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Why is Affordable Housing in India Restricted to the Peripheries?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

By  Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

India continues to strive for a more globally-aligned image for urban living conditions, which is what the Smart Cities mission is really all about.
However, the primary need if India’s housing market is to rank higher on global benchmarks of urban liveability is still a numbers game. Access to quality affordable housing, if ‘quality’ is primarily defined by location, is still a major challenge for most Indian citizens.

The dearth of affordable homes is only widening, with deficit numbers predicted to reach 30 million by 2022. This, despite the fact that the current Government has clearly understood that quality, quantity, availability and affordability of housing are integral drivers for a country’s economic competitiveness.

To be fair, India has ramped up massively on affordable housing, and this segment has been leading the pack in Indian real estate over the past 3-4 years. The massive impetus that the Government has given to the one electoral promise which got the most attention -  Housing for All by 2022 – has certainly caused a major sea-change.

Thanks to this impetus, the affordable price segment has dominated the residential supply. Recent new launches trends show that demand for affordable housing with ticket sizes in the range from INR 5 lakh to INR 40 lakh is growing continuously.

A significant part of a city's population may actually have at least some measure of economic flexibility. However, they would still not be able to pay the high prices of even the humblest brick-and-mortar homes within the city. They are nowhere near the poverty line, but they can only buy homes in one of the far outskirts.

This fact certainly flies in the face of the earlier perception that affordable housing is strictly a LIG-related concept. After all, having a budget of INR 20-40 lakh certainly takes a family out of the LIG purview. However, if a city does not have enough housing that the majority of its working class can afford to buy to fulfil their most basic need, that city has a shortfall of affordable housing.

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