Mumbai: The houses may be small in size, but are affordable for those working in Mumbai, India, for a salary of Dh1,200 per month.
Mahindra Lifespaces Developers, the real estate arm of Mahindra Group, has recently launched an affordable housing project under its 'Happinest' vertical at Boisar, near Mumbai.
"Our intent is to provide good quality housing at affordable rates. We have decided to undertake two pilot projects — one in Chennai, which we have already launched in August and the second one is in Boisar (in Maharashtra)," company's Managing Director Anita Arjundas was quoted in the Indian media as saying.
Spread across over 14 acres, the Boisar project offers one room kitchen, one and two bed apartments in the range of 351 square feet to 695 square feet and would have a total of 1,400 units. The apartments will be priced between Dh54500 toDh106,060 (Rs 910,000 to Rs 1.75 million).
"There is a huge demand for affordable housing. We are evaluating opportunities and we may come up with such projects in Maharashtra itself considering the increasing demand for affordable housing and development of infrastructure and industries in the state," Arjundas said.
The company endeavours to meet the housing needs of families with current combined monthly income of Rs20,000 (Dh1,212) to Rs40,000 (Dh2424) per month through its 'Happinest' brand.
In an investor note, Sachin Agarwal, CMD, Maple Shelters, said that affordable housing was not only essential to the well-being and health of the people, but also for the smooth running of economies.
"Yet all over the globe, in advanced and developing economies alike, a majority of the cities are struggling to give their citizens decent, affordable housing."
He believes that over the next 10 years the number of people who are seriously challenged by urban housing costs and will continue to inhabit 'substandard' housing is going to rise exponentially.
"Throughout, India will continue to figure among the most housing-challenged nations unless the new government delivers on its electoral promise to make housing for all a reality."
The difference between what most households can afford to pay for a home without spending more than 30 per cent of their income and cost of an acceptable normal housing unit is called the 'affordability gap'.
Currently, trends indicate that the next 10-12 years will see the arrival of over 106 million more low-income urban dwellers globally.
"This trend gives rise to a serious question - how can the affordable housing gap be bridged?" asks Agarwal.
"There are four primary approaches to handle this problem, all centered on lowering the cost of construction, land, financing, operations and maintenance. Implemented individually, each of these approaches can significantly decrease the affordable housing gap in a country like India.
"However, if implemented simultaneously and in tandem, they can reduce the cost of affordable housing in the country's urban areas by 35-50 per cent and substantially decrease India's affordable urban housing gap over the next ten years," he states.