Troubled real estate is targetting new customers. And they are not young

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Troubled real estate is targetting new customers. And they are not young
Mumbai: Senior citizens are emerging as a new customer segment for property developers as well as other allied services providers for creating a proper assisted living environment for them, say realty experts.

As the number of the elderly population is expected to grow to 173 million by 2025, senior citizens are now being looked at as a potential real estate market, according to a report by property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle. A good number of seniors today are independent, financially stable, well-travelled, socially connected, and as a result have well developed thoughts of how they want to spend time after retirement, it said.

There are around 30 senior living projects in cities like Kochi, Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Pune, Goa, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bhopal, Jaipur, Delhi, Nagpur and Punjab.

Some of the prominent players in this sector are Paranjpe Schemes, Ashiana Housing, Clover Builders, Max India Group which entered the segment through its Antara Senior Living project and Tata Housing.

Tata Housing recently announced Rs 1,200 crore investment for developing houses specially designed for senior citizens. According to JLL, majority of these developments have 50-100 units in the form of residential complexes, with larger ones having over 400 units.

The units vary from 1-3 BHK units, villas and studio apartments with sizes range from 500-2,500 sq ft super built-up (saleable) area. Prices of these apartments vary from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

"Seniors in the country are typically taken care of by their children or family members. But now, with the younger generation travelling to different parts of the country and abroad a large segment of seniors today are staying alone," Disha Direct managing director and CEO Santosh Naik told PTI.

Insecurity, loneliness, restricted ability for physical work and daily chores and lack of quality health and geriatric care are some of the issues the aged often face, he said. It is, therefore, imperative that real estate developers understand and acknowledge the unique necessities of the elderly while catering to the sector, Naik said.

"We, along with the Gagan Group, are developing a senior living project 'Nulife' in Lonavala which will not only provide housing for the elderly but will be equipped with all amenities that such people require at this age," he added.

The real estate environment being developed for seniors should recognise and address these issues to ensure comfort and compatibility with this special population group, another industry expert said. "It should also keep in mind sensitivities to unique cultural aspects regarding how seniors are treated and offer community life upholding their sense of respect and self-esteem," he said.

A property consultant said that most of the senior living projects are positioned at the affordable segment, bearing in mind the fact that the end-consumers are senior citizens with limited resources and no sources of regular source of income. "However, there has been a gradual shift visible in the society, with the emergence of financial independent and lifestyle-oriented seniors. This has triggered the growth of high end to luxury senior living products in range of Rs 60 lakh to Rs 1 crore and upwards," he added.


Story first published: Monday, April 7, 2014, 10:01 [IST]
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