The festive Diwali period, when homebuyers are known to make purchases, failed to bring in business for developers selling under-construction houses, and their frowns do not look like they will turn into smiles anytime soon.
The bleak forecast follows the state government’s announcement of one extra per cent of stamp duty for funding infrastructure projects.
A mid-sized developer in Dahisar who recently constructed a 24-storey tower near Dahisar railway station said, “I have constructed several projects near Dahisar station in the past few years. Sales during Diwali and Dhanteras usually land me 10-12 bookings, but this year was terrible. I got only two bookings during this time.”
He added, “Buyers are opting for projects that are four or five years old to escape paying 12 per cent GST on under-construction projects. So it is getting tougher to sell under-construction apartments.”
On Tuesday, the state government decided to levy additional one per cent surcharge on the current five per cent stamp duty that takes the total stamp duty to six per cent of the apartment cost, along with 12 per cent GST in case of apartments being constructed.
The real estate industry expects the move will make selling of apartments more difficult.
Rahul Shah of Sumer Group said, “Infrastructure should be enhanced but hiking stamp duty by one per cent will be a blow to the beleaguered real estate industry. The tax burden on consumers will touch a whopping 19 per cent, considering 12% GST, 1% registration charges and the proposed 6% stamp duty. This will hurt buying sentiments and sales will dip. Already there is a liquidity crunch in the system.”
Anarock Property Consultant’s Anuj Puri said the government should keep affordable housing away from the surcharge.
HOUSING FOR ALL?
On the one hand, govt is offering sops for affordable housing under its mission of Housing for All by 2022, but on the other, it is adding to the burden of very price-sensitive buyers of such homes, a developer said