One can gauge the state of affordability of houses in the city from the fact that 80% of Mumbai’s households cannot buy an apartment at the current prices, a report by NGO Praja Foundation states.
The report, titled ‘The State of Affordable Housing in Mumbai’ highlights how affordability has now become a premium factor in the Mumbai realty market.
According to Nitai Mehta, managing trustee, Praja Foundation, even Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (Mhada) low-cost flats are beyond the reach of citizens. “Affordability has gone for a toss. More than 50% of the households earn less than Rs20,000 per month, while even the smallest Mhada flat costs Rs14.77 lakh. This is not affordable,” he said.
“The only way is to beef up connectivity with the outskirts of the city and make proper use of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and salt pan land,” added Mehta.
In the last few years, real estate values have touched exorbitant levels, taking houses beyond the reach of a majority of the population.
Homebuyers, waiting for prices to drop, have for long been postponing their purchase plans, which has in turn caused a rise in unsold apartments.
The clamour for additional floor space index (FSI) to solve the housing problem is also misleading, said town planner Shirish Patel, who helped compile he report. “Simply increasing the FSI without the corresponding increase in streets, open spaces and various amenities is a recipe for disaster,” said Patel.
“This will indiscriminately increase the population density, without any improvement to the corresponding infrastructure,” he added.
Advocating an inclusive approach to the problem, he said: “Any new construction should keep aside a part of the apartments for common people. This will help create affordable houses,” said Patel.