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Construction : Web Exclusive | February 2018 | Source : CW-India

Budget Reactions | Real Estate

Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan, CEO, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate
“The government’s move to promote affordable housing by setting up a special fund is welcome. It will boost buyers’ sentiments and help revive the real estate market. We expected the government to give industry status to real estate sector, though its efforts to support infrastructural development is laudable. This will have some impact on the real estate market I suppose.”

Sudhir Pai, CEO,
“Much on expected lines, the government in Budget 2018 has continued with its thrust for Affordable Housing and ‘Housing for All’ scheme. The government has been consistent with its efforts in addressing affordable housing in 2017. Now, Budget 2018 has further given impetus to affordable housing by creating a dedicated fund under the National Housing Bank (NHB). This fund will be provided for from priority sector lending and fully serviced bonds authorised by the Government of India. Now that the government has created significant enablers to increase demand and to create favourable conditions, we should hopefully see a significant spike in new launches/supply in the coming days in the affordable housing segment. It is also encouraging to see the government address the issues of housing in urban areas. While providing assistance to construct 37 lakh houses in urban areas will take care of the urban housing woes, financial assistance (Rs.2.04 lakh crore) to 99 Smart Cities will ease the pressure on the existing urban centres.  Further, the finance minister also proposed that no adjustment shall be made in respect of transactions in immovable property, where the circle rate value does not exceed 5% of the consideration – this would affect only those localities where circle rates are higher than prevailing market rates. While the budget is now done and dusted, there are some matters which would help drive the industry ahead more vigorously. We hope that going ahead the government will (a) address the issue of GST on new homes which is currently inflationary (b) examine the issue of lowering the cost of transactions, particularly stamp duty and registration fees (c) create enablers  for the sector such as digitisation of property registries; guaranteeing or insuring land/property titles; enhancing liquidity in real estate markets through REITs and other means and (d) strengthen RERA to resolve disputes speedily and help drive confidence amongst consumers.”

Amit Kumar Agarwal, Co-Founder,
"The allocation of dedicated funds for affordable housing under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending will give a push to the housing sector. In addition, taxing of long-term capital at 10% with gains exceeding Rs1 lakh in shares, will give a boost to the real estate sector since the tax arbitrage between both sectors is now lower. The budget has also brought cheer to the startup ecosystem as the government plans to set up new measures to strengthen the environment for the growth of venture capital funds and angel investors."

Irfan Razack, Chairman & Managing Director, Prestige Group
“The Budget as a whole is balanced and well-rounded, which aims to kick-start the growth of the economy again. A lot of focus has been given to the Agriculture, Education, Healthcare and Infrastructure sectors which is crucial to provide long term benefits to the middle and lower classes. One of the highlights of the Budget is the dedicated emphasis to Tourism as well. With the GST regime, there was limited scope to make any changes to the Indirect Taxes. However, under Direct Tax, some concessions have been made for salaried class where they will have savings of around INR 40,000 per annum. There is no direct benefit to the real estate sector as such. Having said that, Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) on securities and shares introduced into the budget, will create a level playing field for real estate, as a lot of people who were investing only in equities will now consider real estate as an alternate investment option, which will help the industry. All in all, given the limited space that the Finance Minister had, I believe that he has done a decent job of presenting the Budget.”

Kishore Bhatija, Managing Director, Real Estate Development, K Raheja Corp
“Year 2018 sees a populist budget presentation by our Honourable Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley catering to the needs of the common man and the economy. The budget has provided financial allocations in maintaining the Governments larger vision of ‘Building the Nation’ and ‘Housing for All’. The budget’s capital expenditure focussing on key sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure and housing, amalgamate to provide necessary momentum and thrust to the economy. Changes in corporate taxation will incentivise many to invest, and be competitive. Overall the budget creates an environment for inclusive growth, and infuses transparency into the system. The Real Estate industry was seeking some very important amendments like the industry status, streamlining of taxation norms for REITs, rationalisation of GST, and extension of tax SOPs for SEZ units, which we hope will be addressed soon. Having said that, the progressive nature of the budget has paved way for economic growth, and we look forward to a good year with continuous improvements for the realty sector.”

