They are here to stay...

They are here to stay...

Studio apartments are a big hit in Bangalore owing to their affordability. Prashanth G N gives us a low-down on this new trend that’s fast catching up with the young IT crowd.

Bangalore has a reasonably consistent and durable market for studio apartments. These apartments, which generally have a room which has the living area and kitchen in a single space, apart from a bedroom, (similar to a one-bedroom apartment), are sold out in Bangalore even before projects commence. The demand for studio apartments is high and very specific. People with income levels of around Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000 form a majority of buyers. They are generally young professionals from the technology sector. Single people prefer studio set-ups a lot because the space is just right for them to have a home to go back to, which is lower in cost compared to one-bedroom apartments. Young couples and newly weds too prefer to stay in these.

New perspective

Srinivas Reddy, Assistant Vice President, Research, Jones Lang Lasalle puts the studio apartment scene in Bangalore in perspective. “We have noticed that buyers of studio apartments are pre-dominantly young. They form the bulk of the IT sector and they earn around Rs 50,000 a month. Entry level and professionals with four-five years experience are a big chunk in IT.

How will they be able to afford apartments worth over Rs 30 lakh, even taking EMI into consideration? We have seen how projects are sold out before they are completed. As of now, studio apartments are doing fairly well in Bangalore.”

Some of the major studio apartment projects include the 2,500 flats from VBHC at Attibele, Neo Town in Electronic city, DLF’s Westland Heights, Prestige Tranquility and a few others located in the Sarjapur, Marathahalli corridor. They are also coming up in K R Puram, Bannerghatta Road, Yelahanka, Kanakapura Road, Kammanahalli and Hosur Road.

The prices of these apartments vary from Rs 14 lakh to around Rs 26 lakh. The average size of the apartments is around 450 sq ft to 650 sq ft. Some of these apartments come very well furnished and some other with the bare minimum. Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VHBC) run by Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao believes that there is no one player in the value-housing segment and that other players have very little to offer for projects below Rs 30 lakh, which are classified as affordable housing.
There is a need for budget housing with government estimating a shortfall of 18 million households. VHBC’s effort is to design homes that are high on value and low on budget. VBHC’s project, Vaibhava, in Bangalore offers affordable housing and the development essentially targets middle class customers with a monthly income of Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000.

Studio apartments become a choice for youngsters because they focus on saving money by not paying high rents. Within the Rs 40,000-50,000 salaries they earn, professionals look to spend Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 rent, but with most of the projects hovering around 500 sq ft, rent would be on the lower side. Also, these apartments are at short distance from workplaces. As far as aesthetics are concerned, many have wall-to-wall carpetting in the apartments, ethnic touch using colourful Rajasthani or Gujarati arm rests and pillows, colourful bedspreads, artistic lamps, vases and flowers and very compact but classy music and TV sets and a small library. This is typically done by families who decide to stay in the apartments. Rarely will it be well furnished and rented out. Owners would prefer renting bare apartments.

Typically, if one-bedroom apartments cannot fall within the budget of buyers, the next best option would be studio apartments, atleast as a first home. Renting a studio apartment cuts expenses. Studio apartments which generally have a room with kitchen and bathroom may not be to the liking of many families, but they still go in for them because of the high rent for one bedroom apartments. A way out of this is to convert the studio apartment into a one bedroom apartment by using wooden dividers. A strategy could also be to use foldable beds, which can be converted into sofas to give the appearance of a living room during the day, and transformed again into beds in the night.

Expanding horizons

Studio apartments are also coming up in Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and New Delhi. The cost of these could be marginally higher than in Bangalore owing to the higher guidance value in those metros. Most of these cities too have a strong IT community and younger population, making studio apartments almost a necessity. Since Bangalore has the largest IT population, around nine lakh, the demand for studio apartments would be higher compared to the other metros. It would be prudent to remember that a bulk of IT staffers begin with a salary of around Rs 20,000 and then head towards the Rs 30,000-50,000 range after three to four years. The calculation of real estate players is that as long as the IT sector remains buoyant, there wouldn’t be much to worry about demand for studio homes

A lot of people are looking for affordable and a dignified, decent home to live their lives. And when opportunity comes knocking, the dream of having a home in one of the faster growing cities in the world would stand fulfilled. The studio apartment is here to stay.

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