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Here's how to house the poor in Pakistan...

Published Feb 25, 2015 05:57pm

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India may be about to embark on the world’s most ambitious housing development plan.—Reuters/file
India may be about to embark on the world’s most ambitious housing development plan.—Reuters/file

Narendra Modi, Malik Riaz, and Mike Labbé should talk. Together, they can provide solutions to end the housing crisis for the low-income households in India and Pakistan.

South Asia alone is home to one of the largest homeless populations in the world. In India, 170 million individuals live in slums. In the neighbouring Pakistan, the national housing shortfall is estimated at 9 million houses.

However, unlike Pakistan, India has decided to address the national housing crisis.

Prime Minister Modi’s budget on February 28 is expected to disclose the details of an ambitious plan to build 20 million housing units at the cost of $2 trillion in the next seven years. Once completed, the plan will not only house the homeless or the partially homed 170 million, it is also likely to boost the Indian economy for decades, by engaging millions in the development of one of the largest infrastructure development programs.

There is, however, one big challenge. Even when affordable housing is built for the low-income households, speculators and others manipulate the markets for fast returns. The same units are resold at much higher prices, thus effectively reducing the affordable housing stock.

Also read: Chinese group offers $1bn investment in housing sector

The affordable housing units in Bahria Town in Rawalpindi, named Awami Villas, were initially sold by the developer for less than a million rupees. Just a few years later, the same units are being sold for two to three million rupees, making them unaffordable for the low-income households.

The real challenge is to find a way to sustain the supply of affordable units when affordable housing becomes unaffordable in the resale market.

Mike Labbé, a Canadian developer and a visionary, offers innovative solutions to ensure affordable housing sustains a mechanism to generate even more affordable units. It can work if the politicians, land developers, and lending institutions collaborate on these solutions.

Housing the homeless in India

India's project will be the world’s most ambitious housing development plan.

Narendra Modi’s plan to build 20 million new homes exceeds far beyond the hitherto largest public housing development plan in the United States, in scale and magnitude.

Enabled by the Housing Act of 1949, President Truman embarked on a plan to build 810,000 units of public housing. The Indian government’s plans are innovative in that they do not burden the State with the entire responsibility to deliver millions of housing units. The government instead is facilitating the private sector to seize the opportunity.

They will initiate slum rehabilitation projects and provide housing to the slum dwellers at affordable rates. The government is helping the builders raise financing from overseas. It already helps the builders in accessing public land for low-cost housing. Plans are in works to change zoning by-laws to allow taller and wider buildings and streamlining the approval process for residential development projects.

The Central Bank in India will help the commercial banks access funds at cheaper rates for their subsequent lending to these projects. Furthermore, the government may increase the tax incentives for housing loans from 200,000 Rupees per year to 350,000.

The precarious housing situation in Pakistan

The State Bank of Pakistan reported earlier in January that the housing shortfall worsens by 0.34 million units every year. A whole host of structural and other limitations have choked the housing supply in Pakistan.

The archaic land and property records hinder large-scale urban residential development. The building industry is atomised and is not trusted by the consumers and institutional lenders. Housing finance is in shambles. The injunctions against interest further limit the application of the traditional mortgage banking in Pakistan.

Know more: Housing challenges

With the exception of Bahria Towns, most large scale residential developments in Pakistan were undertaken by commercial enterprises representing professional groups who acquired the State’s land at cheaper rates and made it available to members of their fraternity.

Defence Housing Authorities are one such example. The recipients of the subsidised land sold the developed land or the residential unit in the market and pocketed the gains. The housing resale market, because of the demand pressures resulting from higher population growth rates and rural-to-urban migration, thus offered extraordinary returns, where housing prices in new developments doubled in a relatively short span of time.

When affordable becomes unaffordable

Given the lack of access to subsidised State land and affordable mortgage finance, the low-income households in Pakistan have been effectively shunned from the owner-occupied housing.

They are forced to live in unplanned neighbourhoods in crowded housing. Multi-generational households continue to increase in size, but are forced to cohabit because of the lack of housing alternatives.

Even when the government or the private sector develops affordable housing and makes it available to low-income households, such housing quickly reenters the resale housing market and transacts at much higher prices. To date, developing countries like Pakistan have largely been unable to sustain the affordable housing stock.

