20K apply for 800 affordable flats

Mumbai, May 26: The possibility of an affordable home not only eludes the vast middle class in the private sector, but also the Central public sector employees across the country, reflecting the gross shortage of houses.

Huge deficit between demand and supply, especially in metro cities, has forced the Central government real estate firm National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to revise its estimates for creation of housing units meant for government employees. For a scheme launched by NBCC for 800 ‘affordable’ flats in Delhi NCR, it received around 20,000 applications 25 times the number of flats up for sale NBCC CMD Arup Roy Chowdhury told. NBCC had targeted its housing scheme at the beneficiaries of the pay commission award, which raises the salaries of Central public sector employees by around 30 per cent.

These 800 flats, priced at Rs 1,978 per sq ft in Gurgaon, cost around Rs 30 lakh each. “Apart from 800 flats, we are now looking at acquiring land in Delhi NCR for meeting additional housing requirement for government employees. Keeping our sale prices low does not only give us the advantage of economies of scale but is also leading to price correction in the market forcing private players to follow suit,” he said. Six months ago, similar projects in the area by leading developers were being launched for around Rs 2,500-3000 per sq ft, a real-estate consultant said.

In fact, buoyed by the response, the NBCC chief has written to urban development ministry and the states, requesting land where it could undertake affordable housing projects in a public-private partnership. Housing has been identified by the UPA government as one of the key areas to provide an impetus to the fledgling economy, which has a multiplier effect, and, according to housing ministry, can push GDP growth by one percentage point.

Last year, Delhi Development Authority received around five lakh applications for 5,000 flats in the capital city, priced between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 70 lakh. Given the acute shortage, NBCC may even expand such housing schemes for government employees to other cities, Chowdhury added.