By Kishor Pate
Over the past two decades, Pune has seen rapid growth of the IT culture. In the beginning, this culture was limited to employees of the city’s many IT/ITES parks – today, it has touched almost everyone who lives in Pune. The cyber revolution in this city is inescapable – those who do not own computers populate internet cafes. The current generation of young people below age 30 is defined by computer savviness, and these are the people who will usher the city into the future. Naturally, this revolution has had a very distinct impact on the kinds of homes that younger people choose to buy today.
Whether they are working in Pune’s innumerable software companies and IT-enables services firms or in some other sector, the young home buyers today have developed their own criteria for what constitutes an ideal home. ‘Smart’ homes are now in vogue not only with IT/ITES employees – most young home buyers today consider properties that support a cyber-driven lifestyle desirable.
The highest demand for smart homes in Pune stil still stems from people working in software parks and IT companies. This is largely because of their exposure to IT-driven concepts, their sizable pay packets and the fact that they have often been trained or stationed abroad and have been exposed to global residential concepts. Smart homes are not just an interesting variant – they are by and large luxury offerings, and there is a premium attached to homes with ‘smart’ features which varies according to how many of these features have been included in the project.
In the past, smart homes were considered something of a niche concept, owing to the larger ticket sizes. The clientele that developers initially targeted with their smart homes projects was primarily the higher-paid professionals employed in the city’s IT hubs. Today, the target audience has expanded a lot and includes a larger section of gadget-conscious younger generation of home buyers with a well-defined yen for automated homes. Falling in the age group of 29-40, these buyers tend to hold hold senior roles within the IT/ITES, manufacturing or services sectors. Regardless of career orientation, they are upwardly mobile, highly aspirational and eminently qualified for home loans.
Over and above being a premium offering, smart homes are a means for those whose professions involve high levels of stress. For such professionals, the comforts, enablement and security that smart homes offer are a means to relax and generate more time to spend with their families. Smart homes offer technological features wherein home owners can operate almost anything in their homes (including lights, air conditioners, security systems, curtains and blinds) from within and even outside at the touch or click of a button. Today, smart home technology uses user-friendly software that allows simplified control of climate, lighting, entertainment and communication. The technology involved impacts three key areas – energy efficiency, security systems and telecom systems.
Smart homes have a definite status value attached to them and tend to have higher resale value because of their locations, which are either close to the city’s IT hubs or in upscale areas more or less defined by higher purchasing power and therefore higher lifestyle aspirations. Appreciation of such properties is also influenced by the very nature of the features that make life simpler, safer, more comfortable and more exciting. The technology that drives smart homes can be readily upgraded, making them completely future-ready. This increases their potential resale value many times over.
Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.