Options for Homes

Mike Labbé, a Canadian developer and an advocate for affordable housing, operates 'Options for Homes', a not-for-profit agency that builds affordable housing for the low-income households.

He has been relentless in trying to persuade the governments in Canada to expand their options for affordable housing and include owner-occupied housing as a solution along with affordable rental housing.

Mike's financing solution ensures that the affordable units remain affordable in the long run. Since 1994, organisations associated with 'Options' have enabled 6,500 households to own their homes. Millions more can benefit if the projects are scaled to operate on a much larger level.

'Options' first develops housing at much cheaper prices than other commercial developers. It accomplishes this by drastically reducing marketing costs, eliminating expensive amenities, and reducing the profit margins.

'Options' also offers the home buyer a second mortgage (loan) worth approximately 13 per cent of the property value. The loan is payable only when the owner either sells or rents out the unit. The loan appreciates with the price of the property. Hence, when the original owner resells the property, 'Options' recovers the loan at the same rate at which the property has appreciated. 'Options' reinvests the gains made into building more affordable housing.

What to do in South Asia?

Large-scale housing developments can customize Options’ solutions to prevent undue profit-making by speculators and those in search of quick fixes.

Here is one option:

The government should make large swaths of land available at highly subsidised rates to established builders, preferably from abroad, to build large-scale mixed used developments. Smaller housing units of roughly 750 square feet should dominate the housing mix.

The builders must be required to use a portion of land price savings (the difference between the commercial and subsidised land value) to establish a fund for the cooperative that will manage the new housing development.

The cooperative will take out a second mortgage on the housing units similar to the one by Options but for a larger value. If the affordable house is resold in the market, the cooperative will recover the loan and the markup in proportion to the price appreciation. The cooperative will then re-invest the profits in building additional housing on the unbuilt part of the developed land.

Smaller unit sizes will ensure that high-income households do not find the units attractive to invest. Furthermore, the cooperatives could be empowered to ensure that households under a certain income threshold are eligible to purchase units in the development. Other restrictions to prevent multiple purchases by the same household could further prevent the speculators from generating undue profits.

Take a look: Parliamentary body questions delay in housing projects

The mechanism will provide the means to sustain the supply of new affordable housing to replace the one that may become expensive in the resale market. The builders will make market returns on the commercial properties (office buildings, retail malls, recreation facilities, etc.) developed as part of the project.

Housing affordability is a global crisis that affects over 330 million households. McKinsey Global Institute estimates plugging the global housing affordability gap will require $16 trillion. There lies a tremendous opportunity for governments, land developers, builders, and lending institutions to create affordable housing and generate value for their stakeholders.

The scale of the opportunity should entice the private sector in the developing countries where it’s not just affordable houses, but affordable cities that need to be built. If individuals like Narendra Modi, Malik Riaz, and Mike Labbé join hands, hundreds of millions can embrace secure tenure and a prosperous future for their families and nations.

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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of Regionomics.com.

He tweets @regionomics


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (83) Closed



Hassan Feb 25, 2015 06:25pm

Why build homes when we can sleep in Metro bus

sanq khan Feb 25, 2015 06:28pm

this is the reason why i like narendra modi despite being a muslim.

sana khan Feb 25, 2015 06:34pm

i should have voted for narendra modi.

Awais Feb 25, 2015 06:38pm

Its a good solution to only allow purchase house to people falling below a certain income threshold but in the end our politicians will be owning 50% houses in the scheme given their declared income. Moral is "Given the level of corruption in our society, this and any such project is doomed to fail".

A Sidhu Feb 25, 2015 07:02pm

"In India, 170 million individuals live in slums. In the neighbouring Pakistan, the national housing shortfall is estimated at 9 million houses.". Well that is called playing with numbers. It means that Pak has approx. 40-50 million homeless while it has a population 10 times less than India (though it is not to suggest that India is fault free).

Manjeet kocchar Feb 25, 2015 07:03pm

@sanq khan. Oh what a big favour

Babu Bangalore Feb 25, 2015 07:19pm

@Awais: Yes... this is the same case with India.. not sure how many units go to real poor..

