Ravindra Pai Managing Director Century Real Estate on Budget 2019
I am hopeful of more spends towards digitisation of land and/or property records which is in tune with the Digital India vision of the PM. This will considerably reduce litigation, free up more lands in cities to make it more affordable and reduce project timelines which will directly translate to lower costs for the end consumer. GST in real estate also requires further streamlining as additional levies like stamp duty and registration are still separately charged and should be included within a single tax structure. Also, lowering the GST slab on under-construction properties to 5 percent from the existing 12 percent would be a welcome move.
In addition, taking from the Maharashtra RERA ruling, other state RERA bodies should be widening the RERA laws in their respective states to include other stakeholders like various government approval bodies in a bid to ensure speedy approvals, which as commonly known, is one of the main reasons for construction delays. This would rightfully spread the ambit of accountability and ultimately benefit the end user.
Another valuable provision in the Budget would be the scope for financial institutions to fund land purchase as it will help reduce the costs and make the properties more affordable. Easing the approval process – e.g. site approvals, environmental certificate, and commencement certificate among a host of others, is the need of the hour, as it will greatly reduce the cost of construction and hence cost of the final unit(s). In addition, if the government can introduce a centralised agency that will act as the sole custodian of title insurance, it will help with speed of delivery and there will also be more transparency and uniformity in the real estate market. Free zoning of land for affordable housing projects, further tax benefits for buyers, especially first time home buyers in Tier 1 cities where property prices are higher, will help boost the PM’s vision of affordable housing for all.
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