Senior PR professional, Mumbai
There have been remarkable changes in the real estate sector, since 2017. The implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), has enhanced transparency, accountability and credibility in the sector and also built consumer confidence to a large extent. I have been looking out for a property in Mumbai’s central suburbs and Navi Mumbai. The central suburbs are well-connected to different parts of the city, while Navi Mumbai has seen a complete makeover, in terms of physical and social infrastructure, connectivity through highways and upcoming projects like the Navi Mumbai Airport, the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, the Navi Mumbai Metro, etc. Infrastructure is one of the essential considerations, when choosing a house and the government has been focusing on infrastructure growth.
In Budget 2018, the government has given importance to infrastructure and expansion of the rail network across the country, through rail routes, metro rail and bullet train. The suburban railway network in metros like Mumbai and Bengaluru, will also be expanded.
Nevertheless, as a home buyer, the budget was a big disappointment. There was no announcement or tax concession, for first-time home buyers. There was a huge demand from the industry, to bring real estate under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Most of the home buyers were expecting the stamp duty and registration to be subsumed under the GST, as this could have eased the burden of multiple taxes while buying a home. This was not done. Also, there was no change in the personal income tax slab rates. Interest rate is another vital aspect, which was neglected. All in all, a muted budget and not what the home buyers were looking for.
Interior designer, Jaipur
The government has declared measures to boost housing for the lower income group, which is a smart decision. This will help in its ‘Housing for All’ mission and also in building and improving infrastructure. With the focus on affordable housing, there will be an increase in supply and reduction of prices.
As far as I am concerned, the budget was neutral and there was no disappointment. Jaitley’s budget highlighted strengthening of agriculture, the rural economy, infrastructure, healthcare, quality of education and employment as the focus areas for 2018. It is a very election-oriented budget.
An individual’s finances play a vital role, in deciding the location for buying a home. As there was no major change in the tax slab, hence, the fluctuation risk decreases or is minimum
I am planning to buy a house in Jaipur near Jawahar Circle and JLN Marg. I expect real estate prices to remain the same, even after the Budget. GST rates should have come down for real estate, as that would have helped the middle-income group. The allocation of Rs 5.97 lakh crores on infrastructure spending, is a good move but in reality, we need a huge push and better implementation, to ensure that the country’s infrastructure improves. Even Jaipur, which is rapidly growing, needs better infrastructure. I am glad that the government has focused on ‘Smart Cities’, through projects like ‘smart command’, ‘smart roads’, ‘solar rooftops’ and ‘intelligent transport systems’, which will help us to lead a better quality of life.
Assistant manager, media and events company, Mumbai
The Union Budget for 2018-19 by finance minister Arun Jaitley, has nothing special for the middle-income group, in terms of housing. We expected the finance minister to provide some reduction in home loan interest rates but nothing was announced on that. As many as 51 lakh houses in rural areas are to be built in 2018-19. Also, a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund was announced in this Budget. The idea, is to achieve the vision of Housing for All by 2022. However, Budget 2018 will not make any difference to the common salaried people, in terms of housing loan, interest rates, tax benefits, etc.
Sales manager at an MNC, Delhi
Last year’s budget was people-centric and just the opposite of Budget 2018. I wish the finance minister had reduced GST rates for real estate, as it would have help the mid-income group. There was no change in tax savings on home loans, nor were the 80C limits raised.
The main reason there was no drastic change in the budget, is because of the elections in 2019. The BJP government cannot take drastic steps that could backfire.
Acknowledging air pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region is a big problem, Jaitley announced a scheme, to support the governments of Delhi and neighbouring states, in tackling high levels of air pollution. So, I hope something concrete will come up, to tackle pollution.
The budget did speak about expediting the process for delivering affordable housing and allocated funds. However, how the government plans to do it, remains unclear. The budget also spoke about expediting infrastructure creation, to make regions easily accessible. This could provide a fillip to Housing for All. I hope that builders come up with more affordable housing options within city limits and not in remote areas or the outskirts of cities. I hope the allocation of funds will help builders expedite affordable housing projects and benefit the end-users from the economically weaker sections (EWS) and lower-income group (LIG). I am glad affordable housing is being given importance. Thane has been witnessing new residential projects coming up steadily and I plan to buy a property in that area, as it has verdant greenery and vibrant cultural hubs.
Entrepreneur and blogger, Bengaluru
Bengaluru, apart from its lovely weather, is struggling to create or build better infrastructure.
Something that should have been given emphasis, was the timelines for creating better infrastructure in the city. What does ‘expediting the process’ mean? An average commuter spends around four hours commuting within the city. Is the decision justifiable? The budget announced Rs 50 crores for infrastructure development and Rs 17,000 crores for the development of rail routes in Bengaluru, what about roads and public transport? A lot needs to be done.
Also, there was no revision in the tax slab for women who are first-time home buyers, which was disappointing.