[ecis2016.org] We try to understand the basic requirements of property seekers belonging to the armed forces and what developers and aggregators can do, to bridge the demand-supply gap
For the longest time, real estate properties have been valued on their pin codes (location), high-end interiors, architecture and large (sq ft) areas. While the pandemic has disrupted the real estate market, home buyers have realised the importance of community living.
The art of community living goes beyond the demand for open, hygienic, green complexes with facilities like healthcare, daily necessities and amenities for everyday rejuvenation being within walking distance. Community living, in its true sense, means friendly neighbourhoods, interaction with like-minded people and having a family beyond relatives that you can count on, in times of crisis.
This code has been the core of success for one community – the armed forces – who have earned the reputation of sticking together. This segment always prefers to be a part of a cluster where they can share stories, backgrounds and life experiences. This belief system extends into their retired life, as well.
However, this consumer segment has unique demands. One has to decode their lifestyle trends, to meet their requirements.
1. Community living is the key
As the saying goes, ‘The army family is a family for life’. When they look for properties, it is often as a group of individuals from the fraternity. Their need to be surrounded by people they have known in the past, or like-minded individuals with similar life experiences, is the top priority for this segment of property seekers, when it comes to choosing areas and projects.
2. Choosing the right city
Since the community tries to stay together, certain cities have always attracted retired armed forces personnel. Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Hyderabad are the most preferred cities. Moreover, services like the ease of getting domicile certificates, sports facilities for children and job facilities for widows of ex-servicemen, are some benefits that they prioritise when choosing a city.
3. Seeking a cantonment lifestyle
Every retired officer is anxious about returning to civilian life after spending years in the cantonment. Hence, developers must build properties that meets some basic demands of their future home buyers. Good roads and cleanliness are a must for this community. These properties should have sports facilities, athletic centres and easy access to local markets for daily needs.
4. Opportunity to start one’s second innings
A serviceman moves into a civilian society, post-retirement. These ex-servicemen often have families, with children in school. Hence, there is high demand for properties with proximity to schools and hospitals and good connectivity with the rest of the city.
While the demands look easy to fulfil, real estate aggregators and developers have to understand that the cost of the property also plays a major role. On top of that, the demand always comes in volumes and catering to such demands without any preparedness becomes a challenge.
The size of the market is about 30 million, inclusive of active armed force members and their dependents. For the longest time, the potential of this segment has not been mapped. It is time to understand the basic challenges this group faces while investing in real estate and bridge the huge demand-supply gap.
(The writer is Founder and CEO, udChalo)
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