Sushanto Roy, CEO, Sahara Prime City, has in a pre-Budget wish list of expectations said: “Given the pent-up demand for affordable housing which was discovered during the recent slowdown there is a need to reintroduce tax holiday under section 80IB for housing projects constructed after March 31, 2008.”

Tax holiday for hotels, under section 80ID should be extended to 10 years from existing time limit of 5 years, in view of the long gestation period for the industry, he said.

Among his other demands are:

  • Early resolution and clarification on pending issues related to Real Estate Mutual Funds (REMF) and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
  • Extend the benefit of external commercial borrowing scheme to the entire Indian real estate sector under automatic route including, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and not just for development of townships, hotels, hospitals, with a view to benefit from low costs of borrowing internationally.
  • Foreign direct investment in the real estate sector should not be subjected to the condition of minimum three-year lock-in period for repatriation of the original foreign investment. This shall ensure availability of greater capital and liquidity for developers to fund their existing projects and growth.
  • Grant of industry status to real estate sector will also help raise much needed construction capital at low cost domestically and has been a long pending demand from the sector.
  • Stamp duty rates on property transactions to be rationalized or brought down and to be made uniform across all States.
  • An upward revision to tax exemption to the extent of Rs 3.0 lakh compared to existing limit of Rs 1.50 lakh available on housing loan interest payment under section 24(b) of I-T Act will help boost demand for residential units.
  • The real estate regulator should be set up with an intention to make the system transparent, efficient and competitive and to protect the interests of consumers. It should serve as a platform wherein, if the developers have issues with local bodies, the regulator should assist the industry in addressing these issues.

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