Ashish R Puravankara, Managing Director, Puravankara
“The Union Budget for 2018-2019 demonstrates an encouraging growth story for India. The pre cursor for Union 2018 for the real estate sector started with the notification of the GST council to extend the concessional rate (of GST) acquired under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for Housing for All (Urban) Mission/PMAY effectively came into force as on 25th January 2018. This now  brings the current GST at 8% instead of 12% for under-construction homes. A robust road map for housing for all was laid during the budget last year such as infra status to affordable housing and tax holiday for affordable housing and now the establishing of a dedicated affordable housing fund under the National Housing Bank will give it a huge fillip too. The extension of corporate tax rate of 25% to companies with the turnover up to 250 crore from just 50 crore till last year, will have a positive impact on the health of corporate India irrespective of any sector. With the focus on development in rural India, infrastructure augmentation, healthcare accessibility, education enhancement, employment benefits and smart city expansion, our country is gearing towards a stronger, healthier and brighter economy. We will be happy to contribute to our nation’s growth story and accelerate development and inclusive growth.”

Manoj Paliwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Omkar Realtors and Developers
“Understanding the government major focus on affordable housing to achieve the target of housing for all, the budget was largely inclined towards the same. Rural infrastructure push will surely boost added housing in these areas resulting in employment generation. Further, the introduction of a long-term capital gain tax of 10% on shares is a step towards creating a bit of level playing field these two assets classes i.e Real Estate and Stock market. This move is positive for Real Estate.”

T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya 
The much-awaited Union Budget is out today with many new announcements across sectors, and as expected, there is a huge boost to infrastructure with a slew of announcements related to the capacity addition to roadways, railways and airways network. The great boost to infrastructure investment will pave way for real estate developments in a big way. Secondly, the huge focus and funding towards the SME sector will enable employment generation helping boost the economy and addressing the needs of the youth. When it comes to real estate sector, the push given by the Government towards affordable housing is really appreciable and will help in realising the dream of ‘Housing for all 2022’. The existing Government initiatives like land reforms, REITS, FDI in real estate, RERA, GST, Smart Cities, Housing for all 2022, infrastructure status given to affordable housing, subsidies for buyers and tax benefits for developers will prove to be beneficial if the Government is also able to implement most of it through single window approvals, in the coming years. We are hopeful that this will create many jobs and accelerate the growth of the infrastructure and real estate industry and also contribute to the ‘Make in India’ effort of the government.”

Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman & Managing Director, House of Hiranandani
“I would term it as a pro farmers budget with a slew of measures well directed towards improving productivity in agriculture. With the increase in MSP for crops, thrust on organic farming, doubling the expenditure allocated to food processing sector, liberalization of agricultural exports, creating state of the art facilities at food parks, push to fisheries and allied sector, measures for senior citizens, this budget truly focused on uplifting the life of the “aam aadmi”. The introduction of various schemes in these areas will certainly bridge the rural-urban divide in the future. The announcements in the areas of healthcare in particular are path breaking and will empower the poor and under privileged sections of the society. While there was no direct benefit to the real estate sector from the budget, some measures announced  will positively impact the sector. The announcement of a dedicated affordable housing fund in the National Housing Bank (NHB) funded from priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bonds authorized by the Indian government is a welcome move and could act as a catalyst in the government's vision of “Housing for All by 2022”.  The move to allow a variation of 5% between transaction value and circle rates for computation of capital gains will not impact transactions significantly in any of the metropolitan cities in India. The massive push for improvement in infrastructure, including significant capital expenditure for roads, railways and development of smaller airports will indirectly benefit the real estate sector in the long run. One of the concerns is the inability to meet the fiscal deficit in spite of surpassing the divestment target. New measures adopted for reducing the deficit might push up the yields leading to higher interest rates for both corporates and households. Investors in particular will not be pleased with Long Term Capital Gains on sale of equity and mutual fund investments. We could see some flight of capital from equity to the real estate class on the back of this move. The salaried class too stood to gain very little as the standard deduction of Rs 40,000 will provide nominal benefits to them. We had certainly anticipated more for the real estate sector which is the second largest employment generator in the economy after agriculture. It seems the entire focus of the government was on the latter while undermining the importance of real estate to the economy.”

