Centre labels 645 sq.feet flat as affordable home
A dwelling unit not more than 60 square metres (645 square feet carpet area) is now officially an affordable house.
Last month, the Union ministry of finance, department of economic affairs, issued a notification that includes affordable housing as a new sub-sector within the social and commercial infrastructure category.
The notification states: “Affordable housing is defined as a housing project that uses at least 50% of the floor space index (FSI) for dwelling units with a carpet area of not more than 60 sq m.”
But housing experts said “affordable homes” is a misnomer in cities like Mumbai and Delhi where property prices are higher than other regions in the country. Housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu said the size of a dwelling cannot define affordable housing. “It is a person’s income and not the area of the apartment that should be the criteria,” he said. For instance, he said, an affordable home is equivalent to a person’s income for five years.
Pankaj Kapoor, managing director of real estate research firm Liases Foras, said a flat of around 600 sq ft in Greater Mumbai would cost roughly Rs 1.4 crore if one takes an average weighted property price of Rs 24,000 a sq ft. “This is certainly not affordable by any stretch of imagination,” he said. “The government should have fixed a ceiling on the price for such homes. Otherwise, it is meaningless,” he added.
P K Das, founder member, Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti, which has for long been advocating affordable housing, said unless the government introduces a price control mechanism for land, affordable housing is impossible. “Land cost comprises 75% of the real estate project cost. The government is dodging the issue by defining affordable housing in terms of area and not cost,” he said.