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Budget 2019: Real Estate Gets Big Boost, Home Buye...

Various measures announced to address both demand and supply side of the sector

The interim budget was presented by interim Finance minister Piyush Goyal on Friday and the real estate sector had a huge reason to rejoice as several direct and indirect measures were proposed for the ailing sector.

The finance minister has proposed to extend the period of exemption from levy of tax on notional rent, on unsold inventories, from one year to two years, from the end of the year, in which the project is completed. 

For making more homes under affordable housing, the benefits under Section 80-1BA of the Income Tax Act is being extended for one more year, that is, to the housing projects approved till March 31, 2020.

Furthermore, the benefit of rollover of capital gains under section 54 of the Income Tax Act will be increased from investment in one residential house to two residential houses for a tax payer having capital gains up to Rs 2 crore.

There is also a proposal to exempt income tax on notional rent if one has a second self-occupied house. “Currently, income tax on notional rent is payable if one has more than one self-occupied house. Considering the difficulty of the middle class having to maintain families at two locations on account of their job, children’s education, care of parents, etc, I am proposing to exempt levy of income tax on notional rent on a second self-occupied house,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal during the budget presentation. 

Real estate developers and consultants have hailed the budget, for the various measures announced, which they say address both the demand side as well as the supply side of the sector.

“The budget has ensured better liquidity and lower tax burdens on the purchase of homes. The benefit of rollover of capital gains has been increased from one house to two houses, up to Rs 2 crore, is a tremendous step by the government that will boost sales in both primary and secondary markets,” said Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director of consulting firm Knight Frank India.

Beyond the direct measures, the income tax rebate on income up to Rs 5 lakh automatically increases the disposable income, especially for the middle class, which, coupled with increase in standard deduction should translate into improved affordability for home purchases, added Baijal. 

“An observed pattern in India is increased savings bring people closer to their aspiration of becoming home owners. This, of course, augurs positively for the affordable housing segment. Secondly, the benefits of rollover of capital gains from investment in one residential house to two residential houses will help home buyers dream of buying their second home,” said Ashish Puravankara, MD of real estate developer Puravankara. 

India’s residential sector took a huge hit in the last two years, particularly following the government’s move to ban high-value currency notes in late 2016 and then, the uncertainty post the implementation of the Real Estate Regulations and Development Act (RERA), and Goods and Services Tax (GST). The proposals announced in the budget, should help the sector revive, say experts.

“The housing demand will witness good uptick with measures like no income tax on notional rent on second self-occupied home and also capital gains benefit allowed on second houses in select cases,” said Ramratthinam S., CEO, Muthoot Homefin.

Another positive step announced in the budget is that TDS threshold for deduction of tax on rent is proposed to be increased to Rs 2.40 lakh from the current Rs 1.80 lakh. This can attract more investors to buy second homes for earning rental income, feels Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock Property Consultants. 

Across India’s top seven cities, there are currently more than 6.73 lakh unsold units, pointed Puri, therefore, welcoming the move to exempt levy of tax on notional rent, on unsold inventories, from one year to two years.

Developers have also welcomed the steps that are being taken towards infrastructure and rural development, which could give a boost to the commercial real estate sector.

“The impressive development of roads, infrastructure over the last five years has been significant and if the same momentum is continued, then the increased connectivity will have a positive rub-off on all segments of real estate, including commercial and industrial developments,” said Surendra Hiranandani, founder of House of Hiranandani. 

Although, by and large, the sector seems to be extremely happy on the slew of proposals announced, there were a few that were missed out point out experts. One among them and long pending, is the demand for industry status for the sector, which has still not been considered.

The sector has been impacted in the wake of the liquidity crisis faced by non-banking finance companies following the defaults at infra lender IL&FS. Puri said no announcements were made to address that “deadlock.”


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Real estate sector registers upto growth 25 Percen...


Real estate developers and builders confirm that registrations of land parcel and apartments had increased since last year, compared to the slump experienced in 2016 and 2017. There is a substantial growth in the real estate industry as compared to 2016 and 2017. They say that land across segments, including residential, commercial and even industrial, are beginning to find buyers. They say that small budget sales have become common and a few big budget deals too are beginning to grow.

Realtors and builders say their industry is finally beginning to look up after registrations came to a complete halt in 2016. Now a days, realtor can complete a deal in three months, as compared to six months it took earlier. This has helped lot of people. Many of them are readily investing in property again and are willing to take a leap forward into real estate.

The silver lining is hardly restricted to land movement alone; the construction industry too seems to be registering a sizeable momentum in business. A sizeable growth of about 25% is seen in the Real Estate business, hence giving a new platform to architects and civil engineers. The outskirts and the suburbs of the city also seems to be far better than the older parts of the city in terms of residential land registrations. Also residential land is moving better than commercial land on the outskirts. However, people are preferring apartment and smaller plot sizes. Plots which are ranging between 10 lakh and 30 lakh a cent are the preferred ones.

However, Real Estate Brokers says land owners how have brought down their land prices in the last one year to remain competitive are the ones who have shown successful sales. Land owners who had bought down there land prices in 2017 have started to post their property online.

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Draft Pune civic body budget proposes 12% hike in ...