Bijay Agarwal, Managing Director, Salarpuria Sattva Group 
“The thrust is given to the agricultural and rural development. Which will give the much needed impetus to these sectors to uplift the underprivileged. The initiative to set up a dedicated fund for the affordable housing sector under the ambit of Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna will further boost the rural economy and assist in providing more affordable homes. The initiative is in line with the Central Government’s mission of achieving ‘Housing for All by 2020’. National Health Protection Scheme is another welcome move, which will benefit 10 crore families, 40% of the Indian population, with an annual medical coverage of 5 lakhs per year. In terms of ease of doing business, India has moved to the list of top 100 countries and this further opens-up the doors to FDI in the country. The policy initiatives by the BJP government has borne rich fruit in this regard. Relaxation of Circle rate, 5% variations, for immovable property, is another feather to the real-estate sector, this will surely minimize litigations and disputes. However, we had anticipated changes in income tax slabs or GST slabs along with the provision of full industry status to the real estate sector. All in all, we welcome the budget’s underlying theme which has the vision for good governance, ease of doing business, ease of living and overall growth of the economy.”

Ashwin Sheth, Chairman & Managing Director, Sheth Group
“The Union Budget 2018-19 has struck the right chord in line with its affordable housing vision which will promote a robust development of the Real Estate Sector. We applaud the finance minister’s decision to establish a dedicated affordable housing fund in the national housing bank to make this vision a reality. The government has taken a step in the right direction by focusing on infrastructure development with respect to road and rail connectivity as this will catalyze the growth of the housing sector. Initiatives to boost the Mumbai suburban railway network will significantly boost the residential and commercial market in the city. Moreover, focus on the smart cities project will help in improving the standard of living for residents. However, clarity on single window clearance and GST was much anticipated. We also expected incentives for first time home buyers which would have helped increase demand and create equilibrium in the demand-supply gap. Most importantly, granting industry status to the real estate sector which is one of the largest contributors to the growth of the economy was the need of the hour. While this budget focuses on the overall growth of the economy, we will adopt a wait and watch approach and hope adequate measures are taken to complement their continuous endeavours to boost the real estate sector.”

Samyak Jain, Director, Siddha Group
“This Union Budget 2018-19 can now be termed as a Pro-India budget that will ensure an all-round growth of the economy and boost the nation’s GDP. Infrastructure development, a key factor in the growth of real estate has been given significant importance and we welcome this move as improvement in road and rail connectivity will be instrumental in changing the face of the industry. Initiatives to boost affordable housing sector will lead to the fruition of the government’s ‘Housing for all by 2022’ vision. Additionally, we appreciate the government’s efforts to advance their smart cities project which aims to improve the quality of life. Job creation was the need of the hour and we applaud the positive outlook towards employment in rural development and healthcare services. We anticipated some announcements on income tax relief, single window clearance, granting industry status to real estate and clarity on GST with respect to subsuming stamp duty and registration charges but we hope the government takes measures to address this in the near future. The proposed budgeted expenses in various sectors; Rural Infrastructure, Health and Fishing will have a positive impact on the economy allowing us to be optimistic about the real estate market and we look forward to a productive year.”

Rohit Gera, Managing Director, Gera Developments and Vice President, CREDAI Pune Metro
"The thrust of the budget on rural India,  infrastructure,  health care is positive. The budget unfortunately once again neglects the distressed real estate sector. While the finance minister has recognised the challenges around the anomaly between circle rates and actual consideration the difference of 5% is inadequate. This should have been at least 10%. The introduction of long-term capital gains tax on equities however will be positive for real estate. Typically a 3 year indexed effective tax for real estate works out to approximate 10% which will be equivalent to the same tax payable on equities. The LTCG tax on equities therefore will push some investors towards real estate. The increase in the turnover limit to Rs. 250 crores for the tax at 25% will cover most real estate developers across the country."

Ram Walase, Managing Director & CEO, VBHC Value Homes
“The government had already undertaken a number of policy and fiscal steps for housing sector through a series of pre-budget announcements such as reduction in GST for PMAY beneficiaries, increasing the size of housing units under PMAY CLSS, increasing the permissible ratios of loans to asset value of homes, etc.

