Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Group
Pune, 1st February 2024:
As anticipated, the Interim Budget 2024 made no big-bang announcements, but it continued its focus on infrastructure upgrades and building connectivity across the country. This will benefit real estate growth in not just the top cities but in tier 2 & 3 cities across the country.
The FM made some announcements that will go on to benefit the sector both directly and indirectly:
– PM Awas Yojana (Gramin) – Despite all the challenges, the implementation of this scheme continued, achieving the target of close to 3 crore houses and now aims for 2 crore more houses to be taken up in the next five years.
– Housing for the middle class – The Government will launch a scheme to help deserving sections of the middle class, living in rented houses or slums, or chawls and unauthorized colonies, to buy or build their own houses. This is likely to free encroachment areas like slums for easier redevelopment.
– Capex outlay allocation to be increased by 11.1% to INR 11,11,111 lakh Cr, accounting for 3.4 % of GDP – This will unlock the potential for real estate development across assets because major part of this allocation will be used for various infra upgrades and new projects.
– Transit oriented development in urban areas – this may give a boost to housing demand in cities and lead to rise in residential prices, especially in peripheral areas and tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
– Development of iconic tourist centres – this is likely to favourably impact the hospitality sector with hotels and restaurants across categories. Moreover, long-term loans are proposed to states for tourism.
– Extending tax benefit to startups for another year – this may help the office real estate to rejuvenate.
*Key Unmet Expectations*
– Industry status: The industry has been requesting industry status for years, believing it would unlock benefits like easier access to credit, tax breaks, and infrastructure development. This wasn’t explicitly addressed in the interim budget.
– Tax benefits: Tax incentives for homebuyers, such as increasing the deduction limit on home loan interest under Section 24, were expected. The interim budget remained silent on this as well.
– Affordable housing: Boosting allocations for schemes like PMAY (Urban) to improve affordability and encourage new projects in this segment was a key expectation. No major announcements appeared in the interim budget regarding this either.
While the interim budget didn’t directly address the real estate sector’s key demands, the upcoming Union Budget might hold more concrete measures addressing industry concerns and potentially impacting market trends.