Housing in India

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Housing in India varies from palaces of erstwhile maharajas to modern apartment buildings in big cities to tiny huts in far-flung villages. There has been tremendous growth in India's housing sector as incomes have risen.

Low income housing[edit]

According to the Times of India, "a majority of Indians have per capita space equivalent to or less than a 10 feet x 10 feet room for their living, sleeping, cooking, washing and toilet needs."[1] The average is 103 sq ft per person in rural areas and 117 sq ft per person in urban areas.[1]

44 percent of rural households have access to electricity.[2] Although cities have better facilities than villages, except for the major metros, no city in India provides full-day water supply.[3]

States such as Gujarat,[4] Madhya Pradesh[5] and others provides continuous power supply.



The Imperial Towers, Mumbai are the tallest buildings in India.

Mumbai experiences similar urbanisation challenges as other fast growing cities in developing countries: wide disparities in housing between the affluent, middle-income and low-income segments of the population.

Highly desirable neighborhoods such as Colaba, Malabar Hill, Marine Drive, Bandra and Juhu house professionals, industrialists, Bollywood movie stars and expatriates. Up-scale flats have 3 or more bedrooms, ocean views, tasteful interior decoration, parking for luxury cars and sleeping quarters for maids and cooks. In 2007, Mumbai condominiums were the priciest in the developing world at around US$9,000 to US$10,200 per square metre.[6] Mumbai has more than 1,500 high rise buildings, many of which are just planned, but some already constructed or under construction.[7][8]

Despite the recent economic growth, there is still vast poverty, unemployment and therefore poor housing conditions for a huge section of the population. With available space at a premium, working-class Mumbai residents often reside in cramped and poor quality, yet relatively expensive housing, usually far from workplaces. Despite this, Mumbai's economic boom continues to attract migrants in search of opportunities from across the country. The number of migrants to Mumbai from outside Maharashtra during the 1991–2001 decade was 1.12 million, which amounted to 54.8% of the net addition to the population of Mumbai.[9]

Over 9 million people, over 60% of the population of Mumbai, live in informal housing or slums, yet they cover only 6–8% of the city's land area.[10][11][12][13][14] Slums were recognized as a problem as early as in 1919 by the Bombay Municipal Corporation.[15] Slum growth rate in Mumbai is greater than the general urban growth rate.[16] Financial Times writes that "Dharavi is the grand panjandrum of the Mumbai slums".[17] Dharavi, Asia's second largest slum is located in central Mumbai and houses over 1 million people.[18] Slums are a growing tourist attraction in Mumbai.[17][19][20]

Most of the remaining live in chawls and on footpaths. Chawls are a quintessentially Mumbai phenomenon of multi-storied terrible quality tenements, typically a bit higher quality than slums. 80 per cent of chawls have only one room.[21] Pavement dwellers refers to Mumbai dwellings built on the footpaths/pavements of city streets.[22]

With rising incomes, many residents of slums and chawls now have modern amenities such as mobile phones, access to electricity, often illegally, and television.

Rent control laws have helped to create a housing shortage.[6] Most of the investors are looking to invest in ongoing real estate projects[23] to get maximum returns.

The MMRDA has released the Mumbai Development Plan for 2034 which discusses means of creating affordable housing, including a criticised proposal to build on salt pan land.[24]


Delhi has witnessed rapid suburban growth over the past decade. South Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida have added thousands of apartment buildings, Affordable Homes, shopping centres and highways. New Delhi's famous Lutyens bungalows house the prime minister, members of his cabinet, top political and government leaders, military officials, senior judges and top bureaucrats. New Delhi is also home to thousands of diplomatic staff of foreign countries and the United Nations. With India's growth, Delhi has developed into a business center, especially for outsourcing, IT consultancy, high-tech, research, education and health care services. Employees of these institutions are the source of growing demand for high-end housing provided by major builders such as DLF.[citation needed]


In the 1990s the information technology boom hit Bangalore. Y2K projects in America's IT industry resulted in shortages for skilled computer scientists and systems programmers. Bangalore has transformed into the Silicon Valley of India as over 500,000 well-paying jobs for young college graduates were created. The demographics of the city changed, new high-rise were built, campus-style office parks sprouted, vast shopping centers started to thrive, streets became crowded with new cars and gated expatriate housing estates emerged [25].

