Disha Kansara Chawla
Senior executive search professional, Mumbai
Many average Indians now own two houses – one to live in and one through which they earn retirement benefits. It is very difficult to buy a house in Mumbai and hence, people look at upcoming or under-construction projects along the outskirts. I am also planning to buy a home outside Mumbai, in Karjat or Panvel, as my budget is around Rs 50 lakhs.
Homes within the city limits are exorbitantly priced and it takes many years for a middle-class individual to repay the loan. I hope this year’s budget addresses these issues. First and foremost, we need a huge correction in prices. If the builder does not deliver the house on time, he should be made liable to pay the dues. Infrastructure and urban planning are also crucial for the success of such projects. Cities like New York, Sydney and Hong Kong, have good transport systems, which enables professionals to live in the suburbs and travel to the city’s central areas for work. Similarly, more funds should be allocated in this budget for the improvement of Mumbai’s transport system.
We need safe and pothole-free roads and highways and good metro and rail connectivity.
My husband and I are planning to buy a house soon, in my name. We are considering properties in north Bengaluru, near Hebbal, at a budget of around Rs 50-60 lakhs.
We hope that the finance minister will unveil special rebates in the budget for women buyers, to encourage them to buy houses in their names. This rebate for women should be at least 75 to 100 basis points lower than the average. 100% waiver of processing charges, can also help. This will surely give more security and help women’s empowerment.
While various measures are being adopted to promote affordable housing, question marks remain over its quality.
Consequently, the government should to appoint an organisation to check the quality of affordable housing units, to make it successful and help women to buy houses.
The government should also increase the tax exemption limit for housing loans, especially for buyers in metropolitan cities. The current limit of Rs 2 lakhs is woefully insufficient.
For women, rather than deducting the interest from the total income before tax, the interest paid should be directly deducted from the total tax to be paid. This should at least be implemented for affordable housing. We are also hoping for loans with lower interest rates.
Considering the prices of properties in metro cities, the rebates should be extended to houses costing at least Rs 40-50 lakhs. The budget should also focus on improving infrastructure, as it can make affordable housing accessible to many.
India also needs special courts to handle housing sector-related issues, so that these can be resolved speedily.
Advocate and arbitrator, Chennai
Home is a precious place which most people buy, by investing one’s lifetime savings and years of repaying the home loan. Before the builders, town planners and the taxmen pull at our purse strings, they must first give us a path we can afford to tread. I am looking to buy a property in Chennai – either in Porur, Poonamalee, Thirumazhisai or north Chennai. In these areas, a two-bedroom-hall apartment, will cost Rs 65-80 lakhs. In cities, most of the houses are priced above Rs 50 lakhs. Hence, the tax sops in the upcoming union budget, should cover these segments also.
Sale and purchase transactions, involve many components, in cash and cheque. After demonetisation, the cash concept has completely disappeared. One disadvantage of this, is that buyers may have to pay additional stamp duty on the entire sum, as declared in the sale agreement. On the other hand, the interest rates on home loans have started reducing, after demonetisation. Moreover, there is greater transparency, which is advantageous for genuine tax payers.
My wish, is that there should be further concessions in interest rates and stamp duty, for women investors.
Sneha Rao Kedlaya
Senior public relations consultant, Pune
Home buying is still an arduous task for most people. Buyers need to consider numerous factors, such as budget, location, infrastructure and amenities. I am planning to buy a house in Pune’s outskirts, in Chakan, Hinjewadi, or Kharadi, with a budget of Rs 25 lakhs. While roads are being built in these areas and the metro rail is also coming up, the pace of development needs to be quicker. The city also lacks proper water management and the authorities should install flow meters in houses.
The budget should allocate funds for traffic management, building roads and flyovers and improving transport services in Pune.
The government should also think of putting a price cap on residential projects. In Singapore, the government is building more HDB (Housing Development Board) projects, which are affordable for Singaporeans and working on the infrastructure.
In India, first comes the house and then, the infrastructure is developed. I expect greater emphasis on affordable housing, post the demonetisation. First-time home buyers were given an additional Rs 50,000 tax exemption in the 2016 budget, for a house worth up to Rs 50 lakhs, purchased with a loan of up to Rs 35 lakhs. I hope this budget will provide more tax exemptions for home buyers. With banks having more cash now, home loan rates should also reduce further.