Real estate projects, including residential ones, in NCR cities of Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, and Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana were badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The realty players were hoping for relief measures in the Budget.
"The Budget makes token gestures to the real estate sector," CREDAI NCR President Pankaj Bajaj said.
CREDAI is realtors'' apex body.
He noted that the extension for affordable housing projects under 80 IA is not significant as due to the other impractical requirements of the section projects availing such tax concessions are very few, perhaps less than 5 per cent of the entire real estate industry.
"The extension of additional interest deduction for housing loans till March 31, 2022 is welcome," Bajaj said.
The residential sector is showing "definite signs" of a turnaround and expects the momentum to pick up pace this year, he added.
Omaxe Ltd''s CEO Mohit Goel said the Budget will immensely benefit state capitals and tier two and three cities from the government''s focus on sectors like roads and highways, ports, power, urban infrastructure, railways.
"Add to it, the affordable housing boost by extending tax holiday for such projects by one year, extending by one year the deadline for first time home buyers to avail additional Rs 1,50,000 interest deduction on home loan and tax exemption for affordable rental housing, will further boost demand for housing in these cities," Goel said.
Raheja Developers COO Achal Raina said developers needed measures that could help them in developing the projects on time such as help in loans from banks, single-window clearance and input tax credit on GST benefit, among others.
"These topics were not touched upon by the Finance Minister and we expect that the government will take care of these soon," Raina said.
"The Finance Minister has announced measures that might streamline the funds, the real estate sector need financing for incomplete viable projects, and we hope that banks will extend help to the realty sector," he added.
TDI Infratech''s Vice President of Sales and Leasing (Commercial) Vimal Monga said the Budget was long-awaited by the real estate sector as it could have led to a serious turn of events while the country''s economy is still recovering from the brunt of lockdown.
"However, instead of going the direct way, the Finance Minister chose to initiate stimulus in the related infrastructure sector, which will be bringing job opportunities to the construction workers and labourers who have suffered last year due to complete shutdown," Monga said.
Expressing optimism, Monga said it is a good news that real estate has emerged as one of the safest investment options and with easing of InvITs/REITs, the sector is set to benefit further.
Pacific Group Executive Director Abhishek Bansal hailed the Budget announcements as "pro-real estate", saying they address some of the concerns of the sector.
"These measures will provide a lot of relief to the industry which has been badly bruised by the pandemic. With these announcements, the government will be able to move closer to achieving its goal of ''Housing For All'' by 2022," Bansal said.
However, commercial and retail segment of real estate industry has little to be excited about the Budget announcements, he added.
Migsun MD Yash Miglani said the Budget was progressive and will help the industry in many ways and asserted that the affordable homes market has the potential to take care of the housing problem of the citizens of the country to a large extent.
"However, the government could have done more to alleviate some of the pandemic-inflicted pains for the industry which is unfortunately missing. The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the industry and any short-term easy financing solution for the developers could have made the deal sweeter," Miglani said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced in the Budget the government ''s decision to extend additional tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on home loan interest till March 2022 tax and tax holidays on affordable housing projects, among others.
However, realtors'' demands, including industry/ infrastructure status, single-window approval for projects, input tax credit on GST and extra allocation in stress fund, were not considered. PTI KIS RAM