3 May, 2023
Unlock the doors to real estate success
Read time: 6 minutes
Luxury – changing times, changing definitions


Source: Granite Heights by Toll Brothers.

"Definitions are like photographs: they capture a moment in time, but they can quickly become outdated and fail to capture the nuances and complexities of the present."
- Joseph T. Hallinan

What was once deemed as luxury has now become the everyday standard of living.

40 years back, what was luxury? Maybe 24x7 running water and round-the-clock electricity. These are now one of the most basic necessities.

20 years back, having a cellular device to communicate with people was considered uber luxury. Today, it is one of the most basic amenities.

10 years back, having high speed internet at all times was luxury. Look at the conditions now, you can download an entire video in a minute.

As times have changed, so has our definition of luxury. India has been on an upward growth trajectory and with rising standard of living, our purchasing power has increased accordingly.

This phenomenon has had its impact in the real estate sector as well. In fact, it is the so-called luxury segment of the real estate that is a bigger growth driver for the sector than the affordable-housing sector.

If I have to put it as a one-liner, what was luxury earlier is now everyday lifestyle.


  • Why has this change occurred?
  • Why are people preferring relatively more comfortable living conditions?
  • Why are they opting for a 3BHK flat when all they need is 2 rooms?

Interestingly, apart from the economic factors such as rise in purchasing power and increase in disposable income, it is the mentality of the people that has undergone a tectonic shift.

Traditionally, Indians have had a conservative mindset when it comes to savings and lifestyle spending. People preferred to save a chunk of their income for their unforeseen rainy day.

But I have seen this mindset take a U-turn in the past decade.

The newer generation wants to spend now, lead a more comfortable life in an environment that keeps them happy in the present.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge role to play in this mindset shift. The pandemic marked one of the gravest periods of the past century. It was an eye-opener for people about how fragile human life is.

People lost lives in an unprecedented manner. Many such Indians lived their entire lives living in crammed spaces, sharing a 3-bedroom house with 8-10 people when they could have easily afforded a larger one but made compromises in the fear of having to face some unforeseen financial crunch someday.

In cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore where people adopted to the new normal of Work-From-Home during the pandemic, it took them no time to realize how inconvenient it was. There were numerous instances where a family of 4 or 5 lived in a 500 square feet apartment. This had never seemed like an issue, until all members required personal spaces throughout the day, another one of those lockdown memories.

When the pandemic struck and out of these 5, 3 had to complete their office assignments staying at home while the other 2 had their own business to conduct. They realized the issue at hand. Houses lacked private space, there was a dearth of personal comfort.

But the issue that hurt the most was, it wasn’t that these people couldn’t afford a bigger space, they had just never thought about it. In many top cities of the country, affordability is no longer a hindrance with multiple finance options available at our finger tips.

Being able to afford a four-bedroom house with balconies attached and a lawn in the backyard was earlier considered luxury but now it is the new norm.

Our very definition of “luxury” is constantly changing.

Think about UPI. Earlier transferring any amount of money from one part of the country to another was a cumbersome task. And, being able to do it even within a day was considered luxury. But now, all it takes is seconds and everything is at out fingertips, thanks to UPI.

Times have changed and so have our necessities.

While I am not arguing that one must not save for an unforeseen mishappening, what has happened is, many people who sacrificed comfort and luxuries throughout their life, passed away in mere seconds.

Preponing delayed gratification

Indians are now no longer delaying gratification; they have struck a fine balance between saving for the future and living in the present. This phenomenon has led to a rise in their lifestyle, beginning from their real estate preferences.

I have seen over the past 4-5 years that people now look for a private study of their own in their houses. Although they live with their family members, people are expressing a need for some private space of their own for peace of mind.

At the same time, it was earlier a luxury for kids to have their own bedroom from a young age, but it has now become a necessity. Young couples, whenever they look to purchase a house, they keep in mind that sometime in the near future, their children would require their own rooms. This was perhaps unprecedented two decades ago, but times have changed.

Children now need their own space to explore their interests, to schedule their lives in their own way. Maybe a kid prefers to study or work at night, or they like to wake up early at dawn.

Moreover, what I refer to as luxury is no longer confined within the four walls of your house. Several societies and townships are now considered luxurious based on the amenities they offer outside the apartment walls.

Various aspects are considered such as:

  • Whether there is a shopping complex at walking distance
  • If there is a park for senior citizens
  • Distance to the nearest hospital
  • Educational facilities nearby

All these factors and multiple others together determine how convenient and luxurious is the township.

While luxury was earlier judged on the cost of the apartment, it is now based on how premium the living experience is.

Even within the four walls of the apartment, there are a host of factors that signal how luxurious the apartment is. These include:

  • How the apartment has been constructed - whether it is a duplex or a studio apartment or a penthouse apartment
  • Have ventilation and entry of natural light been kept in mind while constructing the flat
  • What is the quality of material used during construction

And many other such factors.

This just shows how people are looking at things in a different way now than in the earlier decades.

So, if you too are planning to purchase a residential property, think once again about the kind of house you would like to purchase.

Do not only think about what are your needs now, think about your needs a decade later from now. You don’t purchase a new home every other year, so when you do, purchase what meets your current and future needs.

That’s all from my side for this edition of Open House, and I will see you in the next one, but until then remember:

The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.

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By Ashwinder R. Singh
Step up your real estate game with exclusive access to tribal knowledge accumulated over decades.
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