Top 10 expectations of real estate sector from Budget 2017

Developers have for long been demanding single window clearance to remove bureaucratic delays, which in turn delay delivery of homes.
Developers have for long been demanding single window clearance to remove bureaucratic delays, which in turn d… Read More
 Real estate industry has high expectation from the upcoming budget 2016-17. Stakeholders are demanding that central government gives relaxation in income tax rate, provide clarity on GST, raise House Rent Allowance (HRA) deduction and announce policies to standardize construction materials in order to uplift the real estate industry.

Take a look at some of the major expectations that stakeholders have from the upcoming Budget 2016-17:

Industry status
Directly or indirectly, the real estate sector contributes to over 15% of India’s GDP. It has been asking for industry status for quite some time now. In its absence, developers are forced to borrow at high interest rates and comply with a stringent evaluation process. Unavailability of funds at a reasonable rate of interest delays the construction process and increases the final cost of homes, negatively impacting the end consumer.

Giving industry status to the entire real estate sector, instead of granting infrastructure status only to the affordable housing segment, would help in pushing the housing demand in India.

Single window clearance
For the real estate sector to really grow and execute its projects on time, various government approvals should be given in a timely manner. Developers have for long been demanding single window clearance to remove bureaucratic delays, which in turn delay delivery of homes.

Clarity on beneficiaries under PMAY
The government recently announced that interest rates of 3% would be applicable on loans of up to Rs. 12 lakh and 4% on loans of up to Rs 9 lakh, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Now, two new income categories can avail higher loans with interest subsidies. The Budget should give more clarity on the actual definition of beneficiaries who can avail of these benefits.

For example – would young urban professionals hoping to buy their own apartments but not belonging to either the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) or the LIG (Low Income Group) segments be allowed similar subventions? Also, affordable housing is largely available in the fringe areas of metros and tier-II, III cities. Would certain redevelopment projects within metros meeting the affordable housing definition be granted similar benefits?

Financial protection from project delays
The deduction on interest of self-occupied houses is capped at Rs 2 lakh. For under construction residential units, however, if the construction is completed after 3 years, then the deduction is just Rs 30,000. This 3-year period starts from the end of the year in which the loan was taken. Lately, there have been many delays in the completion of many housing projects beyond the 3-year period.

This has caused hardships to property buyers. To provide them some relief, the government may consider allowing interest deduction in such cases without the cap of Rs. 30,000, and from the year in which the possession was due to the buyer as per the terms of the agreement.

I-T sops for first-time home buyers
Can a first-time home buyer looking at an affordable project get additional income tax incentives for at least five years? The Budget should throw more light on this. Any efforts in this direction would help the government move closer to its objective of delivering ‘Housing for All by 2022’.

Also, given the lack of institutionalized rental housing in Indian cities, such a move could spur many fence-sitters into moving out from their rented apartments to owned homes. It could also encourage more developers to come up with products suiting these segments.

Simplified tax norms for REITs
We have not seen a single REIT listing till date because of the presence of multiple taxes. Until tax hurdles are removed for developers and asset holders, it is highly unlikely that we will see any REIT listing. The government should recognize the capacity of REITs to improve market conditions for the real estate sector and remove the policies constraining their growth. The government should look at:

Reduced level of taxation of REIT income
Waiver of capital gains for the developer at the time of transfer of property into REIT
Removal of service tax on lease premises

Higher tax saving on home loan & home insurance premiums
The government should increase the tax deduction limit for housing loans, especially for buyers in metropolitan cities. The current limit of Rs 2 lakh is insignificant, given the ticket sizes in cities like Mumbai where most houses are priced at Rs 1 crore and above. Also, tax concessions on house insurance premiums could be introduced to encourage end-users to insure their homes.

Similarly, the tax exemption limit should be increased by about Rs 1 lakh and be auto-set to match inflationary trends in a financial year.

Clarity on GST

While the goods and services tax (GST) tax structure has been announced, the real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see which tax rate is applied to the real estate and construction industry. Clarification would also be needed on the abatement scheme, and whether credit for input tax would be allowed if the composition scheme has been availed by developers.

Raise house rent deduction limit

Salaried persons get house rent allowance (HRA) as a component of their total salary, and can therefore claim a deduction. This deduction can be substantial in cases where the salary and its HRA component are higher. However, self-employed persons and those who draw lump sum pays without an HRA component can only claim a maximum deduction of Rs 2,000 a month under Section 80GG. The Budget can and should address this anomaly.

Digitize all land records

Digitize all land records and registration process to make them easy to do and transparent.

