Online registration process has commenced for WBHIRA

Are you willing to buy flats in Kolkata? Or you are a suburb-lover when it comes to buying your own home?

Buying home’ symbolizes a sense of pride and security for every homebuyer. But while buying flats in Kolkata or in any other districts, in West Bengal especially these days, you need to be an extra alert.

A series of legal amendments have happened in the real estate sector of West Bengal in recent times and being a home-buyer or an investor you need to have a close track of the market updates when buying properties are on the cards.

We tell you, investing in a real estate project without having knowledge about the real estate act and the co-laterals, happening in and around the state can dent your savings. Shocked?

Skipping this article can make you lose a few lakhs. Can you afford?

Have a quick look at the updates first –

Amidst the central state squabble around state’s tweaking attitude with the name and the key facets of the central act Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 finally the portal of WBHIRA has set to go.

West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Authority (WBHIRA) has at last launched its official RERA registration portal: www.hira.wb.gov.in; which means developers and real estate agents can no longer take homebuyers on a ride in name of project legitimacy and its deliverance. 

Abiding by the rules every on-going realty project, whether it is in the capital or suburb has to be registered with the state RERA authority.

The state act has categorized the registration process into 3 broad segments which are as follows –

  1. For real estate projects – One can register real estate projects as per Section-3 of West Bengal Housing Industry 2017, read with West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Rules 2018.

  2. For real estate agents – An agent has to register him/herself as per Section 9 of West Bengal Housing Industry 2017, read with West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Rules 2018.

Registrations for both projects and agents have already started and under the purview of RERA projects and agents without their respective registration numbers would be subject to desertion.

Now, this is indeed great news from the homebuyers’ standpoint; but the registration is somehow pinching real estate stakeholders a bit hard.

The registration fees that the government has prescribed are like these

  • For an individual registration, it will cost a person Rs. 25,000.

  • Other than individual the registration fee is Rs. 2, 50, 000.

The charge for the registration is so far higher than that of the rest of the states and UTs where the Act is there in the picture.

Real estate is one sector that has been the worst blamed for the counterfeiting activities by its stakeholders at large. Even it’s really late, but the state has started the registration process which will mandate the registration of the realty stakeholders and safeguard the rights of the homebuyers in amalgam. Again, the charge for the registration is pretty high for them which they will end up passing on to the homebuyers at the end,”- said Mr. Mahesh Somani, Chairman: National RERA Committee, National Association of Realtors (NAR), India and Vice President: Realtors & Estate Consultants’ Association of Kolkata, (RECA Kolkata).

However, the successful implementation of WBHIRA is still in question as the act has curbed two of the key provisions of the central Act on which the union government has not given a nod. By far, the central government repealed Section 92 of the Maharashtra Housing Act 2012 and the same has been followed by the Kerala government.

Now all the eyes are upon the central advisory council, (constituted under Section 42 of central RERA) how it fixes the applicability of HIRA/RERA in accordance with the consensus of both the governments.

Homebuyers’ Body FPCE Beats the Bushes for President’s and PM’s Mediation for RERA Reiteration by WB Government.

Starting from its inception, till its deviation from the central real estate Act, the Housing & Industrial Regulation Act, 2017 (HIRA) of West Bengal state government, has been creating a big-time buzz in the Kolkata property market. People, willing to buy flats in Kolkata has been set from side to side by the institutional call and its potential impact on Kolkata real estate.

Now, it seems like the state Act didn’t go well with the pan-Indian homebuyers’ representative body FPCE. The Association is up against the redundancy and it seeks central government’s arbitration in this entire event. It’s worth mentioning that FPCE has been representing the homebuyers in all ongoing RERA related cases in Bombay High Court.

As per the latest reports, the forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), a non-profit company representing homebuyers, that had put all its effort to shift the gear for Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, (RERA) implementation, has asked for the intervention of PM and the President of India in sidestepping the central real estate Act and creating state-level legislation Housing & Industrial Regulation Act, 2017 (HIRA) by the West Bengal state government in particular.

Abhay Upadhyay, president of FPCE and also an active member of the Central Advisory Council, RERA said, “In September 2015, we initiated a movement ‘Fight for RERA’ for the passage of RERA by the parliament. Now we are fighting to save RERA from being made redundant. We hope the central government and lawmakers would understand that seriousness of the issue and take necessary steps to save RERA.”

It’s no secret that Indian real estate market had to undergo a series of reconstructive institutional decisions in the past couple of years and still the shadow of which is very much in the scene in all kinds of parts and parcels in realty transactions. Meanwhile, this is supposed to another cusp from both the structural and investors’ standpoint.

