Housing, Nano Style

Tata, maker of the world’s cheapest car, is turning its attention to low-cost housing. The company plans to build 1,000 apartments outside Mumbai. The units range in size from 218 square feet to 373 square feet and will sell for $7,800 to $13,400. (HT: Richard Florida)[%comments]


Bigger than some doubles at my college.

Eric M. Jones

I am amazed that most people haven't yet come around to living in high-tech tents. The Denver airport has no such qualms. Every rationale for not doing so seems based on old conventional thinking. "218 square feet to 373 square feet ...$7,800 to $13,400"...give me a break. I could build you a tent bigger than that including a garage with a Tata in it.

Maybe some Mid-Eastern country should start a new industry.


And how much would such things cost here? Whenever I look at housing prices, even now, I am amazed at how much people *think* houses are worth.

Taco Tuesday

I'm surprised that the comments have focused on the size of the apartments. To me the interesting and revolting thing is that the suburban sprawl is sponsored by a car company. So it looks like American-style sprawl will be introduced to rapidly developing countries and then we'll blame them for polluting more. I hope they're working on other transit alternatives to this development, but most likely Tata will have successfully created more demand for their cars.


How can I buy one? Seems like real estate in Indian towns will be a good investment going forward, what with the economic growth they are experiencing.


The sizes are then comparable to many apartments in Hong Kong, although a dozen times more expensive, or even more.

Matthew R.

Wait! Why does the seller's website list specifications in "square feet?" Everyone's told me that the rest of the world uses metric.

Pranjali Chanchani

@4 Tata is not just a car company. It is one of India's oldest firms and is into everything from salt to steel to mobile phones to cars. More information can be found here: http://www.tata.in/aboutus/sub_index.aspx?sectid=8hOk5Qq3EfQ=

Carl R

These are great. I wish we could have them all over the world. Put up one million units in London, another million in the Bay Area, half a million in Hawaii....

A friend is fond of saying "the bigger the house, the unhappier the marriage". It is born out by too many people I know. Small living keeps your life simple and your relationships good.

Doug L

@9 - Carl you hit the nail on the head.

I've read about mini-houses being sold here in the US. Basically a house on a small trailer, 200 sq feet at the most. I think they were going for $10k or so. Would be great, get sick of your neighbors, hook up the trailer and move. No boxes, and no moving companies.

Would not be good for me though, 2 kids under the age of 4, I need all the room I can get for now.

Nguyen H. Tuan

This is great for college students. Tata does know how to serve the poor since the poverty rate in India is still high.



The development will be in an industrial area, with the targeted audience those who work there. That doesn't sound like suburban sprawl to me. By definition, that would require a commute. This development is in walking/biking distance from the workplace.

The target audience earns $6000 - $10,000 a year. Comments on the TATA site indicate these people have not been well-served. Living in a modern apartment in a nice development with greenspace and recreation sounds ideal.

The lower middle class doesn't need high rise "projects" with no ownership. Those swiftly turn into slums. This gives ownership to an underserved market.

Eric M. Jones

@7 Matthew: I thought that the square footage might have been a (typical) loose conversion of metric units, say 20 and 35 square meters. But no luck. If you go to the website you will find plan views with actual dimensions in "feet". Note that the square footage includes only "carpeted area" so nearly half the house is not included in these totals.

I don't share the view that these are tiny. Indian life undoubtedly includes much outside activity, so what one needs is not as spacious are many westerners want.

I'd live in one.

As Dorothy Parker said regarding apartment size, "It's a small apartment, I've barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends."


I think this project is much needed near Mumbai where space sells really costly (some prominent areas -1 lac per sq ft) . Although it is not good as in terms of living standard , still it is one of the first from corporate sector. I am not sure whether needy people in middle class will benefit or people will buy as investment.. One side benefit could be reduction in black money (30-50% of the deal value sometimes) which is rampant in India's metros.

About the family life , I guess Carl is right.. Adjustment teaches us think for all and kind of binds together.

I remember staying in similar small house but never thought that space is constraint for our family of 4 because regularly junk things were taken out , only necessary items occupied space and things were always stacked.