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Real estate in the face of pandemic doesn't get ruled by location. Pixabay

BY ADITI ROY

The perception of ‘premium’ means in real estate has moved from snob value to define family wellness and health.


As one deals with the global COVID-19 pandemic, developers and buyers are focusing on features in residences which enhance hygiene, wellness and sustainable living which need to be inherent in the design and makeup of housing projects.

“Wellness amenities such as yoga studios, meditation rooms, spas, gymnasiums, tennis courts and jogging tracks became the new rage among urban homebuyers. Such features eventually transcended luxury home projects and came to be expected in mid-range homes, as well. Wellness amenities now deliver a far more convincing ‘premium’ punch than architectural eye-candy. Branded developers were quick to sense the shift and began integrating such features into their projects,”says Prashant Thakur, Director & Head – Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

“The world we live in has suddenly been sharply redefined. In times of unprecedented job insecurity, rent is a burdening expense, property ownership is a vastly more attractive investment rationale than reposing faith in volatile financial markets, and the home is a focal point of an entirely new work ethos,” Thakur adds.

“Premium” beyond branding

The current lot of homebuyers are willing to pay extra for premium products and features. For most Indians’ homes are the single-largest lifetime investment they make so it makes sense to secure the best options available within one’s means. While branded builders deliver premium via superior properties and locations, the concept of premium in the backdrop of the severest healthcare crisis is wellness, says a survey by ANAROCK.


Real estate doesn’t revolve around location anymore. Pixabay

Wellness as a Project Design Imperative

Real estate that encompasses wellness elements in a building’s design, materials and amenities is a major global trend. Wellness features in a residential (and also commercial) building enhance its desirability as it improves the overall environment and well-being. Among the most popular wellness amenities are gyms, yoga/meditation rooms, roof gardens and enhanced natural lighting and ventilation. As we edge more into the luxury domain, buyers also seek projects with art studios, hobby rooms and Zen gardens where they can unplug and rejuvenate.

The practice to get buildings certified for wellness is being followed by several international developers. This trend, which is being seen in residential, commercial and even avant-garde retail spaces, involves the building receiving a wellness certification based on its design and operational strategies. Similar to the LEED certification program by the U. S. Green Buildings Council, where a building’s ‘green’ features are evaluated and rated, wellness ratings assess the wellness features of a real estate development – how much they contribute to the health and wellbeing of occupiers.

Green Commercial Real Estate

While the residential real estate is gradually catching up to it, this trend is currently more visible in contemporary commercial spaces. Globally, owner-occupied commercial establishments are driving demand for green features and practices. Some of these features include active stairways, biophilia, enhanced air quality, natural sunlight, vertical gardens etc. Such amenities are seen as a way to attract and retain young employees who are highly focused on working in healthier environments.

Even Indian developers are savvy to the trend of tenants placing a high premium on wellness. An increasing number of Indian employees now look for workplaces which help them retain a certain level of fitness and wellness. India Inc is already replete with Grade A office spaces that feature gymnasiums, breakout areas, jogging strips and meditation corners. Coworking spaces, which millennial workers and start-ups favour, have been among the earlier adopters of this trend.


Real estate customers and developers focused more on sustainable living. Pixabay

The ‘Premium’ Is High

There is a significant cost attached to incorporating wellness amenities into a building’s architecture, so properties in such buildings cost more than those without any features. The upkeep of such features also adds to the overall maintenance expenditure of the building. However, these features translate into benefits such as improved employee efficiency, performance and retention in office buildings, and a higher happiness and satisfaction quotient in housing projects.

Given that such amenities are in increasing demand, developers now look at including such features in their buildings’ design, over and above providing innovative health-centric amenities. Buildings in India which have wellness baked into their DNA are still a relative rarity, but even a lower saturation of wellness features can be a USP. Definitely, interest in such features in housing projects has never been higher than in COVID-19 era, which has brought the need for complete self-sufficiency in residential real estate front and centre.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs involved, we are unlikely to see this trend percolating down into affordable housing very soon. Such amenities come for a premium, and developers need to keep affordable housing… well, affordable. Nevertheless, some of the latest affordable projects being developed in the less expensive peripheral areas of our major cities do have a degree of basic wellness features.

Also Read: COVID-19 Poses Serious Complications, Even Death Risk for Children: Research

These projects are preferred because many buyers are willing to compromise on the conveniences of central locations – but not on the health of their families. Homebuyers with such an orientation can look for internationally recognised wellness ratings such as WELL Building Standard and Fitwel rating, which measure and certify wellness features positively impacting human health and wellbeing. (IANS)


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