Governments need to assess buyer needs
Social housing and affordable housing are two different things. Haryana’s affordable housing is targeted at the middle income group and not the economically weaker class, unlike Uttar Pradesh’s. But buyers often decide to give affordable housing projects the miss because these are largely seen as catering to the lower income group. Urban planners say that while its intentions are laudable, the government needs to research what consumers want in order to make affordable housing projects scalable.
Affordable housing is not just about the price tag, it’s also about creating more housing supply in the market. Thedemand-supply dynamics that apply to group housing complexes are applicable to affordable housing. In today’s economic scenario, there may not be many takers for this housing format as there is already an oversupply of housing in micro markets.
“Even if the government is controlling the price, the target audience is still the same. The spatial understanding of demand that gives an idea about how much stock should come up in an area is inadequate. Also, the government is not taking into account the rental housing market, all these policies are pushing only ownership housing,” says Mukta Naik, senior researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, India.
Practically a person may want to live close to his place of work and may want certain convenience factors such as transportation etc and all those may be absent in these areas. Therefore, he may want to rent rather than buy property, she says.
Cities needs to analyse how much ownership housing they require. They also need to for mulate housing policies on the basis of feedback at the ground level. Most governments at present rely on census data that is collected once in a decade, she adds.
Gover nments need t o connect affordable housing complexes to employment hubs. Timely delivery is important for this model to be successful, says Samantak Das, chief economist and national director-research, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd. – Vandana Ramnani