Real Estate

What’s in a location?

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The property market always sees increased buying activity during the festive season. The positive sentiments of the season motivate buyers to stop procrastinating. Obviously, developers know this and go to great lengths to harness the festive sentiment. There are usually multiple special offers rolled out for property buyers during this period. While festive offers can be tempting, property buyers need first to understand the genuine value of a property. Buying real estate should be based on this true value alone. So, what is ‘true value’ in a property?

It is not a matter of resale value. The real value of a property is its happiness quotient. Remember, you will be using this property for many years. For you, the real value lies in how much joy, security, convenience, and overall wellbeing it can give you for as long as you live there.

You have heard that the three most important value drivers in real estate are ‘location, location and location.’ What does this mean? Most people think in terms of the future resale value of a property in a particular location. By this yardstick, the most expensive locations are the most ‘valuable’ locations.

But actually, they are just the costliest locations — and usually anything but happy. Paying a massive price for a cramped tiny home in an expensive location will not buy you happiness. In cities like Pune, many of the costliest locations are also the most congested and polluted, and prone to crime. They are costly because they are so jammed full of older properties that no further development is possible.

These are actually dying locations, and the price you pay is for scarcity and perhaps resale value, not for your happiness.

Which kind of location can make you happy? A complete list of factors would be exhaustive, but let us look at five of the most important ones in the current Indian context:

1. Accessibility and convenience: First of all, it should give you access to everything you need. Shopping and grocery outlets, basic entertainment and transport facilities, schools, and hospitals should be available. Convenience is a significant factor that influences happiness — if you must struggle to get to work, get your kids to school, and buy whatever you need, you will not be happy there.

2. Space and spaciousness: The second most crucial factor that influences happiness is space. Not only should your property itself be spacious, but there also needs to be enough space between buildings. Your window view should not be of the wall of another building. Open spaces have a direct correlation to health, happiness, and wellbeing. If you live in a small flat in a congested, noisy neighbourhood, you will not be happy regardless of how much you paid for the home.

3. Vibrancy or ‘vibe’: This is an intangible factor, but there is a vast difference between a young, vibrant neighbourhood and an aged, dying location. To understand whether a locality is on the way up or down, simply take a walk or slow drive around the residential and commercial areas. What is the average age of the buildings you see? Are the roads well-kept? Do you get an overall feeling of end-of-life and decay, or a thriving, well-managed neighbourhood?

4. Planning and organisation: The human mind needs organisation. Lack of organisation and planning is intensely distressful to us, and we should not see signs of it around our homes. One sign that a neighbourhood is intentionally well-planned is the uniform design of its buildings. If there is a considerable disparity in building designs, the location’s development did not follow a blueprint and took place haphazardly.

Consider the state of the roads, too. If its roads are poorly maintained, the locality is not considered very important by the municipal authorities. If this is the case, you should not be surprised if the area also suffers from water shortage, frequent electricity supply interruptions, and other disruptions.

5. Safety: We cannot be happy if we do not feel safe, and unplanned areas with a vast disparity in living standards are not secure. In many of our cities, the costliest locations are surrounded by squalor and poverty and usually have a high crime rate. The safety of an area is again a factor of good planning. While a developer can introduce many safety features in his project, he can’t do anything about the surrounding areas.

Integrated townships are so popular in India because they offer all these benefits — accessibility, space, vibrancy, and a high degree of planning and safety. Integrated townships are mini-cities that have been designed based on a master plan. The best townships have beautiful aesthetics, are centrally maintained, enjoy high-level security, never face shortages, and offer generous green, open spaces.

The level of happiness you can get from a home in an integrated township does not depend on the township’s location — the township itself is the location, a self-contained world where everything is impeccably designed, planned, spacious, safe, and within reach. Needless to say, the importance of these qualities has also been hugely amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the interest in integrated townships has never been higher than in the festive season of 2021. More and more Indians are discovering that the hunt for an ideal home ends when they visit a township created by a developer who understands this format perfectly. Homes that make us happy are the best investment we can ever make.

The writer is chairman, Pharande Spaces.


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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 2:51:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/real-estate/whats-in-a-location/article37697938.ece

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