'Gadgets don't add much to house price' The deﬁnition of luxury homes just got luxurior. A spokesperson for Ekta-Supreme builders, who are constructing Lake Superior in Powai, said the company had initially envisioned building villas, but given the paucity of land, the plan was given a vertical twist. "We thought, let‘s make villas in the sky," he said. So gardens and parking space for two cars come attached to the apartments. Space is another carrot. By offering enormous ﬂats between 4,000 and 10,000 sq ft, builders are positioning them as manors in the air. Like the ﬂats in Lake Superior, Orchid Turf will attempt, Patel said, to bridge the gap between bungalow and apartment. Lodha's Chateau Paradis in Worli Has just six apartments that are being touted as seaside mansions. The demand for these absurdly posh apartments is the apogee of desire for luxury goods. "To be very frank, everybody is at a different level ," says Nabil Patel of D B Realty, explaining the aspirations of buyers. Lodha group's director Abhinandan Lodha has a new deﬁnition for housing, "A house is not just a shelter . It's a lifestyle statement." This new approach to housing has made residential architecture even more self-contained. With their club houses and swimming pools, many gated complexes give the illusion of a utopia sequestered from the chaos of Mumbai‘s pot-holed streets. Some of these luxe sprawls take this notion a step further by adding special features to the ﬂat itself. Patel explained that his clients are the sort who want to come home after a hectic day at work to unwind by their private pool-they might ﬁnd it tedious to use facilities common to the building. Perhaps the wives are not comfortable swimming in front of others, he said. Some of the Lodha constructions will even come equipped with cafes and putting greens. Surprisingly, the addition of gadgetry doesn't substantially increase the price of a ﬂat. According to Lodha, the increase is a mere one to two percentile of the cost of the apartment. Pranay Vakil, chairman of real estate consultants Knight Frank, said that electronic equipment is far less expensive than certain sophisticated structural features such as cantilevered balconies. They're attractive because they give residents the reassurance of several layers of security. “It's a state of mind," said Vakil. Incidents of burglary might be disproportionate to the city‘s population, but a few news reports of theft are enough to make people frantic about safety, he said. More important, they give buyers a sense that they're forking out good money for something that's one of a kind. This exclusivity comes at a price that's a little stunning even in a massively inﬂated real estate market. Vakil estimated that they cost between Rs 20,000 and Rs 80,000 per sq foot. Industrialists aren‘t the only ones shopping for expensive pads. Vakil said that there are two other categories of buyers-the ﬁnance boys such as investment bankers who have large bonuses and those who've sold large chunks of their employee stock options. All those interviewed agreed that the taste for luxury has been increasing in direct proportion to today's rising salaries. If the present is ﬁnger print access and private pools, one wonders what the future holds. Retinal scanners and private helipads perhaps
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