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Real Estate Industry’s Bold Wishlist for Budget 2024: GST Revision and Tax Sops to Boost Affordable Housing

FinanceReal Estate Industry's Bold Wishlist for Budget 2024: GST Revision and Tax Sops to Boost Affordable Housing

**Real Estate Industry’s Bold Wishlist for Budget 2024: GST Revision and Tax Sops to Boost Affordable Housing**

The real estate industry in India has been eagerly awaiting the Union Budget 2024-2025, with high hopes for policy changes that can bolster the affordable housing sector. According to a report by Livemint, the EMI-to-income ratio for households in major Indian cities improved significantly, making homeownership a more attainable goal for a wider segment of the population. This positive trend has spurred experts and industry players to put forth a compelling wishlist for the upcoming budget.

**What Did Experts Say?**

In line with the goal of ‘housing for all’, the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has recommended the creation of a second tranche of the Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing (SWAMIH) fund, with a substantial corpus of ₹50,000 crore. There is also a widespread expectation that the residential sector will be granted industry status, unlocking financial benefits and streamlining project approvals.

Experts have emphasized the need to raise the cap on affordable housing segments to attract more buyers, especially in the current backdrop of high inflation and rising commodity costs. Additionally, increasing the allocation to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) has been suggested to stimulate economic activity in rural areas.

The real estate sector has witnessed a surge in housing sales, prompting calls for increased tax incentives, including the extension of deductions for principal repayment to second-home buyers and linking interest exemptions on home loans to the inflation-adjusted cost of home purchase. Moreover, proposals for a uniform stamp duty rate of 1% for the affordable housing segment and tax holidays for developers have been put forward to bolster the sector.

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**Expectations and Anticipations**

The real estate industry is also looking towards a potential increase in the tax rebate on home loan interest under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act, from the current limit of ₹2 lakh to ₹4 lakh, which is anticipated to sustain the existing demand. Furthermore, a thoughtful reduction in GST rates for the real estate sector has been highlighted as a means to make homes more affordable and spur increased demand.

Key stakeholders have emphasized the need for adjustments in the budget, including increasing the metro city’s budget to around ₹70-75 lakh, to make more homes accessible to a broader range of buyers, thereby enabling them to benefit from government subsidies and reduced GST rates. The release of government-owned land for affordable housing has been proposed to address the land shortage in this crucial housing segment and potentially lower real estate prices overall.

**Outlook for the Future**

Looking ahead, it is expected that the prime minister’s vision of ‘Housing for All’ will continue to be prioritized to provide a supply-side stimulus and boost end-user demand. While significant policy announcements are unlikely to be made in the February 1 budget due to the impending Lok Sabha elections, industry leaders are anticipating increased spending in PM Awas Yojana to promote urban infrastructure development and schemes and perks targeting the affordable housing market in rural and semi-urban areas.

In conclusion, the real estate industry’s wishlist for Budget 2024 is geared towards driving positive changes that can make homeownership more achievable for a larger section of the population while stimulating economic activity and growth in the sector. With a comprehensive set of recommendations, the industry is hopeful that the forthcoming budget will address critical challenges and pave the way for a thriving affordable housing segment in India.

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Remember, it’s bold wishes for bold changes and growth in the real estate industry.

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