– by Akash Pharande, Managing Director – Pharande Spaces
It’s festive season time again, and many Indians are seriously considering taking the plunge this time. But even after factoring in the pros and cons, there is one aspect of the home ownership journey that can cause confusion – namely, how big a home should you buy?
Of course, you’ve read the news and know that most Indian homebuyers are going in for bigger apartments now. One of the main reasons is that it makes more financial sense to go in for a ‘forever’ home right away instead of beginning with ‘starter’ homes and getting into the gradual upgrade cycle.
Each upgrade involves a new home loan, and the way home loans are structured, you are mostly paying the interest component for the initial EMI years. Add to that the hassle of fresh home loan applications and paying stamp duty on every upgrade, doing the whole thing only once is a very sensible option.
But choosing the right home size is not just about budget constraints; it’s about optimizing space for a comfortable life. How can you decide on what size of home works best for your family? Also, is this quest for bigger homes a purely Indian phenomenon, or is it worldwide?
Home Size Preferences – The Indian vs. Global Scene
In 2023, based on data from leading real estate consultants, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments dominate India’s urban housing market, constituting almost 65% of the demand. However, this contrasts rather sharply with the global scenario. Single-bedroom and studio apartments are gaining more traction in Western countries and also the densely populated cities in the East.
One might wonder why. The Indian homebuyer’s preferences stem from traditional joint family systems, the relatively newer preference for forever homes rather than starter homes, and the equally new need for home office space after the recent pandemic.
Though the trend of nuclear families is on the rise in India, even such families often look for an extra bedroom for guests or, potentially, aging parents. This is a cultural phenomenon which may be rather unique to India.
In the US, similar to what we are witnessing in India, there is also an increased preference for larger homes in suburban or rural areas post-COVID. In the UK, the trend was similar and was further encouraged by a stamp duty holiday in 2020. And somewhat similar to India, the UK witnessed a migration from urban areas to suburbs or countryside.
On the other hand, many of the major European and North American markets also saw a gradual shift towards minimalism and an emphasis on environmental sustainability. In India, this trend is primarily restricted to very expensive cities where functional smaller homes are becoming popular again.
But in overall industry terms, the highest demand in India is currently for bigger homes. So, what will you choose?
Do You Need a Bigger Home?
Glistening brochures and glamorous show-flats emphasizing spaciousness and luxury are definitely enticing. And apart form all the practical reason mentioned above, so is the social value of owning a bigger home. When it comes to deciding the right size of your home, consider your family’s current and future requirements. Also, reflect on whether a smaller but well-designed flat would meet your needs equally well. Often, smart designs matter as much as square footage.
Key Factors to Determine Your Ideal Home Size
Family Size and Dynamics: If you have a young family, planning for future needs (like an extra bedroom for another child or a play/study area) makes sense. If you’re nearing retirement, a smaller, low-maintenance home might be more appealing.
Lifestyle Preferences: If you entertain guests frequently, a larger living area or an extra guest room is useful. If you work from home, even in hybrid mode for a couple of days in the week, a separate work room becomes essential.
Financial Preparedness: Remember, bigger homes don’t just cost more initially; they also have higher maintenance costs.
Size Requirements at a Glance
– 2-bedroom flats are popular among young couples and small families. They strike a balance between affordability and adequate space.
– 3-bedroom homes cater to medium to large families, or those anticipating future expansion of their families.
– 4-bedroom homes and above cater to affluent buyers, large families, or those who prioritize luxury and space. However, the demand is relatively lower.
In metros like Mumbai, there’s actually an emerging trend for compact homes – smartly designed spaces that make the most of every inch. They’re economical and are a fit for the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle. Also, prices in Mumbai are prohibitive when compared to neighbouring Pune or other cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad. In these cities, buying a bigger home within a reasonable budget is feasible and desirable.
Buying a home is a decision of a lifetime. Market trends provide insight but your individual needs must be given the most importance while deciding on the right size of home for your family. Let your unique requirements be the guiding light, so that you finally buy a home where your heart feels at peace and your family finds space to thrive.
About the Author:
Akash Pharande is Managing Director – Pharande Spaces, a leading real estate construction and development firm famous for its township projects in West Pune and beyond. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer of townships in West Pune.