Maxx. Feb 25, 2015 07:22pm

@A Sidhu Only in Mumbai as per surveys 62% of the population of the city lives in slums, so in reality it is much more than the housing shortfall for 170 million people in India, with a population of 1300 million. It can easily be half of the population or 600 million who need basic housing. This will become acute in both the countries due to widespread migration from rural areas to urban areas of the countries.

adnan Feb 25, 2015 07:24pm

@Awais pessimistic but correct you are. more-over would like to add that given the Satta bazi / speculation / artificially appreciated prices/ manipulated property price booms are common-place as well as illegal housing /land scams. the point the above solution possibly requires a regulated property sector with amendment /provision of certain laws , strictly enforced. ...and that requires will, intention. .....which is neither present in the pakistani buck holders or in governance. this will and intention is present in India, otherwise how will BJP do it? here SS's and Khattak's priorities are same - underpasses so cars can pass faster w/o being stuck- while required as urbanization rates are high in Pak - this may be put on back burner by encouraging even shoving 'car-pool' culture at least for the time that provincial /city governments direct funds to low-cost housing. not gonna happen. built a bullet train - at just over 500 bn dollar GDP (PP).

N.Sid Feb 25, 2015 07:27pm

Government initiatives for private real estate developers like Malik Riaz, and the likes of him can certainly kick-start the economy.

Private sector is helping in meeting this shortfall, but at a price. Need government initiative in this specialized sector.

Good suggestions by the writer about how to go about it.

Intellectual Feb 25, 2015 07:36pm

When Pakistan started is refugee's rehabilitation program at Karachi under, Ayub Khan. Specially designed townships were constructed at Korangi, Malir and at a few other places. Refugees from mushrooming slums were allotted houses but, most of them sold their houses and returned to the slums. This was a normal routine and many were given houses twice and some even more. We are a thankless lot of people and want to fleece the government for any of its goodwill gestures.

Oz Feb 25, 2015 08:00pm

@Manjeet kocchar Dont be sarcastic. He has voted for modi as he actually is from india. So relax and enjoy ur trolling time.

ROhit Feb 25, 2015 08:06pm

Hopefully this project is environmentally sustainable...

Kala Ingrez Feb 25, 2015 08:19pm

So, that's how thy do it? Wonder how thy do it in Canada? Are there still homeless sleeping rough on the streets - most of they non-immigrant? From India and Pakistan's perspective, even when they come up with these grand plans for the poor, the rich only tend to benefit from it?

Harish Bansal Feb 25, 2015 08:25pm

This is something to compete for.

Arun1 Feb 25, 2015 08:25pm

In ten years India's population will increase by 200 million, the housing situation will be worse than ever. Stop population growth by either imposing a one child limit for three generations as China has done , or pay all girls $10 a month , from the age of 15 till the birth of the third child, so they are rewarded for stopping at two , with a lifelong bounty and the state spared from building tens of millions of homes, destroying more forests to grow food etc.

daada Feb 25, 2015 08:32pm

another good one by murtaza haider

Murtaza Haider Feb 25, 2015 08:35pm

@A Sidhu The 9 million housing shortage in Pakistan does not automatically imply that 9 milliom households live in slums in Pakistan. The two numbers refers to different cohorts and I can see the cause for confusion, but would read the stated facts as they are.

Syed Ahmed, Canada. Feb 25, 2015 08:40pm

Even if you build wood frame economical houses in Pakistan the poor people who are food insecure, don't have potable water to drink and no health care can never dream of such a shelter. First and foremost is to revive economy of the and create jobs for the down trodden class.

Mahendra Singh Feb 25, 2015 08:50pm

Brothers agar Kashmir se fursat mil jaaye to thoda saath milke logo ke liye makan, health etc ki baat kare..

Taimoor Khan Feb 25, 2015 08:52pm

"In India, 170 million individuals live in slums."

That is nearly the population of Pakistan!!

Taimoor Khan Feb 25, 2015 08:55pm

@A Sidhu Its in your mind when you are complaining about the numbers. When it says that 170 millions Indians live in slums, Pakistan's entire population estimate stands around 180 million. Do the math, I am sure you can!!

