Know the difference between carpet area, built-up area, and super built-up area

Fundamentals of home buying | Aug 13, 2020 | 10 min read

Whenever a new property is advertised, its size is one of the most prominent features that is highlighted. The size of a property, or its ‘area’, is measured as square feet (sq. ft.).

So, a mid-sized apartment could be 600 sq. ft. while a 1,000 sq. ft. apartment would-be considered large, regardless of the number of rooms. In the real estate industry, this measure is expressed in three different ways.

Different types of area

You would have heard the terms while you were out property hunting;

  • Carpet Area
  • Built-up Area
  • Super Built-up Area

A property’s area can be shown as either one of these three measures and all of them would be different, but correct. An unscrupulous developer could take undue advantage if you don’t know what the numbers mean. So, what exactly are these measures and how can they affect your home-buying decision? To understand that, it is essential to learn what these terms exactly mean. Let’s take a closer look at each one so that you can avoid costly mistakes while buying your new home.

Carpet Area

This is the smallest and most accurate measure of a property’s size among the three. Quite simply, it is the actual usable area of a property. The area which can be covered with a wall-to-wall carpet, hence the term. So, this paints a more accurate picture of your prospective new home. If a developer charges you as per the property’s carpet area, you are getting the best value for your money.

The carpet area does not include the thickness of the interior and exterior walls, balconies, and terraces. If you measure the length and breadth of each room from wall to wall, you will get the carpet area of that room. Do these with all the rooms in the property, including bathrooms and passages, and add them all to get the carpet area of the entire property. While many developers highlight either built-up or super built-up areas, an average carpet area is around 70% of the built-up area. E.g. if a property has a built-up area of 1,000 sq. ft., its carpet area works out to be 700 sq. ft.

Built-up Area

This is the next level in measuring a property’s size. It takes a property’s carpet area and adds the thickness of the internal and external walls, and the area of balconies and terraces if any. So, while you’re being charged for the entire area of your apartment from one outside wall to the other, you cannot utilize the area fully. In short,

Built-up Area = Carpet Area + Area of the Walls + Balcony and Terrace

If you could walk around your apartment and measure the lengths of all the external walls, you can work out its built-up area. If the developer is charging you as per the built-up area you also pay for that part of your property which you cannot use. E.g. if the developer wants you to pay for 1,500 sq. ft. of built-up area, you can use only 70% of the space, which is around 1,050 sq. ft. You end up paying for 450 sq. ft. of space you cannot use.

Super Built-up Area

This last measure is the trickiest of them all. The super built-up area grossly inflates a property’s size on paper and generates the most profits for a developer. It takes a apartment’s built-up area and adds all the common areas like the lobby, staircase, elevator shafts, and even refuge areas in some cases. Sometimes amenities like clubhouse, swimming pool, and generator rooms are also included in the super built-up area. Super built-up area is also commonly known as ‘Saleable Area’.

Super Built-up Area = Built-up Area + Proportionate Share of Common Areas

Super built-up area includes a 1.25X ‘Loading Factor’ to an apartment’s built-up area. So, two apartments of different sizes on the same floor will have different amounts of saleable area attached. Let’s say Apartment 1 is 1,000 sq. ft. and Apartment 2 is 1,200 sq. ft. The super built-up area of Apartment 1 would be 1,250 sq. ft. and that of Apartment 2 would be 1,500 sq. ft.

How do they affect you?

Based on the figures above, let us do a simple math and calculate the price of a 700 sq. ft. apartment at the rate of ₹ 2,000 per sq. ft.

Carpet Area:

700 sq. ft. x ₹ 2,000 = ₹ 14,00,000

Built-up Area:

(700 sq. ft. + 300 sq. ft. = 1,000 sq. ft.) x ₹ 2,000 = ₹ 20,00,000

Super Built-up Area:

(1,000 sq. ft. + 250 sq. ft. = 1,250 sq. ft.) x ₹ 2,000 = ₹ 25,00,000

Now that you have more clarity, you can ask the right questions when you buy your new home.

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