How developers gain?
In a move to provide required boost to the affordable housing segment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech granted infrastructure status to the affordable housing schemes in the country. This will allow the developers to enjoy the associated benefits.
“Giving the Affordable Housing Sector Infrastructure status, will propel growth in the segment and lead to higher consumption. This will also lead to growth in the affordable home loans business, where a lot of players have taken positions and new lenders have emerged. Exciting times ahead for affordable housing and affordable home loans players,” says Parth Pande, co-founder & CEO of Finance Buddha.
Kishore Pate, CMD- Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd says, “Affordable housing been given infrastructure status will mean cheaper loans for developers of budget housing and significantly boost the Government’s target of Housing for All by 2022.”
The total allocation for infrastructure is a whopping Rs 3,96,135 crores in 2017-18. “This is very good news for the real estate sector, as the correlation of infrastructure with real estate growth is a well-established fact”, says Pate of Amit Enterprises.
Under the budgetary provisions, developers will get one year’s time to pay tax on notional rental income on completed unsold residential inventory. Also, the time limit for capital gains to be considered as a long term gain has been reduced to 2 years from the earlier 3 years. This will drive activity in the sector. “More supply will enter the housing market now”, says Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India.
Promoters of affordable housing will now have more time of up to 5 years as against 3 years to complete their project.
ALSO READ: Affordable housing gets infrastructure status in Budget
How buyers gain?
Finance Minister, in his speech announced change in size requirements of affordable house from built-up area to carpet area of 30 sqm and 60 sqm was a welcome measure. The 30 sqm limit will apply in case of municipal limits of 4 metropolitan cities and for rest of the country, limit of 60 sqm will apply. This move will make houses more spacious.
The budget also proposes to complete 1 crore houses by 2019 for the houseless and those living in kutcha houses. Allocation to Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana Gramin was also raised from Rs 15,000 crores in BE 2016-17 to Rs 23,000 crores in 2017-18. “The Budget however, missed out on providing any additional income tax incentives to first-time home buyers or providing higher tax savings on housing loans and house insurance premiums. Nor did it raise house rent deduction limits”, points out Puri of JLL India
Modi government had earlier announced interest subvention scheme for housing loans. Combined impact of Modi led government’s earlier initiatives and budget reliefs will provide much awaited boost to the real estate sector. Demonetization had created surplus liquidity in banks allowing them to reduce their lending rates on home loans. State Bank of India and Axis bank have reduced rates by 50 bps followed by ICICI bank which has lowered the rates by 45 bps. 1 BPS is equal to 0.01%. Further in Budget 2017-18 it was announced that the National Housing Bank (NHB) will refinance individual housing loans of about Rs. 20,000 crore in 2017-18.
A reduction in home loan rates brings down the cost of purchasing house, making it more affordable. “A 50 basis points reduction in a home loan over 20 year tenure on 80 per cent of Rs 1 crore apartment of the purchase price will bring down the effective price by 4.11 per cent”, says Amit Oberoi, National Director, Knowledge Systems at Colliers International India.
If developers receive benefit, they will be able to pass on the same to the buyers in form of lower prices. Simultaneously, if buyers get funds at cheaper rates, they will create more demand in the sector. We may soon expect to see some growth in the sector.
Under Construction Flat Booking Finds Tax Deduction Under Time Constraints
If a buyer makes a transaction to book an under-construction flat and if he acquires it within the three-year period of the sale of his old house, then he is entitled to a tax deduction, says a ruling from the Mumbai bench of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). If an apartment is booked in an under construction project than it must be viewed as a method of constructing residential tenements, says the December 18 judgment.
That means if the buyer uses the entire gain from the transaction to buy another house within two years or construct another house within three years. The two- and three-year period applies even if the buyer bought another house a year before selling the first one. But the property should have been bought in the name of the seller.
It is mandatory that within a period of two years after or one year before the date of transfer of old house, the taxpayer should construct a residential house or acquire another residential house within a period of three years from the date of transfer of the old house. The date of receipt of compensation will determine the period of acquisition or construction in a case of compulsory acquisition.
This exemption is effective and can only be claimed in respect of one residential house property purchased/constructed in India. In the case of multiple house purchases or constructions, the exemption under section 54 will be available in respect of one house only. Any purchases made outside the country does not fall under any kind of exemption. Section 54 gives relaxation in such cases by providing relief to the taxpayer who sells his residential house and acquires another residential house from the gained capital.
