While the only feature of the Indian demographic that is highlighted in mainstream media is the youth population, the country also has a significant senior citizen division. With better healthcare and higher life expectancy, this portion of Indians could be a significant contributor in the future of the industry. Real estate for senior citizens is an avenue that developers should start looking at immediately.
India currently has a senior citizen population of 116 million. Several reports have also predicted that by 2050, this demographic is likely to comprise 25% of the country’s total population.
According to the population projections of India during the 2001 census, senior population (>60) will rise to 173 million in 2026. This means that if developers start focusing on senior housing right now, then there is an entirely untapped market ready to be harnessed…
Real estate for senior Citizens: Factors that might contribute to the boom
So, what are the likely contributing factors that could make senior real estate something to look forward to? Let’s take a look:
⦿ A new generation of seniors
The new generation of 55+ aged people in urban areas is a lot different than their predecessors. These are the people who gave their children a good education and allowed them to follow their dreams beyond geographic boundaries.
They are financially independent and looking for viable real estate for senior citizens to move into. According to statistics reported by Financial Express, close to 50% of seniors live with their spouses only and around 25% of them live alone. With an already mature market for senior citizen housing projects, developers could find an undiscovered opportunity.
⦿ The transparency that comes with RERA
One of the major developer concerns while dealing with senior customers is how wary they are of new things and their cautious approach to life. However, the transparency that has come with RERA will make it easier for developers to build a relationship of trust with senior homebuyers.
Not just that, it will also assure the timely delivery and protect them in case of delay.
⦿ The growing number of nuclear families
According to the 2011 census, more than 52% of Indian families are now nuclear. It is the result of a more globalised world where Gen Y and Z now have the opportunity to migrate for education and jobs. This coupled with the fact that most senior members live alone or with their spouses, makes homes for senior citizens a necessity.
⦿ Robust demand for senior living
A statistic shared by Square Yards suggests that there is a robust demand for such housing facilities. It claims that the current requirement is close to 300,000 units across 9 specific senior housing formats.
Reports also point out that unit prices of real estate for senior citizens is around 15-20% higher whereas their sales also take place 25-30% faster.
⦿ Profitable land acquisition
Flats for senior citizens require communities with plenty of open spaces that are located away from the bustling hearts of cities in ambient locales. This makes it more profitable for developers to acquire lands at cheaper rates as compared to city centres where prices are soaring regularly.
How should developers go about it?
Capitalizing on the current and future demand for retirement housing projects, developers also need to make the process easier for aged customers. Here’s a look at a few approaches that might help!
⦿ Offer a lease model rather than an ownership model
When it comes to real estate for senior citizens, leasing property is more popular compared to owning them. If developers can offer senior properties on a lease, then this will boost transactions rapidly.
⦿ Think of it as Housing-As-a-Service
Senior housing will come with a lot of responsibilities for developers and therefore it should be thought of more as a service than as a product. From enabling standard security measures to creating communities with open spaces that engage homebuyers on an intellectual, physical, and spiritual level will be key.
Also, developers will have to make sure that emergency health services and clinics are part of the community and not listed as a facility.
⦿ Create a seamless living experience
Now that times are changing, retirement comes as an opportunity for many citizens to follow their passion and create something new. Developers have to take this into account and invest in the community’s living experience through loyalty and engagement programs in the form of events, seminars, webinars, and the likes to bring the world to the community.
⦿ Managing technological assistance
Senior community members often feel challenged when adapting to modern technology. Therefore, developers have to think ahead and create a tech support team for the community. This will not only make it easier for them to cope up with the new world but also fill the emotional gap of the family by making it easier for them to communicate with their loved ones.
⦿ Pick popular retirement cities or satellite cities
Many cities across India are particularly favourable for real estate for senior citizens. Places like Puducherry, Dehradun, Rishikesh, and Pune to name a few have the perfect climate and atmosphere for seniors to enjoy.
Focussing on these cities and constructing real estate according to the mandates laid down by Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disability and Elderly Persons along with the National Building Code will open up opportunities towards the revival of real estate.
Real estate for senior citizens could be a game-changing segment for the real estate industry in India. It will cater to the growing number of aged community members and be a healthy and constructive alternative to the psychological and emotional loneliness that often haunt people in their twilight.