Life Stages and Living Spaces – A Guide to Selecting Your Ideal Home
– by Akash Pharande, Managing Director – Pharande Spaces
Choosing a home is a significant decision that varies greatly depending on the stage of life you’re in. Whether you’re in your younger years, at the peak of your professional life, or nearing retirement, each phase brings unique considerations and priorities. Let’s delve into these differences and identify key factors such as home size, family needs, and facilities and amenities that are most relevant at every life stage, from starting out to peak professional years, and eventually retirement.
Younger Years: Starting Out and Building Up
Affordability and Growth Potential: In the early stages, the focus is often on affordability and the potential for property appreciation. Before Covid-19, young professionals tended to prefer smaller, more affordable homes in upcoming areas with good growth prospects. This outlook changed after the pandemic – more on this further on.
Proximity/Accessibility to Work and Social Life: Being near the workplace or vibrant social scenes is often a priority. Urban locations with easy access to nightlife, dining, and cultural events tend to be popular choices. Alternatively, young home buyers now choose homes in large, well-connected integrated townships where all these facilities are available within the project’s perimeters.
Future Plans & WFH Potential: Young buyers often consider the potential for starting a family and enough space to accommodate a home office to allow them to work from home without disrupting the rest of the household.
Midlife: Settling Down
Family Size and Space Requirements: As families grow, the need for space increases. Midlife homebuyers often look for larger homes, with extra bedrooms and a space for a home office being more or less mandatory.
Education and Community: Proximity to reputable schools, healthcare, and a family-friendly community becomes crucial. Residential areas and townships with parks, playgrounds, and community centers are preferred.
Stability and Long-Term Investment: This stage often involves looking for a home that can be a long-term investment. Buyers will prioritize well-established neighborhoods and large residential townships by reputed developers to secure stable or growing property values.
Approaching Retirement: Comfort and Convenience
Downsizing and Maintenance: Old age brings its own limitations and a rationalization of requirements and expectations. An elderly married couple with an empty nest – grown-up children and working abroad or in other cities – buying a home at this life stage may opt for a smaller home that is easier to manage and maintain. Some will favour dedicated senior living projects or large townships which have a senior living component baked in.
Health Facilities and Accessibility: Proximity to healthcare facilities becomes a significant factor. The availability of a good hospital near or within the project’s premises becomes a priority. Projects with superior accessibility features like wheelchair ramps become more sought after. Elderly home buyers will also priority a serene, green environment which nevertheless doesn’t cut them off from mainstream society.
Leisure and Community Activities: Locations close to leisure activities like golf courses, clubhouses, and facilities for senior-friendly sports activities become important. Additionally, seniors look for a strong sense of community and the availability of peer groups for social engagement.
Common Considerations at All Life Stages
Budget and Financial Planning: Regardless of life stage, the budget remains a critical factor. It’s important to balance the cost of the home with other financial goals and responsibilities.
Location and Infrastructure: Good connectivity, transportation links, and infrastructure are universally important. These factors significantly impact the quality of life and property value.
Safety and Security: Safe neighborhoods are a top priority for homebuyers at any age, especially for families with children or elderly members.
Data from leading Indian real estate consultancies highlight regional trends and preferences. For instance, metropolitan areas like Pune, Mumbai, and Bangalore see a high demand for apartments close to tech parks among younger professionals.
In cities like Pune and Chennai, midlife buyers also tend to look for family-centric communities. Retirement homes in Pune, Goa, and parts of Kerala are gaining popularity among the older demographic.
Most experts also confirm that property appreciation is crucial for young buyers focused on investment potential. For midlife buyers, neighborhoods with the best schools and family amenities. For those nearing retirement, areas with good healthcare facilities and a peaceful environment are vital.
Post Covid-19 Scenario
In earlier years, young home buyers tended to prefer cheaper, smaller homes before the pandemic. However, this preference changed significantly after Covid-19. In the space of just 12 months – between late 2020 and late 2021 – millennials began looking for bigger ‘forever’ homes from which they would not have to upgrade later on.
Their previous focus on proximity to happening leisure and entertainment also changed to some extent. Due to the prolonged confinement of the lockdowns, a new appreciation for togetherness and safety took hold. The focus on smaller homes in city centers gave way to larger homes in suburban locations which could be purchased within the same budget.
As a result, 2022 quite literally became the Year of The Township, due to the superior conveniences and assurances that township living delivers. Moreover, integrated townships also provide access to entertainment and lifestyle options. As of late 2023, millennials’ preference for township living continues unabated.
Choosing a home varies significantly with life stages. Younger buyers prioritize lifestyle features, relative affordability, and investment growth potential, while midlife homebuyers focus on family needs and community. Those nearing retirement look for comfort, convenience, and accessibility. Common considerations like budget, location, safety, and infrastructure remain important throughout.
About the Author:
Akash Pharande is Managing Director – Pharande Spaces, a leading real estate construction and development firm famous for its township projects in West Pune and beyond. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer of townships in West Pune.