185000 affordable houses

04 April 2008

Work has started near Mumbai, Indian to build a total of 185000 affordable new homes over the course of the next 10 years. The first houses are being built on a 100 acre (40.5 Ha) site at Karjat, some 10 miles (16 km) to the southeast of the city centre.

In the first phase of the project, 10000 homes will be built at the Karjat site, ranging in size from 300 to 500 square feet (28 to 47 square metres). They will sell at between INR 299700 and INR 499500 (US$ 7500 to US$ 12500) each depending on the size. The plan is to complete 2300 houses this year, with the first being ready for occupation in May.

Mumbai-based real estate developer Matheran Realty Pvt Ltd (MRPL) is the client for the work. The UK's Eredene Capital plc is a major investor in the company and has agreed to invest up to INR 1.31 billion (US$ 33 million) in it for a stake of up to 55%.

MRPL has awarded the construction work to Sterling Construction Systems (SCS). The company has experience of building low-cost houses in the Australia, India, Jordan, the Philippines and Vietnam. It will use fast, low-cost construction methods for the Mumbai houses, based around the use of prefabricated fibre cement components.

Over the next 10 years MRPL plans a phased land acquisition to built the 185000 houses on a number of sites within commuting distance of the city centre, on or close to the suburban railway network. It says surveys have indicated there is an acute shortage of affordable housing in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which is home to 18 million people. Some 30% of these are thought to earn leas than US$ 2500 per year.

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