PUNE: The demand for specially-designed homes for Indians in their sunset years may be rising but a slew of issues have ensured that it is seldom met with appropriate supply.
Builders have largely stayed away from the segment because although there is demand, many senior citizens remain financially dependent on their children and, therefore, their approval. At the same time, many builders haven’t yet woken up to the idea of parents staying away from their children. Builders also do not seem to show the patience to see through such a project.
In fact, the concept of separate homes for senior citizens was discussed at the national governing council meeting of Confederation of Real Estate Development Association of India (Credai) in Pune, recently.
“Some Credai members did not agree that there were enough seniors ready to stay away from their children. We had to educate them that there is enough demand and the same has to be taken positively,” said Shantilal Kataria, president of Credai Pune. He expressed hope that many builders will come forward to meet the demand in the “very near future.”
While, there have been experiments in building homes for senior citizens, not all have met with success. Fewer builders still have designed their projects to be senior citizen-friendly with amenities like panic switches, ramps, but these are too few and far between.
“We failed miserably when we tried taking up housing for senior citizens in Pirangut. We had launched the Sukh Gram series last year. Senior citizens aren’t willing to shift to peripheral locations due to security and social infrastructure concerns,” said Sachin Kulkarni, managing director of low-cost housing Vastushodh.
“Such homes do not work since the decision is not in their hands as they are financially dependent on their children, who call the shots. Even loans aren’t available for senior citizens.”
On the contrary, city-based Paranjape Schemes has successfully pulled off a host of senior citizens’ projects.
Under the brand name Athashri, the company has constructed around 1,150 apartments and another 1,000 apartments are in the offing in Pune, Bangalore and Vadodara. All projects are priced between Rs 13 lakh and Rs 71 lakh.
According to Rohit Gera, managing director of Gera Developments, “Senior citizen housing, if done correctly, is a specialized product. It requires long term engagement from someone to continue to operate the development as a senior citizens’ facility.” Gera says another model of leasing, which works in western countries, is unviable in India, therefore the only option is for people to purchase the homes.
Kataria added that much demand for senior citizens home is in the mid-segment apartments costing between Rs 30-50 lakhs. “Builders have realized that there is an unfulfilled demand in this segment and catering to it creates a different clientele. Honestly, it does not cost us too much to build the special projects,” he said.