PUNE: Over the last two decades, Pune rapidly developed a strong IT culture. In the beginning, this culture was limited to employees of the many IT/ITES parks it is home to. However, today it has touched almost everyone who lives in the city. The cyber revolution in this city is inescapable – those who do not own computers visit internet cafes to access the online world. The younger generation below the age group of 30, is defined by connectivity and these are the people who will define Pune’s future.
Naturally, this revolution has had a very distinct impact on the kinds of homes that young people choose to buy today. Whether they are working in Pune’s innumerable software companies and ITES firms, or in some other sector, young homebuyers today have developed their own criteria for what constitutes an ideal home. ‘Smart’ homes are now in vogue not only with IT/ITES employees but also the middle and upper middle-class homebuyers. Every homebuyer today is looking for residences that support a cyber-driven lifestyle.
That being said, the highest demand for smart homes in Pune still stems from people working in software parks and IT companies. This can be largely attributed to a combination of their exposure to IT-driven concepts and the sizeable pay packets they tend to draw. After all, there is a premium attached to homes with ‘smart’ features. The difference between baseline residential property prices and that of smart homes in a certain location depends on the number of features offered in the project. For Pune’s gadget-conscious IT professionals, automated homes are definitely de rigueur and something they aspire for. In the past, smart homes were considered something of a niche concept, owing to larger ticket sizes.
At their best, Pune’s smart homes offer technological features wherein owners can operate almost anything in their homes (including lights, air conditioners, security systems, curtains and blinds) from within and even outside, at the click of a button. Today, smart home technology utilises user-friendly software that allows simplified control of climate, lighting, entertainment and communication. The technology involved impacts three key areas – energy efficiency, security systems and telecom systems.
In Pune, buyers for smart homes fall in the age bracket of 29-40. These buyers are either established in senior roles within the IT/ITES, manufacturing or services sector, or are upwardly mobile, highly aspirational and eminently qualified for home loans. They also tend to be quite stressed in their professional lives and therefore, seek the comforts, enablement and security that smart homes offer, in order to relax and spend more time with their families.
Moreover, smart homes have a definite status value attached to them and tend to have higher resale value due to their locations, which are either close to the city’s IT hubs or in upscale areas, which are defined by higher purchasing power and therefore, higher lifestyle aspirations. The biggest success stories in Pune’s smart homes revolution so far have been Baner, Aundh, Kalyani Nagar and Magarpatta. Other locations where smart homes are in high demand are Sakal Nagar near Aundh and Ambegaon. Appreciation in the prices of such properties is also influenced by the very nature of the features that make life simpler, safer, more comfortable and exciting.