The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 17 , 2014
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Mahindras to build budget homes

Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra (centre) with Mahindra Lifespaces managing director and CEO Anita Arjundas and chairman Arun Nanda in Mumbai on Monday. (Fotocorp)

Mumbai, June 16: Mahindra Lifespaces Developers — the real estate arm of the Mahindra group — today launched a business vertical Happinest to focus on developing affordable housing projects.

The first two projects will come up at Avadi in Chennai and Boisar near Mumbai with the apartments priced between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh. The project is aimed at families with a combined monthly income of Rs 20,000-40,000 per month.

The two projects are expected to be completed in two years, Mahindra Lifespaces managing director and CEO Anita Arjundas told newspersons today.

“The Chennai project, which has received all approvals except from the municipal corporation, will be launched in July, while the Boisar project is yet to receive environmental clearance and will be launched in August,” Arjundas said.

The Mahindra group is targeting the large, under-served home ownership market with this venture.

It is estimated that urban India has around 19 million families, either living in slums or in low-income neighbourhood on rent. This housing deficit is likely to rise to 38 million by 2030.

While business houses such as the Tatas have ventured into affordable housing, commercial banks have also been aggressively looking at this segment.

In April, Axis Bank launched “Asha Home Loan”, targeted at first-time home buyers in the lower income segment. The private lender will give loans as low as Rs 1 lakh and up to Rs 15 lakh in small towns (population less than 10 lakh) and up to Rs 25 lakh in larger towns where the population is over 10 lakh.

“Our commitment to sustainable urbanisation is to be in businesses and develop projects that promote culture, connect and community. Happinest epitomises the concept of shared value where companies seek to do business in a manner which combines profitability with advancing the economic and social conditions of the communities,” Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra group, said.

The apartments under Happinest will be of 400-600 square feet.

The company, however, declined to give the details of the investment but said it had invested in innovations to ensure speedy execution and lower costs.