Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile company, has unveiled plans to build what might be the world’s cheapest high-rise apartments–ranging in price from $7,800 to $13,400.
The company is already famous for it’s $2,000 Nano, a stunningly affordable car aimed at India’s working class. The new apartments, sponsored by the Tata Housing Development Company, would be similarly stripped down and basic: Each one between 213 and 465 square feet, which is snug even by New York City standards. But the major amenities are in the community planning, as the development would include gardens, a post office, meeting halls, a school and a hospital. The complex will be on a 67-acre plot in Boisar, an industrial enclave where many working Indians already live. Tata Housing is aiming the apartments at those with annual salaries $6,000 and $10,000 (call center employees, for example, make around $6,500). For potential buyers, they provide a seven-installment financing plan.
The Tata apartments are aimed at India’s rising middle class. This group is seldom marketed to now, but as management consultant C.K. Prahalad argues, the middle class presents a massive business opportunity. Other groups are aiming to address the housing situation of the country’s vast population of working poor. Filipe Balestra & Sara Göransson, two young architects with experience at big-name firms such as Rem Koolhaas’s OMA, are piloting a so-called “incremental housing strategy” in Pune. The program, partly subsidized by the government, aims to create housing superstructures which families could then add onto and customize as their needs change: