The urban area of Pakistan faces a looming housing crisis. The rising population and frequent occurrence of extreme weather conditions are increasing the vulnerability of the people. It is found that 47% of the households are living in an informal setting with inadequate services and infrastructure. Moreover, as per World Bank, 38% of the people in urban areas are living in unaffordable housing. Among all provinces, housing poverty is high in Balochistan (59.8%) and KP (42.1%). The report has defined affordable housing as a family of five with three children requiring a minimum of Rs16,350 per month left over after paying for housing to be considered to be living in affordable housing.
A surge in unaffordable housing will rise numerous socio-economic challenges. Unaffordable housing leads to an increase the poverty, budget constraint and reduce savings. On contrary, it increases the expenditure of households and affects the education of their children and health. To improve the standard of living; decent and affordable housing is essential. Good housing will improve the sense of security and safety among the households. Around the world, an acute shortage of affordable homes for the low-income group will affect their productivity, economic growth, quality of life and active participation in welfare programs.
As per the Constitution of Pakistan, every citizen is entitled to have a house. To provide affordable housing to all citizens the government has to perform a proactive role by developing land disposal and regulation mechanism, the Housing Price Index and Housing Access Index. The housing Building Finance company (HBFC) structure needs to be improved so that it can perform the function efficiently. The government has to introduce mortgages for housing at a low-interest rate. Nonetheless, housing policy needs to be revamped and introduced different criteria to provide affordable housing for each starta of income i.e., low, low-middle and middle-income groups. Foreign investors would also play a vital role in building low-cost houses.