Roughly 10% of Bangalore's population lives in slums.[26]

Kolkata (Calcutta)[edit]

The most sought-after neighbourhoods of Calcutta are generally centered around Park Street, Camac Street, Lower Circular Road, Sarat Bose Road, Salt Lake, Ballygunge, Anwar Shah Road, Chowringhee and Golf Green. A recent building boom has converted sprawling British-era bungalows into high-rise condominiums and apartment-buildings with modern amenities. Kolkata currently has the second most number of highrises and tall buildings in the country, second only to Mumbai. The highest of them is at 50 floors (under construction). New suburbs are constantly being developed in Rajarhat and along the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. Once completed, these suburbs shall consist partially of major condominiums, complete with penthouses, many designed primarily for NRIs, expats and wealthier residents. Avani is also a major builder. The tallest buildings in the city, The South City Towers and Urbana towers, are also condominiums.[citation needed]

North Calcutta contains mansions built in the early 20th century during Calcutta's heyday as capital of British India, which covered all of South Asia plus Burma and Aden. These buildings include a courtyard surrounded by balconies, large rooms with tall ceilings, marble floors, tall pillars and crumbling artwork. Most of them are poorly maintained.[citation needed] The Marble Palace and other buildings received "heritage status" which provides them municipal funds and incentives to repair and restore. These mansions serve as reminder of the era of Bengali Renaissance when Tagore's music and dance graced the living rooms of wealthy Bengali merchants.[citation needed]

Roughly, 5% of the population live in slums. Although the number of slums are less than Mumbai, they are scattered all over Kolkata in between affluent areas giving the city a rustic and poverty driven look.


In Hyderabad, housing in modern ages in the 21st century is more modernized and developed than it has been in the past. The housing sector in Hyderabad has relatively sophisticated infrastructure. and is suitable for gated communities and villas, as well as higher-standard flats and condominiums. Hyderabad is home to several skyscrapers, including The Botanika, Lodha Belezza, etc. Roughly 15% of population is living in slum presently. Many residential infrastructure companies are well-established in Hyderabad.[citation needed]


In general India's crime rates trails those of other developing countries. There is a large developed housing market with major builders and promoters. Some municipal and other government officials, elected politicians, real estate developers and a few law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways.[27] Sometimes, government land or land ostensibly acquired for some legitimate government purpose is then handed over to real estate developers who build commercial and residential properties and sell them in the open market, with the connivance of a small section of the administrative and police officials.[28] In one set of allegations in Karnataka, a lake was filled in and government buildings torn down after illegal transfers to a developer by mafia-connected officials.[29] Eminent domain laws, intended to procure private land at relatively low prices for public benefit or redistribution to poorer people under social justice programs, are abused to pressure existing landholders to sell land to a government entity, which transfers the land to developers at those low prices, and who in turn sell it back on the market at much higher prices.[30][31]

Corruption is sometimes a reaction to well-meaning social activists' opposition to development. Environmentalists, "not in my backyard" activists and court cases slow down the ability to expand housing.[citation needed] The computerization of records relating to the classification of tracts and land ownership is a key tool in countering the illegal activities of land mafias, since it creates transparency on all information relating to a given parcel of land. This approach has been effective in Bangalore,[32] but efforts to extend it elsewhere have sometimes met with strong resistance by land mafias, manifesting itself as bureaucratic inaction.[33]

Indian property bubble[edit]

