Why senior housing demand is on the rise
Developers in India are introducing the asset class in large urban residential projects
Senior living operators in India have witnessed unprecedented enquiries and conversion rates in the past year, with demand surging amid the elderly population struggling with repeated lockdowns and seeking a sense of community.
Enquiries have risen up to 30 percent after the pandemic, according to recent reports. Some operators, like Columbia Pacific Communities, witnessed the demand quadruple. Antara Senior Living’s facility at Dehradun saw its sales double in recent months.
"More developers are now keen to introduce senior living in their integrated township and large residential projects due to the rise in demand," said Rahul Vaidya, Senior Director, Alternatives, JLL India.
Senior living has been slowly growing in the country for over 15 years, with developers focussed on families willing to pay a premium to buy a unit at the facility. This kept overall penetration relatively low, alongside a lack of policy reforms, weak rent laws in many states, and a traditional mindset (most people still equated senior living communities with old-age homes).
But the mindset is slowly changing, especially due to the pandemic. Seniors, who were reluctant to stay in these communities, are now ready to relocate there as their permanent residence. Children settled abroad are actively searching for senior living communities for their parents who stay alone.
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"There is a rise in the number of people taking professional retirement in their early- or mid-fifties. They are physically fit and want to lead an active lifestyle," says Vaidya. “They want to join the senior living community early on and be with like-minded individuals in their golden years.”
Betting on senior living
Until recently, senior living communities have remained limited to select urban centres and prominent idyllic locations blessed with a pleasant climate and scenic views.
The segment, however, holds potential as health and wellness take centre stage due to the pandemic, and the senior population is on the rise. In 2021, there were nearly 138 million people aged 60 and above in India, according to the country’s National Statistical Office. It estimates the senior population to touch 194 million by 2031, a 41 percent increase.
More developers have started focussing on the asset class as part of their townships and large residential projects. Adani Realty, for example, developed residences (The Evergreen) for senior citizens as part of its Shantigram Township on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Embassy Group and Columbia Pacific Communities are developing a senior living project at Embassy Springs in north Bengaluru.
Developers have been drawn to the premium that senior living commands compared to regular residential units. "It helps developers improve the margins/returns from the overall project level," said Vaidya.
“It’s early days, but the sector is clearly set for big changes,” he says.
Contact Rahul VaidyaSenior Director, Alternatives
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