Budget 2020 Relief to buyers and sellers on property transactions below the circle rate FB 1200x700 compressed Bangalore's Fastest Growing Real Estate Platform
Although the real estate sector received a push in the Union Budget 2022, in terms of affordable housing, the industry’s hopes that tax incentives would facilitate the recovery of the segment, remained unfulfilled

Budget 2022 was termed by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as ‘growth oriented budget’ that would serve as a blueprint for India’s development in the next 25 years leading to India at 100. Presented by the FM on February 1, 2022, this was her shortest budget speech at 1 hour and 30 minutes. The ‘Make in India’ initiative was the backbone of Budget 2022 with many initiatives surrounding it, aiming to create 6 million jobs in FY 2022-23 according to Nirmala Sitharaman. The infrastructure sector was the star of Budget 2022, in which the real estate segment received a push in terms of affordable housing. Nevertheless, the industry, which was very hopeful of tax initiatives helping in the growth of the segment, received no announcements on that front.

Niranjan Hiranandani, national vice-chairman, NAREDCO and MD of the Hiranandani Group termed the Budget as one that attempts to address ‘Kaam, Kisan and Kamai’, with sustainability and infrastructure investment as its underlying theme. “Rating it at 7/10, the Budget is clearly about complementing macro-growth with micro, all-inclusive welfare, digital economy and fintech, tech-enabled development, energy transition, bolstering investment and climate action – which augurs well for the nation,” says Hiranandani.


Rs 48,000 crore granted for affordable housing under PMAY

To aid the government’s flagship ‘Housing for All’ mission, the government announced a grant of Rs 48,000 crores for affordable housing under PMAY. In 2022-23, 80 lakh homes under PMAY Urban and PMAY Gramin are aimed to be constructed. Also, 60,000 eligible beneficiaries will be identified in the rural and urban areas, under PMAY.

According to Deepak Goradia, chairman and managing director, Dosti Realty, “This is a growth-oriented budget with a special focus on infra development, planning and design of urban cities, which are much-needed requirements, when scaling up for the future. The Rs 48,000-crore outlay for the PMAY scheme will definitely boost the affordable housing sector. And the announcement of five centers of excellence for urban design and planning, is a positive step that will complement the overall growth of the real estate sector.”

Stressing on the PMAY allocation, Dinesh Doshi, managing director, Tulsi Realty says, “This new allocation of Rs 48,000 crores for the PMAY in budget 2022-23 will fulfill the dreams of home buyers nationwide, in today’s scenario where houses are at reasonable prices with best home loans at an all-time low. This move will boost the real estate sector and also boost the ancillary industries related to realty.”

Welcoming this development, Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments said, “The PMAY scheme has helped lakhs of Indians achieve their home aspiration dreams over the last few years. The extension of the scheme with Rs 48,000 crores being allocated, will continue to help the EWS and LIG sections of society get their own homes.”

Budget 2022 impact on the real estate industry

Budget 2022 has direct and indirect impact on the real estate segment. The logistic network and the infrastructure projects announced in the country, will have a positive impact on growth of real estate in India.

According to Rajan Bandelkar, President, NAREDCO, “The announcement by the government that it will work with the state government for a reduction of time for land and construction-related approvals and for promoting affordable housing for the middle class and economically weaker sections in urban areas, is laudable. Easing land and construction-related approvals will help the development firms in meeting the delivery timelines. In this light, the establishment of a high-level committee on the urban sector to drive modernisation of building bye Laws, TDR reforms, transit-oriented reforms and sustainable development, including single-window green clearances, will help the sector in the longer run.”

In addition to the emphasis on urban planning by adopting modern laws that will boost the development of the segment in the near future, the government’s plan to launch ‘Ease of doing business 2.0’ will make India a lucrative destination for investment. Overall, the budget proves to be a helping hand for more or less all the sectors, keeping the current disruption in mind, points out Harresh Mehta, CMD, Rohan Lifescapes.

Also, one of the key highlights of this Union Budget is extension of the ECLGS till March 2023. “Furthermore, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to achieve the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is promising and has enormous potential to create job opportunities with additional production of 30 lakh crores during the next keycap digit five years. The PLI scheme is highly relevant especially for the real estate and organised home interiors sector, which are dependent on other countries as the overall costs are still much higher for manufacturing in India, given the continued global crisis in the supply-chain. I am confident that this will further boost the organised home interiors sector in India and ensure increased dependency on the manufacturing requirements domestically,” says Srikanth Iyer, CEO and co-founder, HomeLane.


