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Second-home market seems to be heating up

Call it a vacation home, personal retreat, or a home away from home — the second-home market is becoming a rallying point for developers and investors. 

The second-home market is, to a great extent, immune from recession, and operates on slightly different considerations and dynamics. "The reasons for buying a second home are mostly for investment purposes or for polishing up one's status," says Jimmy Mistry, principal architect and CMD of Della Tecnica, a luxury second-home project at Lonavala. Some of the favourite secondhome destinations in India include Shimla, Kasauli, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Ramgarh, Mukteshwar (near Delhi) and Alibag, Lonavala, Goa. 

For Delhi based-Ashish and Pareina Thapar, who are passionate about the hills, a few days break has always meant withdrawing themselves from the hustle and bustle of city life, to the stillness and salubrious climes of the hills. Ashish Thapar says: "It's the desire to be able to leave the city and connect with nature and peace." 

Extending their passion to their kids and converting their dreams to reality, they recently bought a property in Nainital, which has the feel of a holiday home. Whenever they get a chance, they retreat to their haven of peace in the hills to 'recharge' . 

The market in the hills is slow but in the last one year there has been an appreciation in the range of 20-30 %, says Sanjay Arora, a broker of Earth Homes Pvt Ltd. 

Today, an independent cottage in Nainital on a plot size of 240 sq yards costs on an average Rs 30 lakh and a 500 sq yard costs Rs 70 lakh, depending on location and other parameters. 

Arora says that Shimla, Dharamshala, Nainital are the favourite second-home destinations of people from Punjab and Delhi. However, prices in all these areas have been growing dramatically in the last few years and one doesn't see them coming down. 

Demand for such homes is completely dependent on the availability of disposable income, as a second home is not a necessity, rather a lifestyle choice in most cases. The primary target audience, almost 75% in such cases, is the high net income group, which has surplus available funds to invest , and the remaining comprise the upper-middle class. 

For the religious-minded, second homes means having a foothold in Haridwar, Vrindawan, Mathura, etc. Whatever be the trigger, a common aspect is that second homes provide you the space to indulge yourself in activities you love - be it to connect with nature or God, or enjoy the sheer opulence of lifestyle amenities! It's a temporary refuge that gives a break from the fast-paced urban environment. 

For Mehak and Mahindar Sawhney, who stay in a two-bedroom apartment in Bandra with their two kids, their second home at Alibag makes up for what is lacking at their Bandra home - open spaces, a swimming pool, a badminton court, a big lawn where they can watch their children play! Mehak says: "The idea is to get away from the pollution and the congestion of the city to the quietness and beauty of the countryside - we try to go to our second home, at least twice a month." 

"Low pricing of these second homes in Tier II & III cities makes them attractive, compared to buying second-homes within urban limits," Rajeev Bairathi, director (investment advisory) of DTZ-India, says. "Also, these offerings are across the price spectrum, depending on the locations. Another advantage is that a service-class professional can avail benefits of both HRA and home loan tax benefit (in case availed)," Bairathi says.