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Corporate Report

Published on: May 17, 2024, 10:14 a.m.
Ashiana sets excellent trends
  • The Guptas: knitting the business well; Photos: Sajal Bose

By Sajal Bose. Executive Editor, Business India

The senior living housing segment has been gaining popularity in India’s realty market. The demographic shift is driving the demand for senior living space in India and as per projections, by 2050, the country is expected to have 20 per cent of its population in the category of senior citizen – above 60 years – which is almost double from the lot in 2022. The rise of nuclear family, increased mobility, need for security and medical care, convenience and wellness are some of the major factors aiding the growth of senior living space. At present, India has 18,000 senior living units, a penetration rate of 1 per cent, which is set to grow.

Delhi-based prominent housing developer Ashiana Housing Limited (AHL), a listed entity promoted by the Guptas, has quietly built its reputation in the senior living space. The Guptas’ well thought-out business sense and holistic approach have helped the company to remain a leader in the ‘senior living’ segment in the country. The company has consistently ranked as the number one in the senior living space for the seventh consecutive year by Track 2 Realty. The other key players include Antara, Columbia Specific, Paranjape, Primus Life and Covaicare.

“Ashiana’s senior living communities offer a compelling solution, built on a legacy of trust, excellence and a deep understanding of senior needs,” claims Vishal Gupta, managing director, AHL. “Ashiana’s senior living facilities have helped me spend my second innings happily and independently, without bothering my children who are settled abroad,” says Sridharan staying in Ashiana Senior Living, Chennai. 

While continuing to enjoy dominance in senior living market, Ashiana also offers kid-centric homes, premium homes and elite homes as well as maintenance of property. Present across five states and nine key cities in India, Ashiana Housing has constructed and delivered over 28 million sq ft over 17,000+ families. The company also manages and maintains more than 19 million sq ft area under a lifetime service contract. 

Known for its out-of-the-box thinking, Ashiana has, over the last four-and-a-half decades, established a reputation as a builder, with landmark projects like Utsav, Town, Nirmay, Aangan, Tarang, Shubham, Antara, Woodlands, Dwarka, Amarbagh and Rangoli Gardens, among its Ashiana residential projects. The venture was started in 1979 by the late Om Prakash Gupta, born into a Marwari business family. His father owned flour mills in Patna.

After obtaining his engineering degree, he decided to set up his own business venture, instead of joining the family business. Initially, he and his six partners set up an engineering unit for manufacturing precision blanking called Ashiana Engineering. But the company failed to reach the expected performance level, and so, the partners split amicably. 

By then, Gupta had realised that the middle class was desperate for good quality housing. With his canny business sense, Gupta felt that this was an opportunity and hence established Ashiana Housing. 

Doing things differently

Gupta wanted to do things differently. He, along with his family, shifted to Delhi. This was the time when small local builders used to rule the market. There was hardly any concept of quality living or provision of amenities on offer from these dubious developers, who would perpetually deliver projects behind schedule or end up in litigation. Gupta’s creative mind decided to make a difference in the way people live – by building homes that are more than just four walls. The company did not look back thereafter. 

  • Rangoli: the largest project of the company

While he was studying engineering in the US, Gupta had come across several senior living projects. He observed how the elderly were being cared for, with special medical, recreational and other facilities geared to their needs. “My father replicated what he learned in the US and set up the first senior living project called Utsav in the country in 2003 in Bhiwadi, NCR,” recalls Ankur Gupta. 

Today, Gupta’s three sons – Vishal, Ankur and Varun – are the driving force of the company’s growth. While Vishal, 50, is the managing director responsible for designing, construction, purchase and HR, Ankur, 46, is joint managing director, looking after sales, marketing, facility management and IT, while Varun, 40, a whole-time director of the company, is involved in finance, legal, land and new business development.

They are also bringing new initiatives and looking at opportunities for the growth of the company. The company’s holistic approach to community living has made Ashiana an admired player in the segment. It has recorded revenues of Rs425 crore in 2022-23 and employs over 950 people. The promoters hold 61.11 per cent stake in the company.

The 1,665-apartment housing colony Rangoli Gardens in Jaipur, which is built in a partnership with Manglam Builders, is the largest project of the company. The project was completed in 2017. Spread across 26 acres close to Ajmer by-pass, it has large open areas, with 8.8 acres of landscaped parks with flower beds, sit-outs, walking tracks and water features. The greenery is created and maintained to give an essential touch of garden living. It has modern club facilities, with swimming pools, gyms, outdoor and indoor games, community halls, reading lounges and kids’ play areas. 

It is now setting up Advik, Tarang (Bhiwadi in NCR), Ekansh (Jaipur), Malhar (Pune), Amodh (Pune), ONE44 (Jaipur) and Amarah (Gurgaon) and many other projects. The company will build 10 million sq ft of residential space over the next five years, Varun informs.

Bhiwadi in the Delhi NCR region is experiencing a surge in real estate activity, driven by robust infrastructure developments and enhanced connectivity. With multinational corporations investing in the region and the implementation of major transportation projects, Bhiwadi is poised for significant growth. The town offers essential amenities, excellent connectivity and affordable housing options, making it an attractive destination for home-buyers and investors alike.