Some additional positives in the budget for the housing sector have been:
(1) In the recent past, equities had become a most favoured asset class for investors. 10% LTCG tax on equities would encourage investors / home buyers to explore real estate and other asset classes.
(2) Banks have been limiting their exposure to real estate / housing sectors. Two positives from the budget for financing of housing sector : (a) creation of housing fund under NHB to promote housing finance under priority sector, and (b) push for 25% of debt for large corporates through bond markets, which may free up some bank financing for other sectors including real estate.
(3) NHB shareholding to shift from RBI to Government. This would mean a shift towards development orientation from the existing regulatory approach.
Overall, an incrementally positive budget for the housing sector. If the budget achieves its job creation objectives, the housing sector would also benefit.”
Rohit  Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing and Development
“We are delighted that this is an inclusive budget where the government has continued its thrust on infrastructure and targeting the rural economy with a commitment to affordable housing. Having said this looks like a ‘smart budget’ targeting the 2019 General Elections.”

M Murali, Managing Director, Shriram Properties
“The Budget 2018 is more of a welfare budget - an ad mixture of populism and pragmatism. Moves like National Health Protection scheme benefitting 50 crore people is highly laudable and much needed one in a country like India, since long. The budget seems to focus on rural economy and agriculture this time with emphasis on generation of higher income for farmers. This is feasible as India is traditionally an agrarian economy. With the Economic Survey suggesting that the economy should grow between 7 per cent and 7.5 per cent in fiscal 2019, we were watchful on the government's stance on containing fiscal deficit –speculating whether country will stay on the course of fiscal consolidation path.  It is welcoming that the fiscal deficit target for next fiscal would be 3.3% and target for 2017-18 will be 3.5%. Announcement of dedicated affordable housing for priority sector fund is encouraging. But there is still a lot to be done to achieve the objective of Housing For All mission which has both social and economic benefits. The real estate sector was expecting much more from the Budget 2018, particularly under affordable housing segment. Government may have to revisit this area.  However the out lay of 2.04 lac crore for 99 cities under smart city mission is heart- warming. Another important aspect that has surfaced during this budget is the step towards elimination of crypto currency and focus on digital transformations which are welcome social moves. Having successfully implemented the fundamental structural reforms without minding the political cost, perhaps this may be the best budget without much tinkering into the system.”

Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group and President CREDAI MCHI
“The budget has focused on areas such as agriculture, rural sections and health care that are vital and have lacked attention in the previous budget. Announcements on building 1 cr houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural areas will surely promote housing in the rural areas. This includes 31 Lakh homes will be built in 2018-19 in urban areas. Also establishing a dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending will help developers in financing projects. Government assuming ownership of National Housing Bank from RBI would translate in to focus of National Housing Bank shifting from regulation to development. The government has shown special focus on developing connectivity in Mumbai by strengthening and expanding the rail network.  Creating smart cities will further boost the spirit of development in the country. Corporate tax reduction for MSME will be good news for developers and  10 percent tax has been charged on capital gain , may bring more investments to Real estate , as it’s a level playing field with equity market. The government has also addressed the anomaly under section 43 to tax real estate transactions at their real value rather than the value arrived at by applying the artificially higher circle rate. However, we were expecting some more from the honorable finance minister. Post demonetization and GST the sector has been limping back. In such circumstances an announcement on providing industry sector to real estate would have made things easy. Also, there was no announcement on GST, very high rate coupled with states Stamp duty, around 20 % transaction cost is being biggest dampener for real estate and housing. The industry was expecting some measures for home buyers on higher interest exemptions on home loans.”

Srinivasan Gopalan, CEO, Ozone Group
"In this year’s budget, while the clear push has been on the agriculture and health, which is a good thing for these sectors, there is not much focus on the real estate sector. Apart from the 5% deviation announced by the FM the demands of the sector such as, infrastructure status, single window clearance for all approvals and reduction in GST, have not been addressed. The Government’s move to establish a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) in National Housing Bank, funded from priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bonds authorized by the Government of India is a welcome move."

