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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Access to soft loans can revive real estate sector, says realtors

Arjun Sharma, Hindustan Times  Luthiana, July 05, 2014
First Published: 13:07 IST(5/7/2014) | Last Updated: 13:14 IST(5/7/2014)

 After focusing on major industries and their expectations from the union budget that is scheduled for July 10, this part of the series focuses on real estate sector that could become an emerging sector in Ludhiana if steps for its revival are taken by inducing schemes for new and upcoming projects.

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 Ludhiana being an industrial town has seen an inflow of several real estate projects in different areas of the city. Being located near to Chandigarh, the city has seen a thrust in the real estate sector that had somehow now been slowed down.

With signs of revival of economy now, the sector wants that steps should be taken by the central government to boost it.

Many sites are being developed in different areas of the city in view of the increasing demand, especially of flats.

Some new projects that are in pipeline would also start operations in the near future. These projects have come up on Chandigarh Road, GT Road and Ferozepur Road, among other city areas.

Due to congestion in other city areas, most of the residents and people from other states as well as NRIs are interested in the projects on Ferozepur Road that also includes a golf course project, while some projects are also offering flats catering to middle class.

These qualities have given hope to the sector, as they have everything available from elite to the middle class.

People in the real estate business feel that to bring stability in the real estate projects in Ludhiana, some measures have to be taken by the central government.

INDUSTRY STATUS TO REAL ESTATE SECTOR

Realtors have been demanding industry status to the real estate sector, so that they could also get the benefits that industry gets. The demand has been there since long, but has not been fulfilled due to the complexities involved in the matter. In case it is done, realtors will be in a position to arrange funds at lower interest rates. The demand is also there due to the fact that this sector generates significant revenue for both state as well as central government.

SINGLE WINDOW FOR CLEARANCE

Realtors also demand that there should be a single window system for getting clearance for a project as it is a cumbersome procedure. Realtors say that single-window clearance will provide time-bound and hassle-free clearances for housing projects. Currently, projects are getting delayed because of multiple approvals from various government departments. The ongoing practice of getting approvals not only delays projects, but also increases the cost of projects.

SCRAP SERVICE TAX ON UNDER-CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

A demand of scrapping the service tax on the under-construction projects has also been raised by the realtors, who say that this puts a lot of financial pressure on the realtors. They say that a policy scrapping the tax on under-construction projects should be brought in immediately to provide relief to the realtors.

REDUCE INTEREST RATES ON HOME LOANS

Those involved in real estate sector believe that a boost could be witnessed in the sector easily, if the government decreases home loan rates. This would ensure loans being taken by all sections of the society to buy new homes that would bring stability in the sector. Even the developers have been demanding loans at lesser rates. At present, interest rates charged by the banks to developers and home buyers are high. Another demand of increasing the tax exemption limit for the payment of interest on housing loan has been doing rounds.

FDI IN REAL ESTATE

Realtors want that riders on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in real estate sector should be removed. They say that easy norms for FDI in real estate sector should be formed so that more and more investment comes into the country. Real estate sector is in need of liberalised funding flow.

Vikas Gupta, joint managing director, Earth Group, said some measures were required to provide a boost to the real estate sector. “There are some measures that can bring the sector back on track. The government must immediately announce implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in order to rationalise indirect taxes. GST will simplify the present complex tax system.”

Hemant Gupta, head, sales, IREO Waterfront, said, “There are many other industries, including steel, cement and building material that will get a boost if the real estate sector comes into government’s focus. “Easy loans to the industry will be beneficial for the sector. If industry status is granted to the real estate, it could turn the fortunes of the sector,” Gupta said.

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