As the demand for residential properties continues to rise, Bhiwadi presents promising prospects for real estate investment, particularly with projects like Advik, Tarang and Town, offering quality living spaces and modern amenities. “We always put special emphasis on design and aesthetics that offer a unique experience for homebuyers,” says Vishal. “It has always strived for architectural excellence in all its projects. Almost 65 per cent of our sales are through referral.” 

Redefining senior living

Advik, the active senior living project in Bhiwadi (NCR) is thoughtfully designed to make it safe for senior citizens, with practical and accessible facilities that ensure ease of living. The round-edge walls, skid-resistant tiles and grab rails in washrooms ensure safety. The 16 plus acres area has a total of 900 units, including 37 villas. The luxury design beautifully blends aesthetics with an environment-friendly approach and offers a bouquet of recreational activities. The large open-to-the-sky spaces landscaped to connect the green spaces with the residential towers and villas would make it a happening community when ready.

  • The company is a pioneer in senior living housing in the country

Earlier, the misconception among many was that senior living is same as old age homes. That has now changed. “Seniors require specialised attention. Thus, well-planned communities, which are built to cater to the needs of senior citizens, give them exceptional quality of life,” says Shantanu Haldule, senior vice-president of the company.

“Now, it has become an acceptable lifestyle choice for many affluent people and also essentially large part of the middle-income group. People are selling floors in Vasant Vihar and coming to us to stay.” Southern states have witnessed a higher concentration of senior living population and the highest old-age dependency in India. “The attraction of this place is such that, despite having a house in Palam, my wife and I have decided to come into retirement here,” says O.P. Singh, who is living in Utsav.

In an incredible market response, Ashiana Housing sold out the entire Phase III of its project, Amarah, within 15 minutes of launch last month, which has stunned the industry. Amarah is a kid-centric home project, comprising 224 flats in 3 BHK configurations and is located in Sector 93 of Gurugram, Haryana. The project has a total saleable area of 377,000 sq ft, with a total sale value of Rs440.32 crore.

“We are happy with the unprecedented response to Amarah’s Phase III launch. We started registration at 11 am and we received 800 cheques for 224 units by 11.15 am – a four-time over-subscription in 15 minutes. This reflects people’s faith in the quality of our offering and the brand value of the company. Our novel kid-centric concept is also working. People want their children to be brought up in better places, with better amenities and quality of life and that is what Amarah is promising,” says Ankur. Ashiana is also planning to launch Phase IV. 

Ashiana Housing has adopted an asset light model. “Some 80 per cent of our land deals are done through joint venture. It is simpler and less risky and gives us cost advantage,” says Ankur. Also, the company wants to stick to developing residential spaces only. 

The Indian real estate sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience and continues the growth momentum on the back of strong end-user residential demand. Shift in consumer preference towards spacious homes mainly due to improved affordability and positive buyer sentiments, flexibility to shift to peripheral areas of the city, availability of affordable finance, reverse migration due to re-opening of offices and improving rental yields have led to this uptick in demand.

Despite the upward trend in interest rates and price hikes, the residential real estate sector has exhibited robust demand. “The mid-range and premium housing segment continued to rule the roost in Q1 2024, covering nearly 59 per cent of overall sales share,” explains Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.

Rising land prices, along with higher interest rates, are likely to accelerate industry consolidation in favour of organised players having lower cost of capital and stronger brand positioning. “The residential property sector today has swelled in terms of both sales and new launches. The supply constraints as against the demand helping the industry’s growth,” says Varun.

  • Ashiana has gained reputation of out-of-the-box thinker

Robust demand

Ashiana recorded a turnover of Rs425.19 crore in 2022-23, as against Rs239.59 crore in 2021-22. The net profit rose to Rs27.88 crore in 2022-23, as against a loss of Rs7.04 crore in 2021-22. For the nine months ended December 2023, the company achieved revenues of Rs669.56 crore and profit of Rs66.02 crore. The company’s share price is hovering around Rs346.45. “During the last four years, our run rate had nearly tripled. That has reflected in our stock price too, which has gone up by 98.44 per cent in the last one year. The overall investor interest in the sector has also been rising,” Varun describes. 

“Ashiana is a prominent player in senior living, with a great team of people working under the leadership of the Guptas. The company always work hard to understand the customers’ needs and fulfil them without any compromise on quality,” says Adarsh Narahari, managing director, Primus Lifespaces, a Bengaluru-based senior living developer. During the last few years, Ashiana has been growing consistently and its average sale price has increased, adds Narahari. 

“We have set a target to build 4.5-6 million sq ft floor area a year, as against 2.5-3 million sq ft at present,” Vishal informs. This year, it is looking at Bengaluru and has taken two projects in Chennai; it is also adding Mumbai to its list.

Ashiana has showed its ability to remain a significant player in the segment. As the real-estate segment is continuing to rise in the country, the company is well-placed to double its turnover in the next 4-5 years.

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