Air pollution pushes Delhi residents to look for ‘greener’ second homes

  • The national capital’s residents have shown resilience to skin and lung problems and are risking long-term health effects too. This is evident from the undeterred demand for housing in Delhi-NCR area.
  • Real estate experts say that people won’t be moving out from their primary home but would buy a second home in less polluted area to get temporary respite.
  • For second homes, people are choosing spacious areas with access to public transport and greener space. This is soon turning out to be a luxury which is much in demand-- and that means realty prices will remain intact too.
In spite of many frustrated claims on social media, no one is moving out of Delhi--not as yet. The national capital’s residents have shown resilience to skin and lung problems and are risking long-term health effects too. This is evident from the undeterred demand for housing in Delhi-NCR area.

Real estate experts say that people won’t be moving out from their primary home but would buy a second home in less polluted area to get temporary respite. The impact of air pollution on the real estate sector is minimal because people have adapted it.

“Real estate prices in most Indian cities are not dictated by environmental factors as much as by affordability and their ability to provide employment. For affordable and mid-segment housing, the primary demand driver is connectivity - the speed with which residents can get to work and back,” said Prashant Thakur, director and head of research at ANAROCK Property Consultants.

For second homes, people are choosing spacious areas with access to public transport and greener space. This is soon turning out to be a luxury which is much in demand-- and that means realty prices will remain intact too.

“Prices will not fall because of increased outward migration. In a country where condemned buildings - clearly declared unsafe for habitation - continue to be occupied, people tend to stay where they are if the economic rationale is compelling enough and no immediate alternatives exist,” said Thakur..

Huge risk to health
Delhi which has already been one of the most polluted cities, has worsened this year after air quality dipped below ‘ hazardous’ level999 on November 23. The city became a lung destroyer as breathing its polluted air equivalent to smoking over 20 cigarettes a day.

The city’s population was alarmed as many studies pointed out that bad air can affect the brain development of children. According to UNICEF Executive Director Fore, children born during this time are most affected as they continue to have small lungs, breathe twice as fast as adults and lack immunity.

Another study said tha t women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater decline in memory and more Alzheimer's-like brain atrophy than their counterparts who breathed cleaner air.

The toxic air in the Delhi-NCR is not only taking a toll on people's health but is also adversely affecting their skin, causing allergies, rashes and premature ageing, forcing many to seek medical treatments. Doctors have observed 30% jump in skin related problems.

Yet, the city’s residents are not giving up on it and hope that the air clears soon.


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