After the sale of an asset, the difference between the buying price and the selling price is a capital gain or a capital loss. These are further classified as long-term or short-term. If a property is held for 24 months or less, with effective from 2017-18, then that asset is treated as Short Term Capital Asset. Then an investor can make
treated as Long Term Capital Asset. Then only a Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) or Long Term Capital Loss (LTCL) can be made on that investment.
ITAT agreed that booking of a new flat in an under-construction apartment should be considered as a case of “construction” and not “purchase”, hence following the earlier decisions of the Bombay high court and the tribunal itself. Further ITAT allowed the fact that the construction can began prior to the date of sale of the old asset. Same was stated in the earlier judicial decisions of the Karnataka high court and Ahmedabad ITAT, that the date of commencement is not relevant but it is the completion of construction that comes in relevance to section 54.
HDFC and Quikr Make A Deal
According to a deal between HDFC and Quikr, a stake of more than 3 percent will be given to the mortgage giant in return to its transfer of offline and online real estate brokerage business to the classified ads platform.
After acquiring Commonfloor in 2016 Quikr already has a major presence in online real estate broking.
“Most of the searches for real estate are moving online. Quikr has a much bigger presence online. Through this deal, we are partnering Quikr in the broking business,” said HDFC MD Renu Sud Karnad. According to her, this deal will strengthen Quirks position with offline support.
The deal suggests that HDFC will transfer to Quikr its entire shareholding in HDFC Realty, a real estate brokerage platform, and HDFC Developers, which runs the HDFC RED online platform.
Karnad added that the deal expects Quikr to generate home loan leads for HDFC. The transaction consists of a co-branded alliance between both parties and the HDFC brand will continue to be used online for a year.
The e-real estate classifieds platform HDFC RED has around 7,000 project listings and generates traffic of over 80,000 unique visitors per month. HDFC Realty has a 300-member, in-house sales team, and 7,000-strong nationwide broker network. Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial adviser to Quikr while Kotak Investment Banking acted as the exclusive financial adviser to HDFC on this.
30 million monthly users make Quikr India’s largest classifieds platform. It runs multiple vertical businesses across real estate, automobiles, jobs, services, and goods. The Quikr Home, its real estate vertical generates 3.5 million monthly unique visitors.
Both companies intend to work closely and conduct analytics and identify potential homebuyers, and therefore home loan customers, early in their home-buying journey. Quikr founder and CEO Pranay Chulet said, “We see great synergies between Quikr and HDFC as we start working together to bring a seamless online-to-offline platform to developers and consumers.”
Retaining The Sustainability: GRIHA Launches Star Rating For Urban Homes
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), is the National Rating System of India, a Sanskrit word meaning – ‘Abode’. Human architecture has always consumed resources in the form of energy, water and material from the environment. From their construction to operation, these habitats absorb the resources throughout their life cycles, emitting wastes in the end. This emission could be direct in the form of municipal wastes or indirect emission into the atmosphere, such as from electricity generation. Hence GRIHA was formed to reduce an architecture’s resource consumption, waste production and overall environment impact up to certain national acceptable limits.
In attempt to quantify all these aspects, like energy consumption, waste generation etc. GRIHA tries to manage, control and bring down the respective to the best possible limit. Being a rating tool, it helps people to assess the performance of their respective projects against the national benchmarks.
Hence it becomes an evaluation of the environmental performance of an architecture on a holistic level. Covering its entire life cycle, this evaluation provides a specific standard for a ‘green building’. This rating system aims to strike a balance between established institutions and emerging concepts, on a national as well as the international level.
The process starts with an online submission of documents according to the criteria. Then a team of professionals and experts from GRIHA Secretariat takes a site visit for the evaluation of the building. There are four different sections categorized by 34 criteria in GRIHA rating system. Some of them are site selection and site planning, conservation and efficient utilization of resources, building operation and maintenance, and innovation.
Sanjay Seth, CEO, Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) Council says, “A rating between one and five stars is being provided, helping the costumers to know about the sustainability of the houses”.
According to the Union Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, the climate resilient and sustainable buildings are the need of the hour. As the government is aiming to construct around 1.2 crore houses for the urban poor under the affordable housing scheme.
In one of his keynote addresses, Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan said that the Indo Swiss collaboration is operating with the Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the development of guidelines for energy efficient housing.
“At present India is witnessing a rapid urbanisation, if each building becomes greener than the last one, then we have a huge opportunity and hope for our country. We need to look beyond the conventional methods of building, in order to provide our citizens with a good quality of life. Hence, GRIHA gains important in meeting our national goals with respect to a sustainable society”, says Dr Ajay Mathur, director general, TERI & president, GRIHA Council.
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