IFC to invest $75 mn in L&T Housing Finance for affordable housing

International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of World Bank, has agreed to invest around $75 million (around Rs 485 crore) through senior financing in L&T Housing Finance Ltd, a subsidiary of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd.

The proceeds will be used to finance developers of affordable housing as per the criteria specified in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, a government scheme that aims to ensure housing for all by 2022, IFC said in a disclosure.

L&T Housing Finance is registered under the National Housing Bank and serves the housing and real estate finance segments. As of 30 September, 2017, it held assets worth over $1.6 billion. Headquartered in Mumbai, L&T Housing Finance is present in 12 states.

The investment comes at a time when IFC has gone aggressive in tapping into opportunities in the affordable housing space. The segment has gained prominence on the back of the central government’s push to provide housing to all. Since the government stated its mission for housing in its first budget, it has taken a slew of policy and regulatory measures to add muscle to the segment.

In its latest budget, the government proposed to set up a fund dedicated for affordable housing while it granted infrastructure status to the segment last year.

Given the momentum instilled by the government, a host of investors has come forward to support affordable housing through financing to retail home loan takers and developers.

IFC has backed financial institutions that give money to both buyers and developers of affordable homes and also supported developers directly.

Recently, it agreed to create a platform worth $800 million with PNB Housing Finance to support affordable and green housing. It has also created a $800 million platform with HDFC Bank to push for opportunities in the affordable segment.

Previously, it had backed Ashiana Housing, Aspire Home Finance, Micro Housing Finance and Aptus Value Housing Finance with an aim to tap into low-cost housing segment.

HDFC Capital, the real estate private equity arm of HDFC Bank, recently created a $390 million platform with Prestige Estates Projects for low-cost housing.