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Govt releases housing starts index; pilot survey shows activity sliding in Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (Mo HUPA), in association with the Reserve Bank of India, on Monday released the results of the pilot Housing Start Up Index (HSUI), which captures the number of houses being constructed across the country.

Housing starts is an important indicator of construction activity and is widely tracked in developed markets on a monthly basis.

A first of its kind initiative in India, this makes the country the 7th one in the world to have such an index after Canada, United States, Japan, France, Australia and New Zealand.

The pilot index covers 27 cities and efforts will be made for its expansion to cover 300 cities in near future, as per a statement issued on Monday.

The findings of the maiden report show that there is a decline in housing starts  in  million  plus  cities  such  as  Kolkata, Chennai and  Bangalore and a rise in  smaller cities like  Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Hubli, Dehradun, Sangli, etc.

This makes for an interesting indicator as Bangalore as a market has been witnessing a slew of project launches over the last few years and many of them have also attracted private equity funding.

The pilot survey seems to capture data collated during 2009-11, which means its not fresh enough to draw conclusions.

Girija Vyas, minister for Housing and Urban  Poverty Alleviation, who released the findings of the pilot survey on Monday, said the data is comprehensive to the extent  of reflecting not only the exact locations, but also the size of dwelling units,  which  would help in  deciphering the  housing trends, including that  of the  urban poor,  which  in  turn  will  help  in framing and focusing on policy thrust areas.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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