Rising demand for affordable housing in the city has forced realtors to get back to square one: 1 BHK (bedroom-hall-kitchen) flats, quite literally. These flats measuring 500-650 sq ft are priced below Rs50 lakh, making them a cheap and affordable housing option for the middle-class.
Builders had almost abandoned construction of 1 BHK flats in the city and were concentrating only on luxury housing. Exorbitantly priced at Rs 1 crore onwards, these houses were above the reach of a common man yearning to own a space of his own.
Realty estate consultants said builders were forced to take this step. “Since bigger houses are not selling anymore which made getting money from the bank difficult. So these builders are now constructing smaller houses to woo homebuyers and raise money,” said Sundar Dinesh, senior analyst, Liasas Foras, a real estate research firm.
This move is not only expected to boost sales but also give a new lease of life to the realty business in the city.
Mihir Dhruv, chairman and managing director, Habitat Group, which is constructing 250 such flats in Malad, said economic factors were behind his decision. “Few builders are constructing small houses, and so we decided to tap this market. We got fantastic response,” said Dhruv.
According to Santosh Hasotkar, director, Dreamz Realty Limited, which specialises in realty sales, the market is ripe for 1 BHK. “The cost of luxury houses is prohibitive and with the Reserve Bank of India tightening lending norms, we have seen great sales in 1 BHK segment,” said Hasotkar.
Dreamz said it received good response for all its three projects launched by the Nirman Group at Jogeshwari, Malad and Mulund where the apartments are priced in the range of Rs 35-45 lakh.
Other builders such as the Acme Group with projects at Kandivli and Goregaon, and Ravi Group with projects at Andheri and Kandivli have also resorted to building smaller homes to make most of this opportunity.
In 2008, builders faced with slowdown had resorted to such steps but then abandoned plans after the market improved.