Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

  • Benefits aside, a cut could have been a major setback to the affordable housing segment
  • GST rate cut, clarity on / abolition of ITC – boosted demand vs. actual sales

After much anticipation, the GST Council has failed to deliver a final verdict on GST applicable on real estate – but how much would it really have mattered?

Here’s a Utopian vision – the government would announce a GST rate cut, homebuyers would cheer up since prices would reduce marginally, and the market revives. Really?

The biggest paradox in Indian real estate is that numbers suggest a massive burden of unsold housing stock in the midst of a chronic shortage of housing. As long as prices don’t reduce significantly, the housing shortage will only widen regardless of tax sops.

What we have today is a nation of aspiring homebuyers, many of which are perpetually on the fence, waiting for a slew of minor policy windfalls to cumulatively make a home purchase feasible and attractive.

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

A possible GST rate cut at the very beginning of 2019 could bring in the much-needed respite for the Indian residential sector, which is still reeling from reformatory changes.

Though ANAROCK data indicates that sales numbers picked up by nearly 16% in 2018, sales are still far from their peak levels.

The ongoing 12% GST rate levied on under-construction properties has proved to be a major deterrent for homebuyers, who understandably shied away from this added burden on their finances.

ANAROCK’s consumer sentiment survey also confirms that the prevailing GST rate has prevented as many as 49% of property seekers from buying under-construction homes liable for GST. They preferred ready-to-move-in homes that were exempt from this tax.

To attract home buyers and kick-start a more convincing revival of the residential sector, the GST Council is now considering reducing the GST rate for under-construction homes during its next meet in January 2019.

In fact, this move was expected in December 2018; nevertheless implemented, it will be a perfect New Year bonanza for millions of aspiring homebuyers looking to buy under-construction homes in the coming year.