Today, on 1 Feb 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the full union budget 2021-22. It has much to offer to the real estate and infra sector. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) takes a look at the post budget reactions from the Indian economists, building material sectors, real estate developers and property consultants. Here is how they reacted to Budget 2021-22:
Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research, JLL India
Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research, JLL India has found this budget a Pro-infrastructure and investment Budget.He says “Given that the economy is well on its path to recovery, Union Budget 2021 has focused on enhancing expenditure while keeping the fiscal targets at bay in the short term. This Budget focuses on augmenting infrastructure with a special focus on expediting urban infrastructure projects which will act as a strong catalyst in driving real estate in urban areas. There is also a continued thrust on the agriculture sector which is likely to result in higher incomes and drive consumption.
The proposed easing of restrictions on leverage by InvITs/REITs will attract more REITs listings and thus higher investments into real estate. The announced monetisation of surplus land of government and government bodies is a welcome move; however, the implementation will need to be monitored.
While the government has not announced any significant fresh policies and / or programs pertaining to real estate, its commitment towards boosting affordable housing remains intact. The Budget has extended the benefit of additional interest deduction on home loans for first-time homebuyers in the affordable segment. Further, there is a time extension to claim the tax holiday on profits from affordable housing projects until March 2022. The government continues to promote affordable rental housing schemes by providing tax exemption for notified rental housing projects. This will accelerate the pace of investments in this scheme and is likely to fall in line with achieving the overall objective of Housing for All.”
Anuj Puri, Chairman - ANAROCK Property Consultants
Anuj Puri, Chairman - ANAROCK Property Consultants also sees that the budget will give a push to infrastructure and paves the way for more affordable and rental housing.
“Considered ‘the Margaret Thatcher moment’ for the FM, Union Budget 2021-22 was literally a make-or-break event. The circumstances are unprecedented - it is the first budget presented after a pandemic which shattered the economy globally, and in India. The impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic with early govt. estimates indicating a 7.7% contraction in FY 2020-21 – the biggest GDP growth plunge in over four decades. Expectations across sectors were at an all-time high, though the fiscal pressures on the finance ministry are nothing short of crippling.
As expected, healthcare got the highest priority in resource allocation and policy support including INR 64,180 Cr outlay under PM Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat scheme. It bodes well for healthcare facilities and wellness-oriented real estate.
Further, FY 2021-22 capital expenditure outlay at INR 5.54 lakh crore to ensure that the target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 is well on track. This will positively impact infrastructure, connectivity of Tier II cities, and job creation for SMEs and MSMEs – thereby benefitting the target customers of affordable housing.
For the ‘Aam Aadmi,’ personal tax relief by way of tax rate cuts or favourably readjusted tax slabs topped demand and the FM failed to deliver on it. An upward revision in the deduction limit under Section 80C (at INR 1.5 lakh a year) was long overdue and increasing this limit would have increased disposable incomes, inevitably pushing up consumption. It would have also helped improve consumer sentiments across sectors – the real need of the hour.
As anticipated, affordable housing and rental housing got a big boost with the govt. extending the period for extra deduction of INR 1.5 lakh available for loans up to 31st March 2022. This will keep demand buoyant for affordable housing in 2021 as well. Further, the extension of the tax holiday for affordable housing projects for one more year will help bring in more new supply within this segment. As per ANAROCK Research, affordable housing already accounts for more than 35% of the supply across the top 7 cities in the country.
Infrastructure got a major push. Infra works proposed include building 8,500-km of highways by March 2022. There were big infra sops announced for poll-bound states including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam. The govt. also announced the Bill to set up Development Finance Institution (DFI) providing INR 20,000 Cr to boost infrastructure projects. The Modi government has not lost sight of its USP of infra creation, which will help connect more areas and thus open them up for real estate development.
Customs duty on steel reduced to 7.5% will create some space to real estate developers who may not be in a position to increase prices immediately.
The announcement to set up 7 mega textile parks with plug-and-play facility in 3 years will unlock the potential of new markets for development and provide an impetus to real estate assets, including logistics and warehousing.
Post the pandemic, the chances of NPAs growing are significantly high. The Budget announced the setting up of ARCs to help banks to cushion the impact of the pandemic. Besides the setting up the long-awaited bad bank, the government will also infuse INR 20,000 crore into public sector banks as part of its recapitalisation plan.
All in all, the budget was broad-based with special emphasis on building robust healthcare infrastructure, physical infrastructure and affordable housing. It will result in job creation in the informal sector, which was severely impacted by the pandemic. Creating buoyancy in the job market will benefit the Indian economy in the long run. The focus on rural job creation will also give a boost to affordable housing, which will help increase housing demand in tier 2 & 3 cities.”
Mr. Ashok Mohanani, President - NAREDCO Maharashtra
According to Mr. Mohanani, the Government has put their best efforts to put the economy back on track after the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic that the entire country went through. It has focussed a lot on infrastructure in this budget. This will indirectly help boost the housing demand especially in the Tier II & Tier III cities.
The Government's decision to further infuse Rs. 20000 crore for public sector banks will help address liquidity issues to a large extent. The proposal to extend the Rs 1.5 lakh benefit on interest paid on affordable housing loans by one year to March 31, 2022 is an exceptional move which will boost the affordable housing segment and help to achieve the Prime Minister's vision of Housing for All. It will also ensure that more and more homebuyers get to avail this benefit. The reduction in tax burden on senior citizens above 75 years will give a push to the senior-living projects.
Also, the Government's continuous efforts to promote ease of doing business and digitization will help the real estate sector business in a long way going forward.
As anticipated, it's a very futuristic budget from the economy point of view.
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