Feroz Feb 25, 2015 08:55pm

With todays prices of land in India, affordable housing will remain a pipe dream.

tashu Feb 25, 2015 08:56pm

Hope the project implemented properly and without any malfunctioning..rates of property in India are sky high..

tashu Feb 25, 2015 08:57pm

Hope the project implemented properly and without any malfunctioning..rates of property in India are sky high..

sam Feb 25, 2015 08:57pm

@sanq khan The likes of N Modi are not anti any group or religion.Politics is a dirty game where selfish crooks want to destroy rare honest folks who do not let them make billions by crooked ways. Muslim vote for N modi In the last Gujarat election surged by 24%.Why? There are More Muslims driving BMWs in Gujarat than in the whole of Pakistan. Indian Muslims are fast realising who is playing games with them and who delivers.

Dr Mohsin Kazmi Feb 25, 2015 08:59pm

A well studied article. Despite unwillingness of Pakistani authorities to take any heed, keep comparing decisions and statistics, both give you a direction.

Manjeet kocchar Feb 25, 2015 09:20pm

@Oz. Sir my sincere apology and thanks for your gratuitous advice

Manjeet kocchar Feb 25, 2015 09:22pm

@Oz. Sir am superficialy from India not actually like him

noname Feb 25, 2015 09:29pm

Murtaza, cannot agree more. I even think if any Pakistani government is serious about development; they should start by building an entire new city together with economic activity infrastructure and schemes.

BRR Feb 25, 2015 10:39pm

A lot can happen, a lot can go wrong, but the intentions are good so far. One thing to remember is that apparently when slum dwellers of Dharavi were given new apts to live in outside of town, most of them rented them out, and continued to live in the slums. Now, how in the world can you fix this problem? The people themselves are corrupt.

faizan Feb 25, 2015 11:34pm

@A Sidhu well thats just in the cities! you have a staggering 800 million who earn less than 2 dollars a day! take that number and play with it

Vik1 Feb 25, 2015 11:36pm

Not to miss: Rural housing for poor is successfully taken care in India in many states (not all) by respective state goverments. These were done for votes though.. which is a diff topic .. what left mostly is urban housing for poor.

Imran A. Feb 25, 2015 11:51pm

What housing problem are you talking about? I have never heard about this problem in the media or with politicians or our religious leaders.

Pankaj Feb 25, 2015 11:51pm

Congratulations dawn such a wonderful, informative article......

adnan Feb 26, 2015 12:02am

@Feroz that is what Pakistani establishment and world said several several years ago when India decided to move in direction of Food sufficiency.

abdussamad peera Feb 26, 2015 12:14am

there is a lot of low income housing projects along the national highway in karachi but you must know the land mafia who takes control of such projects and defeats the purpose. i am not saying we shouldn't but the corruption at the root level must be dealt with for any project to succeed (private or public).

adil jadoon Feb 26, 2015 12:20am

The govt. can subsidize housing but stay out of actually building them. Also the numbers in Pakistan are unreliable like every thing else.

sudhir Feb 26, 2015 12:22am

frm whr 170 million ppl fig come frm?...acco to indian govt its 65 million.

Rex Major Feb 26, 2015 12:32am

@Manjeet kocchar

How can one be superficially from India? What does that mean?

N.Sid Feb 26, 2015 12:34am

@BRR China's example can be emulated here through authoritarian rule, a dictatorial democracy. People need to be reigned in...follow the rules of the land or leave it.

D Feb 26, 2015 01:17am

@Maxx. Have you ever been to Mumbai? Yes, probably 62% population lives in Slums( although I doubt that stats), but they do have three stories houses in those slums( most of them are like that), where most of the houses have TV and Washing Machine, etc. Some even have Ac's. So I don't really consider them slums, they are people who forcefully occupied land and live there and not pay govt any taxes.

sana khan Feb 26, 2015 01:28am

@ manjeet kochchar and oz - my name is sana khan and i am not a boy.by mistake i wrote sanq khan.

Hassan Feb 26, 2015 02:08am

@Rex Major : It means That he is an Indian immigrant living abroad.