Pakshal Sanghvi, Director, Sanghvi Realty
“The budget was contrary to people’s expectations of being a populist budget as this is the last budget by the Modi Government before the elections in 2019. However, I personally feel that it is a good budget that has taken agriculture and rural areas into focus for economic development of the country. Real Estate as a sector was left out. However, this budget also took one step towards granting real estate sector an industry status by setting up an Affordable Housing Fund. This effort will help realize the ‘Housing For All by 2022’ vision of our Honorable Prime Minister and slowly but surely grant the real estate sector an industry status. The Finance Minister also mentioned about reducing the hardships faced in realty deals and addressed the anomaly under Section 43 CA to tax real estate transactions at their real value rather than the value arrived at by applying artificially higher circle rates. As per new announcement, if the circle rate does not exceed 5% of transaction value, no adjustment is required towards the capital gains on a real estate transaction. It will help in terms of some extra savings if there is parity between the market rates and the ready-reckoner rates. The five percent differential allowed from the ready reckoner rates will benefit the buyers at large. I feel that this is the right time for buyers who want to buy properties like these.”

Amit Ruparel, Managing Director, Ruparel Realty
"Driven with the target to provide housing for all by 2022, we appreciate the government’s move to build 1 crore houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna in the rural areas. This move will create housing demand and generate employment. This budget saw the government offering several benefits to the infrastructure sector, at the same time missed out on a few important aspects of the realty sector. Infrastructure status to the entire real sector is still not implemented this could have reduced the developers cost of borrowing for projects. Also the real estate sector looked forward to Single window clearance mechanism which could have helped the developers in making the process more seamless and quicker."

Farshid Cooper, Managing Director, Spenta Corporation
"Reducing corporate tax rate to 25% for companies with turnover below Rs 250 crores will be very positive for the real estate industry. The trickle down effect of the tax saving will mean disposable income in the hands of the common man, thereby increasing consumption and investment in real estate. Disappointed that stamp duty was not incorporated in GST to ease pressure on homebuyers."

Kamal Khetan, Chairman and Managing Director, Sunteck Realty
“The Union Budget 2018 has been focused on initiatives to drive the economic growth and social welfare. The budget clearly emphasizes Government’s interest towards the development of rural India and bringing Infrastructural development in the country. The allocation of Rs 14.34 lakh crore fund towards rural housing, rural roads and rural infrastructure will help in creating employment opportunities. Affordable Housing is a key growth driver for the real estate industry, as it now enjoys higher affordability given the government support through interest subsidies. In-line with PMs vision of “Housing for All” by 2022, the move of setting up a dedicated fund for Affordable Housing under the National Housing Bank is welcomed. The move will help in improving formal finance penetration in the system, enabling strong growth in affordable housing loans. We will also have a new brand for aspirational homes in a completely new division created for this segment. Under this division, we have acquired 100-acre land parcel under the asset light joint development agreement (JDA) model and has a potential of generating revenues of over Rs 5,500 crores.”

Rajesh Mhatre, CEO-Real Estate, Vascon Engineers
“The budget 2018 has completely focused on areas that have not gained much attention in the past. We welcome this measure by the honorable Finance Minister, which we are sure is a move towards overall economic development. However as real estate is the back bone of the economy, we are slightly upset that there has not been much announcement for the housing sector except for the affordable housing segment. We are happy that announcements on building 1 cr houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural areas and establishing a dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank for priority sector are some bright points to look for. However these are not enough to soothe the negative impact of demonetization and GST that the sector has beared in the past year. The economy was looking for some deduction in the corporate tax. But there has been disappointment here too. Capital gains tax of 10 percent may bring some investments to the real estate sector. The sector has been facing some hard time. With the governments focus on affordable housing in the past, we were expecting some announcements on relaxation in the interest rates or reduction in GST or providing an industry status for the real estate sector. However nothing much has been done this time.”

Ambresh Tipnis, Director, Shivalik Ventures
“Overall, the budget is growth oriented for real estate sector. The government move to set up a special fund for affordable housing is a welcome move. It will boost the development of affordable homes in the city. We expected the government to come up with other measures such as initiating single-window clearance system and according industry status to the sector. However, the budget will definitely enhance the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘housing for all by 2022’. It will certainly boost the real estate market as we can expect increase in bookings.”

