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Mumbai Takes the Lead as India’s Priciest City to Reside in, While Ahmedabad Emerges as the Most Affordable

Aug 18, 2023

The cityscape of affordability in India has shifted, and the numbers are in – Mumbai claims the title of the costliest urban haven to inhabit, with Ahmedabad reigning as the most budget-friendly option. Knight Frank India, a prominent property consultancy firm, has just unveiled its Affordability Index, which delves into the share of income a household needs to allocate for the monthly installment of a housing loan in a specific city.

Mumbai is the most expensive city to live in India

Ahmedabad: A Haven of Affordability

The standout revelation of the report is Ahmedabad’s ascension to the throne of affordability. Garnering the coveted spot as the most economical city to settle in, this vibrant metropolis showcases a remarkable balance between housing costs and household income. Knight Frank’s Affordability Index hinges on a simple yet crucial metric – the ratio of a resident’s EMIs to the average income of their household. An index level of 40% implies that inhabitants must allocate 40% of their earnings to cover the EMI of their housing loan.

In the heart of Ahmedabad, this ratio translates to a modest 23% – a testament to the city’s commitment to providing accessible living spaces to its denizens. Here, a family’s financial burden is significantly lighter, fostering a favorable atmosphere for home ownership.

Mumbai’s Exorbitant Housing Landscape

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we find Mumbai – a city that exudes glamour and economic prowess, but at a significant cost. The Knight Frank report reveals that the housing market in Mumbai bears the burden of being the priciest in the nation. With an EMI-to-income ratio of a staggering 55%, a household in Mumbai must dedicate more than half of their earnings to housing loan EMIs if they wish to acquire a home through a loan.

The Pecking Order of Expenses

Hyderabad holds the second position in the hierarchy of housing costs, with an EMI-to-income ratio of 31%. The third slot is claimed by the Delhi National Capital Region, requiring residents to allocate 30% of their income for home loan EMIs. Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, follows closely with a 28% EMI-to-income ratio, while Pune in Maharashtra and Kolkata in West Bengal share the fifth spot, each demanding 26% of their inhabitants’ earnings for housing loan EMIs.

Rising Costs Across the Board

Alas, affordability across these cities has faced a challenge in the past year. The EMI-to-income ratios have escalated by approximately 1-2 percentage points due to a series of interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India, totaling 250 basis points since the previous year. This has culminated in an average 14.4% increase in EMI loads across cities since then.

Market Dynamics: From Mid to Premium

A fascinating dichotomy emerges when assessing the housing market’s performance. Houses valued under 50 lakh rupees have suffered a decline in sales, attributed to their heightened reliance on home loans. This category is particularly sensitive to rate hikes, and many potential buyers within this bracket are now grappling with unaffordability.

Conversely, the mid and premium segments have consistently outperformed expectations. Sales of houses ranging from 50 lakh to 1 crore have surged to approximately 59,000 units this year. Premium houses, priced at over 1 crore, have experienced an uptick as well, with 47,000 units sold in the current year.

Residential Demand: A Multi-Year Peak

Despite the disparities in affordability, the demand for residential spaces remains at an all-time high. Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director of Knight Frank India, emphasizes the resilience of the market, citing the increased demand for both homes and office spaces. However, the report does sound a note of caution – the 250 basis points increase in policy rates has eroded affordability by an average of 2.5%, potentially exerting pressure on homebuyer capabilities and sentiments.

In a nutshell, Mumbai’s extravagance sets it apart in terms of housing expenses, while Ahmedabad’s affordability takes the limelight. As the market navigates through varying degrees of accessibility, the residential sector is witnessing unprecedented demand, albeit with some segments more adversely affected than others.

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