Although few, the realty-specific proposals announced in the Union Budget 2021-22 have come in for high praise from the industry. The Budget focus on affordable housing and infrastructure development has cheered the sector a great deal and it is also appreciative of the move towards debt financing for REITs and the support extended to migrant workers. What has remained as the sore point in the Budget is its overlooking of the long-pending demands for industry status to real estate, single-window clearance and specific measures on funding solutions for the pandemic hit industry.
The following is the edited version of the feedback received from the real estate industry to the Union Budget 2021 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on February 1:
Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants
“As anticipated, affordable housing and rental housing got a big boost with the Government extending the period for extra deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh available for loans up to March 31, 2022. This will keep demand buoyant for affordable housing in 2021 as well. Further, the extension of the tax holiday for affordable housing projects for one more year will help bring in more new supply within this segment.
Infrastructure got a major push. Infra works proposed include building 8,500-km of highways by March 2022. The Government also announced the Bill to set up Development Finance Institution (DFI) providing Rs 20,000 crore to boost infrastructure projects. The Modi Government has not lost sight of its USP of infra creation, which will help connect more areas and thus open them up for real estate development.”
Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and CEO – India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, CBRE
“In line with previous years, the focus of the Government remained on infrastructure development. The FM has ensured that various modes/aspects critical for infrastructure building viz. ports, railways, metro-rails, airports, highways, roads, housing, and skill development are allocated funds to ensure all-encompassing development.
“The real estate industry appreciates the fact that FM extended the interest deduction for homebuyers and the tax holiday for affordable housing projects (both by a year) which should also catalyse more growth. Additionally, to provide for housing for migrant workers, the FM proposed tax exemption for notified Affordable Rental Housing Projects.
“Proposing to make dividend payments to REIT (estate investment trusts) and Infrastructure investment trusts exempt from TDS this year is another great move as it will be helpful in addressing the liquidity situation in the real estate industry. Debt Financing of InVITs and REITs by Foreign Portfolio Investors has been enabled by suggesting amendments in the relevant legislations. This is likely to ease access of finance to InVITS and REITs thus augmenting funds for the infrastructure and real estate sector.”
Anurag Mathur, CEO, Savills India
“The Budget has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to bring back the country on a road of recovery through focused impetus on infrastructure, healthcare, inclusive development, innovation and robust governance. Real estate-specific announcements, although few, were targeted towards affordable housing and REITs. Tax holidays and exemptions in affordable housing and debt financing for REITs are expected to strengthen the confidence of all the stakeholders in the residential and office segments. Central sponsorships of Metro projects in key urban areas among other infrastructure initiatives are likely to bolster the real estate potential of specific micro-markets in these cities.”
Manoj Gaur, CMD, Gaurs Group
“The announcements regarding the development of highways, electrification and migrant workers will strengthen the economy and start the recovery process. The focus on infrastructure and job creation will indirectly benefit the real estate sector. As expected, affordable housing was once again the focus as the Government is moving towards ‘Housing for all‘. The relaxations such as tax holiday for one more year will go a long way in helping the segment prosper. Elimination of double tax for NRIs on foreign retirement funds will encourage NRIs to invest in real estate assets. Though the number of announcements regarding the real estate sector was few, the sector is all set to gain from the measures taken to strengthen the economy through job creation and asset management.”
Kushagr Ansal, Director, Ansal Housing
“The Union Budget 2021-22 will be laying down the roadmap for growth and heightened recovery in the real estate. The extended support given to infrastructure will generate a higher degree of job opportunities for Tier-II cities, leading to growth in population and higher demand for residential as well as commercial projects. As expected, the affordable housing has emerged as important segment of the realty industry and FM has duly addressed the biggest concern of the developers and buyers of such projects. Even the rental housing design proposed by the Government will solve the problem of residences for migrant workers to a great extent.”
Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Limited
“We welcome the Budget 2021-22 which lays greater emphasis and outlay on the health, manufacturing and infrastructure sector with an aim to create jobs and boost the economy. State Capitals and Tier-2/3 cities will benefit immensely from the Government’s focus on sectors like roads and highways, ports, power, urban infrastructure, railways. Add to it, the affordable housing boost, by extending tax holiday for such projects by one year, extending by one year the deadline for first time homebuyers to avail additional Rs 1,50,000 interest deduction on home loan and tax exemption for affordable rental housing, will further boost demand for housing in these cities.”
Prateek Mittal, Executive Director, Sushma Group
“The extended support given to infrastructure will generate a higher degree of job opportunities for Tier-II cities, leading to growth in population and higher demand for residential and commercial real estate. The support extended to migrant workers, in the form of a portal for migrant workers building and construction work has been a positive move in ensuring their safety.”
Uddhav Poddar, MD, Bhumika Group
“The FM has proposed easing of InvITs/REITs, which will help in getting new REITs and attracting fresh investments in the real estate sector.The creation of a development financial institution is another good announcement as this sector has been suffering due to paucity of patient capital. It is heartening to see Governments focus towards ‘Housing for All’ and accordingly the Government has made announcements regarding affordable housing such as extending eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on home loan up to FY22 and offering tax exemption for notified affordable rental housing projects.”
Raman Gupta, Director- Branding & Construction, GBP Group
“The Union Budget was highly awaited by the developer community. The real estate industry is at the cusp of transition in the country, therefore the long-standing demands of the sector such as single-window clearance, industry status and input tax credit needed Government’s attention, though they remain unaddressed by the FM. The support extended to infrastructure sector is expected to bring some indirect benefits to real estate sector in terms of better connectivity and increase in job opportunities for laborers and construction workers.”
Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Group
“The Budget announcements are pro-real estate industry and address some of the concerns of the sector. These measures will provide a lot of relief to the industry which has been badly bruised by the pandemic. With these announcements, the Government will be able to move closer to achieving its goal of ‘Housing For All’ by 2022. Providing more money to the banks and recapitalizing them will also help the real estate indirectly. However, commercial and retail segment of real estate industry has little to be excited about the Budget announcements.”
“Amid a sharp improvement in consumer sentiment with regard to property purchases post the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Government’s move in the Budget to extend the benefit of additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on home loan interest, until March 31, 2022, will act as a further impetus to the residential property sector. This move will augur well, especially for the affordable housing segment, which will also benefit from the decision to offer a tax holiday for affordable housing projects for one more year, to boost supply. The support for rental housing too will go a long way in boosting the real estate market and ease a lot of pressure-points in the rental home market.
“However, the long-standing demand of the real estate industry to expand the definition of affordable housing so as to include homes priced more than Rs 45 lakh in big metro cities, has sadly not been addressed.
“The infusion of lakhs of crores into infrastructure segment, with a focus on improving connectivity, will be particularly beneficial for the housing sector. The proposed debt financing for REITs and InvITs and the setting up of the Development Financial Institution for augmenting funds for infra and the real estate sector is expected to provide major fillip to the sector, and will attract more investments.”
Kapil Kapur, Director – Sales, Strategy & Business Development, Bullmen Realty
“The Budget addresses an important problem in the real estate industry today, which is housing for the migrant workers. The decision to provide exemption from tax to the notified affordable rental housing projects will maximise the migrant workers to get a home of their choice in a big city at lower payment. However, the Government did not address the long pending demand of the industry to expand the definition of affordable house.”
Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, Naredco
“It is a get-well-soon type of Budget, the ‘V’ shaped recovery being powered by the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The Budget proposals reinforce the Government’s focus on affordable housing. For the homebuyer, the second extension of the deadline till March 31, 2022 for the additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction given on loans taken to buy a house in an affordable housing project is welcome, as is the developer whose affordable housing projects also get an extension for tax benefits, for projects completed till March 31, 2022. Similarly, tax exemption for notified affordable housing for migrant workers, and the deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing being extended by a year will give a fillip to this emerging segment.”
Ashok Gupta, CMD, Ajnara India
“The Finance Minister has rightly given an extension to the additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on home loan interest till March 2022. This will give a shot in the affordable housing options for the people. The move to exempt notified affordable rental projects from taxes is also a welcome step in the light of the scenario we are confronted with today with a number of migrant workers finding it difficult to find a home for themselves within their budget. In terms of specific relief to the industry which has faced a lot of hardships during the pandemic, there is little to cheer about in this Budget.”
Pradeep Aggarwal, Chairman, Signature Global
“Affordable housing is set to get boost from the tax holiday being extended for one more year till March 31, 2022 and Rs 1.5 lakh for interest paid on loans to purchase an affordable house being extended by another year. The focus of the Government on infrastructural development and MSMEs will lead to job creation, which will help people get financially stable.”
Amit Modi, Director, ABA Corp
“Overall it’s a positive Budget and we appreciate the huge push towards national infrastructure, with nearly 217 projects worth over Rs 1 lakh crore to be completed under National Infrastructure Pipeline. There has also been a prioritisation of affordable housing segment, mainly due to the one-year extension in tax holiday for developers of affordable housing projects, along with additional exemption of Rs 1.5 Lakhs for affordable homebuyers till March 2022. We are also looking forward to Introduction of a Bill to set up a development finance institution and await the finer-print on utilisation of Rs 20,000 crore capitalisation, whereby up Rs 5 lakh crore will be lent by DFI in next three years’ time. At the same time, we feel that inclusion of low hanging fruits like single-window Clearance and industry status for the real estate sector, along with the much-anticipated increase in rebate on home loans, would have really brought the much needed positive push that the sector was expecting.”
Yash Miglani, MD, Migsun Group
“The Budget announcements are indeed progressive and will help the industry in many ways. The affordable homes market has potential to take care of the housing problem of the citizens of the country to a large extent. The real estate industry is at the cusp of transition in the country and the twin announcement by the FM on rental housing and affordable housing both will provide a lot of support to the sector at this juncture. However, the Government could have done more to alleviate the some if the pandemic-inflicted pains for the industry which is unfortunately missing. The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the industry and any short-term easy financing solution for the developers could have made the deal sweeter”
Ankit Kansal, MD, 360 Realtors
“The Union Budget has reiterated the Government’s focus on affordable Housing through concentrated policy impetus in the form of tax exemptions and tax holidays. Another good thing proposed in the Budget is the multi-layered support to infrastructure. The Budget has announced a host of policies and initiatives to boost urban development, enhance urban infrastructure, monetize freight corridors, upscale power generation capacity, and commence work on numerous large scale roadway and railway projects. The Government has also announced huge allocations in the urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0. These initiatives will boost the overall infrastructure, increase economic productivity and improve the liveability index of urban cities alongside building real estate demand in urban corridors.”
Arush Gupta, Director & CEO, Okaya Power
“Even at a time when the economy is passing through unprecedented circumstances, the Finance Minister has taken a bold step by presenting a development-oriented Budget. It focuses on reform and self-reliant India, which will strengthen the industrial sector and help in the country’s progress. A specially emphasis has been laid in the Budge on renewable energy as the FM has proposed to raise customs duty on imported solar inverters to 20 per cent from 5 per cent earlier. This will surely give a boost to the domestic solar manufacturing.”