Over Rs 200 crore more than the last year’s budget of Rs 5,870 crore, it is for the first time that the PMC budget has crossed the Rs 6,000-mark.

Pune: Municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao proposed a 12% increase in the collective property tax in the Rs 6,085 crore draft civic budget for 2019-20, which was presented before the standing committee on Thursday.

Over Rs 200 crore more than the last year’s budget of Rs 5,870 crore, it is for the first time that the PMC budget has crossed the Rs 6,000-mark. 

As for the hike in property tax, it would include 5.5% rise in general tax, 1.5% in water benefit tax and 5% in sewage benefit charges. 

“The civic administration expects to earn an additional income of Rs 110 crore from the proposed hike,” Rao said, while delivering the budget speech.

The proposal, also applicable for the cellphone tower companies, IT and ITES companies, will have to be approved by the standing committee and general body before its implementation. 

Besides the hike in property tax, the residents will also have to pay an additional 15% amount in water tax, which has already been approved by the general body as a part of the 24X7 water supply project implementation.

While proposing the increase in the tax, Rao said efforts would be made to improve the efficiency of tax collection. He also assured of a significant increase in tax collection in 2019-20. “The civic body has limited sources of revenue. Among these, tax collections forms a major share. We, therefore, are concentrating on how tax collection can be optimized. The administration is planning extensive steps to push up the collection and recovery of pending taxes. There is a plan to re-asses properties and introduce IT-based programmes to monitor the recovery and curb loopholes,” he said.

Last year’s budget stood at Rs 5,870 crore. It is for the third consecutive year that the civic administration has proposed a rise in the property tax. 

Last year, the administration had proposed a 15% increase in the levy, which was later rejected by the standing committee and the general body of the PMC.

Activists fume over “unnecessary” burden

The proposed hike in the property tax has left activists fuming, who said the civic administration should concentrate on recovery of tax dues, instead of putting additional burden on regular taxpayers.

Activist Vivek Velankar said, “We strongly oppose the proposal to increase the property tax and impose user fees to reduce the deficit in the solid waste management costs. The PMC’s tax recovery mechanism has failed to yield any results. The administration has not been able to meet the revenue targets because of low recovery of taxes and should not make citizens pay for its inefficiency.”

PMC already struggling

Sources in the PMC admitted that the administration was facing a challenge to meet tax collection target in the current fiscal. The civic body is eyeing a collective revenue of Rs 5,870 crore in 2018-19. 

Till December, the administration was able to mop up only Rs 3,054 crore. “About 44% property tax was collected till December as against the target of Rs 1,691.91 crore,” the sources said.


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Your Dream Home May Become Cheaper from next month...

Yes, Your Dream Home May Become Cheaper from next month 

Currently, 12 per cent GST is levied on payments made for under-construction property or ready-to-move-in flats where completion certificate has not been issued at the time of sale

Your dream home may become more affordable from next month as Goods and Services Tax (GST) council is considering to lower GST on houses. In a new year bonanza for home buyers, GST council may reduce the GST on under-construction flats and houses to 5 per cent in its meeting next month.

Currently, 12 per cent GST is levied on payments made for under-construction property or ready-to-move-in flats where completion certificate has not been issued at the time of sale. However, GST is not levied on buyers of real estate properties for which completion certificate has been issued at the time of sale. 

GST council, in its 31st meeting last week, had announced GST rate cut on 23 items including TV, cinema tickets, video games etc. At the time of announcement, GST Council chairman, Finance Minster Arun Jaitley, had said that the GST Fitment Committee is looking into the matter of GST rate on real estate and the discussion on reduction of tax rate can be made in the next meeting slated next month in January.

"The homebuyers feel they are not getting benefited under GST. Certain proposals have come before the Council and the law and fitment committee will look into the matter and the matter will come up in the next council meeting. There was a total consensus that something needs to be done," Jaitley had said.

Government feels that builders and property developers are not passing on the input tax credit (ITC) benefit to consumers as the current 12 per cent GST rate gets reduced to around 5-6 per cent if ITC is computed on the amount.

According to Finance Ministry officials, currently builders are making payments for the input items for construction in cash and are not passing on benefits to consumers and hence, government feels that there is a need to bring them to the formal channel.

Major input construction material, capital goods and input services used for construction of flats and houses attract 18 per cent GST, while cement attracts 28 per cent tax.

Prior to GST, under-construction houses attracted 4.5 per cent service tax and a value added tax (VAT) of 1-5 per cent depending on the state. Also inputs used in construction attracted 12.5 per cent excise duty in addition to 12.5-14.5 per cent VAT. Besides, entry tax was also levied on the inputs.

After adjusting for credits on inputs used, the effective per-GST tax incidence on such housing property was 15-18 per cent.

The Finance Ministry has time and again asked real estate dealers to pass on GST rate cut benefits to buyers, but to no avail.

Government is making efforts to rationalise the GST rates. In a blog post, Finance minister Arun Jaitley today hinted that India could go for a single standard GST rate going into the future.

"A future road map could well be to work towards a single standard rate instead of two standard rates of 12% and 18%. It could be a rate at some mid-point between the two," Jaitley said today.


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