COVID-19 may re-shape senior living segment; demand is set to zoom: ANAROCK report

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According to an ANAROCK reportCOVID-19 may reshape the future of the senior living segment in India, with demand for such homes set to zoom amid the present uncertainties. There is only a limited supply in this segment, via 55 projects by the top 12 players – 60 pc in Tier-2 cities and the remaining 40 percent in Tier-1 cities.

Prominent Tier-2 cities include Coimbatore, Puducherry, Kodaikanal, Vadodara, Bhopal, Jaipur, Mysuru, Dehradun, Kasauli, and Kanchipuram. The key Tier-1 cities are Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, and Noida.

Region-wise, the southern cities have a nearly 69 pc share of these projects, coinciding with the demographic assumption that elderly population growth in the southern states will grow at a faster pace than the rest of India, according to a report by SBI.

The Senior Living Opportunity

The United Nations Population Fund and Help Age India estimate that India’s aged population (>60 years) will touch 173 million by 2026. COVID-19 is likely to accelerate demand for senior living – the pandemic has highlighted the elderly’s need for safety, care, wellbeing, and companionship. As such, this asset class is a significant opportunity for developers and investors.

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants says, “Due to the rise of nuclear families, increased life expectancy and people living across geographies, ‘independent seniors’ are becoming new demography. Such seniors do not settle for traditional old-age homes as they prefer – and can afford – autonomy and the company of age peers in well-equipped retirement communities. A recurring theme of this pandemic has been seniors living alone, struggling for basics, managing without house help, and anxious about existing and potential medical issues. The need for homes in a setting where these factors are taken care of is now undeniable.”

Responding to the rebooted opportunity, Max India’s Antara Senior Living recently announced Rs 300-crore investment over the next four-five years, in senior living projects to come up in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai.

Senior Living Cities

Senior living projects have sprung up mainly in the outskirts of the major cities and in tier II and III cities across the country. Bhiwadi in NCR, Neral in Mumbai, Talegaon in Pune and Devanahalli in Bengaluru are some of the prominent locations around Tier-1 cities, while Tier-2 and 3 cities have more supply – a 60 percent share in approx. 33 projects. Tier-1 cities have just 22 projects dedicated to seniors.

Among current projects, some are entirely for seniors (>55 years of age) while in others, only certain blocks/towers have dedicated senior-specific facilities. The latter option allows seniors to live in the same integrated township as their families, but among their age peers.

The Cost of Senior Living

The top players operate on either of two models – outright sale or rentals (with a security deposit and monthly charges). Average monthly rentals in senior living residences across cities start as low as Rs 30,000 and go up to Rs 1 lakh, depending on facilities, type of occupancy, etc. For outright sale, property prices vary depending on the city, facilities on offer, BHK-configuration, size etc. The maximum supply across cities is in the range of Rs 20-80 lakh, again depending on various factors. There are also some limited exclusive high-end senior living projects wherein units are priced between Rs 2 crore and Rs 8 crore.

Name Senior Living Presence No. of Senior Living Projects (Completed & Ongoing)
Paranjape Athashri Pune, Bengaluru, Vadodara 8
Covai Care Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Pondicherry 11
Ashiana Senior Living Bhiwadi, Chennai, Jaipur, Pune 4
Columbia Pacific Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry 9
Bahri Estates Kodaikanal, Bengaluru 4
Oasis Senior Living Pune, Bhopal 3
Aamoksh-One Eighty Kasauli, Kodaikanal 2
Antara Noida, Dehradun 2
Primus Bengaluru 1
Tata Housing Bengaluru 1
Brigade Bengaluru 4
Ananya Shelters Coimbatore (in different phases) 6
Total No. of Projects   55

Source: ANAROCK Research

Current Policy Framework

To safeguard the rights of seniors, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has defined models for operating and monitoring retirement homes. While the framework is based on regulations and guidelines for residential real estate, of which senior living is a part, the norms acknowledge that senior living developments differ from conventional housing and have special requirements.

The planning norms include permissible sizes of units in such projects, permitted FAR, and inclusion of such developments within the residential zones of the city’s Master Plan. For instance, the average size of 1BHK dwellings must be at least 40-60 sq. mt. while for 2BHK at 50-80 sq. mt. in plains. In hilly terrains, a 1BHK must be 30-35 sq. mt. and 2BHKs at 40-60 sq. mt. The physical standards must conform to the National Building Code Model and its bye-laws.

With a regulatory body for managing and developing such assets already in place, increased developer activity, the institutionalization of caregivers, and specialized service providers are likely to be the next steps. Institutional capital will follow as such assets are essentially income-yielding depending on the model adopted.