If you are planning to buy a house, grab it before July, as realty prices are set to increase later. The service tax of 3.3%, announced in the Budget, will be effective on your home from July as the amendments to the Finance Bill will be put into effect in June. Moreover, banks have decided to increase interest rates in the range of 0.25-0.5 percentage points on home loans, which could further be hiked in the forthcoming credit policy. Companies including realty majors like DLF, under the aegis of Delhi-based real estate body National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco), will soon approach the FM for a rollback of service tax.

The property prices are expected to go up with real estate companies passing on the additional burden to buyers. Effectively, someone buying a house property in Delhi will have to pay a service tax of 3.3% on the price of the accommodation and also a stamp duty of 8% as a sale of immovable property. The 3.3% tax will not include the amount to be paid towards special charges like garden facing or community hall facility as these charges will be taxed at 10% of the total charges. However, Sanjay Chandra, MD of country’s second-largest realty firm Unitech says an increase in interest rates is unlikely to affect the demand as the increase is only in trigger rates and hence there is no change in effective interest rates.“The service tax will have some marginal impact, but the market will absorb that for two reasons. One, the change in personal tax slabs will leave more disposable income in the hands of consumer and second, the better prevailing economic conditions are likely to result in at least 10% increase in the salaries of the working class for the next financial year. These two facts will more than offset the marginal impact of service tax, which is expected to be 2% to 3%,” he said.

When contacted, Naredco president and realty company Omaxe’s group chairman Rohtas Goel said, “We will hold a meeting of the association to discuss the Budget proposals, particularly levying of the service tax on housing, which will have a negative impact on the realty sector.” However, finance ministry officials have said they won’t entertain any request for change in the Budget proposal. Central Board of Excise and Customs member YG Parandhe said, “We are not taking up the issue as it stands now” when asked if there is a possibility to relook at the proposal.

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