TimesofIndia

Home decor is not just plain old furniture and drab old wall.

 

Home decor is not just plain old furniture and drab old wall. There is so much that can be done, if only there is a change in perspective.

Customization is no longer the prerogative of a select few. It has become the mantra young adults live by. And this seems to have permeated into every aspect of life. Customisation dictates their taste in everything from what they wear to where they go, even where they live and the interiors of that space.

Adding a quirky touch to things makes it easy to bring out one’s personal style while allowing one to experiment with a variety of materials and styles; be it with wall hangings, cushions or even rugs. It breaks the monotony from the usual and plain patterns, adds spice, fun and life to the entire space. “A lot of clients come looking for interesting items with a twist to add a fun element to their homes. Quirky has almost become a fashion statement today and for most curios and décor items, the hype seems to be more around how high the quirk factor is, rather than understand the concept of the piece,” says Darsha, owner, Glamorama Furnishing Studio, a Chennai based design firm that specializes in customised designer soft furnishing solutions.

What makes this concept even more exciting and easy to adapt is the fact that, when it comes to quirky designs, there is no formula or guideline that needs to be followed, nor does it have a set module like classic design concepts. Being almost a reflection of one’s personal self, quirky interiors can call for all sorts of experimentations.

“We recently did an entire space with a fascinating colour scheme of emerald and mustard with a bit of fuchsia and some interesting decor pieces with Ikat and Bandhni prints. As unorthodox as it may sound, the space looked extremely vibrant with an unexpected twist”, she adds.

With this trend becoming popular by the day, a lot of designers have emerged in this segment to cater to the needs of the masses. While designers incorporate their personal style into their work, they also take inspiration from everyday things that the customers can also relate to.

“I’m inspired by India and her quirks, our culture, and simple elements that could go unnoticed. I also love to mix and match things and bring starkly different elements together seamlessly. From a cup of chai to street typography to nouveau art can be my muse”, says designer Nida Mahmood, who is often called the queen of Indian kitsch.

“There are a few trends to look out for at the moment a quirky printed wall covering can go well with simple under stated furniture. And if one loves to mix and match then mix different prints together. It’s fun to work with geometrics mixed with florals, like using a chevron bold wall paper that can be offset with beautiful botanical printed chairs”, she adds.

Another unique object that can be added to a room is a pouf a movable cushion that can act as a stool or a single seater. This piece could act as an accent piece in any room or can also be converted to a fun element, by covering them in bright colors, patch work upholstery or in different kinds of prints.

The trick with quirks is to fill the room with something simple and changeable, with pieces that can be easily moved around to work together as well as separates. It gives you multiple elements to play around with and gives the space a new and fresh look every day. All it takes is a new perspective and the right combination.

Veena Balakrishnan, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Chennai among India’s top 5 hotspots for residential property investment

These cities have shown consistent performance year after year and attracting new business and industry.

The top five hotspots for residential property investment in the country today are Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai. These cities are more or less regulars on most hotspots lists, but there is a sound rationale behind their consistent performance year after year. Not only are these cities attracting new businesses and industry, their respective governments are also investing resources in building adequate infrastructure to attract capital.

With their local economies growing, the influx of talent and skilled workforce into these cities is inevitable, and this naturally results in increased demand for residential properties. Also, the earlier slowdown in the economy and glut in the real estate sector has ensured that prices in these cities have come down, and developers active there have now invested in launching affordable housing projects that are in high demand. With the economy now on the growth path, more people will have money to invest in real estate which still remains the investment preferred asset class for most Indians.

These cities boast not only of availability of basic infrastructure in terms of electricity, water and other amenities, but are also improving in terms of communication and commuting facilities such as metros and road development. They also offer a better quality of life because they have a good saturation of leisure and entertainment facilities. This factor boosts the potential for outright sales and increased rentals.

While Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai are the IT hotspots, Mumbai is seeing Navi Mumbai’s advancement as a growth corridor due to the increasing saturation of the mainland. These cities are seeing a constant growth in employment opportunities, attracting people from all over the country. This has naturally led to a lot of new residential projects being launched, especially in the high-demand affordable segment. As a result, NRIs looking for lucrative returns in new developments in these cities can expect handsome growth in capital values over the mid-to-long term, and steady rental income in the meantime. Also, the regulatory environment turning pro-consumer on the back of RERA imminent deployment, investing in residential property is all set to become even more attractive for NRIs.

