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Smaller houses are the new trend as millennials choose location over size in top cities

Niti Kiran     March 12, 2019

When it comes to housing, size matters for all kinds of reasons. The added floor space of larger homes definitely spells comfort, convenience and family scalability; every additional square foot either comes at a higher price or pushes available options further away from the central regions of a city.

Millennial homebuyers have already made it clear that they prefer affordability coupled with good location over larger-size homes in the far-flung suburbs. Simultaneously, developers are intent on making their housing projects more pocket-friendly for a higher customer base. As a result, the top seven Indian cities collectively saw average apartment sizes shrink by nearly 17 per cent between 2014 and 2018, according to ANAROCK Property Consultants. However, this has not been a uniform phenomenon.

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Among the top cities, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) topped the list with a 27per cent average decrease in apartment sizes - from 960 sq. ft in 2014 to 700 sq. ft. in 2018. Bangalore saw least decline in average property size at around 12 per cent in five years. The current average apartment size in Bangalore is 1,260 sq. ft. Interestingly, prior to 2017, the average sizes in Bangalore fluctuated by merely 1-2 per cent year-on-year; in 2018, they dropped by over 12 per cent against the preceding year. Hyderabad currently has the highest average property sizes about 1,600 sq. ft., Property buyers in Hyderabad have traditionally preferred large-sized homes, which dovetails favourably with the fact that property prices here have been more realistic than in most other cities.

A major factor contributing to the shrinking apartment sizes across most metros is the rising demand for budget-friendly housing, adds ANAROCK Property Consultants. With property prices going overboard in most metros, developers have been reducing sizes to align their offerings more with the actual homebuyer demand.

Another reason for shrinking apartment sizes is that most millennial homebuyers are averse to investing in both the higher maintenance costs and extra efforts that larger properties entail. However, this is not their only reason. Millennials prefer to own smaller homes. Millennials attribute high value on location flexibility and do not get 'tied to' neighbourhoods the way the previous generations did. Frequent 'switching' of cities is rapidly becoming the new normal for millennials on the lookout for faster career growth.

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Compact housing is the fastest seller on the resale market, so such homes give millennials both locational and financial flexibility, while simultaneously allowing them the security and investment advantages of homeownership.

The reduction in flat size has invariably been achieved by the elimination of extra balconies - in many cases all balconies - and better apartment designs that allow more efficient use of smaller spaces.

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