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Paying off home loan will depend on the property

if the property is construction-linked, then paying off the loan will be a better option as you will be on a simple rate of interest and EMI will start only after the complete loan is disbursed.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2011 00:25 IST

I took a home loan last year. I have made some bulk payment and the outstanding loan is now R24.9 lakh. I have made a FD of Rs 15 lakh for 555 days. My current EMI is Rs 41,000, the EMI may come down to Rs 33,334 if I restructure my loan. My status as of now is of a NRI though I have returned to India and am searching for a job. Shall I pay Rs 14.9 lakh by breaking the FD to bring down my EMI as well as the interest and liability? How should I use my FD to offset the principal amount and partially reduce the EMI? — Santosh

It is not very clear whether the property is self-occupied, leased out or under construction. The final decision can be different for all three scenarios, so let’s discuss all the options. The cost of servicing a loan is not only the interest which you pay but the effective rate of interest which is applicable net of tax benefits. That becomes your real cost.

In the first scenario of a self-occupied property, the current Income-Tax Act allows a deduction on borrowed capital if capital is borrowed for the purpose of purchase or construction. The limit of deduction is limited to Rs 1.5 lakh subject to a few conditions. However, the interest outflow for you would be much higher. Hence the real cost of loan will not come down substantially from your existing rate of interest. And with rising interest costs, you can consider paying off your loan and bring down your EMI.

For the second scenario of leased out property, the deduction on borrowed capital is available for the complete amount of interest. The real cost of loan comes down by 30%, assuming the highest rate of taxation. However, the benefit may vary depending on your marginal rate of tax. In this case, it may be prudent to continue the loan., but only till the time your earning rate on deposits is higher than the cost of the loan.

Lastly, if the property is construction-linked, then paying off the loan will be a better option as you will be on a simple rate of interest and EMI will start only after the complete loan is disbursed. The challenge lies in whether you will be willing to pay the cost of property upfront in times when real estate is going through a turbulent phase.

Hence, take your call and decide where you feel more comfortable.

The views expressed are of Surya Bhatia, certified financial planner & principal consultant, Asset Managers