The Union Budget proposed by the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley focused on roadmap to achieving goals set out in the previous budget. While the last budget established “Housing for All by 2022” policy initiative, this time the focus was on driving the venture. Better credit facilities for developers, investors and end-users have been most instrumental to boost overall market optimism.
Granting infrastructure status to affordable housing was one of the major decisions taken in favour of the real estate sector. The much needed decision has given the necessary momentum to the sector by enabling developers access to institutional financing & external commercial borrowing. Meanwhile, it also encourages private players to invest in the segment. The status also implies preferential funding by banks, which means raising funds will become easier and hassle-free. Moreover, these schemes are now eligible for incentives, subsidies, and tax benefits offered by the government.
As developers gain access to commercial borrowing, the segment will witness an increase in the number of players in the short to medium term. The move will also help segregate and define what affordable housing means when projects are divided based on their location and city tier. Additional benefits for investors and developers include:
- One year tax exemption from notional rental income post receipt of completion certificate to liquidate unsold inventory.
- Reduction of long term capital gains tax period from three to two years.
- Capital gains on joint developments to be taxed only at the product launch
The competitive market situation will prove to be particularly beneficial to the potential end-user as the market will observe a sharp increase in both the quantity & quality of options presently available in the affordable segment. With all the focus on driving systematic, accountable growth; Housing for all by 2022 doesn’t seem a distant dream.
Finally, digitisation of land records will help minimize land/property disputes and improve transparency in the land record maintenance system. This will facilitate migration towards digital property card/ record for every asset in the country. More importantly this would eliminate the "black economy" prevalent in the real estate sector as this property card will now act as a consolidated record for asset value & previous transactions. Thus, with a single stroke the government aims to thwart the existence of the parallel cash economy.