Gov­ern­ments need to as­sess buyer needs

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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

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