What enables builders to sell villas (builder jargon for semi-detached and row housing) at such low prices? “The same factors that enable them to offer flats at affordable rates,” says Abhinesh Yuvaraj, director, Baashyaam Constructions.
“Buying big parcels of land in the suburbs is critical to a villa project that aims to accommodate all purses.”
“Economies of scale enable builders to lower apartment prices. The same principle works for villas,” says M. Arun Kumar, managing director, Casa Grande. Casa Grande's Urbano project in Ponmar is a 200-unit township and Baashyaam Constructions' Le Chalet in Thandalam, a 500-unit one. The starting price for villas in both projects is about Rs. 23 lakh. In many respects, these projects resemble townships consisting of apartments. For one, they come complete with lifestyle amenities that include clubhouses, shopping malls and playgrounds. “Most important, villa townships also provide round-the-clock security surveillance. They combine the privacy of an independent house with the security of an apartment complex,” says Abhinesh.
While enjoying the advantages associated with self-contained apartment blocks, residents of villa townships don't face problems related to living in an apartment.
“Because of its physical structure, a township of villas provides a greater sense of community without compromising on privacy,” says Haresh Kishor, director, KG Developers & Developers.
“Privacy is the keyword in a villa lifestyle. Disturbance from neighbours is relatively infrequent in a villa township,” say these builders.
And, a villa buyer enjoys sole ownership of the space he has paid for. Villas are free of the ambiguity of ownership posed by common areas in apartment complexes.
A resident can have a garden or a terrace all to himself. Another decisive advantage is the comforting prospect of future expansion.
“Families don't remain static. They keep growing. Villas offer the option of adding, say, two more rooms in the future,” says Arun.
For these reasons, villa townships, wherever they are found, have a ready market. Townships in the city do as well as those in the suburbs.
“Within the city, the land component adds considerably to the cost of a villa. But still, there is never any shortage of buyers,” says Haresh, whose company has just completed a villa township (KG Green Meadows) in Velachery.
However, while villas are preferred by most people, they can never take the place of flats.
“Villa projects require huge chunks of land. For the 500 units in Le Chalet, we needed 22 acres. An apartment project involving as many dwelling units would have required only six to seven acres.
As big expanses of land are difficult to find, villa projects will be, at any given time, fewer than apartment projects,” says Abhinesh.
And, flats also score over villas on the affordability count. “There will always be flats that are cheaper than the cheapest villa. Given this, villa townships can never be a threat to apartments,” says Haresh.
“But they can co-exist — like a picturesque, sprawling meadow beside a mountain.”
They're dynamic, allowing for extensions in the future
They provide the privacy of an independent house and, if in a gated community, the security of an apartment
Common areas, a source of great friction in apartment blocks, are less contentious spaces
You can have the luxury of a private garden and terrace