Affordable Housing

By: George Gonigal

The housing shortage in urban areas accounts for approximately 24.71 million housing units, according to official estimates. 21% of the total urban population lives in slums and 35% in one room tenements, without adequate basic facilities such as piped water, sanitation, schools, health, and so on. These numbers are expected to touch 200 million by 2020.

There is a huge demand-supply gap in urban housing for poor. The demand today is not just for affordable homes but also for lifestyle products. Considering this factor, some real estate developers are now customizing their product to cater to the affordable segment of real estate.

Sample this, Ashiana housing is advertising itself by way of affordable branding they say 'middle class budget, world class living' of their Ashiana Palm Court Project in Ghaziabad. On an average a 1275 sq ft 3BHK costs Rs 23-25 lacs and this includes lifestyle features of a club house along with gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, games room, table tennis and party hall besides other regular features such as power backup and round the clock security in each apartment unit. They also have a similar project in Bhiwadi.

The lack of institutional financing options for the poor and the increasing real estate values are the two major barriers in way to achieve affordable housing in India. Government bodies, NGOs, public-private partnerships clubbed with clear-cut planning offer suitable solutions for meeting the needs of affordable homes for urban poor.

The renowned real estate developers in NAREDCO, 2008 conference emphasized that the developers launching affordable housing projects should be given incentives to build in the budget category. Other factors worth considering are land consolidation, public private partnership, reduction in stamp duty and registration charges, reducing black money transactions and formation of a real estate regulatory authority.

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