Bottom Line: Coimbatore is no longer a property market for retired and budget conscious buyers; the lifestyle has gained ground in the city.
â€śCoimbatore is turning out to be a lifestyle city? You must be joking. Right?â€ť Well, you will also have the same reaction if you are not keeping a close track of the developments in this part of the world. Contrary to the general perception that Coimbatore is a cost conscious city where realism is reflective at every level and per capita expenditure not very high; the city is slowly but surely emerging in an altogether different direction.
Coimbatore has today all the pre-requisite fundamentals of a lifestyle city that is high on the wish list of the corporate sector and the young professionals. The best part is that this development has happened in the last few years when the market conditions otherwise have been bearish; something that suggests the wave of change is here to stay.
Hence, it is important to understand that Coimbatore is no longer a city that can easily be defined by the given parameters of a tier II city. It is rather a hip and happening city where the multiple demand drivers are working in tandem to make sure it gives a tough competition to other metro cities of the country, most notably Bangalore and Hyderabad in the southern part of the country.
Developers active in the city are so confident with this growth of the market that they even suggest that Coimbatore has the potential to emerge as the best South Indian city and one of the best property markets across the country. An outside view may suggest otherwise, as the city still is an end user driven market and the demand drivers are need based and not speculative elements or investor groups.
However, a closer look at the upcoming projects across the major micro markets of the city suggests that the developers have already realised the change of mindset of the new age buyers. It is reflective in terms of the offerings also and affordable luxury as a concept that is a misnomer in other parts of the country is increasingly gaining ground in the city.
The residential offerings that always maintained the price band of below Rs. 5000 per sq feet has now breached that psychological barrier in the last over a couple of years. Coimbatore has been one property market which has been least affected by the overall economic slowdown. It has rather accelerated the pace of developments and the city clearly shows a tectonic shift in the market and reflects the buyersâ€™ preferences for lifestyle driven apartments.
Analysts point out to the fact that Coimbatore is no longer just a retirement destination or the last choice of those buyers who could not afford the relatively costly markets of South India, like Chennai or Bangalore. As a matter of fact, the city has rather shaped up different than what it was actually thought of in the early stages of evolution of property market over here.
In order to understand the economy of the city in general and its property market in particular one has to find answer of certain pointed questions about the city. What has changed this thought process? Has the cityâ€™s economy reached its optimum level of boom? Whether there are more commercial activities in the city? Have big brands found a natural destination in Coimbatore the way they found cities like Gurgaon or Pune in the early stages of evolution?
The answer to most of these questions is behind the success of Coimbatore as an emerging lifestyle city. Most importantly, most of these answers are in affirmative, even though it may be just the first flush of aspiration for the city. The young expat professionals in Coimbatore coming from across the country have nevertheless changed the lifestyle choices and preferences in this rather conservative city.
Today, because of this working class expats Coimbatore no longer bears the look of a tier II city that has its economy dependant on the local small scale business. It is blossoming into a corporate city though the scale and volume has not reached to the peak level, compared to other big metro cities.
Ravindran P, a local property agent agrees that lifestyle choices are changing the city fast. He terms Coimbatore city as one of the new lifestyle cities which is growing at a fast pace. There has been a sea change in the kind of life people are living there. One of the recent trends which have risen exponentially is gymming.
â€śWith numerous individuals looking to lead a healthy life, they have turned their attention to living a health life which has given rise to loads of new gymming enthusiasts. Secondly, various other activities like extracurricular activities and hobby perusal are also some of the new trends seen to be rising in Coimbatore. All these aspiration driven living are having their effect on the demand in the real estate market as well,â€ť says Ravindran.
A spokesperson of CRISIL Real Estate Ratings finds a reason behind this growth of Coimbatore as the new lifestyle city. According to him, Coimbatore property market is tilting towards lifestyle options because the young professionals are opting for those.
â€śIn recent times demand in the Coimbatore housing market has been triggered by the growth of the IT/ITeS and manufacturing industries in the city. Employees working in these companies, including migrants, are creating this demand, which is also paving the way for a lot of townships. Hence there are a number of townships under construction in the city. These young working professionals have fueled the consumption cycle of the cityâ€™s economy, which has had a corresponding effect in the growth of the property market, including retail outlets, malls and office spaces,â€ť says the spokesperson.
The trend of lifestyle and aspiration driven developments are not confined to residential segment only. It is rather very much visible in the commercial properties as well. The growth of the business of the city beyond just Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has ensured that quality office spaces are being developed and the mushrooming IT/ITeS sector has made sure that there are occupiers for these spaces as well.
The rental growth may not have been phenomenal but at least the spaces are being occupied at a time when the economy has been slow moving and commercial property has been worst hit in some other cities that are better positioned on the corporate aspiration level.
The brands across the segment are also nowadays flocking to the city; thus making sure that the growth of the retail space is steady, if not phenomenal. The young aspirational working class has made sure that these brands are not out of the business in the city. On a macro level it has made sure that the growth is heterogeneous and it is across the developments, including hospitality.
It is not just about the branded hotel chains but today there are entertainment and lifestyle options increasingly spreading in the city. Multiplex culture is also witness to a decent business. Coimbatore is increasingly scaling up on the index of aspiration level and lifestyle choices.
So, Coimbatore is no more a non-descript city on the real estate landscape that has only the occupiers driven by affordability. Nor is it a city which can just be termed as the tier II city waiting for its moment of growth.
The catalysts of the growth are already there and it is quite obvious that if the city could maintain its upscale momentum in a bearish market, Coimbatore can emerge as one of the key lifestyle markets once the overall economic sentiments are bullish. Coimbatore has indeed arrived with a bang on lifestyle and aspiration that is fuelling the corporate culture in the city.