The Indian property bubble refers to the concern expressed by some Indian economists that housing market in some major Indian cities may be in a bubble. The real estate sector is thought to be collapsing due to increasing costs of financing. Real estate projects in India take a long time to complete due to a complicated and corrupt regulatory mechanism. Several of the India's publicly traded real estate firms are in debt. The inventory of unsold real estate assets is growing and it is expected the market will undergo price corrections.[34] According to Mumbai-based market research agency, Liases Foras, 30% of the transaction in the real estate sector is done with black money.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Thakur, Atul (25 November 2008). "33% of Indians live in less space than US prisoners". The Times of India.
  2. ^ "Reforming the Power Sector: Controlling Electricity Theft and Improving Revenue" (PDF). The World Bank. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Development Policy Review". World Bank.
  4. ^ "'Power-full' Gujarat gives 24-hour electricity". Times of India. 4 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Madhya Pradesh goes the Gujarat way for power". Business Standard. 16 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Mumbai housing is the priciest in the developing world". Global Property Guide.
  7. ^ "Skyscrapers of Mumbai". Emporis.com. 15 June 2009. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Skyscrapers of Navi Mumbai". Emporis.com. 15 June 2009. Archived from the original on 9 May 2005. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (28 February 2007). "The Paradox of Mumbai: Slums, Stocks, Stars and the New India". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 29 July 2015.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Microsoft Word - 36int.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Mumbai, India, development incomplete with 62 percent living in slums". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  14. ^ &Apos, And (27 February 2005). "Whose city is it anyway? – Present slum area not more than eight per cent of total land?". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph India.
  15. ^ "From the Archives (July 9, 1919): Housing in Bombay". The Hindu. 9 July 2019. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Slums". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  17. ^ a b "A walking tour around the slums of Mumbai". Financial Times. 6 February 2009.
  18. ^ "Dharavi". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Amid the skyscrapers, slum tourism". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 24 August 2006.
  20. ^ "'Slumdog Millionaire' boosts Mumbai's 'slum tourism' industry". ExpressIndia.
  21. ^ Date, Vidyadhar (15 May 2002). "Slum upgradation beneficial than rehabilitation: Report". The Times of India.
  22. ^ Sundar Burra; Liz Riley (1999). "Electricity to pavement dwellers in Mumbai" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Ongoing Residential Projects in Mumbai and Bangalore (India)- Raheja Universal". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  24. ^ Kumar, Krishna; Babar, Kailash (26 April 2018). "Mumbai Development Plan 2034 puts focus on affordable homes and job creation". The Economic Times. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  25. ^ [2], housing estates emerged, https://homesandloansblog.wordpress.com
  26. ^ "Total Population, Slum Population..." Archived from the original on 6 August 2007.. Census of India, 2001. 2006. Government of India.
  27. ^ K.R. Gupta and J.R. Gupta, "Indian Economy, Vol# 2", Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2008, ISBN 81-269-0926-9. Snippet: ... the land market already stands subverted and an active land mafia has already been created ...
  28. ^ "India after busting land mafia organised crime involving former government officials and apartment developers". India Daily. 1 August 2005. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2008. Snippet: ... Low priced subsidised land is being illegally developed ... permits are obtained illegally through a network of mafia style operators that involved the under world, former Indian Administrative Service officers and even the cops ... alleged misappropriation of land in the name of CGHS and selling them at very high rates after construction of flats ...
  29. ^ "Land mafia buries lake, encroaches govt land". Deccan Herald. 10 October 2005. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2008. Snippet: ... The watershed department had built a check dam at a cost of Rs 1.5 lakh in 2006 to improve the groundwater level. But the land mafia has taken things into its own hands and got it covered ...
  30. ^ N. Vital, "India: Technology and a vision for the future", The Icfai University Press, 2004, ISBN 81-7881-346-7. Snippet: ... Another law which had a totally contradictory impact was the Urban Land Ceiling Act which provided tremendous opportunity for the land mafia. The poor people who were supposed to benefit in the process were nowhere to be seen. ...
  31. ^ Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narayana Madhava Ghatate, "Decisive Days", Shipra Publications, 1999. Snippet: ... In villages on the outskirts of the cities, land is being grabbed by force by the lathi-wielding miscreants. This land is public land. Skyscrapers are being built ...
  32. ^ N. Vittal, "Roots of Effective Governance", Icfai University Press, 2007, ISBN 81-314-1156-7. Snippet: ... transparency ... was introduced in allotment of sites. The element of discretion involved in this process was removed. The whole system was totally computerized. The allotment details were published on the website and the lease cum-sale agreement was done away with. Absolute sale deeds were issued ...
  33. ^ "A State Unimagined in Law: A Wrong Without a Remedy". Arun Shourie. 26 May 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2008. Snippet: ... For this purpose the Center formulated a scheme for the computerisation of land records. It pledged to meet the entire expense of the task. About Rs 5 crores have been given to the State (Bihar) for this purpose; it has been able to utilize only Rs 22 lakhs! The target is that by December next year there shall be one hundred per cent coverage of “Jot Bahi/Khatta”: actual coverage till now? Ten per cent. ...
  34. ^ "A Housing Slump in India". The New York Times. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Modi's 'Black Money' Crusade Looms Over Property Bubble". Bloomberg News. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015.