affordable homes
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According to the latest report by a leading research firm, India needs 25 million more affordable homes by 2030. The demand is due to a rapid increase in the urban population which mainly arose with better employment opportunities, education, and lifestyle. The report stated that by 2030, over 40% of the Indian population will reside in urban areas, which at present is 34%.

The report titled Brick By Brick: Moving towards ‘Housing for All’, developed RICS and Knight Frank revealed that the current housing shortage in urban areas is around 10 million units and this is more in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG) segment.

As per the report, “The government has till date sanctioned 8.36 million affordable houses. Construction for 4.9 million units has already begun and out of this 2.6 million units have been completed. Also, the way the government is working on this segment is truly commendable and hence, may achieve the target of 10 million houses by 2022.”

But, going by the rate of urbanization, there is a huge difference in the demand and supply of the housing units. For example, nearly 0.6 million homes are required every year, in the top eight cities but the current data states that the supply rate is 0.2 million units per year. The major reason behind this gap is due to unavailability of land parcels for affordable housing in urban areas and lengthy clearance and approval processes.

Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director of Knight Frank India said, “The need of the hour is to come up with stringent reforms that will fast-pace the development of the affordable housing. Unlike other segments of housing, affordable housing poses an interesting challenge, involving strategies at all levels.”

The report has also proposed various norms in this direction. Some of them include statutory clearance, design, building and construction management, use of land-zoning and prime government land parcels available in urban areas for the construction of affordable homes, better marketing, and sales techniques, and involvement of public and private development agencies.

Another realty expert has also suggested other innovative and ground-breaking reforms that include Transitional buffer housing or short-term housing, Rent to own strategy, shorter tenure titles, etc. All these policies will help in removing the gap in the urban-housing supply in both the EWS and LIG segment.