PUNE: Announcements of five luxury residential projects in as many weeks, with homes carrying price tags of Rs 3 crore or more, hardly corroborate concerns about the economic downturn and the attendant impact on business sentiment. City developers are upbeat about the response high-end housing can evoke even amid the 'gloom and doom,' as they think luxury knows no recession. "What sets the luxury housing apart is location, space, exclusivity in design and amenities and, of course, the company you keep when living in these residences," says Arun Nanda, chairman of the board of a diversified Indian business house with interest in real estate development. His company is developing a boutique, 20-unit luxury complex which offers well over 2,500 sq ft space per house comprising two, three and four bedrooms, where the prices are upwards of Rs 3 crore and one needs an invitation to buy in the complex. "Pune was a conservative place for a long time and its people believed in the 'value for money' approach for any financial decision they made. Things have changed drastically and there is a remarkable preference for luxury - be it cars, jewellery, apparels or houses," he says, adding, "There's a buyer for these homes, with money in his pocket, waiting for the right product to come up." "Luxury buyers are not bothered about EMIs. They are more keen on the right company with whom they can bond well as neighbours," Nanda adds. Another aspect is the shrinking land availability, which means, there are no suitable bungalow plots anywhere in the city, says N Sadashiv, a real estate advisor. "People who have a budget for a bungalow are looking at such options and realty developers are addressing the aspiration with imaginative design and top specifications," he says. Sadashiv said there is a marked presence of multinational corporations in the city now and top-level managers of these MNCs show a strong preference for such options. Also important is the change in the very approach to luxury. "It's no longer the price per square foot or the specifications that make the house a luxury home. It's the intangible feelings such as the freedom one enjoys from all worries, the comfort of exclusivity of space and the feeling of being in control of things that defines luxury now," says Rohit Gera, managing director, Gera Developments. His company is developing Isle Royale a cluster of high end homes with villas and apartments as options. Gera added that emergence of high-end projects will also help project Pune as an investment destination. Gera says Isle Royale villas and the apartments will have state of the art home automation technology which include world class features like i-pad controls accessible from any part of the world, Wi-Fi connectivity, guard monitoring systems, intrusion sensors with hooters, private elevators, fully air-conditioned residences, in-built water tanks and two electricity backups to give owners an additional sense of control and security. "The project will offer its residents their own island of peace," Gera says. Sanjay Bajaj, managing director for Pune at real estate advisory company Jones Lang LaSalleIndia, says as in most other cities, luxury housing in Pune is a very location-specific dynamic. The most popular luxury locations have either very little or no new luxury supply coming in, and demand for what is available is consistently high, he says. Gera adds that emergence of high-end projects will also help project Pune as an investment destination. "Today investors in real estate compare not just Indian cities but weigh options that are internationally available," he says. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Luxury-homes-in-Pune-on-a-strong-wicket/articleshow/24787732.cms
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