However, in its official letter, the homebuyers’ body clearly requested the President not to give a go to the Bengal government for a separate state-level realty regime. FPCE has made a clear point that no other states than West Bengal have brought forth a separate state-level legislation which will somehow belittle the importance and spirit of the central law.

The constant change in institutional decisions and the volume of opposition they are receiving from different authoritative organizations are up-against the investment sentiment in a big time now which is not a positive sign for the Kolkata real estate market. If the market is going to continue with its existing wait and watch mode; it might also weaken the sales volume in the coming days and also push back the active rollout of RERA in the district,”- said Mr. Mahesh Somani, the Chairman of National RERA Committee and head of eastern zone National Association of Realtors (NAR-India).

Currently, the central government is examining the likelihood and prospect of two individual (state and central) existence on the same subject for the regulation of the real estate sector. After being notified back in 2017, the central real estate Act mandated all the states to notify their respective Acts, before the presence of the state regulatory authority (RA) with the due time and this was the set rule for every other state apart from J&K.

In a previous Central Advisory Council meeting, a sub-committee was formed by the government with the objective of urge the Bengal government to adopt RERA, including the supervision of the implementation of RERA across other states; FPCE now wants this sub-committee to notify their report regarding this matter.

Reportedly, FPCE has suggested revoking the West Bengal HIRA from implementation and asked for one central RERA across the country. Members of the homebuyers’ body also had a meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi where they requested Gandhi to raise the concern and to initiate conversation with the Mamata Banerjee Government.

Meanwhile, the state Act has been accused of diluting a couple of the key clauses of the central Act- the definition of force majeure clause and the garage. Where the central Act says that the force majeure clause can be brought into play only in case of war, drought, floods, earthquake, fire or any other natural calamity affecting the regular development of real estate projects; HIRA comes with another version where it says that apart from the mentioned conditions under RERA, force majeure clause can be declared for any other circumstance prescribed.

On the garage part, RERA has defined garage as a place within a project that has a roof and walls on three sides for parking any vehicle, but it does not include unenclosed or uncovered parking area. HIRA, on the other hand, defines a garage as an open space sanctioned by the housing society or the competent authority.

States that have notified the Act and formed the authority have started passing orders. States like Kerala and Telangana have notified their state rules under RERA, but have not set up an authority.

What made real estate developers file writ petition against GST council? (An industry update)

A group of real estate developers of Maharashtra recently moved the Bombay High Court against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, central, and the state government of Maharashtra of late.

As per the latest industry reports, the prime reason behind dragging the central, state government, and the GST council is the applicability of GST on mere transfer of land development rights by the owner to a realty developer.

To be more specific, real estate developers challenged a recent notification which made the transfer of development rights from the land owner to the developers taxable under the revised tax regime.

In a notification published in January 2018, GST council mandated that if any construction work falls under the Joint Development Agreement (JDA) category, wherein a landowner transfers the land to a developer and gets apartment, a certain amount of revenue or a combination of both in return; GST would be levied on both the land owner and the real estate developer.

“In the past, such transactions were exempt from the tax system. Now, that the revised tax regime has been already in force, any real estate transaction under JDA will come under GST ambit and it will seek tax payment from both of the consignees, where the entire land transaction has already been kept out of the GST purview; thus situation is a bit tricky here,”- said Mr. Mahesh Somani, Chairman – National RERA Committee, National Association of Realtors, India (NAR-India).

Starting from the advanced lawsuit, till the unified tax regime – nothing is going in favour of real estate developers. Tax experts consider that with this new notification of GST, it will add to the cost pressure on realty developers even bigger; as such transactions would get slower and complex credit generating process under GST. Again, for this taxability, the acquisition of land will turn to a complex process for the developers as it won’t be easy to settle the consideration with the land owners abiding the new rule.

On the other hand, the government claimed that in most of the cases, real estate developers give apartments to the land owners after the completion of the project which is nothing but consideration for the transfer of the project rights; therefore it shouldn’t be free from the GST purview.

However, the Bombay High Court issued notice to the Union Government of India, state of Maharashtra and GST Council and the next date of hearing is decided on July 9, 2018.

According to the industry experts, GST council has come to this conclusion, considering the rising trend of joint venture agreement between land owners and the developers as these ventures don’t fit in the outright land deal kind. While developers are game for JD ventures for their ease-of-investment business strategy, land owners are up for higher return on investment (ROI) prospect than just one time consideration.

