Changing trends in the way families buy homes

[] From a time, when property buying decisions were solely made by the male members of the family, modern families now place as much importance on the needs of women, children and senior members in the family. We look at the changing trends

The independence and security that a self-owned home provides are unmatched. However, the decision to purchase a home is not always a straightforward one. There are various socio-cultural and economic processes associated with a property purchase. Among these factors, family influence is undoubtedly the strongest.

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In India, there was a time when, only the male members of the family were the income earners. All big financial decisions, like buying a property, were made by the male head of the family and such decisions were invariably accepted without any arguments.

Today, the scenario has changed completely. A massive number of households in urban India now have dual incomes and women have become important decision-makers in the family. Definitely, when the issue is as important as property purchase, women have the right to an opinion, regardless of whether they hold jobs or are housewives.

Stronger focus on children’s needs while purchasing homes

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The preferences of adult family members, are no longer the sole focal point, while purchasing a house. Nowadays, the needs of children are also considered, while buying a new property, with Indian parents taking considerable pains to establish whether their kids will have a safe, supportive and conducive environment.

[] Children’s needs and its influence on home buying

This is one of the main reasons, why most Indian families today prefer larger houses if they can afford them. They also want to ensure that the property they buy has abundant ventilation and light, which they know are essential for their children’s health, growth and all-round well-being. In fact, the same considerations also apply for the safety and welfare of the elders of the family.

Family profile – going from joint to nuclear

In the traditional Indian joint family set-up, many people lived in the same house with their individual families. However, the traditional Indian concept of the joint family has seen a radical change. Nuclear families are now the norm, rather than the exception. Usually, a nuclear family consists of a couple and their children. Nuclear families do not require as much space, as a joint family. Consequently, the property buying decisions of a nuclear family, are radically different from those of a joint family, both, in terms of the people who take the decisions and the choices that are made.

What nuclear families look for, while scouting for a property

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Apartments: Apart from its cost, maintaining an outsized property can be tedious. Contemporary Indian nuclear families prefer homes that are compact and yet, space-efficient. So, apartments and flats are the natural choice. The choice of locations is also more, when one opts for flats rather than standalone properties.

Proximity/accessibility to workplace, schools, healthcare and shopping: Since there is lack of manpower in nuclear families, they look for facilities which are close by. For example, they prefer homes that are close to their places of work or have good connectivity to the workplace through public transport, so that they can save time and money on transportation. Proximity to their children’s schools, is also important for reasons of safety and convenience. Shopping outlets should be close enough, to meet daily needs and medical facilities should be available to tackle emergencies without delay.

Possibility to upgrade: While purchasing a property, Indian nuclear families tend to consider the possibility of upgrading to a larger home in a better location in the future, as their financial status improves. Consequently, families may shy away from properties or locations that do not offer enough scope on the resale market, so as to facilitate such upgrading.

Good neighbourhood for children: The focus on children’s well-being is greater today, than ever before. Therefore, while buying property, parents check about the availability of parks and playgrounds within the housing complex.

(The writer is CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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