Budget adopts a fresh and bold approach by targeting education and health not as benefits but instruments of growth and development. Agriculture, investment and jobs were the three critical tests for the Budget as pointed out by Economic Survey and the Budget passes these tests with flying colours. Real estate had just received a major reduction from 12 per cent to 8% in GST on January 25, 2018. The Budget has added to this concession for housing by adopting a target of 31 lakh homes in 2018-19 to be built in urban areas and 51 lakh in rural areas. In order to do so, Government has planned a Dedicated Affordable Housing Fund under NHB with priority sector lending shortfall contributing to this fund. Government assuming ownership of NHB from RBI is welcome as it translates into the focus of NHB shifting from regulation to development. Lastly, Government has addressed the anomaly under Section 43 CA to tax real estate transactions at their real value rather than the value arrived at by applying the artificially higher circle rate. More than these direct measures, however, it is the deeper economic logic of the Budget which is the major boost for housing and real estate. The case of long term capital gains being subjected to tax at 10 per cent from now on is especially pertinent as it renders investment in real estate more attractive than before. There is also the expectation that senior citizens and salaried employees receiving tax breaks gives them money in the hand to go and buy a house. Most importantly, the public investment in infrastructure in the rural areas, agricultural marketing, smart cities and urban connectivity, multiply investment prospects for real estate sector.
Feb 01, 2018