1 August 2013, Financial Times
Demand is growing for high-end homes built or adapted to meet the religious needs of their owners. By Graham Norwood.
Properties designed to point ‘the right way’
Vastu Shastra is not an organised religion but is popular with Hindu’s in particular and can take on near-spiritual status. Vastu, like Chinese feng shui, is based on directional alignments. It requires, for example, master bedrooms to “point” southwest, entrances to point north or east, and insists that a property’s footprint be square or rectangular.
“Today’s business community considers Vastu an alternative energy. The environment is polluted by electro-stress due to Wi-Fi, mobiles, computers. This can be easily nullified by Vastu,” says Nitien Parmar, a Mumbai-based Vastu consultant who has advised Indian developers and buyers in London, the US, UAE, Sri Lanka and China.
Propertyfeast.com, an online estate agency in Mumbai, India, is selling a five-bedroom villa in North Goa for £1.55m. In its details it describes the property as “Vastu-compliant” – a description commonly found in real estate details in India these days. But Vastu’s stringent rules are hard to meet in other cultures.
“Its requirements make 99 per cent of London properties inappropriate,” says Camilla Dell of Black Brick, a buying agency that specialises in advising foreign clients purchasing in the UK. She has had six Vastu- believing Indian clients in the past year.
“One wanted an apartment in North London with a porter, parking & Vastu-compliance. It was impossible to find. In the end, he bought two adjoining flats, knocked through and gutted the inside bringing in a Vastu consultant to reconfigure the entire property,” says Dell.