Stakeholders expected more pro-real estate initiatives

While industry experts have welcomed the grant of Rs 48,000 crores under the PMAY, they are disappointed by the lack of other incentives. Although affordable housing is a priority area for the government, the real estate industry was expecting a number of immediate demand-side pushes for the sector which remained unaddressed in this budget.

“The government could have given further boost to overall real estate which fuels the Indian economy and supports over 250-allied industries. There is a huge opportunity in real estate that would enable faster economic recovery. The real estate sector has started showing signs of recovery after the disruption caused by the pandemic. However, it requires careful support from the government, in order to sustain the recently-achieved growth momentum. There are several grey areas vis-à-vis schemes, taxation, funding, etc., where the government can provide a helping hand going forward. It is imperative for the government to pay special attention to the real estate sector and have provisions for its well-being in the near future,” says Ramani Sastri, chairman and MD, Sterling Developers Pvt Ltd.

Concurring, Vipul Shah, managing director of Parinee Group says, “Real estate is currently reviving from its lows. From this Budget, we were hopeful that tax incentives or some credit provisions will be facilitated, to get the segment up and running the way it was around seven to eight years ago. Although this will take time, we were still anticipating a start. This Budget has nothing for the developers and the hardships they are facing.”

Adds RK Arora, chairman, Supertech Ltd, “The government has treaded a fine balance to lead the economy to high GDP growth rate by investing in infrastructure sector, yet keeping the fiscal deficit within manageable limits. In the backdrop of the ambitious ‘Housing for All’, PMAY has been given due importance, however, largely through the government’s flagship programmes rather than the incentives real estate development companies were hoping for.”

Like other segments, even the real estate sector was impacted due to the pandemic. Surendra Hiranandani, chairman and managing director, House of Hiranandani explains, “There were some expectations from the sector that would have boosted demand and offered increased deductions towards the principal/ interest payment of home loans. There was a need to increase the scope of affordable housing, by raising the cap of Rs 45 lakhs for metros. This would have increased the scope of affordable housing and a large number of home-buyers could have then benefitted from the subsidies available for this segment. Also, an infrastructure status has been a long pending demand of the sector. It would have made a major difference in accessing capital at a reasonable cost. Nevertheless, we are optimistic and look forward to witnessing the beginning of a new and robust economy.”


Government increases differential between circle rates and agreement value to 20%

The move is also likely to help developers, as they can now offer their property at a lower rate than the prevailing circle rate, to monetise their idle assets.

By Amit Sethi

November 12, 2020: In a bid to provide an additional boost to the economy, as well as the home buyers, union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on November 12, 2020, announced a new stimulus package under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0. In the latest package, the centre has decided to increase the differential rate between the circle rate and the agreement value from 10% to 20%. This is will be applicable till June 30, 2021, for only primary sale of residential units of value up to Rs 2 crores.

In Budget 2020, the government had announced an increase in the threshold limit for the difference between the transaction value and the circle rate to 10%, from the previous 5% level.

According to the industry experts, the government’s move will provide relief on capital gains tax for the sector as a whole, on property valuations which are up to 20% below the circle rate, as against the earlier provision of 10%.

Commenting on the FM’s announcement, Niranjan Hiranandani, national president of NAREDCO and MD of the Hiranandani Group, said: “A differential of above 10% between the circle rates and agreement value, translates into tax penalties under Section 43CA of the Income Tax Act. This has been a major stumbling block for price rationalization. This pinches, especially when it comes to liquidating unsold inventory. Industry bodies like NAREDCO have been pointing out the urgency with which this needs to be sorted out and the finance minister, in a limited-period offer (up to June 30, 2021), has enhanced this differential from 10% to 20%. This is welcome. However, the FM also mentioned a cap on the flat value, to be eligible for this – Rs 2 crores. This will result in most projects in metro cities not being able to take advantage of the relaxation.” The ideal situation, according to Hiranandani, would have been one where this relaxation would be applicable to commercial real estate transactions, as well. Real estate as an industry and end-users, both, would benefit if these two suggestions can be incorporated, he said.

