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  • The affordable housing sector in India is going through interesting times. The sector has witnessed a surge in activities in 2016 and 2017 in terms of policy & regulations, incentives & schemes, and project uptake.

  • The most significant development was the grant of infrastructure status to the sector in Union Budget 2017-18. This is likely to incentivise the developers by giving easier access to cheaper sources of funding, thereby reducing the cost of borrowing.

  • Another push was given by a new public-private partnership (PPP) policy announced to attract private investments. Eight PPP models have been introduced to help leverage the under-utilised and unutilised private and public land. Further, allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in rural areas has increased by more than 50 per cent. The government has announced construction of 10 million houses by 2019 under the rural component of PMAY, and another 20 million homes are to be constructed at urban locations by 2022.

  • The affordable housing unit sizes have been redefined, making the sector lucrative for developers. Tax reliefs with changes in capital tax incidence will also provide impetus to affordable housing projects.

  • There were also some demand-side interventions. The period to avail credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) under the urban component of PMAY has been extended for middle income groups. Establishment of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) is expected to boost buyer's confidence by providing transparency and accountability on developer's part. Refinancing by National Housing Bank is also a big positive for buyers. In the past two years, the lending rates of the banks and HFCs have also declined by up to 2 percentage points, further boosting the demand for housing credit. Industry estimates suggest that affordable housing finance is set to be a Rs 6 trillion market by 2022.

  • These initiatives are clearly in line with the vision and mission of "Housing for All" by 2022. That said, the sector is riddled with a few challenges, the biggest being unlocking of land in urban areas. The housing shortage is huge and the investment requirement is substantial.

  • This also opens up plethora of opportunities. The construction techniques will evolve. Technology will play a bigger role. Alternate building materials as well as pre-fabs will be in demand. A large number of developers are making inroads into this segment and are finding it lucrative

  • The mission of this conference is to examine the upcoming opportunities in the sector, assess the impact of recent policy and regulatory initiatives, and discuss the key issues and concerns. The conference will also showcase the latest technologies and innovations.
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