Skip to main content

First came the world's cheapest car; now a house for $700 in India

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • India's Tata conglomerate will offer housing kits starting at $700
  • The houses are aimed at the rural poor and can go up in a week
  • Options include solar panels and verandas
  • Tata Group
  • India

Mumbai, India (CNN) -- For $700, you could buy 200 gallons of gas, a souped-up iPad or, in India, a house.

Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate that unveiled the Nano, billed as the world's cheapest car, two years ago, has a new gift for India's masses -- the $700 home.

Think of it as ready-to-assemble furniture. Only this is an entire house.

Tata intends to provide a kit that includes a roof, door, windows and floors. Upgrade options include a veranda and solar panels, according to Tata Steel Group's chief of global research, Sumitesh Das.

The basic model is 20 square meters (215 square feet) and can go up in a week providing that a person already owns the land.

The affordable housing is aimed at the millions of people in India who still live in poverty, especially those in rural hamlets and villages. Many of them could never dream of having enough money to build a house that was made from anything but mud and straw.

Das said Tata has launched a pilot project to gauge interest, CNN's sister network CNN-IBN reported.

The company has also reached out to village councils to get a better sense of rural housing needs. For instance, the idea of a veranda was not included in initial plans but was added after people responded that they would like to have one.