Pankaj Bajaj Eldeco: “Cheap Houses on Outskirts of Cities Is Not Affordable Housing”
Things look great on paper but are not the facts. Definition of affordable housing has gone upto homes costing 70-80 Lakhs. The question that arises here is that are we moving towards an affordable housing bubble? Were developers were waiting for incentives for affordable housing projects from the government and financers? Why not do it earlier?
Eldeco MD Pankaj Bajaj speaks on affordable housing that:
“Affordable housing answer seems to be; make cheap houses and on the outskirts of cities and that not how it works.”
He is of the opinion that there is a dichotomy present in the concept of affordable housing. He says that there are quite a number of talks about unmet demands in the MIG (Middle Income Group), yet reports do point out lakhs of unsold houses. He replied to the question of affordable housing that:
“I want to draw your mind to the dichotomy. On the one hand we say that there's a huge unmet demand for housing, on the other, every week there is a report from some consultant or the other, that there are as many as 50 lakhs of houses which are unsold and most of those houses, specially in the NCR are not of the higher category (60 Lakhs and below), so there are other pieces of puzzle too.”
With the coming of PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna ), subsidy is increased to one year and three months, yet the subsidy released actually is 105 Crores. So, is the exuberence overrated? Is PMAY really working?
But all is not wrong with the world. More than 50% projects are affordable housing segment. Funds are created to finance affordable homes. Main focus is given on people of the category of income 6-8 Lakhs per annum. Interest subvention is being catered to the middle class to their benefit but to what extent remains a vivid question. Raised carpet area has given relief to builders yet there was a growing clamour that MIG carpet area was a disincentive. Just making funds available to the retail buyer would not solve the problem of supply. Purpose of funds is to go from EWS to MIG. Doing this effort is to ease the supply and to present a significant demonstration.
Unbelievable focus by government on the housing sector has created high enthusiasm in the market and among the customers. Affordable housing sector seems to be evolving due to government initiatives. Their policy push is working to create affordable housing in stock in India with a special focus on big cities. Finance seems to be queuing up to meeting up the mission of ' Housing for All' till 2022.