ZAK Feb 26, 2015 02:14am

it will need 170 million houses in pakistan

Gp65 Feb 26, 2015 03:14am

@Maxx. a lot of flats in Mumbai are locked up due to backlog in courts and people being afraid to rent their flats. Conversely, many people who are migrants to Mumbai end up living n slums even though many other ways their lves are similar to middle class (graduates, working in good companies have LED TV, fridge, microwave, scooters etc). But his situation is not replicated in other cities as much because housing is not that expensive.

Rex Minor Feb 26, 2015 03:29am

@Rex Major,

I like what you said, Dad :)

c.shah Feb 26, 2015 04:10am

To achieve affordable housing for all slum dwellers in India and Pakistan: 1. population control 2, stop spending billions of dollars in military which flurish other nations weapon industry. 3. Improve science/technology/health education for all and start giving basic education to slum dwellers' children. 4. Most important and must stop corruption at all level, specially so called affluant educated citizens in India and Pakistan. 5. Lastly, you all politician included in above item for 4,

Omar Feb 26, 2015 04:38am

Pakistan should invest in affordable low income housing and put laws/checks in place to prevent people from selling it. Simultaneously, they should bulldoze the slums. Do it on a slum by slum basis. They are unsightly things to look at and only perpetuate poverty.

Unshackle Pakistan Feb 26, 2015 05:50am

It's not government's job to build houses. The path to prosperity isn't by building houses but removing restrictions on trade and commerce. With productivity increasing as a result wealth is created and with it more jobs.

Building housing is a socialist concept and like all socialist concepts is going to lead to more trouble, corruption, and waste down the road. Who's going to maintain those houses? It's a perpetual black hole that will suck the already debt ridden state. Look at PIA, WAPDA, Railways, Electricity, Water, Security and all things under the government and it's clear the failure is all but assured.

@UnshacklePak

Ahle Feb 26, 2015 06:15am

@A Sidhu very nice sidhu DAWN use to ve very impartial news paper but I don't think it is atm .

Ahle Feb 26, 2015 06:21am

@Taimoor Khan 9 million home shortage in pakistan, 5 people in one family 45 , 50 million lol DAWN stop playing with number game where you 170 million individuals

Ram Shrikant Feb 26, 2015 06:52am

The shortage is not as bad as it seems. There are over 12 million vacant flats in India. When a new building goes up investors immediately but the majority of flats even before the ground has been broken.

Who are these investors? Mostly tax evaders and bribe takers that include prominent government officials. Real estate is the safest place to park your money if it is black money.

At 6 people per family , 72 million families could be housed in the vacant flats by renting them out and shifting the homeless into them. It will be difficult to prevent black money in real estate. But laws can be passed and implemented that will allow ease of renting and by increasing property taxes on the vacant flats.

An overall reduction in all capital gains taxes will also spur the black money investors to park their money elsewhere.

Satire Namaloom Feb 26, 2015 07:27am

This is a great initiative by the Indian government not only in terms of its objective but also the way it is being undertaken, i.e. the private sector will work hand in hand with the government. And for the umpteenth time, Pakistan can learn from their neighbor. There is progress at the end of the road made up of cooperation, mutual efforts towards stability and an end to the festering acrimony. SN

Sunil Feb 26, 2015 07:56am

Modi is transforming India and in time his initiatives will pay dividends. We needed a nationalist PM and we have one, who is concerned about the people. People can pick any holes in the plan but who cares.

Dystopia Feb 26, 2015 08:12am

@A Sidhu You are out of your mind if you think 50 million (more than 25%) Pakistanis live in slums. And no I'm not saying that Pakistanis are more able to afford houses than Indians but listen to yourself when you speak

Manish Feb 26, 2015 08:30am

I donot fully agree with those who say it will be exploited etc. Sure there will be corruption, but if really executed, the easier availability will make it lesser attractive and profitable, for business purposes, and there could be preventive clauses.

POLO Feb 26, 2015 08:55am

Cheap housing must be attached with piece of darmland tobalance the echo system and help families self sustain in view of rising inflation.

Sharath Chandra Feb 26, 2015 08:56am

Pakistan will say unless Kashmir issue is solved we shall not learn any thing from India.

