India housing shortage remains at an "alarming" level

Featured - September 26th, 2012

Though India has seen a great deal of residential construction over the years, it is falling short of actually providing most families with a “roof over their heads”, a new housing report says.

India’s urban housing shortage fell from 24.7 million in 2007 to 18.8 million homes. Still, the figures are “alarming” according to the report. Because of inadequate housing, about a quarter of the “households” in urban India live in shanties or on the streets. Amitabh Kundu, dean of the School of Social Science at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told India Real Time, “It should really have gone much faster. Housing growth has been phenomenal”.

The shortage lies with housing prices that are affordable only for upper-middle class families. Mr. Kundu said that policy makers should consider offering better incentives for developers to construct affordable housing under 500 square feet. “Obviously there have to be targeted subsidies,” Mr. Kundu told India Real Time. “People who are building [units of] less than 250 square feet, they should be getting subsidy”.

The report also shows that a new trend in urban migration may have helped decrease housing shortage. According to the report, the need for expensive housing outpaced the demand for cheaper ones, meaning that skilled and better-off migrants are moving to the city.