Aunj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India has a mixed reaction to Union Budget 2012-13 as he seems that the Indian real estate sector does not have much to cheer about.
Exempting proceeds from the sale of a residential property from Capital Gains tax if they are invested in equity or equipment of an SME definitely provides home owners with more reinvestment options. Previously, the only route for exemption was purchase of another property or tax saving bonds and at the same time, this move could also result in a lowering of sales volumes on the secondary sale market.
He believes that it is difficult to see the raising of the personal income tax exemption limit from Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh as anything more than tokenism. It is certainly not relevant for the aspiring Indian middle-class home buyer. The expected exemption limit of Rs. 3 lakh would have had some significance. Although, the 1% tax rebate for home loans of up to Rs.15 lakh on homes costing up to Rs. 25 lakh will prove beneficial for developers in this segment.
Also the postponement of a firm decision on FDI in multi-brand retail gave disappointment. We seem to have missed yet another opportunity to boost the Indian economy by ways of significant foreign capital inflows. On the other hand, the increased spend on warehousing will certainly help the retail real estate sector, since more storage capabilities will help retailers to expand into more cities and towns.
Even the increased service tax rate from 10% to 12% will increase the cost of production for developers, who are already reeling under high input costs which means that this increased burden will be passed on to end users.