Vijay Shejwal is a soft-spoken man but he talks with intensity about his home. He says, “I used to live in a chawl and was not happy. I had a very small room and all of us, my parents, wife, and kids lived there. It wasn’t the right environment for my children.”
Vijay’s plight is not unique. The cost of living in the metros and big cities of India is escalating day by day, making it very difficult to own property for the common man. A 40-year old auto rickshaw driver in Mumbai, Vijay supports his family on an income of just Rs.15,000 per month. Like Vijay, nearly 77% of India’s population belongs to what is classified as the low-income & economically weaker segment. This segment earns Rs 2 lakhs or less annually and often struggles to make ends meet.
The problem of affordable housing has been a persistent challenge for India. The country suffers from a shortage of 18.8 million homes of which 96% is in the ‘affordable’ segment i.e. for low income families earning less than Rs. 16,000 per month. The government is trying to encourage developers to build affordable housing by giving a 100% tax deduction for profits on such projects. In the latest budget, affordable housing was also granted infrastructure status, which will bring a large range of financing options to developers and increase the funding towards the sector.
Even if the shortage of affordable houses is bridged, the ability to buy houses still remains a roadblock. Most people from the low-income segment tend to live on rent since they cannot afford to finance a home. The government is also subsidising housing loans for the low-income & economically weaker segment having annual income within Rs. 6 lakhs for LIG segment & Rs.3 lakhs for EWS. Even then, most people in this segment, like Vijay, do not have access to the mainstream banking system when it comes to loans. Since their income sources are irregular and banks and housing finance companies do not factor in their special needs, their loan applications are typically not approved. Even if the loans are granted, the higher perceived risk and small loan amount lead to higher lending rates. Most people from the economically weaker sections also lack awareness of financing options and government schemes that might be open to them.
For most of those who do manage to put together some capital, it is only enough to buy housing in developments located extremely far away from city centers like the Boisar development in Mumbai. Employment options in nearby areas are few and pay scales low. It becomes difficult for residents to travel long distances for work every day, especially in cities or areas where public transport is poor. These buildings also lack a building maintenance systems and end up becoming poorly maintained ‘New Urban Slums’.
For Vijay, owning a house in a reasonably convenient location appeared to be a distant dream. He spent nearly 9 months sending applications to different institutions. However, to his frustration, nothing worked out.
Then he came across Axis Bank’s Asha Home Loan, which offered loans of up to Rs 28 lakh to those with a minimum household income of Rs. 8,000. He applied for a loan, and was contacted very promptly by Axis Bank. A financing agreement was worked out keeping his needs in mind and the loan was approved in 7 days. He now owns a house in Dombivali and credits the home loan for having made his dream of owning a house come true.
Axis Bank’s Asha home loan is a special product tailored to the needs of the low-income segment. It offers loans as small as Rs 1 lakh and goes up to Rs 20 lakh in small towns, and Rs 28 lakh in large towns. Families with a minimum combined income of Rs. 8,000 - 10,000 per month, depending on location, can avail of the loan which has both floating and fixed interest rate options. Not only this, the product, designed keeping its customer segment in mind, offers loans up to 85 per cent of the market value of the property. Many of us have people from the low-income segment in our employ for providing services we use. We can take the opportunity to thank them by letting them know about this scheme. You can help their dream of owning a house come true. For more information on the loan, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Axis Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.