Asim Iqbal Feb 26, 2015 09:39am

I have read many articles at dawn and some other newspapers which highlight the problems of poverty and unaffordability of basic needs in the country. But unfortunately not a single author has proposed/suggested the reviving of ZAKAT system as a solution for such problems. I think this is the best solution for all such problems as it closes the gap between rich and poor with almost no burden on government exchequer.

illawarrior Feb 26, 2015 09:45am

Whilst finding some solutions to the housing issue, it is crucial to also tackle the root cause - uncontrolled population growth. Yes, I know Islam says that it will provide for all Muslim children, but so far it doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of it in Pakistan. Affordable housing does not necessarily mean ownership. Houses and apartments can be rented on a means tested basis, with clauses in the leases to ensure that only the intended recipients can reside there.

ssW Feb 26, 2015 09:50am

India faces a big shortage of Housing units.Earlier the houses were big and nuclear families could be considered.now every newly married couple faces problem of finding a house and funds to buy it. Ofcourse the situation is worse for slum dwellers and even the shanties are costing beyond their reach.When such dwellings have a price ,what will happen to the better built homes that are being pursued by the govt?Hope some solution will be worked out .We believe the problem is not so severe in Pakistan ,and it should take steps of designing proper cities before it goes out of hand.

Sandeep Singh Feb 26, 2015 10:14am

@Taimoor Khan 170 Million is too much less in percentage when compared to 1300 Million Indian Population..You to do some math. So what you would say about 1130 Million Indians living in houses. Its not so easy to manage it.

Sanjay Guha Feb 26, 2015 10:15am

Terrific piece. Thank you DAWN Haven't read much about Modi's housing plan in Indian media.

Sandeep Singh Feb 26, 2015 10:17am

@Murtaza Haider Yeah those 9 million are not living in slums but in a rented house in a Posh area.

Indian Feb 26, 2015 10:32am

Indian and Pakistan should join hands on these development issues. Homeless people are major issues in south asia. Let join hands ,share our ideas , resources and let give out homeless poor citizens a home to live.

DV Feb 26, 2015 10:40am

Be positive guys, just want to appreciate his initiative.. . if, we start something today, will get result tomorrow.. No doubt good for less income homeless..

Sam Feb 26, 2015 11:07am

This is where we should compete. Providing housing to our poor and needy. Building 20 million houses at $2T is no small order but that's what leaders do. Even if India accomplishes half that target, it would be unprecedented and commendable. May Gods help us in this worthy goal!

cchiru1 Feb 26, 2015 11:24am

9 million houses in slums means ...atleast 9-10 members in family. so,80- 90 million individuals living in slums...there fore 90 millions out of 180 millions living in slums in pakistan.....OMG....50% in pak r living in slums.

Ai Feb 26, 2015 11:57am

Not sure why we compare ourselves to India for anything. Before we can get to the level of resolving "advanced" issues like this we have many basic items to look after for example how to protect our children's lives in schools or drinking water for children in Thar and so on. We haven't even figured out how to protect life of our little angles, we are ways away from any comparison to developing nations.

Satish Kumar Dogra Feb 26, 2015 12:05pm

Unless Modi does it, no one else will be able to do it. He has clean hands and a no-nonsense style. Otherwise, housing schemes are the worst corruption-sores in India. 'Poor' people who are given such houses give them on rent and create new slums. Some houses are re-sold under the cover of 'power-of-attorney'. When new slums come up, no one dares to clear them for fear of losing votes. Unless governments and the people take a clear and no-nonsense approach, trillions of rupees will be siphoned off and yet the slums will grow in size and filth. Modi is a crusader with no personal axe to grind. He is the only hope!

Utpal Feb 26, 2015 12:25pm

It is not the question if homeless gets home in India or Pakistan or anywhere in the earth. It is always a welcome approach wherever this takes place.

Abhishek Tomar Feb 26, 2015 12:30pm

Project is ambitious but to stop the reselling, home should be blocked for resale for at least 25 years. Also, if the owner rent it to someone else and go to slum again for living arrest them and make them pay penlty

ROHIT PANDEY Feb 26, 2015 12:59pm

Good luck,Narendra Modi.

India very badly needs to prime it's growth to a faster trajectory.

You have a track record in Gujarat,and hope to replicate in at an all India level.

