In Mumbai, where unreal property prices have elbowed middle-class property buyers out, nearly 500 affordable flats will be ready for sale by next month. The flats are in a price range of Rs 7-10 lakh and are spread across Sion, Vikhroli, Powai, Goregaon, Malad and Dindoshi.
These houses, built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), will probably be the only affordable housing stock available in the city for the middle class.
Mumbai has faced an almost 30-40 per cent rise in property prices in the last one year, leaving people with no choice but to either substantially raise their budgets or wait for prices to slow down.
“We will advertise for all the houses by July 15,” said Bipin Shrimali, chief executive officer of Mumbai board, MHADA, The flats are sold through a lottery as the number of applicants is usually in thousands, much more than the available flats.
This year, more than 500 flats will be sold in the lower-, middle- and higher-income groups. Flats in the lower-income group (for those with annual income of Rs 1.20 lakh or less) measure 450-485 sq ft and cost Rs 6.5-9.5 lakh.
Even the high-end flats are conservatively priced at Rs 2,200 per sq ft in Powai, where the current market rate begins at Rs 5,000 per sq ft.
Property consultants, however, complain that most buyers have a bias against the poor quality of construction in most MHADA projects.
MHADA officials argue that its focus is on the price, not the quality. “If we promise high quality in lower-income houses, they will cost much more and won’t sell. The higher-income houses are as good as any private project,” said a senior MHADA official, requesting anonymity.
In 1997, MHADA had priced its high-end Powai project at Rs 3,000 per sq ft. The project found no takers. Buyers opted pay a little more and buy a home in the nearby Hiranandani Gardens. Eventually, the rates were slashed to Rs 2,300 per sq ft and then, to Rs 2,000 per sq ft.