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Choose Your Pick- High-rise or Low-rise Development

An unsolicited advice from a philosopher is to formulate an ideal and then dedicate one’s life to achieve it. Given an opportunity to buy one’s dream house, a lot of factors are taken into consideration, depending on the characteristics of one’s world. There are some people who prefer a low rise development while others prefer a high rise development. In real estate, both options are provided. In fact, many reputed big time developers like DLF, Vatika Group etc. offer both options to its investors and end users within the same project, such as DLF Garden City and Vatika India Next respectively. In a contest between high rise real estate development versus low rise realty development, it is quite difficult to announce a winner, as the preferences are based on individual choices and these differ from person to person and also vary in different cities. For instance, seldom would one find skyscrapers in hill stations and large scale plotted development in cities like Mumbai. Some individuals prefer low rise development due to medical considerations and psychological fear of heights known as acrophobia.


As per a survey restricted to professionals working in Gurgaon, given a person has no budget constraints, more people preferred low rise development. Out of this majority, nearly 8 percent professionals were those who suffered from acrophobia. So, for them, to live in a penthouse is never an option. However, many people who were interviewed mentioned that given an opportunity, they would prefer an independent floor, preferably with a lawn and a private space. Very few people mentioned that they would prefer to own both a villa and a penthouse.


Among those who preferred high rise development, a common threat of reasoning was that it was safer, better facilities were offered, they preferred the view from the top and had access to better air and sunlight. However, one very observant person mentioned that high-rise development consumes much more water and electricity than low rise development, given a number of power cuts in a city during summers, DG sets are used to supply power backup. These are detrimental to a good quality life. Moreover, high-rise development is inconvenient to the elderly. For some, it was merely familiar while others considered it convenient. It was interesting to note that most people who were interviewed associated high rise development with the advantages of a condominium lifestyle and with good reason. Gurgaon has a number of quality condominiums to offer. Quite clearly, the dream house for most is defined by what they perceive to be the best in a given market.


High-rise apartments:


Typically a building with 15metre or more height is known as a high-rise building.1 Though till now there is no precise definition of high-rise apartments, as different cities have different height limits after which a building is considered as a high-rise building. For instance in Mumbai a building of 24 metre or above height is called a high-rise apartment, which might soon change to 30 metres, while in Pune a building with six floors comes in category of high-rise buildings.2 An approval is awaited wherein the height of high-rise buildings will be changed to 10th floor from existing six floors. Increase in population, demand of more residential land, has led to vertical growth of real estate instead of horizontal.


For instance in Mumbai where land scarcity is there, you will find most of the building with above 15 floors. Upcoming Lodha New Cuffe Parade, a 63 storey residential project is a good example of high-rise buildings in Mumbai.


Reasons behind development of high-rise residential projects


Facilities: One of the reasons of higher demand of high-rise development is the amenities offered here. Elevators, ample parking space, more security and convenience stores in the complex are some of the amenities offered in high-rises which you may not get in low-rises. As these are more secure than low-rise developments, these are more in demand among residents. In order to ensure safety from natural disasters RCC framed structures are used in these buildings.


Less availability of land: High-rises are basically popular in cities where either scarcity of land is there or if it is available, it holds high cost. In cities like Mumbai, getting land is not that easy, and that’s the reason developers focus on development of more floors on less land.


Higher FSI: Cities with higher Floor Space Index (FSI) have vertical growth. There one can find large buildings with minimum of 9-10 floors. After the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) approval, there is concentration on vertical growth of Delhi and neighbouring areas including Gurgaon and Noida.


Luxury and standard of life: High-rise buildings offer more luxuries like gymnasium, sports facilities, party areas etc. Also residents who love to enjoy splendid views from their windows and balconies prefer these apartments. These offer less obstructed view of the scenery and greenery around the complex. People living on higher floors also get fresh air. Lodha Blue Moon, Orchid Woods, IREO Grand Arch, Supernova Spira and DLF Magnolias are some of the tallest high-rise apartments in Mumbai and National Capital Region (NCR).


Low-rise apartments:


These apartments are most suitable to people who have fear from height or are not able to climb stairs. Low-rise apartments usually come with G+2 and maximum of G+3 levels. People who like privacy and want own piece of land prefer to live in low-rise apartments. These are more preferable in cities with horizontal growth like Delhi and Gurgaon. Though these cities too have high-rises in some areas, you will find more independent floors, low-rise apartments and plots. Open space, community life, a life in harmony with nature and feel of an independent house are some of the features that draw attention of home seekers. The Sovereign Apartments, Vatika INXT Floors, Sobha International City and Emerald Floors Premier are some of the low-rise residential projects in Gurgaon.


Reasons behind development of low-rise residential projects


Cost-effective: Developers take more interest in development of these apartments because these are more cost-effective for them. Construction and maintenance cost of low-rise buildings is lower as compared to high-rises. Lower cost is contributed by lower municipal charges, limited amenities such as elevators and less expenditure on construction of base foundation.


Ample space and privacy: Low-rise apartments offer independent and ample living space. People who want to live close to the ground basically like to live in these apartments. As compared to high-rise buildings there is more peace and privacy in low-rise buildings.


Low FSI: In cities with low Floor Space Index (FSI) such as Delhi, more focus is laid on independent floors or low-rises.


Community life: People who like to interact with neighbours and want to celebrate special occasions with other people prefer these apartments. Residents share outdoor space and get an opportunity to make good relations with other residents. Though, this facility now can also be availed in high-rises for the developers offer multipurpose hall in clubhouses.


Affordability: May not be always, but in most of the cases, low-rise apartments are more affordable in comparison with high-rises. One of the reasons in the low construction and maintenance cost involved in these projects. That’s why these kind of apartments are more popular among the investors and end-users with limited budget. Especially buyers from upper-middle class prefer investing in these properties. These also have high potential for price rise. So, investors can get good capital gains in long run.


Depending on the kind of development in different cities and demand by the residents, both low-rise apartments and high-rise apartments are in vogue. Low rises are more suitable to old age people and buyers who lie in upper-middle class group, while high-rises are more popular among youngsters and wealthy people. In order to meet with the varied demands of buyers and market situations, real estate players launch both kinds of projects.



1G. B. Menon, Commentary on National Building Code, http://ndrfandcd.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/F03.pdf, Seen on 13th March, 2013, pg.14

2Nauzer K Bharucha, New specifications for high rise buildings in Mumbai, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-17/mumbai/33901793_1_high-rise-buildings-floors, seen on 13th March, 2013

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