Earlier, following the Budget, Nimish Gupta, FRICS – MD, south Asia, RICS, pointed out that the announcements in the Budget would provide some respite to property buyers, in cases where the gap between the circle rate and the market rate was disproportionately high.

  • “Before Budget 2020, any gap over 5% would be added to the buyer’s income and would be liable to tax at nominal rates. Now, the same has been enhanced to 10%, which would encourage transaction activity in property markets,” explains Gupta.
  • The move is also likely to help developers, as they can now offer their property at a lower rate than the prevailing circle rate, to monetise their idle assets. This will help them to clear their existing inventory, to generate liquidity for their other projects.

However, it is essential to note that property prices and trends are not uniform across the country. Some cities are witnessing good growth and appreciation in prices while others are witnessing prolonged stagnation in demand and corrections in property rates. With country-wide lockdown due to Covid-19, real estate was one of the worth affected sectors in the country. With this, the government may also consider a mechanism, to extend this beyond June 2021 or opt for location-based relaxation to allow more than 20% relaxation, to revive the market. Circle rates also need to be revised in a more realistic way, to address the issues related to the fall in property rates.

Circle rate relaxation to bring relief to buyers and sellers

State governments generally revise the circle rates of properties at regular intervals. This is done, to discourage the evasion of stamp duty and registration fees by sellers and buyers, by mentioning a lower property price than the actual prevailing market rate. Certain restrictions discourage sellers and buyers from entering into transactions below the circle rate/ guideline value. However, due to the slowdown in the real estate sector, property prices have not increased across various cities in India. Consequently, developers may be unable to clear their inventory by selling their properties at a discount that brings the prices below the circle rates. While the government has allowed some relaxation between the circle rate and the market rate, it is not sufficient for the revival of the realty sector in the prevailing situation. So, the government has proposed to increase this relaxation in Budget 2020.


What if circle rate is more than market value?

The existing rule stipulates that the transaction value of the property should not be less than the circle rate by more than 5%, else the difference is considered as income and would result in an additional tax burden for the buyer and seller. For example, if you bought a property worth Rs 30 lakhs but the circle rate was Rs 35 lakhs, then, the difference of Rs 5 lakhs, would be considered as other income in the buyer’s hands and it would be taxed accordingly. The registration charges and stamp duty would also be paid at the applicable circle rate. From the seller’s point of view, as the property is registered at the applicable circle rate, he has to pay a higher capital gains tax. However, the buyer and seller do not need to pay any excess fee, if the difference between the transaction value and circle rate is below the stipulated 5% level.


What is circle rate limit?

Budget 2020: Circle rate relaxation to bring relief to buyers and sellers


What are circle rates?

To avoid evasion of stamp duty through the undervaluation of property transactions, all state governments publish area-wise rates of properties, on a yearly basis, known as Circle Rates or Ready Reckoner rates or Guideline Values.

How is stamp duty calculated?

The stamp duty is generally fixed as a percentage of whichever is higher – the circle rate/guideline value or the market value as mentioned in the agreement.

Can I sell my property below circle rate?

An owner can sell his/her property at a rate below the circle rate/guideline value but the stamp duty will still be payable on the basis of the circle rate.

What are the tax implications if the circle rate is more than market value?

If the circle rate of the property is higher than the value mentioned in the agreement by more than 20%, the circle rate is deemed to be the sale consideration. This difference is taxed as capital gains in the hands of the seller and as income from other sources in the hands of the buyer.


Update on July 5, 2019:

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on July 5, 2019, while presenting the Union Budget 2019-20, announced that the government is proposing additional tax deduction of Rs 1.50 lakh on interest paid on home loans for affordable housing (purchase of house up to Rs 45 lakhs) taken up to March 31, 2020.

To widen the tax net, the government has proposed to introduce 5% TDS on all payments made by individuals to contractors or professionals, in excess of Rs 50 lakhs a year. Currently, there is no requirement for an individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) to deduct tax at source, on payments made to a resident contractor or professional when it is for personal use, or if the individual or HUF is not subjected to audit for his business or profession. “It is proposed to insert a new provision, making it obligatory for such individual or HUF to deduct tax at source, at the rate of 5%, if the annual payment made to a contractor or professional exceeds Rs 50 lakhs,” said the Budget document. The budget also proposed to tax gifts, in the form of money or property situated in India, by residents to non-residents. Sitharaman proposed to tax such gifts from on or after July 5, 2019.

