How does one identify a niche segment? In real estate, it is about a new trend, which is synonymous with change and, change is imperative for growth. For any economy, organization, industry or an individual, constant change in the form of evolution is vital and crucial. It is the economics of demand and supply which sees changes in sync with demand patterns and needs of society. So, identifying new segments to cater to the niche demands of niche end-user audience results into what we refer to as the niche market segment. A business organization which has the ability to foresee these niche trends and create products in sync with those development lines end up being the trendsetter .
Niche segments in real estate are pointers towards future demand trends. Among the new emerging segments are senior citizens and students housing, both need to be catered with a new kind of product mix.
The need for senior citizen homes is an outcome of a rapidly-increasing trend of nuclear families. Also, there is a growth in trend to seek international exposure either through a formal education or career options, which forces the next gen to settle in abroad for a longer period. All these factors contribute to the rise of a new set of audiences whose requirements need to be catered with a different product mix. This niche audience looks for an intelligent and easy to operate Smart Home as a value addition in terms of facilities and amenities. The homes which can provide a comfortable environment to suit their physical and mental wellbeing is the peculiar demand coming up. Many mixed-used integrated township projects offer truly a community living experience by tweaking the products on offer to fit in their demands. The enhanced home automation amenities like CCTV camera, live streaming video feed, remote driven appliances, voice assistance devices, tracking surveillance will be a preferred choice of the PIO and NRI home buyers. These digital amenities ensure a lot of safety and security of their other family counterparts in India. Also, the concept of community living is associated with facilitating best in class socio-civic infrastructure provided to the home buyers. Quick accesses to healthcare, retail, entertainment, facility management services along with green ecosystem for rejuvenation are necessitated for their healthy wellbeing. There are a couple of developers working on this concept to cater to this segment.
Another emerging niche segment witnessed is Student Housing. This is a product different from hostels and temporary/ rented housing. Here the student and their family move into a project which offers academic, sports and cultural facilities all under one roof as a one-stop destination. These will augur well for students who can leverage on multiple aspects to brighten their future. In this scenario, it is a winning situation for the student and family as they enjoy community living within the project.
In a similar manner, this logic makes sense to the families of students who display proficiency and skill, families who are from rural or semi-urban locations and see value in making the move to a housing project which offers proximity to different national and international education campus. Such families are looking for this niche type of homes. This niche has been created by a well-defined need for housing for such students and their families. It is about a home available at a feasible rate and with the ecosystem suitable for the students bright future.
Not just as a business opportunity, I see these upcoming changed demand segments from a different perspective. I would look upon both these niche requirements as segments which can be created to be a part of the township, rather than a home for the aged or a student housing complex . We definitely see a lot of scope for these niche segments, and hopefully, we will see both these grow through 2019.
(By Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, NAREDCO)