Infrastructure and its correlation to home buying
In India, as in other countries, it is a simple fact that localities which are as close as possible to important workplace areas will be most consistently sought out by people looking to buy homes. Therefore, projects with great connectivity by railway and road, see the highest demand for residential properties.
Property investment is always driven by the infrastructure in and around a locality. From sufficient roads to reliable water supply and drainage, infrastructure includes all the physical characteristics which contribute towards creating sustainable communities. Unsurprisingly, property costs close to infrastructure including airports, railway stations and roads are higher than in other regions.
If a location does not offer reliable electricity and water supply, connectivity, public transportation stops and sanitation by ways of good sewerage and waste disposal, it will not work as a residential destination regardless of what else it offers. All these are services that nobody living in a modern Indian city is prepared to live without.
From a property marketplace outlook, sufficient infrastructure in an area includes everything that leads to an easier, convenient lifestyle which does not have to contend with any kind of shortages, service outages and breakdown of public facilities.
Well-planned roads and public transport
Roads are required to make transport quicker and simpler. They are important right from the time when basic infrastructure and initial real estate development are being put in place, as raw materials and labour has to be able to reach the location. Once the area is established, roads let people travel to and from work, for kids to get to and from school and for access to shopping and entertainment.
Proper planning of road, rail and public transport nodes is very important. The key factor to be kept in mind during this planning is that people do not want to too close to bus depots, railway stations, shopping areas and industries businesses - but neither will they wish to be too far away from them.
Reliable supply of essential utilities
In a developing country like India, there are still many towns and suburbs of cities that do not enjoy reliable water and electricity supply, garbage management and public security features. With the income of typical Indian families constantly growing, today's urban homeowners are willing to spend more to get access to seamless water and electricity, and adequate security.
Naturally, residential complexes that provide 24x7 water and electricity supply and round-the-clock security are far now highly favored. This is what has led to the growing momentum of township development in Pune and even more so in PCMC. Housing projects in places that don't have reliable utilities and where security is a concern do find takers - but these are usually exceptionally budget-strung buyers who resign themselves to having to wait for everything to fall in place at some stage.
In India, there has been rising awareness of the minimum levels of sanitation that a household should have access to. A new location will only start attracting real demand from homebuyers if it offers appropriate measures of sanitation such as municipal road cleaning, trash removal, sewage and waste water disposal, and other related services. Without these services, life becomes unhealthy and intolerable. A location's score on the sanitation front is a very important criterion for homebuyers who are shortlisting housing projects in which to buy a property.
Social infrastructure: Schools, hospitals, shopping and recreation
Indian families put great onus on the availability of schools in a residential neighbourhood. This is why areas with good schools in the vicinity fetch higher property rates than most others. This is not only a question of convenience for Indian parents, but also of the safety for their children. Because of life's uncertainties and the rise in road and domestic accidents, hospitals are another component in an area's social infrastructure that is of critical concern for homebuyers. They expect quick access to medical facilities - this is non-negotiable.
Recreational open spaces such as parks are also consistently in favour from city dwellers that wish to experience nature to some extent, and thereby be able to find some refuge from the urban madness that rules most of their days. A locality that offers water bodies, gardens, parks and playgrounds in the vicinity are considered premium.
Developers of large integrated townships are aware of how important the availability of good social infrastructure has become, which is why they include gardens and artificial lakes as well as schools, shopping and entertainment inside the project premises for their residents.
Infrastructure in all its facets is therefore hugely important in today's residential property scenario, and it directly influences the buying behavior of Indians scouting around for homes. The degree to which social and civic infrastructure is available in a neighbourhood dictates how successful a residential destination is today.
This is why integrated townships have become the most important trend on the Indian property market today. Townships are not dependent on how proactive the municipality and private sector players in deploying social and physical infrastructure. They deploy it themselves in perfectly-contained microcosms that not only include residential projects but also office and retail complexes as well as educational and healthcare facilities.
Integrated townships ensure that their residents have everything they need for a modern comfortable and secure lifestyle accessible within easy reach, for instant use. The high demand for township properties in rapidly urbanizing cities like Pune and PCMC vouchsafes the fact that homebuyers are no longer willing to compromise on the advantages of sufficient infrastructure in their neighbourhoods.
This article is by Anil Pharande, Chairman - Pharande Spaces.