Bhavin Thakker, Country Manager-Tenant Representation, Savills India
“Budget 2018 looks favourable for the real estate sector, both from a medium and long-term perspective. With the introduction of 10% tax on long term capital gains (LTCG), investors may alter their investment preference which we expect will see the real estate sector attracting more funds than before. Further, extension of INR 2000 crore to agricultural market and infrastructure fund will strengthen market connectivity, making real estate a preferred choice of investment not only in metros, but also in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. The Government of India (GOI) has established a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) in National Housing Banks (NHBs) which will give a positive boost to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Housing for All by 2022 Scheme. Overall, Budget 2018 is expected to give the real estate sector a good boost.”

Deepak Premnarayan, Executive Chairman, ICS Group
“The budget has brought some major issues to the forefront, particularly in the agriculture sector. Affordable housing is a good move. But what is phenomenal is ‘Modicare’, the health care programme that will be the largest in the world. The Prime Minister works 24 x 7 to ensure that this country succeeds, however, job creation is going to happen more through the services sector. In the services sector, tourism plays an important role. We need 400,000 rooms in this country. If you add that many rooms, it will be nearly $50 billion investment, and most of it would come through FDI, which has only been $10 billion over the last 15 years in the sector. And what we have in terms of tourist attractions, only a few countries can offer. Tourism contributes almost 10 per cent to our GDP. And the multiplier effect that comes in through $29 billion in forex is almost three times, but it is not rocking because we do not have urban governance. What we need is a mayor in charge of say a Shimla or a Darjeeling to make those towns like Switzerland, with complete ownership over employees and monetary resources. That is a major lacuna that we have. Similarly, in South and East Africa there are game parks spread over thousands of hectares, which are privately owned. Why can’t we do that in our country? When you are creating hotels, you are also creating demand for more landing strips. Let’s say, today, Mumbai is the financial capital of this country. But can the Mumbai Airport take any more aircraft? We may have made the city the financial centre of the country, but it doesn’t have the infrastructure, it doesn’t have a new airport. Roads come with this. Rail lines come with this. These are all linked up. Take the healthcare sector. Globally it’s a $8 trillion business, while IT is only $3.5 trillion. In India, you employ four to five people to generate Rs 1 crore turnover in IT. In the healthcare sector, you need 200 people. So, automatically for Rs 1 crore revenue, you can create 200 jobs. We need to evolve with time. If I am a doctor, I should be able to give prescriptions while sitting in my car because technology has made that possible. Indians are very good at IT. What will happen is that we will be able to develop this technology and spread it in a cost-conscious manner and create great valuations and quantity distribution, rather than being stuck at only high cost in terms of quality.”

Amarjit Bakshi, Managing Director, Central Park
“After laying the foundation for a more robust and organized real estate sector, we anticipated the government to further reinvigorate the industry by way of lowering the  GST rates, allowing single window clearance and affording an industry status to the real estate sector.  These changes would have contributed positively to hasten the recovery of the industry which is today one of the largest employer and contributor to country’s GDP. Having said that, the Government’s continued focus on affordable housing with an establishment of a dedicated fund will further propel the realization of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) which aims to bring more people under the ambit of inclusion. Greater focus on developing the infrastructure layout by way of increased budget allocation for highways, acceleration of rural roads construction is a welcome move as it will drive greater socio- economic development around these regions.”

Ketan Musale, Managing Director, DOTOM Realty
“Decent budget has been allocated to boost the infrastructure & affordable housing of Rural areas in turn easing the load of metropolitan cities.MIG and HIG groups who are the major tax payers have been ignored in current budget leaving a sour taste. Upgrading their lifestyles will be challenging which would reduce the velocity of sales of homes in metropolitan cities.The scenario of 2017 has been extended to 2018 not enhancing much in Real Estate segment, carrying forward our hopes to 2019.”

Tushad Dubash, Director, Duville Estates
“Budget 2018-19 focus on infrastructure and the Smart Cities initiative is a positive move for the real estate sector and Pune in specific. The Smart Cities Mission is an ambition to develop 100 cities across India that would also harness the Information Communication Technology (ICT) capabilities. Pune comes under the governments Smart City initiative and the allocation of Rs. 2.04 lakh crore towards the listed 99 Smart Cities will serve well for Pune’s real estate market. Pune’s real estate is one is the lesser impacted markets in comparison to the other key cities and have proved to be one of the more resilient markets in the country. Unlike other metros where buyers have demonstrated a strong preference for ready-to-move in apartments, in Pune there has been a steady skew to in terms of interest in under-construction projects. It is important to note that strong Real Estate have had a steady momentum in terms of inventory off-take and that the excellent infrastructural connectivity has definitely lent a positive slant to sustaining the current momentum especially in some of Pune’s micro-geographies which have withstood the onslaught of a decline in prices due to the impact of de-monetization, RERA and GST. Combining Pune’s growing infrastructure along with the sustained demand will boost Pune’s real estate market further. Infrastructure is a growth driver for the country and the budgets focus on infrastructure and connectivity will have an impact on not only the real estate sector but the economy on the whole.”

