India’s ‘shoe-box’ apartment units suit small pockets

The size of apartments in India is rapidly shrinking as developers build smaller properties to make them more affordable.

“Builders are exploring innovative ways to make residential housing across major cities more appealing to potential buyers at a time when it is increasingly becoming difficult to sell expensive apartments,” said Anuj Puri, the chairman and country head at JLL India.

“Unable to sell expensive homes in a sluggish market, builders across India are making smaller apartments without lowering the price per square feet and compromising on the quality of product.”

Builders in India “are emulating the famous sachet marketing strategy adopted by fast-moving consumer goods companies in the late 1990s”, he said, referring to how companies in India have created smaller packages of products such as washing powder and shampoo to appeal to buyers unable to afford to buy such goods in larger quantities.

Mumbai’s apartment sizes, which were already smaller than those in other Indian cities, have decreased the most over the last five years with a 26.4 per cent reduction, according to JLL.

In Bangalore, there has been a 23.7 per cent decrease in average apartment sizes, followed by Chennai at 22.2 per cent and Pune at 7 per cent, its figures show.

Sumit Jain, the co-founder and chief executive of says that this is a “major trend”.

Its figures reveal that the number of apartments that were less than 46.5 square metres in size launched in Delhi NCR was almost 4,000. That increased by 330 per cent last year to 17,180 units below 46.5 square metres.

But if this trend continues, it could lead to the Delhi NCR market becoming “plagued with shoebox-size units” with few buyers, has warned.

Mr Puri said: “The fall in average apartment sizes across all top seven cities is a clear indication that developers intend to make houses affordable for buyers by reducing average apartment size instead of reducing the capital values.”

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