The FM also proposed to raise the annual turnover limit from Rs 250 crores to Rs 400 crores, for availing a lower corporate tax rate of 25%. The proposal would cover 99.3 per cent of the companies operating in the country, she said. Sitharaman also proposed in the Budget 2019-20 that filing of income tax return will be mandatory for people depositing more than Rs 1 crore in current account, spending over Rs 1 lakh towards electricity bill payment and Rs 2 lakhs on foreign travel, in a year.


Budget 2019 highlights: What did home buyers and the real estate sector gain

We examine some of the important announcements in the interim budget 2019 and its expected impact on the real estate sector and home buyers

By Amit Sethi

February 2, 2019: The government of India has presented the interim budget 2019, addressing several long-standing issues of the real estate sector. There were big expectations from the government in an election year, even though the budget was an interim one. The government has made some big announcements that will provide significant relief to the common people, including the home buyers.

Income tax rebate for income up to Rs five lakhs per annum

The government announced a tax exemption on individual income of up to Rs five lakhs, translating into ‘zero’ tax, for people falling in the applicable tax slab. If the person further invests in tax saving investment under Section 80 (C), then, the tax-free income will increase to Rs 6.5 lakhs. Similarly, the tax benefit under Section 24, 80 (D), 80 CCD can easily take the tax-free income beyond Rs 7.5 lakhs. This is seen mainly as a game-changing move by the government for the realty sector and the home buyers.

“The proposal to give tax rebate for income up to Rs five lakhs, will help in increasing the home buyer’s budget and can provide a big boost to the demand for housing. The budget gives more disposable income in the hand of the residential real estate buyer, encouraging them to push their budgets up for new homes, while also providing tax incentives for investing in a second home. It should result in an increased demand in the residential market. Hence, from a real estate perspective, Colliers International India gives the budget 2019, a 7/10,” said Joe Verghese, managing director, Colliers International India.

Emphasis on infrastructure growth

The government has announced Rs 19,000 crores towards Sadak Yojna and come up with a future vision that envisage boosting of social and physical infrastructure. “Housing under PMAY and increase of infrastructure development, in the budget, are positive steps towards real estate affordability and accessibility, because these two initiatives would enable more people to buy their homes in the city, as well as the outskirts,” says Pankaj Jain, MD, Realistic Realtors.

Extension of the benefit under 80 IBA by one year

The government has announced an extension of the benefit under Section 80 IBA by another year, i.e., till 2020. The move will benefit the developers and new affordable home buyers and help in achieving the ‘Housing for All’ vision.

Reinvestment of capital gains in two houses

The announcement, to allow reinvestment of capital gains in two homes, is expected to boost investment in residential real estate. As per the budget, capital gains has been extended to investment in two residential houses, for an individual having capital gains up to Rs two crores. The move can create more demand and also make the realty market more attractive.

Increasing the period for taxing notional rent on unsold inventory, from one year to two years

Unsold inventory is a problem for developers and notional rent on such inventory further adds to their woes. At present, the notional rent is levied, if the unsold inventory is at least one year old. In Budget 2019, the period has been increased to two years, which will give huge relief to realty players.

“This is a welcome move and will benefit the housing sector, as currently, there are more than 6.73 lakh unsold units across the top seven cities,” explains Anuj Puri, chairman of ANAROCK Property Consultants.

TDS on rental income increased from Rs 1.8 lakhs to Rs 2.4 lakhs

“There will now be no tax on house rents up to Rs 2.4 lakhs, from the previous limit of Rs 1.8 lakhs. This can attract more investors to buy second homes, for earning rental income,” Puri adds.

Increase in standard deduction for salaried people

Increase in standard deduction for salaried people, from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, will result in higher disposable incomes. Therefore, it would translate into improvement in home loan EMI repayment capacity.

This budget has broken the trend of avoiding major announcements in interim budgets, point out analysts. Nevertheless, there are a few areas that have not been touched and are expected to be covered in the full-fledged budget after the general elections. Some key expectations that remained unfulfilled, include an increase in the Section 80 (C) benefit for home loan borrowers, single-window system for clearances, inclusion of stamp duty in GST, etc.