated certain areas for farmhouses in its master-plan. These areas are in clusters around Mehrauli, Panipat, Bijwasan, Rajokri and Chattarpur. Delhi is the nexus of the farmhouse culture. This can be traced to the unique North Indian mind-set, which is oriented to ownership of agrarian land parcels. A number of Delhi-based bureaucrats and affluent businessmen own farmhouses, but that is not representative of a significant demand model,” informed Santhosh Kumar, Vice Chairman, ANAROCK Group.
Talking about the popularity of several farmhouse hubs in NCR, Ankit Kansal, Founder and MD, Axon Developers,said, “The Delhi NCR has traditionally been one of the largest farmhouse destinations in India with local HNIs and NRIs betting big on farmhouses. Traditionally locations such as Brijwasan, Mehrauli, Chhatarpur, and Aravali Hills have been favourites for developing farmhouses. Meanwhile, as an increasingly new buyers class for farmhouses is coming up comprising tech entrepreneurs, senior corporates, professional consultants etc, upcoming affordable destinations are also emerging on the map. One such destination is the Delhi-Jaipur highway, the 190-km 8-lane stretch which is increasingly becoming a hot market for gated villas, farmhouses, farmhouse-styled communities, second homes, etc.”
“The region is fraught with greeneries and offers an affordable option for Delhi-based buyers who would like to opt for a decongested and serene atmosphere for their second homes and farmhouses. Moreover, across the region there are plenty of picturesque forts and archaeological sites. The area is also linked with popular tourist locations such as Neemrana, Ranthambore national park, Sariska national park, which further adds value,” Kansal added.
Farmhouses are also known as country houses in niche markets. Chattarpur and Mehrauli are famously known as farmhouse colonies in Gurugram. Many new corridors, like Gurugram’s Sector 95, are also emerging, with some of the best and world-class farmhouses in NCR and across India. Sectors in proximity to New Gurugram have also seen an uptick in opportunities for farmhouse investments for HNIs and NRIs.
Nayan Raheja of Raheja Developers said, “Farmhouses have become a popular luxury investment category for buyers. These have their own charm and retained their promising circle of buyers despite being an uber-expensive investment type. Off late, farmhouses have become the people’s favourite as the possession of land and real estate is being viewed as a safe and sound investment with solid ROIs, as compared to pooling money in stock markets, gold, and foreign exchange etc., which are under the influence of volatile market forces and shocks. Gurugram has been the most popular farmhouse destination, offering a desirable, peaceful countryside living experience amidst a city offering advanced connectivity. It is a perfect pitch zone for HNIs, UHNIs, and retired NRIs, who mainly invest in farmhouses.”
“The uniqueness of farmhouses nowadays is that they are located in green belts, offering a gaze at nature in a region marred by high pollution levels. A farmhouse also offers post-retirement income scenarios like the expanse of farmlands and self-sustainable farming areas within it. All-in-all, a farmhouse is a desirable investment for affluent buyers looking for a soulful living as well as a great investment avenue. And Gurugram offers a rich array of options for the same,” he added.
The spike in tourism activity in cities has also fuelled the demand for farmhouses. It also opens up many avenues of income generation like farming, selling agricultural produce and pasturing. The ultra-rich have shown a proclivity to indulge in these kinds of activities, which serve as post-retirement revenue earnings, and farmhouses have become their ultimate investment territory.
Elaborating on the favourite farmhouse destinations of buyers in Gurugram, Ansh Batra, Director, Buniyad Group, said, “Gurugram has emerged as buyers’ and investors’ hotspot for farmhouses with Chattarpur, Vasant Kunj, and Sultanpur topping the line of investment. They have a huge range of farmhouse options available for buyers for renting purposes or permanent long-term investments. Especially post-pandemic, when buyers have woken up to the fact that owning bigger homes is feasible for living a resourceful and salubrious lifestyle in the long run. Farmhouses have emerged as a much-preferred buying option for India’s ultra-rich population and also offer vast acres of farmlands and arable lands, which can be used for alternative modes of income generation. Farmhouses are a better option to stay with family if one wishes to spend some quality time or vacations. They are also a non-depreciating investment as real estate is a remarkable source of revenue income as compared to other segments like share markets, jewellery, etc.”
Along with this, farmhouses are built on the city’s outskirts; hence, buyers must ensure that all the facilities are available on the premises and that the property you’re investing in is well connected to transportation networks, suggests Batra.