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What’s new in Budget 2017 for real estate sector?

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What's new in Budget 2017 for real estate sector?

BENGALURU | MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2017-18 speech has given one of the much needed thrust to the Indian real estate sector. The minister announced that the ‘Affordable Housing’ will be given ‘Infrastructure’ status, which is likely to result in increased participation from private players.

“The announcement of affordable housing being given Infrastructure status is a welcome move and will act as a catalyst to meet the objectives of Housing to all by 2022. Credit off-take towards affordable segment of housing will lead to creation of supply especially for both stake holders the first home buyer and developer who will now have access to cheaper funding,” said Ravi Ahuja, Executive Director, Office Services & Investment Sales at Colliers International India.

Jaitley also announced that National Housing Bank will refinance individual loans worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2017-18. “NHB allocation will give a big push to affordable Housing Finance Companies namely AU housing, Gruh Finance, Repco,” said India Ratings.

On the all-important front of personal income tax, the existing tax rate for incomes between Rs. 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh has been reduced to 5%, and taxpayers in other categories will also save Rs. 12,500.

Key highlights for real estate sector in Union Budget 2017:
* Affordable Housing has been given the Infrastructure status

* National Housing Bank to refinance Rs 20,000 crore loans

* 1 crore rural houses will be created by 2019

* National Housing Bank to refinance Rs 20,000 crore loans

* Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to get Rs 23,000 crore

* Real estate developers to get tax relief on unsold stock as liability to pay capital gains will arise only in the year a project is completed

* Instead of Built up area of 30 and 60 sq meters, the carpet area of 30 and 60 sq meters will be applicable for affordable housing

* Holding period for capital gains tax for immovable property reduced from 3 years to 2 years

* Window for availing 3 year profit-linked incentives for start ups increased to 7 years against 5 years earlier

* Tax break of 1 year post receipt of the completion certificate, for the unsold stock

* New FDI policy under consideration

* No cash transaction above Rs 3 lakh will be allowed

* Rs 2.41 lakh crore has been allocated to boosting infrastructure for transportation

* Indra Awaas Yojana will be extended to 600 districts

* Total allocation for the infrastructure sector is Rs 3,96,135 crore

* Total allocation for the infrastructure sector is Rs 3,96,135 crore
* Allocation for National Highways to be at Rs 64,000 crore

* No cash transactions above 3 lakh

* Indexation for capital gains shifted from 01-04-81 to 01-04-2001

Here is how the industry player reacted to the announcement made in Union Budget 2017-18:

Joe Verghese, Managing Director, Colliers International India

Considering the impetus being given to road infrastructure, manufacturing and affordable housing, the government have put in all the required ingredients to incentives urban decongestion and the development of new industrial cities around our industrial transport corridors.

Capital gains on Joint Development Agreement to be taxed only at product launch, 1 year tax exemption from notional rental income from unsold inventory and reduction of long term capital gains tax period from 3 to 2 years provide respite to investors/ developers of real estate. This helps especially those holding real estate inventory/ stock. This is a great move to providing tax relief to developers in the residential sector where the sales have significantly dropped post demonetisation move.

Shashank Jain, Executive Director, PwC India

Subsequent announcements on increasing the qualifying unit area and the time frame for completion to 5 years are two great steps, acknowledging the practical and operational aspects. Area was too low to be called a decent unit and 3 years was almost impractical for completion of the project considering there is no separate approval process for affordable housing and one had no certainty of time taken just for approvals!

Milind Kothari. Managing Partner & Head of Direct Tax, BDO India

The move to provide clarity for taxation of Joint Development Agreement to the date of completion of project would provide a great fillip to unlocking land for development and reduce litigation.
Nidhi Seksaria, Advisory Partner & Leader – Real Estate, BDO India LLP
With industry status, banks will be willing to lend more to projects in the affordable housing segment and thus larger access to funds.

Hemal Mehta, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP

Affordable housing is a priority for this Government and it was expected to get an infra status. With the infra status, developers can access foreign funds at a cheaper cost by way of debt and will be a priority lending for banks as well. This should result into a progress in the said sector. Fine prints shall provide higher clarity.
Shrikant Badiga, Director, Phoenix Lifespaces

It’s a good move. Affordable housing should be encouraged under infrastructure which allows ECBs and more number of good companies to venture into affordable housing.

Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd
Affordable housing has finally been given infrastructure status. This will mean cheaper loans for developers of budget housing and significantly boost the Government’s target of Housing for All by 2022. The Affordable housing has seen a significant change in the Government’s existing scheme, with the qualifying size requirements now changed from built-up area to carpet area of 30 sqm and 60 sqm for projects within the municipal limits of the large 4 cities.
Anil Pharande, Chairman, Pharande Spaces
Project completion timelines for affordable residential projects have now been increased to 5 years, which comes as a relief to developers of such housing as it will allow them more time to sell their inventory.

The Government has announced that 250 proposals for electronic manufacturing worth 1.2 lakh crore have rolled in. Obviously, this has a direct potential correlation to employment generation and therefore demand for housing in and around the identified manufacturing nodes.

Rashmi Deshpande, Associate Partner on Real Estate, Khaitan & Co

Low Cost Housing: The criteria for low cost / affordable housing has been changed from built-up area of 30 / 60 sq mtrs to carpet area of 30/60 sq mtrs, thus making the low cost – affordable housing segment more lucrative for the builders and also making the segment more attractive for the buyers. With the change in criteria from built-up area to carpet area, the purchasers get more spacious homes and the builder is able to market the property to a larger segment of buyers.