Should you succeed in this project,even fractionally,your place at the top will be secured.:):)

Brazil has a very enviable public housing project and shares in those projects are sold to international investors!:)

controlfreak Feb 26, 2015 01:02pm

@Kala Ingrez : In Canada there are always homeless people and street people. Brutal winter kills some. There are shelters for the homeless. There is social asstance $$ for the poor, disabled and mentally unwell. There is special housing assiatnce for the disabled. There ARE FOOD BANKS TOO! All others rent or buy homes with 5 -20 % down paymnet and take mortgages at about 3% interest (for now) amortized for up to 25 yrs to 30 years. They can fix the mortgage interest for 5 to 10 years and select interest they pay. Mortgages must be insured if you put down less than 20%, monthly and insurance costs money! Thatt is: you pay 20 -25% dawn and pay weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments. Sharia compliant mortgages are more expensive than normal ones. Sharia "NO interest" means you pay admin fee --usually higher than interest. That interest is NOT usury by definition! You can get variable rate mortgage, which chnges with the bank interest rate and can be unstable. I hope you got a picture!

Ajay vikram Singh Feb 26, 2015 01:11pm

The urban housing problem is mostly due to corruption in the system and land-mafia, politics and corporate nexus. In the city of Poona (Pune) where i live and which is the fastest growing city of India, a recent report says that over 90,000 high-end apartments are unsold and laying vacant. Almost all big real estate projects are struggling with selling even half of their properties.

Even then the housing prices wont come down, as most of money in to real-estate is black money, so builders don't have to worry about return on their investments. They can hold on, as long as they wish, and can play around with the market with artificial price inflation. By rooting out any competition with their total and unholy grip over administration and lands.This is opposite to the free market economy we talk about.

Mumbai real estate is more expensive than London, Paris and Berlin. Buying a decent family sized 3 bedroom apartment in Delhi is beyond the reach of the middle class. Pune is as expensive as Hong Kong or Cape-town. and i lived in both places.

Previously it was the nexus between Industrialists, politicians and organized crime. Now its the nexus between Big corporate, Govt and law-enforcement agencies. Everything in the urban India, from groceries to automobiles, housing to entertainment, health-care to schooling, everything have been systematically made highly over-priced.

Big corporate are our new organized Mafia. Its just that they wear branded formal shirts and speak good english.

Ajay vikram Singh Feb 26, 2015 01:22pm

@Asim Iqbal - We now call it "taxation". It takes money from the people, by taking a percentage of their income and expenses, to be given to a common fund, which is spent on various national priorities for the common good.

citizen Feb 26, 2015 02:51pm

Anything from eastern border however good or bad is anathema ......

US Rathore Feb 26, 2015 03:14pm

It's too early to get swayed. India's home-for-poor is grotesque. Exodus from villages is phenomenal. Since urban housing has become a booming business even middle-classes are unable to purchase their dream house. Expecting a free shelter, that too for every member of the extended family, for selling it for a premium later on will make this project a nightmare. This problem is linked with urban planning and controlling expansion of cities. Can we afford Mumbai, New Delhi or Chennai to bloat to 50 million populations? Till date no slum has been converted into organised colony all have been regularised before some election.

Realist Feb 26, 2015 04:06pm

I am from India and like many Indians hope that the housing problem is solved. Unfortunately many government schemes look good on paper, but get mucked up during execution by corrupt and inefficient officials in India. Guess it's not much different in Pakistan. So most of us would like to see some real action by the Modi govt. which has done bit better than the previous regime but has still show real thrust on it's pre-election promises.

Thankfully we have seen some small glimmer in last few years as people have started putting pressure on the government machinery, especially through voting. Results of recent election including Delhi and J& are good indicators.

Hope we nurture this trend in our country and Pakistani people do so in Pakistan.

Just Someone Feb 26, 2015 04:39pm

20 million house to cost USD 2 trillion. How is this cheap house when the average price of a house is USD 100,000 or about 1 carore PKR?

thurka sullemaga Feb 26, 2015 05:37pm

Connect all the cities with metrobus. At night, these can be used as shelter for the homeless. During day, rich can play with these.

thurka sullemaga Feb 26, 2015 05:38pm

@Babu Bangalore yes same here in Karachi.