The past few months have witnessed a much improved real estate scenario driven by positive sentiments. “The year 2015 started with a pleasant surprise on the festive day of Makar Sankranti: the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initiated a move that helped bring about a small reduction in home loan interest rates,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Constructions Pvt. Ltd (HCPL). The RBI was expected to introduce moves that would help reduce home loan interest rates for some months, and when it happened – it was a pleasant surprise, he added.
“In Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech, he presented what is essentially a good budget for the economy,” said Niranjan Hiranandani.
“From a real estate perspective, a lot was expected – which sadly, wasn’t to be found in the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech,” he added.
From a real estate perspective, we can list three positives from the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s Budget Speech, said Niranjan Hiranandani: (i) Clarity on rationalizing capital gains on REITS, (ii) Clarity on increasing housing stock to 2 crore houses in urban and 4 crore houses in rural areas, and (iii) Hike in investment in infrastructure by Rs 70,000 crore.
There are other ‘positives’ in the Budget Speech that will impact the economy, which in turn, will impact real estate. “For example, the abolition of wealth tax will attract more investors to invest in real estate,” he pointed out. The individual tax payer will benefit to the extent Rs 4,44,200 from the exemptions announced, that in turn will be a positive as it has the potential to result in more home buying. Similarly, the announcement about setting up an expert committee for legislation on making a pre-existing regulation to expedite approvals, which Niranjan Hiranandani termed a move towards the single-window clearance system.
Similarly, the proposal to rationalize capital gains tax for REITs and infrastructure investment trusts is a positive move, in line with expectations. “The takeaway here is that it will help raise funds for commercial real estate, and will also be an alternative trading avenue,” explained Niranjan Hiranandani.
“So overall, I would term the budget as a positive one, should have a good effect for the country’s economy. From a real estate perspective, a lot was expected – which wasn’t to be found in the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech,” he said.
“Consider that while the Hon’ble Minister spoke about increasing housing stock, there was nothing concrete in the speech about how the same was to be achieved. At best, we can say it was a ‘statement of intent’, and we will wait for the fine-print to see what he has in mind,” said Niranjan Hiranandani.
“I was expecting something specific for real estate, specifically to incentivize affordable housing, as also granting of infrastructure status to real estate – so that long-term institutional funding could be facilitated. There are quite a few points which we had expected to find in the Budget Speech,” he said.
“I was expecting something specific for real estate, specifically to incentivize affordable housing, to grant infrastructure status to real estate so that long-term institutional funding could be facilitated – there are quite a few points which we would have expected to find in the Budget Speech,” he added.
“I would conclude by saying that overall it is a good budget for the economy; it could have also been good for real estate,” concluded Niranjan Hiranandani.