Note these facts while speculating on constructing a house in Kerala

Representative image. Photo: dins k.s / shutterstock

The construction industry has surely experienced a spectacular boom in the last decade, between 2010 – 2020. The houses in Kerala decided to shed their old looks and embraced chic designs and features that reflect the modern era. Trendy box-style patterns and unique colour palettes became the flavour.

While some people are ready to splurge to ensure that their dream abode looked perfect and opulent others struggled to build a roof over their heads. Those who had availed loans between 2000 and 2010 to construct houses didn’t struggle much, as the construction costs during the decade were Rs 500 – 1000 per square foot.

Moreover, the boom in the employment sector and the sudden increase in income helped Keralites pay back their loans and debts. Except for Kochi, the price of land in Kerala wasn’t exorbitant and was fairly affordable too. People belonging to any class could purchase land anywhere in the state and build comfortable houses without burning a hole in their pockets.

However, things began to change after 2010. The price of land in Kerala skyrocketed making it extremely difficult for the common people to purchase even a small plot of land. New bypass roads were constructed while the old ones were widened. Besides, the panchayats constructed roads even to the remotest parts, improving connectivity and accessibility. Urbanisation took over Kerala at an alarming pace. Several mega construction projects were flagged off making Kerala real estate a gold mine. All these factors were crucial in the sudden increase of land prices in the state.

In the last decade, Kerala saw countless real estate projects that were both large-scale as well as small-scale. The traditional architectural styles got replaced with modern contemporary features. People became willing to spend huge amounts of money on interior designing. Interestingly, this trend continues even today with the interior designing industry flourishing alongside the construction sector.

Some may raise eyebrows wondering whether the contemporary homes suit the unique tropical climate of Kerala. However, such scepticism has no significance as the architectural styles of each era may have been the ‘contemporary’ style of those times. One could ask whether the concrete houses that became common in the 1980s, the stone houses with clay tiled roofs and the humble thatched huts did suit the weather. Forget the weather, it is not even sure whether these houses benefited the people who lived inside them.

Had they been perfect then such houses would have existed even now. So, it is safe to assume that those houses may not have suited the weather or the people who had lived in them. That must be the reason why concrete homes gained incredible popularity. The flexible nature of concrete and its ability to carry weight made it a popular choice. Moreover, there are many unique advantages to concrete homes. However, it cannot be said that even concrete houses are the best considering the unpredictable climate of Kerala.

Rain and extreme heat aren’t ‘best friends’ with concrete structures. Concrete homes become kilns when the harsh sun rays hit the walls. Meanwhile, moisture may seep into the concrete structure during heavy monsoons. Leaking and moulds are other disadvantages. So, human bodies clearly do not feel comfortable inside concrete structures.

If there is one feature that the contemporary houses in Kerala discarded last year is the pergola. However, the contemporary style sans the pergola would still prevail as it perfectly reflects the aesthetics of the modern era.

Interestingly, contemporary means belonging or occurring in the present. So, the trends are sure to keep changing. Even as the pergola feature became outdated, it is unlikely that Keralites would go back to those typical concrete homes that were popular in the 1980s. The looks of those houses clearly do not fit modern times. The design industry has been busy anticipating the trends in 2023. While some are sure that people would embrace minimalism, others assume that utility would be the keyword instead of luxury. Most architects and designers believe that 2023 would see simple yet comfortable houses that are built on a pocket-friendly budget. 

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