CHENNAI: The soaring aspirations of the middle class people to own a house and the escalating residential rental values in the city were reflected in the rush for the 170 Tamil Nadu Housing Board flats in Mogappair .

These 170 flats were constructed by the Board between 1996 and 2002 and given to Madras University on lease for accommodating its students living in hostel. Subsequently, these flats were returned to the Board and are being sold now to the public at the construction cost. The cost of the flats varies from Rs.6.18 lakh to Rs.7.4 lakh and the plinth area ranges from 665 sq.ft to 758 sq.ft.

As many as 1.67 lakh completed applications were registered when the deadline ended on Sunday.

There was heavy demand for application forms when the sale opened on August 6 in four Housing Board offices in the city. Nearly 1.96 applications were sold, each costing Rs.110, when the sale of applications ended on August 29. The applicants were asked to register their applications by paying a non-refundable registration fee of Rs.400 per application.

Many people who had purchased application form did not register it as the registration amount was non-refundable. Less than 30,000 applicants registered their applications. Subsequently, the government announced that the registration fee would be refunded if the applicants were not allotted flats.

After the government’s announcement, there was a heavy rush for registration of applications which crossed 1.67 lakh when it was closed on Sunday. Thousands of people thronged the four registration centres in the city during the weekend.

The allottees would be selected by a draw of lots to be conducted by the Board on September 30 at Thanthai Periyar Community Hall at Anna Nagar West Extension in the city.

According to a TNHB official, compared to the current cost of construction of a flat in the city which ranges from Rs.4,000 to Rs.5,000 per sq.ft, the cost of these flats was negligible. Though a majority of flats require heavy investment to make them liveable, it was worth spending as the end cost would come to about Rs.10 lakh per flat for which one could not get a flat in the city, he added.