.........NEW DELHI: The Economic Survey (2017-18) has highlighted the issue of vacant houses in India, suggesting a more holistic approach is required that takes into account rentals and vacancy rates. The report said the real estate sector has begun to improve with the total FDI of $257 million in H1 2017, which is more than double the total FDI in whole of 2016.
While ‘Housing for All’ is one of the flagship schemes of the government, the Economic Survey said policies related to housing need to recognise that India has an increasingly fluid population. “A successful housing policy should enable horizontal or spatial mobility, namely the ability to move to, between and within cities as job opportunities arise,” it added.
The survey has pointed out that like in many countries, in India also home ownership is encouraged as part of the socio-economic policy.
“While there are good reasons for encouraging home ownership, it must be recognised that the rental market is also an important part of the urban eco-system. Rent control, unclear property rights and difficulties with contract enforcement have constrained the market in India in recent decades. These problems need to be resolved in order to allow horizontal and vertical mobility as well as to address a related issue — high vacancy rates,” it said.
Despite the shortage of housing in urban India (more than 18 million households in 2012), there is also an increase trend of vacant houses: from 6.5 million in 2001 to 11.1 million in 2011.According to the national Census, vacant houses constitute around 12 per cent of the share of the total urban housing stock. Where states are concerned, Maharashtra has the highest number of vacant houses at slightly more than 2 million, followed by Gujarat at 1.2 million. Gujarat has 18.5 per cent share of vacant houses to total residential stock followed by Rajasthan 17.3 per cent and Maharashtra 16.39 per cent.