This time, the Budget for the Financial year 2018-19 will be much more acute than ever. The policies, if moved in constructive directions, will have the power to continue the impetus and cement home buyers’ confidence. Infrastructure companies expect the Union Budget 2018 will improve the residential sector, particularly low-cost housing projects, with some concessions.
2017 was a turbulent year for the Indian real estate sector and one marked by change in the form of the aftermath of demonetization, the promulgation of the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the introduction of the GST regime. Our wishlist from Budget 2018 would be the inclusion of the RE sector in its entirety under the ambit of GST. Including only under construction projects thus far, and excluding sale of fully constructed property, has resulted in confusion around input tax credits and the possibility of incurring other costs and levies such as stamp duty, registration fees, etc. The Government is aware of the issue and has already formed a committee to address the inconsistency but a definitive resolution would most certainly be expected by or before the Budget. The rate of tax on specified affordable housing schemes has been notified as 8% which is still quite high and could be reduced to 5% instead to provide the necessary boost towards truly achieving ‘Housing for All’.
Ashwini Hooda , Deputy Managing Director, Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited
The expectations from the Union Budget are substantial, as is every year. For affordable housing, there is a notable point for the Government to consider. As things stand, despite its far reaching scope, the PMAY subsidy is unable to reach a large portion of home buyers who are migrating to the peripheral areas of metros and other big cities in search of jobs. This is largely due to their ownership of pukka houses, in many cases ancestral homes, in their smaller home towns. The affordability of this home buyer thus reduces considerably, as he/she must be a first time home buyer to be eligible for the PMAY. Almost 50-60% of the housing demand goes untapped by the subsidy due to this. It would be interesting to see if the Government would address this subject and expand the reach of the subsidy, thereby accelerating its mission of Housing for Al
Dhiraj Jain, Director, Mahagun Group
The Union Budget 2018-19 holds immense significance as it will be the first budget to be presented after the implementation of GST and RERA. Being one of the core sectors of the economy, real estate sector is still awaiting to be granted an industry status. It has been a long pending wish of the developers that will help in gaining access to finance at a much lowered cost, thereby making the sector more affordable. Also, increasing the savings cap from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakhs will greatly help the people to invest more and save on tax, which basically increases the purchasing power. Lowered personal income tax will allow buyers to allocate money and increase their portfolio where real estate can be a superior option.
Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group
Policies affecting the allied industries to the real estate sector such as cement and steel should be looked into, because any price variation there, affects the prices of real estate sector accordingly. Tax deduction limit for housing loans of Rs. 2 lakh is still very less if we look at the average ticket price of all major tier 1 cities. Increasing this value will greatly reduce the tax burden and promote people to invest in real estate. First REIT is yet to be listed. Simplifying the tax reforms for REITs must be thought about as well, considering its long term benefit for the sector and country.
GST’s inclusion in the country has allowed the developers to pass on the benefits of the input tax credit to the buyers. Bringing stamp duty and registration charges in the ambit of GST will be highly appreciated if the Budget addresses it. Section 80EE provides a deduction of Rs. 50,000 for the first time home buyers if the property is not above Rs. 50 lakhs, irrespective of the size or location. We expect this year’s Budget to increase this tax limit to Rs. 2 Lakhs or increase the limit of property value to Rs. 1 crore so that savings on taxation gets increased and real estate sector becomes an important investment option for buyers.
Deepak Kapoor, President CREDAI-Western U.P. & Director, Gulshan Homz
Indian real estate market has been the backbone of our economy for decades now and the accordance of Industry status is the need of the hour. With rapid infrastructural development, capital appreciation is taking place at fast pace. Thus, government must either try and provide subsidy when offering new land parcels or, granting the Industry status to the real estate sector will help the developers gain funds at a much reduced cost. In both cases, the net cost to the buyer will be lesser. A net effective GST rate of 12 percent on under-construction properties, after an abatement of 33 percent, is still on the higher side and can be looked into so that the cost on the buyer gets minimised.
Gaurav Gupta, General Secretary CREDAI-Ghaziabad & Director, SG Estates
Real estate sector has modernised today with the concepts of green building taking over. Budget 2018-19 must address about providing special incentives to the developers and projects which are offering eco-friendly concepts. This will greatly promote green building concept amongst the developer fraternity and help environment as well. Also, Single window system in real estate sector should be executed across the nation so that timely execution and delivery of projects take place. This budget must also aim at doubling the present savings limit so that the young population of the country gets a higher spending power and look at real estate sector as an investment avenue.
Akshay Taneja, MD, TDI Infratech Ltd.
This Union Budget the government must ensure provisions for the upbringing of tier 2 and 3 cities along with decisions for infrastructural development and strategic connectivity between them. With the saturation of tier 1 regions due to the lack of land space and high prices, tier 2 and 3 cities must be next in line for urbanisation. Apart from this, any relief towards the personal income tax or increase in savings cap will bring about a cheer and improve the market sentiments that can be fruitful for the realty sector in near future.
Pradeep Aggarwal, Co – founder & Chairman, Signature Global
The government’s push for affordable housing has been very well visible in the last few Union Budgets wherein they have laid out various direct and indirect sops for this sector. There are still certain points which need consideration such as the GST component on affordable housing should be reduced along with denoting special affordable housing zones in the country where all facilities and amenities are made available. These zones can see multiple developers working in tandem with land being provided at subsidised rates and special institutional funds need to be allocated for affordable housing projects so that developers can have access to these in the form of soft loans or loans are marginalised interest rates.
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