The objective of affordable housing is to make homes that are cost effective and affordable but not at the cost of quality of living it offers but by smart planning
Vinay K Mehta
Indian real estate, these days is buzzing with two words – affordable housing. Government’s initiatives towards achieving their dream of ‘Housing for all by 2020’ have paved way for this revolution. Today, sector is flooded with affordable homes being launched by every developer to get a pie of this big market. So what does affordable home offers; is it a cost benefit in remote location with reduced amenities?
Well, this is what most think and getting mis-led. The objective is to make homes that are cost effective and affordable but not at the cost of quality of living it offers but by smart planning. Smartly designed and planned affordable homes are high on amenities and offerings but low on cost. So here are five MUSTs for efficient and smart affordable home.
1. Smart space planning – Home is all about your space and thus space planning is critical. Every space has to make functional sense to the owner. By planning the spaces in the home efficiently, the overall cost of the unit would reduce however it will retain the same functionality as that of a larger space. For example – bed rooms in regular homes would be of 12 ft X 14 ft whereas in an affordable scheme it would be 10 ft X 11.5 ft. This would easily accommodate a bed and wardrobe to make it a comfortable space to live in.
2. Location – For a project to be affordable, the land on which it is built has to be affordable to the developer. This is possible if the land is on the prospective peripheral growth corridors of the city where commercial, retail and social infrastructure expansion is planned. This ensures that it would be close to offices and also have connectivity to the city in the future. Such land parcels are cheaper to acquire and construct for the developer which automatically translates into lower cost to consumer but not lowering of living standards. For example, North Bangalore is one such location that offers all that is mentioned above and its growth is well planned ensuring quality living.
3. Specifications – In an affordable home, it is easy to reduce cost by using low grade finishing specifications. However, by smartly selecting them, the overall feel of the affordable unit can be maintained as any regular building but still be offered at lower entry price. For example, by using quality smaller tile sizes in a small bathroom would create a sense of volume which would make the bathroom look bigger. Also by using lighter shades of tiles the bathroom appears larger and feels more comfortable to use. Careful selection of finishing items is the key to keeping the quality intact and yet affordable.
4. Maintenance – A project is truly affordable only if the owner is not burdened by huge maintenance costs in future which would be a pain in their day to day life. In order to achieve this, careful selection of amenities and common services is required. This means only those amenities and services that are low on maintenance and have multipurpose use should be planned. For example, easier to maintain facilities and multipurpose flooring would help the occupants use one area for 2 or more amenities hence reducing the need of separate spaces and maintenance. Also look out for green homes as they offer a truly affordable living in many senses.
5. Tax benefits – As the government in India is striving hard for realising ‘Housing for all’, they have proposed lot of tax incentives to buyers and developers to support this vision. If the size of unit is restricted to 60 smt, there is tax exemption on the consumer end. This would make the overall cost of the unit lower and add to its affordability.
Building an affordable apartment project is a culmination of all the above points. Careful design of space and amenities is critical to the overall cost alongside the careful selection of location to lower the overall price of land. These homes make no compromises in terms of specification, materials used, amenities and design. They are smartly spaced to offer all a person needs to live a healthy and comfortable life.
So next time you venture out for selecting an affordable home for yourself, don’t settle for less. Your home has to be affordable but your life is precious and deserves the best.