Other cities as strong contenders

Since the time the government announced the list of Smart Cities in 2016, quite a few other cities have also moved front and center on the investment charts. They are particularly on the radar of NRIs focused on residential property investment. These cities include Pune, Kochi, Vishakhapatnam and Indore. The IT/ITeS sector strong and growing in these cities, and they have the added attraction of being commercial hubs and educational hotspot of their respective regions. These cities will show a lot of potential for lucrative property investments in the future.

2017 a year of change

By April, 2017, the entire country will be covered by the revolutionary Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, which has been designed for absolute consumer-friendliness. This Act will infuse a massive dose of transparency and efficiency into the entire Indian real estate sector. NRIs looking to invest into residential property in 2017 should focus on States where RERA is already active. If they have other cities in mind, they will not have to beyond May 2017, after which the real estate sector will be uniformly level playing field for everyone.

The recent currency demonetisation exercise may keep a certain segment of buyers and investors away from the market for a while, but for those planning to invest in projects developed by reputed builders and using formal and legal channels of financing, this is the right time to invest. Also, a lot of developers will be looking to achieve better liquidity for their future projects, making the first 1-2 months of 2017 an ideal period for buyers to negotiate favourable terms. It should be kept in mind that the expected nation-wide implementation of RERA by mid-2017 will bring with it a lot of compliance-related cost escalations for developers, forcing them to raise prices even if they do not wish to.

Ashwinder Raj Singh – CEO Residential Services, JLL India

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

A vintage elegance

 

 

The Victorian theme lends a grand look to the interiors of your home. For a sophisticated and classic look, opt for the Victorian theme for your home decor. This theme can be infused in several doses to impart opulence in layers in the various areas of the home.

The Victorian look can, at times, appear heavy because of a profusion of trimmings and fuss, but a contemporary twist can also make it suitable for modern living.

Design elements

You can begin with designing a stunning Victorian living room with arched windows and doorways, and double height French windows with heavy teak wood panelling. Keep the walls uncluttered. Instead of having a number of paintings, opt for a single one along with an antique wall clock, accentuating the look of the polished wood.

Tonal quality

Use rich, jewel-toned colours to accessorise, such as strong blues, deep reds and rich greens. Opt for floral prints for your wallpaper and for sofa upholstery.

Furniture flair

In the Victorian theme, furniture should be of mahogany or teak, with ornate carving and tables with marble tops. Use round or oval backs for your chairs.

Fabric factor

Even standard decorations are done in excess here, be it the fabrics reflecting elaborate patterns, walls covered with intricate and vibrant textures, large flowers in dark colours, or curtains the décor exudes extravagance that typified the era rich, heavy, and opulent.

Accent aura

Some of the characteristic features of this style are marble faux fireplaces, large chandeliers, heavy mirrors, stained glass and chinaware. These can be easily adapted to feature in a modern home.

Picture frames

Victorian picture frames are a great way to make the walls of your room look elegant. They can magically transform any corner. Victorian pictures frames are mostly of brass with varying finishes. Antique finish, copper finish and silver finish are some of the popular finishes for a frame.

Lampshades

Lampshades are elaborate, with brass and etched glass fittings. Glass featured elsewhere too in the form of decorative stained glass used as panels on front doors as well as for windows. Collections of antique dolls impart are very Victorian.

Chandeliers

Light up with Tiffany-style lamps, wrought iron or brass chandeliers and even heavy candelabra.

Living room

The living areas can have large vases with floral arrangements and plant stands with potted palms. Grecian busts and statues also go well with this theme.

Bedroom

For your bedroom, furnish it with huge pieces of furniture and beds with elaborate canopies or huge head and footboards. Opting for chests and almirahs that are large and ornately carved will complete the look.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Demonetisation slows down Chennai real estate sales

This fourth quarter saw a slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.
This fourth quarter saw a slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.
CHENNAI: The fourth quarter of the calendar year is usually the most hectic time when it comes to real estate sales in Chennai. With the festive season, fat Diwali bonuses, the auspicious day of Dhanteras, real estate developers usually see a lot of prospective home buyers queuing up.

This fourth quarter, however, saw a massive slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.

In Q4 of 2016, only 757 units were sold compared to 1,673 units in the same period the previous year. Number of project launches in the city fell to 58 from 93 in the year ago period.

“Demonetisation has definitely impacted sales in Chennai. The cash crunch along with cyclone Vardah were a downer when it came to people taking decisions on property,” said Sridhar Srinivasan, managing director, Chennai, Cushman & Wakefield.

However, this is part of an overall trend in Chennai real estate market, which got exacerbated with the cash ban. For instance, the fourth quarter of 2013 saw a high of 2,554 units being sold. After which there has been a decline to 1,629 units in 2014 to 1,673 in 2015.

However, Cushman & Wakefield expects the phenomena to be temporary and won’t last beyond the new two quarters.

As to the “cash” or “black money” component of real estate sales, Srinivasan said this has not impacted mid-segment sales. “Middle-level housing units have seen a high impact. The high-end and luxury segment, which use a higher component of cheque vs cash, saw lesser impact. We are expecting this trend to continue for the next two-three quarter,” he said.

Mid-level housing units saw a 21% dip to 662 units in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 840 sold units in the comparable quarter last year. High-end units, however, saw sales nearly double to 91 in Q4, from 49 in the year-ago.
Another reason as to why transactions are being hit is because of stamp duty and registration fee that need to be paid at offices. Given the role of the “cash” component in property deed clearances, demonetisation has definitely thrown a wrench in the works.
For the full-year, the number of projects in 2016 dipped 24% to 57 from 75 last year. The number of housing units also dipped 21% to 6,419 from 8,174.

Home loan to become cheapest in 6 years as banks slash rates

  1. SBI home loans up to Rs 75 lakh, earlier available at 9.1%, can now be taken at 8.6%
  2. The reduction in MCLR will mean that new borrowers will get loans at the cheaper rates
  3. Old borrowers will have to enter into a fresh contract with the bank (by paying a small fee) to get loans linked to MCLR

MUMBAI: Home loan rates have fallen to their lowest level in six years with the State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, cutting the effective rate to 8.6% from 9.10%.

While the SBI cut its one-year marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) — the benchmark to which home loans are linked — to 8%, against 8.9% earlier, it kept the spread above MCLR at 60 basis points, against 20 basis points earlier.

So, home loans up to Rs 75 lakh, earlier available at 9.1%, can now be taken at 8.6%. For others, the rate would be 8.65%, against 9.15% earlier. Besides SBI, the Union Bank of India and the Punjab National Bank also cut rates.

Private sector banks like ICICI Bank are expected to follow suit.

TOI had carried a frontpage report on January 1, saying the SBI and other banks were set to cut rates following a prod from PM Modi to signal that benefits of demonetisation in the form of record deposits are being shared with the poor and middle class.

The reduction in lending rates by several public sector banks will make the affordable home loan scheme, announced by PM Modi on Sunday, available at a little over 4% for borrowers seeking loans of up to Rs 9 lakh. Details of the scheme are yet to be announced.

The reduction in MCLR will mean that new borrowers will get loans at the cheaper rates. Since home loans are linked to one-year MCLR, the rates are locked in for 12 months.

Older loans will get the benefit of the new rates only after their one-year lock-in ends.

Those who had availed loans before April 2016 would have their EMIs linked to the earlier benchmark, the base rate. These borrowers will have to enter into a fresh contract with the bank (by paying a small fee) to get loans linked to MCLR.

SBI has also reintroduced a teaser rate loan, where loans will be available at 8.5% for the first two years and at a floating rate in subsequent years. These loans were discontinued five years ago after the RBI frowned on them.

Other banks which have announced lower rates with effect from the New Year include State Bank of Travancore, IDBI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank. Top officials of the SBI said that home loans would provide the bank with an alternative to parking funds in government bonds where the return is less than 7%.

Meanwhile, banks expect the interest subvention on loans for affordable homes and home extensions and small enterprises to counter the slowdown caused by monetary contraction following demonetisation.

The impact of the schemes is expected to be felt in lending and on the overall economy in the first quarter of FY18.

“Today, 45% of bank loans is going to only 300 companies. The extreme concentration of bank credit on the top end of the corporate sector has begun to border on the ridiculous,” said Rajiv Lall, MD & CEO, IDFC Bank.

He added that the announcements by the Prime Minister would help rebalance this by encouraging loans to small business where the framework has already been created with the help of payment systems and bank accounts.

Lall also welcomed the fact that the government was encouraging small lending through market related programmes as compared to the past when priority sector lending was in the form of a diktat.

“From our perspective this is extremely positive and will help us further in penetrating into the segments we serve. With these announcements, the challenges that all faced following demonetisation would clearly be history,” said Kapil Wadhawan, chairman and MD, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation.

According to Gagan Banga, vice chairman and MD, Indiabullls Housing Finance, subsidised home loans will find many takers as the EMI cheque will now be smaller than the rent cheque. “This is a tremendously positive announcement coming on the back of many directed steps to realise the ‘Housing for All’ objective,” said Banga.