HOME IS WHERE the heart is. Home is also where the art is. As “cabin fever” set in after months of being locked down in their homes due to pandemic lockdowns, wealthy Indians began to take stock. This led to two radical changes in attitude.
“Shaken out of their comfort zones, they began to question the basics of their lives,” said art curator and luxury connoisseur Arvind Vijayamohan. “You realize your time is limited and you have all this money, but what do you do with it?”
First, it directly led to an increase in the art collection, as “those who stayed at home and were accustomed to the beauty and culture on their travels also wanted ‘something beautiful to look at’ at home” , said Vijaymohan.
Second, it has led to a surge in home purchases, especially in the luxury segment. Sales of homes in the price range above Rs1.5 crore have seen a 230% increase this year, according to the Confederation of Property Developers. “After the pandemic, many people reassessed their priorities and began to appreciate the sense of security that comes with having a place to call home,” said Avneesh Sood, Director of Eros Group.
This surge, which comes after nearly a decade of zero growth, has seen distinct trends shaped by experiences of the pandemic. “Clients now want bigger, greener open spaces,” said Amit Goyal, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty (South Asia). “Where before it was all about location, people are now okay with places 30 to 40 minutes outside the city limits where they can get better space, better quality of life and amenities.”
In Delhi, this has translated into increased sales of villas and farmhouses; in Mumbai, the sale of large duplex apartments has increased. The list of recent purchases in Maximum City includes Tata Group chairman N. Chandrasekaran’s Rs98-crore duplex Peddar Road, Dmart founder Radhakishan Damani’s dream property in Malabar Hill, Bollywood couple Ranveer Singh and Rs119- crore from Deepika Padukone to Bandra and Amitabh. Bachchan’s 12,000 square foot apartment in Four Bungalows.
“Bengaluru, Mumbai and NCR are markets with high demand for luxury, driven by market size or incremental revenue size,” said Vivek Rathi, director (research) at Knight Frank India. “Interestingly, Bengaluru hadn’t seen a lot of luxury shopping before, but it has exploded over the past few months.” The unicorn and tech boom has had a dramatic impact on India’s Silicon Valley property market.
After RERA and demonetization, real estate investors had moved on to other areas of investing, but there are signs that they are back. Rents have gone up and prices have gone up. Other factors behind an impending boom in the luxury real estate sector include relatively low interest rates and the decline in the value of the rupee against the dollar, which has made the purchase of a large Indian house even more attractive to overseas Indians.