Pandemic spurs demand for luxury villas, farmhouses


Bijwasan and Mehrauli – or Tungarli in Lonavala and the Dona Paula waterfront in Goa – are now much more than just weekend homes for the swish set in Delhi or Mumbai. In Covid-ravaged India, where space in townhouses is a luxury even for the rich, luxury villas and farmhouses – often at locations far from the madding crowd – are drawing affluent city buyers.

Even as the second wave subsides, more enquiries have started pouring in, said property brokers and developers. That has meant the share of such farmhouse and luxury properties has gone up substantially in the top end of the property market, said Amit Goyal, CEO-India at Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Farmhouses and holiday homes used to contribute 8-9% of the total housing sale before the pandemic. It has increased to 20% now,” said Goyal.

While farmhouses in Delhi and nearby areas are witnessing greater demand, luxury villas in Alibaug, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar and Goa, and holiday homes in the hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are also drawing buyers from the metro cities.

“Earlier, executives used to prefer living close to the office to avoid traffic. The trend has changed now and that is why there has been an increase in interest in farmhouses and luxury villas in the periphery areas of metro cities,” Goyal said.

Amit Damani, Co-Founder of Vista Rooms that manages luxury villas for owners, said that domestic tourism is triggering the investment in the luxury villa market in India.

“People have already started enquiring for June as the cases have started coming down. In many cases, people who already own holiday homes are buying another due to the prospect of better returns. While in some cases, those living on rent have approached us to help them in buying that property,” said Damani.

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Vista manages about 600 properties across the country and has added 100 between the two Covid waves.

Experts said that there is also pent-up demand.

International buyers are also looking at buying such luxury properties and subsequently, professional management companies have been roped in to manage these luxury houses.

Homebuyers in metro cities are looking for such villas in the range of Rs 2 crore to Rs 50 crore.

“There has been a significant increase in expat residents who are buying villas or apartments since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. We have seen a significant growth in inquiries since last year. We already have many expats who have been living in our property and more are coming from their references,” said Manav Singh, Founder, Auramah Valley and Chairman Imperial Holding pvt. ltd.

The company is developing Auramah Valley in Himachal Pradesh in multiple phases and allowing the owner to lease back the property.

In Delhi and nearby areas, the demand for open spaces has led to an increase in the farmhouse prices.

Delhi is the only Indian state that has designated certain areas for farmhouses in its master-plan. These areas are in clusters around Mehrauli, Panipat, Bijwasan, Rajokri and Chattarpur.

“Farmhouses in the Delhi NCR region are at the luxury end of the residential market, often with carefully maintained ambience and infrastructure. They are largely under personal use by the owners, or leased out to long-term tenants. In either case, offering them up for tourist use would not be a concept that would appeal to many of these farmhouse owners,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

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In other parts of the country, Karjat and Khopoli near Pune, Igatpuri near Nasik and areas next to Thane are generating interest for farmhouse developments.

The same is true for many outlying areas around Bangalore and Chennai.

“The buyer is ready to pay 20-25% extra for good farmhouses and that is why the prices have also increased,” said Rohit Chopra, founder of Southdelhiprime.com, a digital real estate advisory and transaction firm.



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