Buying a house – Villa or Apartment?

This is a question that bothers all those who looking to buy a new home, or property. While the answer to this can be driven apartmentby a complex set of reasons and desires, it’s good to know a few pointers that can help one make a decision better.

  • Historical preferences: Generally, people who have lived in independent houses or know more people that do so prefer villas, while people who have always lived in distant suburbs or farmhouses, with fewer neighbors, prefer the community culture of apartments.
  • Lifestyle aspirations: Villas stand for exclusivity and standing out, as well as the opportunity to live it up, whereas apartments are all about conveniences and hassle-free living. Where one is in their career, or age profile – will decide which of these lifestyles they prefer.
  • Family Type and Size: While larger families with two or more generations living together require the extra spaces available in a villa, while smaller and nuclear families will find an apartment adequate and cost-effective.
  • Transit and Proximity: Generally, apartments require lesser acreage and are found closer to commercial districts, while villas require more space and are farther off. If one’s priority is to stay close to the workplace, one is more likely to find a suitable apartment than villa for this.
  • Age and disability: Families with elders or those with disabilities will find the compact spaces of apartments more convenient. Whereas, the wide open spaces of a villa project can create hassles especially during an emergency.
  • Noise and Privacy: Large families, families with two or more children, elders with low tolerance for noise, and young couples who desire more privacy will find the space between two villas convenient. Whereas, families that enjoy a community lifestyle may find a villa environment cool and aloof.
  • Safety & Security: Working couples who follow different work timings, or where one of the partner is constantly traveling will find apartments safer and less risky. While large families or those who do not enjoy too much scrutiny will find a villa lifestyle heartening.
  • Amenities & Conveniences: In addition to the mandatory supermarket, gym and swimming pool, it’s quite common to see one or two crèches in most large apartment projects in Indian cities. This makes it convenient for working couples with a child.
  • Upgrade & Maintenance costs: Apartments are synonymous with economy of scale. Upgrade costs and maintenance costs are distributed amongst various houses which helps keep it small. It’s also easier to find volunteers who can manage the residents association and facilities, in apartments. While both of these factors are a challenge in villa projects.
  • Investment or Residency: Is one buying the property for living there or, merely as an investment? In case of the latter, one should know that because of their affordability, it’s easier to sell apartments quickly, while this is not always true of a villa.

These are some of the major factors that can influence one’s decision. End of the day, neither option is just perfect for anybody. Choose wisely and there will be fewer compromises and more benefits.

Indian Realty Goes Green

Eco-friendly homes, green buildings, environment friendly construction and sustainable habitats have become the new buzzwords in Indian realty. While the desire to do less harm to the environment is a prime factor motivating this new trend, the benefits of eco-friendly homes to the owner are too significant to be ignored.

  • Lower energy consumption
  • Lower water consumption
  • Reduced waste generation through more recycling and reuse
  • Lower air pollution

These benefits have triggered various measures by the Indian government to encourage green building norms. In this regard, the work done by monitoring agencies such as LEED-INDIA, IGBC, BEE and TERI are significant.

In 2007, TERI developed a rating system for green buildings which was endorsed by the Indian government. If these rating standards, called GRIHA, are adopted, green building owners can save 40%-60% in energy consumption and around 35%-55% in water consumption.

green realty

As one can expect, both Indian Corporates and Realty Companies are going all out for Green Building Norms. For corporates, in addition to the savings in operational costs, green buildings fit neatly into the company’s CSR agenda and are good for its image.

Infosys, the Indian IT bellwether is a pioneer in this area. All their campuses in Hyderabad, Mysore, Mangalore, Trivandrum and Pune are LEED-Platinum certified. Some upcoming commercial green projects include Godrej Genesis in Kolkata, J W Marriot Hotel in Mumbai, and IOC Building & Learning Centre in Panipat.

For Realty companies, the reduced cost of construction through use of inexpensive and eco-friendly material helps buttress their margins in a recessionary economy. Companies like Avani Residence in Hyderabad and BCIL in Bangalore are specialists in this area.

With State Governments, Municipal bodies and individual home-owners adopting GRIHA standards, the movement towards Green Construction in India will only get stronger with time.