There are 2.25 million vacant houses in Maharashtra, more than in any other state in the country, but there is still an acute shortage of homes, according to a report by the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation.
Analysts say this paradox could have been avoided if a regulatory authority had been created to monitor the real-estate market. Instead, people in need of homes do not drive the real estate sector, investors and NRIs with surplus capital do.
Thus, in Mumbai, more than half the houses are owned by investors and industrialists who do not even need to give out these houses on rent. They just keep them locked up as prime assets, says Anirudh Wahal, director (West India) of Occupier Services.
"Maharashtra is an investor-friendly market, and cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Kolhapur are good investment destinations too," Wahal adds. "Because of this, a large number of houses are lying vacant."
A special tax on empty homes and incentive policies for lessors would help address this paradox, the report said.