Ashok Mohanani, Chairman Ekta World and Vice President NAREDCO WEST
“The Budget 2018-19 seems to be planned to specially target Bharat more than India. There is ample evidence to justify this. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a host of measures to support the farmers, poor and providing impetus to rural region. The aim of budget 2018-19 seems to strengthen the country by making it Clean-Employed-Connected-Illuminated-Healthy- Educated. Government’s commitment towards Smart Cities programme is emerging and with unrelenting financial support, these 99 cities will greatly benefit from a new ecosystem of infrastructure leveraged on the thrust of using technology as the pillar. Advancement of Railway infrastructure, Smart Cities, was much needed and the new commitment by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would firmly take the action towards the direction of growth. Under Prime Minister Awas Scheme Rural, 51 lakhs houses in year 2017-18 and 51 lakh houses during 2018-19 which is more than one crore houses will be constructed exclusively in rural areas. In urban areas the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses. We welcome the initiative of setting up of a dedicated fund for affordable housing. This will help create more affordable supply as well as drive demand from genuine end-users. Furthermore, the relaxation of income tax adjustment in case of difference of less than 5% between the circle rate and consideration for real estate acquisitions is a welcome move.”

Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group
“One of the key ask for last year was for a budget that acted as a catalyst for the salaried employees which is rightly reflected this year. Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 allowed for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers is a welcome reform. With a special focus on Infrastructure and urban development we will see a continued thrust with Rs.50 lakh crores towards infrastructure, Rs.11, 000 crores towards the Mumbai metro and a focus on the warehousing and logistic segments, and the development of commercial land around the railways, to name a few. However by having least focus on the real estate sector, developers will  face a financial challenge in the current real estate scenario. Keeping in mind that 99 cities are selected for smart cities project with an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore, the infrastructure is certainly help in boosting the overall economy. With the introduction of dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank, the lower segment of the society will definitely have a secured financial decision. As the budget also rightly highlights the creation of insttitutions in the architecture and urban planning we definitely are here building a skilled India.”

Amit Wadhwani, Director, Sai Estate Consultants.
“Immensely Inclusive Budget. Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley’s budget has given a huge thrust to infrastructure with more allocation of resources to infra sector; focus on employment problem of India with particular attention on medium and small enterprises. It was expected that the budget, overall, will bring no surprises at all, as it was made keeping in mind the election next year and 10 assembly elections this year. The emphasis on employment, agriculture, Infrastructure, health and education was required, but not sure if the this will lead to the expected outcomes. It is a good time for the affordable housing sector as the Finance Minister has announced a dedicated fund for the sector in the Union Budget. This move is likely to provide flexibility to the sector. The government aims to boost the supply of rural housing and augmenting the supply of affordable housing in urban areas. Finance minister proposal on no adjustment in respect of transactions in immovable property, where the circle rate value does not exceed 5% of the consideration will further minimize hardship in real estate transactions.”

Sarjan Shah, Managing Director, Group Satellite
“Disappointing budget from the perspective of private sector involvement in creating mass housing stock that will make homeownership a reality for all Indians. Budget has unfortunately ignored the stressed and vilified real estate sector that is in desperate need of Government support through specific targeted tax breaks that help make building affordable homes in India viable.”

