Speaking to TOI, Sushil Mohta, president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) Bengal chapter and Merlin Group managing director, said developers were tweaking the apartment size and introducing half rooms to manage prices of apartments in Kolkata.
“In a buoyant market, people don’t mind forking out money for large units. When the sentiment was positive, customers stretched their budget to purchase two-bedroom apartments instead of one and three-bedroom apartments instead of two. Accordingly, developers designed units that had a large drawing cum dining room, spacious bedrooms, a decent sized balcony and as many toilets as there were bedrooms. But now that the market is in a slump and overall sentiment is poor, people are looking for value. And the way to offer that is to lower the price by reducing the size of the apartment without the buyer feeling the pinch. In short, efficiently designed apartments are in,” said Mohta.
The superbuilt area of a two-bedroom apartment has been revised from 1,100-1,200 sq ft to 800-900 sq ft. Similarly, a three-bedroom apartment size is down from 1,500-1,600 sq ft to 1,100-1,200 sq ft.
So how have developers managed to shave off 300-400 sq ft without altering the basic design of an apartment?
According to Nandu Belani, an executive committee member of Credai and managing director of Belani Group, the size of bedrooms have shrunk from 140 sq ft to 100-120 sq ft and at times, a bathroom is axed. “The apartments are also being designed very carefully so that corridors and other areas that can go waste are eliminated,” he said.
Cyrus Engineer, vice-president (sales & marketing) at Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, metro projects including those in Kolkata are introducing half-size rooms to meet the aspirations of home buyers while keeping it within budget. “Customers purchasing a one bedroom apartment aspire to purchase a two bedroom unit but does not have the means. The person can stretch the means but not to that extent. It is ditto with someone purchasing a two bedroom apartment while aspiring for a three bedroom unit. Hence, developers are now adding a small room. While a normal bedroom will be 12ftx10ft or 11ftx10ft, the additional second or third room will be 7ftx8ft or 8ftx9ft. It is a room that comes in handy,” he explained.
While the half room is great for use as guest room or study, it is particularly useful for single parents who have their mother or father staying with them or couples with a growing child.
Not just bedrooms, the drawing room size has reduced from 300-350 sq ft to 250-280 sq ft. In many apartments, an open kitchen is attached to the living area to make them appear large. And 6ftx4ft verandahs have been replaced by 4ftx4ft Juliet balconies that has room enough to just stand or hang clothes to dry. Also, it is not uncommon to find only two bathrooms in a three-bedroom unit.
“A smartly designed apartment with sparse furniture can make a small size apartment look more spacious than a poorly designed large apartment with big furniture,” said Abhijit Das who heads the east India business of international realtor firm Cushman & Wakefield.