India’s new budget gives a leg up to real estate sector

Tax relief and other perks in store for developers and home buyers alike

Holi celebrations in India. Kristin F. Ruhs/Shutterstock

India presented today its new budget with several key proposals for the real estate market.

Union Budget 2019 is seen to benefit developers and property seekers alike with a slate of tax relief measures, including exemption from levies on unsold inventory as well as those on multiple self-occupied homes.

In a move designed to promote affordable housing, benefits under Sec 80(i)BA have been extended for one more year, revealed interim finance minister Piyush Goyal in his budget speech.

The benefits apply to all housing projects approved until the end of fiscal year 2019-2020.

The new budget also removes the tax on notional, i.e. hypothetical, rental income from a second self-occupied house. The income tax will only be paid if the second house is being rented out.

Where the notional rent on unsold real estate inventory was previously levied a year from the date of completion of a project, the tax will now be levied two years thereafter, the minister announced.

The capital gains tax structure has also been changed to allow people to invest in two residential properties, instead of just one previously. They can do this while still retaining an exemption of capital gains tax on up to 2 crore rupees, with the caveat that it can only be claimed once in a lifetime.

Other announcements include a proposed reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) burden on homebuyers. A committee of ministers will be studying the plan.