Real Estate News
July 14, 2016
Each year, the monsoon season brings one concrete reality to the forefront as small children leave home in the early hours of morning and queue up for transport to attend school, braving the torrential rains. At such occasions, the thought comes to mind that this pattern will repeat itself year after year. Parents who had done their best to keep children out of the way while selecting their home suddenly find themselves focusing on this aspect.
Basic questions come to mind. Will the rainwater drain off or flood the surrounding area? Does the public transport system directly connect this area to places where educational institutions are located or not? Will my child be able to commute from home to school and back without any hassles or do I stay on tenterhooks if there is constant heavy rainfall beyond three hours?
Each year, while Mumbaikars are battling floods and traffic jams, there are certain rare occasions when a holiday is declared for schools and colleges. The rationale here is that students make up a substantial portion of commuters and the influx of private school buses and individual vehicles used by parents ferrying children would only add to the chaos and hamper the restoration process.
In situations where institutions are compelled to send students home earlier than usual due to incessantly heavy rains or flooding, it has been observed that walk-in students reach home much faster and safer than their counterparts relying on transport. This, by itself, is a vindication of sorts of their parents’ decision to opt for a home close by.
In fact, the recurring instances of heavy rains disrupting transport facilities has several young couples with small children opting for a home that has proximity to their schools rather than to other facilities. This trend has also shaped the demand pattern for housing from new residents in emerging locations to a larger extent. After all, if one is moving to a location where infrastructure is still being developed and public transport facilities are rudimentary, being able to ‘walk to school’ can really be a godsend.
At places across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, it has been observed that the demand for housing in certain areas has received an impetus primarily because of the infrastructure, including good schools. To a large extent, buying patterns have changed drastically once people began considering emerging locations. These days, most people look for a place with a very holistic view; it is no longer only the space within four walls that matters.
The complex as a whole, its amenities and facilities, the locality, kind of residents or inhabitants, proximity to various necessities like the railway station, bus stops, schools, the proximity to various other suburbs, the connectivity to other suburbs, also play their own role in the decision making process.
Given such a scenario, schools do influence the decision to a significant extent, especially when it comes to the double income families. In cases where both parents are working, they more often than not look out for homes near good schools as it becomes very convenient for children to return home safely even during floods.
Access to educational institutions has always been a key factor influencing home purchase decisions. At one stage, residential buildings within a short radius of a ‘good’ school were able to command a premium because it meant greater convenience in the child’s commute. The fact that having a home in proximity to the school also increased the chances of getting admission was etched in stone so to speak.
As Mumbai developed further, its extended suburbs and peripheral areas began to grow but the lack of quality education institution slowed down the process. The situation changed with projects where the presence of a school within the premises in addition to other lifestyle facilities actually encouraged people to buy homes there as it provided a completely holistic experience.
At this stage, the developer community began to actively get into a field that had once only been of academic interest to them. Instead of merely identifying quality schools and colleges, they began setting them up, initially in the prime suburbs and gradually extending them till the peripheral areas as well.
In the current scenario, the presence of a school within a township is considered almost as essential as lifestyle amenities like a clubhouse or swimming pool. With both parents working, it is much more convenient for grandparents to drop off and pick up the students from the school gate itself.
As the children grow older, they can go to school and return home themselves, in a safe and secure environment as they are not stepping outside the township premises at all. Not surprisingly, the guarantee of admission for children is considered to be a sweetner that encourages parents to opt for such projects over others.
Home seekers perceive it as added value if their children can attend an international school within the complex premises. Also the fact that children are able to simply walk down to school and come back home safely without relying on other factors like autos, school buses, etc. is a huge advantage. For working mothers, knowing that their child can reach school and return home safely and on time ensures much-needed peace of mind.
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