India's branded homes: premium offerings but frugal mindsets

Mudassir Zaidi, the national director of residential at Knight Frank India, talks about the rise of branded homes.

How has the trend of branded homes in India evolved?

In the past few years, Indians have been wanting to look at different kinds of properties. It’s not just about the large size and location of the property now. People want much better specifications, plus a lot of Indians are travelling outside the country and they’re seeing the quality and the kind of standards available in global cities. That’s something that developers want to give them. They come under a category where you can brand these residences by linking them to a hotel or branding linked to the interiors or the architects. This branding via architects started earlier in India, with developers presented properties as conceptualised by famous architects. Later on, we saw a lot of interior design being promoted by developers who have tied up with names such as Jade Jagger and Armani. Hotel residences is just one sub-category of this branding exercise.

How is the backdrop of weak demand in the property market affecting these projects?

In the last three or four years, the market has been in a slowdown phase, so they’re not getting a huge premium yet and also people have not experienced it. It’s still an aspirational thing because these projects have not been completed yet and they’re not yet functioning. But the expectation is that when the market starts getting into a positive territory, these properties should start getting far better premiums than they currently have.

What other challenges are there when it comes to hotel residences in India?

Once these get delivered, one aspect is the higher costs of maintenance and other fees. People in India, however rich they are, are not very happy when there are very high monthly or quarterly outgoings, so we’ll have to see what effect that has. The Indian way of looking at it could be different, with a mindset of frugality. We have to see how people react to that when they start living there. The other challenge is whether people in India accept the premiums that developers want to drive with branded properties to the extent that the developers want.

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