Also the tax break of 1 year post receipt of the completion certificate, for the unsold stock, gives a slight breather to the builders.

Reduction in Income tax rate for basic slab: Will help broaden the tax net and also increase the disposable income in the hands of the tax payers coming within the category. This, coupled with the incentives on low cost housing and the reduction in interest rates by banks, is likely to promote thrust in the affordable housing segment.

Taxation of Capital Gains of Joint Development Agreement: The budget proposes to change the prevalent practice and has clarified that the landowner entering into a joint development agreement for development of the property, shall be subject to capital gains tax upon completion of the project. This is a significant change, which is much needed, to bring clarity on the aspect and avoid litigation with the department, which was invariably a norm given the current ambiguity.

Regulations

373 Maharashtra Cities To Fall Under PMAY Scheme

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The state of Maharashtra has added 232 cities to the existing 142 which makes it 373 cities under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme (PMAY).

The officials at the housing department feel that this step will aid the government take up more projects under the PMAY scheme.

Sachin Kulkarni, Builder shared his concerns over the lack of coordination between the department in executing PMAY projects. He said, “This is a good sign. However, the PMO’s seriousness in promoting HFA is diluted by the time it reaches the authorities. Apart from collecting application from interested beneficiaries, nothing has moved on the ground in urban centres. I hope that this initiative moves on fast track”.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis recently states that the in order to create more housing stock the state’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme be brought under PMAY so that it can receive the subsidy to create more affordable housing. He clearly mentioned that the government intends to create more housing stock and it was taking various initiatives and making policy changes for it.

Also Read- Affordable Housing To Get A Boost With PMAY’s Scope To Be Extended To Private Lands

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Regulations

Real Estate Sector May Fall Under GST What Does It Mean For Buyers?

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One after the other the real estate sector has witnessed massive policy and law changes in its systems. Nonetheless, the tide has not passed yet. The GST council will take up a proposal to bring it under the uniform nationwide levy.

As the industry is still recovering from the RERA Act, the finance minister, Arun Jaitley said that there is a strong case to include real estate in the new indirect tax regime. He said this last week and also mentioned that GST Council will discuss it in November.

At present, the home buyers are paying 12 percent GST on under-construction properties. This percentage includes two taxes which are stamp duty and registration. The rate of which varies in each state but GST will make them uniform.

Santosh Dalvi, KPMG India partner (indirect tax) said, “If the entire real estate is brought under GST, they would have to abolish the stamp duty and we don’t know how the government plans to compensate the states for their loss.”

The stamp duty with registration and GST comes to approximately 18 percent for under construction properties. He further said, “So, it’s important to look at what rate it will be taxed at. We can then look at consumer prices”.

While agreeing, Bipin Sapra, EY partner (indirect tax), added, “It’s going to be a test for the government”.

Developers also pay taxes on raw materials. However, unlike other businesses, they don’t get any tax refunds through input credit. GST taxes every stage of the business activity to better compliance and compensates for it by permitting refunds.

Anuj Puri, Anarock Property Consultants chairman, said “By including real estate under GST, builders can get a fair amount of input credit, helping bring down costs,” He added that it would make homes cheaper for buyers.

According to Sapra, it will depend on the tax rate applicable.

Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder of Hiranandani Group said, “Real estate under GST ambit means consumers will only have to pay one final tax.” He stated that with the commencement of RERA it brings transparency and GST would reduce the burden in terms of taxes payable while buying the home. He concluded, “Not only will this create positive sentiment but it should also boost actual sales”.

Also Read: Affordable Housing Is The Changing Face Of Indian Real Estate

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Home Buyers Will Be Covered Against Builders Who Are Going Bankrupt

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In a move to protect home buyers from builders declaring their bankruptcy, the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended rules which make it necessary for any company to showcase how they have dealt with interests of all stakeholders. This is directed towards companies like Jaypee Infratech and some of the entities of Amrapali Group.

The regulator has informed about the revised rules last week. This will ensure that banks and other creditors do not get away by protecting their interests at the expense of others who are impacted by the action.  Banks are part of the creditors’ committee. They become an important decision-making body after a company is admitted for bankruptcy.

An expert bankruptcy lawyer said, “The change in the rules has plugged a gap as flat buyers are of the view that there is nothing to protect their interests.”

According to the new law that was enacted last year intends to speed up the resolution process in a period of 180 days, with a possible extension of 90 days. This will be done by appointing insolvency resolution professionals who will take charge of the company’s operations and prepare a plan. As per the law, an information memorandum will be finalized if the creditor’s committee is willing to take applications from other interested companies to take over the company.

The insolvency experts say that the law providing for the plan binds corporate debtor (the company) and its members, employees, guarantors, and creditors, other stakeholders involved in the resolution plan. However, there are no obligations mentioned in the rule to give any treatment to the stakeholders other than the financial creditors (banks) and operational creditors, which includes vendors and others who may have dues.

The National Company Law Tribunal, based on the comfort provided by the revised rules, will choose the final resolution plan based on bids that are received. The lawyer further said, “The tribunal will not clear the resolution plan without giving notice to all stakeholders and the flat buyers can raise objections at that point of time.”

Also Read: Tanvi Group Fail To Deliver Homes And Declare Bankruptcy

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