Second or weekend homes as a concept has been known since a long time, but it gained popularity only recently. As our metropolitan cities are rapidly becoming congested and polluted, second homes have become more of a necessity than just a weekend retreat.
A recent study conducted by UN WHO revealed that 4 of the 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution are located in India. Not only this, air pollution is now categorised as the sixth biggest cause of deaths in India, triggering an alarm with studies showing breathing ailments were on the rise in Indian cities. On the other hand, the United Nations now predicts that by 2050 two-thirds of the global population will live in cities.
While measures are undertaken to tackle environmental challenges, there has been very little attention given to the impact on one’s mental health. People are increasingly experiencing urban stress and strain – the hubbub, the noise, the competition, the density, the unnatural and frenzied atmosphere, the enforced proximity to strangers, the frequent combination of crowds and isolation.
Second homes serve as a perfect solution to escape this stress without compromising on metropolitan living standards. Enhanced connectivity and proximity to the city, health and lifestyle amenities, and more importantly pollution-free environment are key factors behind the popularity for such homes. Rise in disposable income and aspirations for a hassle-free lifestyle have fueled their demand, as compared to conventional factors like retirement or source for secondary rental income. According to JLL India, the weekend home market in India is onto a steady growth at 10-12% per annum.
There are many preferred destinations for weekend homes in and around Mumbai like Lonavala and Khandala, unfortunately, which have now become saturated with excess development. However, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway serves as a good alternative to traditional locations owing to better connectivity from both Mumbai and Pune.
Second, most existing weekend homes are focusing on providing holistic development of one’s well-being with sports and other form of physical activities. Golf, for instance, has gained popularity in India especially as a weekend sport however; there are minimal facilities in cities to cater to this demand. The 9-hole golf course facility at Lodha Belmondo is a good example of a second home, which brings the two forces together – availing international standard golf course facilities and resort-style living.
Third, due to the upsurge in number of HNIs and NRIs, a desire to have a second home for leisure and relaxation has increased. People have started exploring immediate outskirts of the city which is not only convenient to visit over a weekend but also serve as a no-brainer investment option with city’s expanding radius. In the last two years, the total number of vacation properties sold made up almost 21% of all real estate transactions, which indicates its popularity and trust among consumers.
With changing trends in the real estate market, developers for weekend homes have shifted focus from basic amenities to a wide range of entertainment and luxury living experiences to break away from the city monotony. Keeping in mind the best interest of the buyers, these projects are revolutionizing the weekend lifestyle. With open spaces, landscaped green zones, seamless security and community experiences, every weekend can enrich one’s mental and physical health.
The author is deputy CEO – Pune & Executive Vice-President – marketing, Lodha Group