Lakhs of homes lying unused in Urban India

Every person who has taken birth on god’s green earth has dreamt about owning a home at some point or the other in their life. But not everybody is lucky enough to realize and fulfill this dream. Especially in a country like India where a major chunk of the population belong to the below poverty line category, owning a home is a distant, farfetched dream. Most can’t afford to buy a home because of the skyrocketing property prices. India is suffering from a massive crunch of affordable housing.

The total shortage of homes in India has been pegged at a whopping 19 million plus homes. But what makes matters worse is the fact that a staggering 10.2 million homes are absolutely ready for use but are unfortunately lying vacant. If and when one analyzes this grave situation in detail, one will reach a conclusion that close to 96% of this total shortage is required by the low income group and economically weaker sections families where the annual household income is less than a meager 2 Lacs. The primary reason for this shortage is therefore an absolute mismatch between the demand and supply of homes which such families can afford. A possible solution can be bringing these vacant homes under the purview of the proposed rental housing scheme of the central government.

The most severely impacted states include but are not limited to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The gravity of the problem can be attributed to the fact that a major part of the population has no access whatsoever to any sort of formal credit. Housing loans are still immensely unaffordable for most at the new standard 9.9% per annum interest rate. Developers also shy away from such projects as the profit margin is comparatively very thin in low cost homes projects. Thus the affordable housing problem has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Therefore at a time when the country is facing a severe and massive affordable housing crunch, the fact that over 10 million homes are lying unused is astonishing. The focus of people has always been on owning their dream home, but if the focus is shifted towards renting instead of owning, then the problem can be done away with. Rental housing is a highly convenient solution to people who keep migrating from one city to another and don’t want to make a humungous financial commitment.

But as people and families belonging to the high or middle income groups can easily afford to rent high end homes in urban regions, people hailing from the EWS and LIG background end up in slums and urban villages. Therefore the government is steadfastly working towards building its rental housing scheme which will resolve the long impending issue to a large extent.

The entire gamut of India’s large population therefore has their fingers crossed for a timely resolution of this great Indian Housing problem. If government takes the necessary steps then the great India housing dream can be realized instead.

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