Theme for a home

Last Updated 18 October 2012, 12:18 IST

Is a theme-based home considered a value addition or a style statement? Ruth Dsouza Prabhu finds out.

Home buyers want their homes to be unique, something they can show off to their friends and family, something exclusive. There is a desire to own a home that has been designed to be a standalone, one of a kind, and that is where the concept of theme-based homes come in.

But then exclusivity comes at a price and you have to be able to make a distinction between a style statement and a value addition. “In a competitive market where there are multiple players, real estate developers are going all out to put forth their market differentiator.

Theme-based housing projects are a major attraction in today’s cluttered market,” says Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO, Tata Housing.

He elaborates, “The market has seen an increased demand for projects which revolve around a theme.. Customers looking for theme-based homes are well travelled internationally and want a residential address that matches their changing lifestyles and aspirations.

The HNI and large expat communities are seen as large investors. It helps cater to a niche audience which is no longer impressed by facilities such as club-houses, swimming pools or health clubs. The lifestyle aspirations of this group now goes far beyond. Hence it is a value addition for customers who are looking for a style statement.”

However, Ashwini Kumar, Executive Director & COO Nitesh Estates, feels that it is a style statement because “people want to own something which is unique and speaks well of their taste. People want to own a unique residence/ address in the City as they derive great pride in owning such homes.”

Bringing a theme to life

Themes are meant to make a project stand out from the rest. “Themes are possible exclusively for premium homes only,” says Bhaskar Swamidoss, Head – Quality & Safety, Century Real Estate.

“Themes may not work well for a small scale project, but definitely when it goes beyond 10 acres it is a USP,” says Ashwini Kumar. With Bangalore still reigning supreme in terms of a home buyer’s choice, its landscape should be able to inspire a variety of themes, Bhaskar Swamidoss says, adding, “The landscape of Bangalore is varied and the weather is mainly tropical in nature. One can create a contemporary outdoor space, reflecting and integrating the architecture into the landscape. The theme should be a multi-functional landscape and should suit the requirement of future users; should support all seasons and create a welcoming atmosphere. The theme should cater to outdoor living spaces, leisure gardens, productive landscape and utility and functional spaces, etc.”

Swamidoss also elaborates on the probability of achieving ‘market sustenance advantage’. “It refers to the introduction of a unique concept that forms the  USP of the product. It is a practice among leading developers who have broken into the market.” He adds that there will be a major price influence on the project. This is because the concept here is exemplary, one that suits the needs of an exclusive segment of the market share of each developer. This involves high risks as the concept has the probability of achieving ‘market sustenance advantage’ and therefore has a major influence on the pricing of the project on the basis of opportunity cost.” Everything exclusive comes with a price tag that is a cut above the rest as well. Brotin Banerjee says.

“Prices for theme-based projects may vary depending on the location and features. However, price comparisons have to be made within a limited geographical area as market dynamics would be similar. Moreover not all theme-based projects are expensive as there are some projects targeted at the mid-segment also, where the theme is prevalent in external finishing. Such projects cannot really command a premium as their offerings cannot really be differentiated from other mid-segment projects.”
Pricing is also influenced by the materials used and their sources.

But with exclusivity, the question that arises is the ability to customise one’s home, within the framework of the concept. Swamidoss explains that the scope for prospective home owners to customise their interiors is encouraged and supported with customer relations as a value-added service to customer. However, if an interior modification is affecting the external look and feel of the project/not intended by the customer, it is not encouraged as it may affect the final look of the project and the quality standards.

Owning a theme-based home, however, ensures that you remain in an exclusive bracket of home owners with a unique product of your own.

(Published 18 October 2012, 12:18 IST)

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