While the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, and shelter – are increasingly becoming a luxury and unaffordable, luxury items such as televisions, mobile phones, refrigerators, etc. have become affordable! While we are often amazed at the progress our country has made when we see an auto rickshaw driver with a mobile phone, we fail to notice that he is still living in a slum-like dwelling.
Thus the sheer size of the opportunity in low income housing - estimated at about 22 million un-served urban households (who can afford housing in the Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh band) and a market worth Rs. 1.1million crore – will ensure that the already rapid growth seen to date continues. The commercial impact of building these houses, and the social impact of providing these homes through affordable loans, has the potential to change India’s socio-economic landscape in the years to come.
While the concept of affordable housing seems to be a simple solution to current housing woes, its execution remains complicated due to the unclear policy framework. Development of large-scale affordable housing is the greatest necessity of urban India today and in order to make it successful, there should be establishment of a single window clearance system, formulation of innovative micro mortgage lending models and tax subsidies.
Not only this, it would require “will” from all the stakeholders by slightly adjusting their interest towards a wider social cause.