Aniket Haware, Managing Director, Haware Builders
“In the run up to the democratic year, the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley at the outset highlighted that strengthening the rural economy, infrastructure, quality of education and the MSME’s Agriculture was the focus of the Budget 2018. Focus on the growth of Smart Cities, digitization, sustainability, the provision of basic utilities shows an ongoing commitment towards expansion. The budget also highlights the formation of additional construction and urban development bodies to fulfill the much needed skill gap in the built environment. The additional commitment to rural affordable housing is also a welcome addition, as is the recapitalization that allows banks to lend Rs.5 lakh crores.  Affordable housing, where the real deficit exists, saw an encouraging boost with the creation of a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund by the National Housing Bank (NHB) to address the issue of funding constraints faced by all stakeholders. GST rates should have come down for real estate that would have helped middle income group from pricing point. Except tax benefit for the slab from 2.5lakhs to 5 lakhs, no announcement is made related to Housing loan, interest rate etc.”

Ssumit Berry, Managing Director, BDI Group
"We welcome the Union Budget 2018-19 presented by FM Arun Jaitley with emphasis given to the affordable sector. The announcement of establishing dedicated affordable housing fund has brought more relaxation to the affordable housing sector not only this the benefit of increasing coverage under PMAY is also a positive news for the end users."

Gaurav Mittal, Managing Director, CHD Developers
“The Finance Minister presented the Union Budget 2018, we welcome the budget. It has paved growth path for the affordable housing segment. Finance Minister announced of establishing dedicated affordable housing fund is an announcement at right direction aims to meet the overall housing target of the government of building 1 crore houses by 2019. Expanding of coverage under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) will fulfill every buyer’s dream of owning housing.”

Vineet Relia, Managing Director, SARE Homes
“The Union budget brings some relaxation for the housing sector. The 1 cr houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) and establishment of a dedicated affordable housing fund will act as a booster for affordable housing sector. Besides, the announcement of allotting Rs 2.4 lakh crore for 99 smart cities, will increase the investments in the sector. However, lowering of GST rates was also expected to provide the extra push to the sector.”

Pushpender Singh, Managing Director, JMS Buildtech
“As Real Estate makes pivotal contribution to the economy, the fall in the GST rate in budget 2018-19 would have provided the extra boost to the sector. However, investment of 2.4 lakh crore for 99 smart cities will attract more investments into the market which will uplift the commercial reality and increase the demand for office spaces.”

Rahul Singla, Director Mapsko Group
“Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his Budget for the year 2018-19 in Parliament. The budget is largely focused on uplift of the affordable houses in the country. For next year, we expect a budget which will open a plethora of opportunities for real estate sector especially for ready-to-move-in which will help in the overall development of the country.”

Ravish Kapoor, Director, Elan Group
"Budget 2018-2019 was the last Budget before the upcoming lok sabha elections. Last year many reforms like RERA and GST were introduced to the sector, for this year budget we were expecting some more new reforms, but the Indian Government has not given much reasons for the realty sector to smile. In next year budget we expect more for the real estate sector.”

Sachin Bhandari, CEO, VTP Realty
“With real estate being a major focus owing to the infrastructure development and housing for all initiatives by the Government, the Union Budget 2018 announced today did have some interesting inclusions. Infact, prior to the Union Budget being broadcasted, the Government had declared reduction of GST to 8% for all houses qualifying under credit link subsidy scheme under PMAY. This itself shows the Government’s keenness and commitment to make Housing for All a reality by 2022. Funds have also been allocated by the government for building 37 lakh houses in urban areas. These project the Government’s sanguine outlook towards the realty sector which is very encouraging for us as a business and also as consumers. Out of 100 smart cities, 99 have been identified and Government announced budgets for development of various projects in these cities. The Finance Minister further announced that the Centre will create a dedicated affordable housing fund in collaboration with the National Housing Bank. For companies like ours, which have MIG and Affordable House offerings, this is a great opportunity to play a role in the development of India and contribute our bit in making our country one of the largest economies in the world. Government’s initiative to focus on both rural and urban housing will further help in accelerating the growth of real estate in our country.”

Abhishek Singh, Chief Operations, Paarth Infrabuild
“Budget for year 2018-19 presented today has focused majorly on boosting agriculture Sector, Healthcare and Education sector. Government has also given an uplift to Real estate Sector in affordable Housing sector by announcing the initiative of setting up a dedicated fund as ‘affordable housing fund’. This will help in fulfilling the country need. However, it was also expected that in this budget the sector would have got the industry status as awaited from past one year and benefits to new home buyers may be through relaxing the Tax slabs/Tax benefits to developers. However, we welcome Budget 2018-19.”

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