The difference between housing finance and affordable housing finance companies (AHFCs) is blurring, said FICCI President Rashesh Shah on Wednesday while launching a report on “State of the low-income housing finance market 2018’. There is a demand-supply gap of 20 million in housing which will take eight-ten years to bridge, he said.

To make AHFCs more inclusive, there is a need to increase affordability, expand opportunities to un-/underserved markets and foster the affordable housing finance market, the report suggested.

“Housing will play a big role in achieving the double-digit growth for the nation. The distinction between housing finance companies and affordable housing finance companies is blurring,” said Shah.

As per the report, rapid urbanisation and the lack of planning for affordable housing have led to a shortage of 10–12 million urban homes. Around 26–37 million urban households — predominantly in low income and EWS category — reside in informal housing, often in poor conditions.

“Now, a person in the informal sector in urban India is actually getting a 15-year housing loan. With reasonably priced debt, readily available equity, and opportunity for geographic expansion, the market will grow at over 30 per cent per annum,” said Ashish Karamchandani, Senior Advisor, FSG.

According to the report, there are 26 affordable housing finance companies providing loans and the outstanding loan portfolio as of December, 2017 is over ₹27,000 crore and over 2,30,000 houses financed. On the other hand, in 2013, there were 10 AHFCs with a ₹1,000- crore portfolio.

“There has been a growth in the affordable housing segment, however, there is also a room for further growth”, said K Chakravarthy, General Manager, National Housing Bank.