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Realtors eye grandpas for their mainstream projects written by Mansi Taneja, published in Sunday Business Standard. March 3, 2014

Ishaan Sawhney, based in the US, booked a home for his aged parents in one of the retirement communities in Bangalore last July. Not even a year has passed and his parents want to move out to another place. According to them, the place is too 'depressing' with only the elderly around.


Retirement homes, which took off in a niche trend recently, are witnessing a growing interest from developers. Real estate companies are innovating with design and making senior homes an integral part of mainstream projects.


To keep the elderly in the same set-up, National Capital Region-based Silverglades, in association with Age Ventures, a non-profit organisation, has decided to launch a project where a tower in the complex would be for the elderly. The company plans to spend Rs 350 crore.


Experts say independent retirement homes are on the rise, but it will take years before they form a substantial part of the market. Currently, they have a market share of only two or three per cent in the market. With the increasing focus of developers, the segment is bound to grow manifold in five years.


Tata Housing entered this space last year with its brand Riva. Ashiana, The Golden Estate, Max India, Covai and Paranjpe offer retirement homes, as well. Besides, there are a host of projects on corporate social responsibility and of non-profit associations. Mostly, such projects are in the south. The segment also attracts non-resident Indians, who buy for investment or for parents back home.


According to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle, there are 30 projects in this space while 30 are under construction.


An executive of a developer says having apartments for seniors living in the same society is a new gimmick. According to Amit Vaidya, director of The Golden Estate, there is huge demand for homes in this segment. "Only 3,000 such units are available, while the demand is for 300,000 units."


The price tag of a retirement home could be anything between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore. You can either buy one or take it on lease/rent. And the maintenance services cost extra starting from Rs 10,000-25,000 depending on the facilities availed. Facilities include doctors, ambulance on call, security, recreation, club, mess and hobby rooms.


Realty firm  Silverglades is also looking at similar projects in Kasauli and Dehradun, where it has land, said Anubhav Jain, director.


Globally, the industry for senior housing is pegged at around $25 billion, according to JLL. "By 2025, it is estimated that there will be 173 million seniors above the age of 60 compared to the 76 million today," it pointed out.


People aged 60 and above may increase from eight per cent in 2010 to 19 per cent in 2050, according to United Nations Population Division. India is likely to have as many as 323 million 'seniors' by the middle of the century.