Why it is the ideal time to invest in Mid-Budget Flats in Kolkata right now

Want to buy a home in your early thirties?
Are you looking for compact apartments in a metro city?

The industry experts suggest that investing in mid-budget flats in Kolkata can lead you to the throne. Research indicates that 80% of the young homebuyers consider property portals (esp video contents) while choosing an apartment. But there are other prime facts too which can return the maximum on your investment. One essential fact would be keeping yourself updated with the latest governmental announcements related to the residential realty segment. Keeping a close track on the institutional declarations is a pivotal fact to be considered while buying your home. If you miss out any, you could end up paying higher than the actual price.

Reportedly, the booking of mid-budget flats in Kolkata has increased over 20%-25% during the last fiscal. Want to know why?

Read on: In its recent announcement central government has allotted Credit Linked Subsidy System (CLSS) to the Middle-Income Group housing category coupled with an increased Floor Area Ratio (FAR).  It means middle-income group affordable housing (both MIG-I & MIG-II categories) are now eligible to claim the CLSS benefit provided by MIG-I category should have a carpet area of 160 sq meter or 1,722 sq ft and for MIG- II category it is 200 sq meter or 2,153 sq ft under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY-U) Urban. The CLSS for MIG scheme started gaining impetus in the last couple of quarters and the growth is indeed noticeable.

Since the affordable housing sector has turned out to be the newest sales outpouring source for the real estate sector in India, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MHUPA) is absolutely leaving no stones unturned in order to give it a further boost.

It’s an open secret that the word ‘affordability’ varies from state-to-state based on several parameters such as- availability of land, socio-economic structure, cost of living, potential growth factors and lots more.
Buying flats in Kolkata meet all these said parameters successfully. And the best part is most of the top-level housing development of these days fit into the said CLSS beneficiary with ease.

Previously, there was an increment of carpet area for both MIG categories. It took the sales of affordable homes higher across the metros by 15%-17%.

Now under the revised rules, homebuyers with annual household income from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 12 lakh would be eligible for MIG I category, while MIG II for income needs to be above Rs 12 lakh up to Rs 18 lakh. Interest Subsidy for MIG I and II will be 4% and 3%, correspondingly for maximum loan tenure of 20 years.

The adequate home loan amount for interest subsidy will be Rs 9 lakh and 12 lakh for MIG I and MIG II category, in that order. Loan quantum above this limit will be at non-subsidized rates. In its recent release the ministry has declared that as on 11.06.2018, an amount of Rs.736.79 crore has been disbursed to 35,204 beneficiaries belonging to the MIG categories.

The range of the CLSS e was expanded to MIG category with the approval of the cabinet In February 2017. The scheme got its approval for implementation in the year 2017 has been stretched up to March 2019.

The recent home loan revision decision of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) foreshadowed the revised CLSS announcement by the housing ministry. As per the revised home loan structure of RBI, the housing loan limits for PSL eligibility from existing Rs 28 lakh to Rs 35 lakh in metropolitan centres (with population of 10 lakh and beyond), and from existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh in other centres, provided the by and large cost of the housing unit in the metropolitan centre and at other centres do not surpass Rs 45 lakh and Rs 30 lakh, respectively.

“Government’s decision to increase the carpet area further will expedite the construction part of affordable housing sector along with a close quality check. Since most of the mid-budget flats in Kolkata fall under the CLSS benefit scheme, the overall sales are expected to get a sizable augment in the coming years or so,”- says Mr. Mahesh Somani, Chairman- National RERA Committee, National Association of Realtors, India.

The increased construction activity in residential segment is about to reflect on the demand and supply chain of the core segments like- cement, steel, equipment and the other related segments. There will be a wider open horizon for the skilled and unskilled workers with the growing housing construction process across the urban areas of the country.

This is like a digging gold mine opportunity for the MIG flat buyers. People who have been in search of mid-budget flats in Kolkata, this should be the perfect time to plunge in.

Builders might have to retaliate up to Rs. 20,000 crore in accordance with new accounting rules: (Industry insight)

A life-size wave is all set to bump on the realty builders. As per the wandering industry reports, the implementation of a new accounting standard from this fiscal (starting from 2018) will compel the listed real estate companies to write back profits, that have been consummated from all those projects under completion more than a year now.

This could be another socking line of attack to greet those real estate companies which have been reeling under insolvency code for the past few years or more. However, reports suggest that developers have already submitted their request in written to the government, seeking relief.

Conforming to the global industry standard, IND-AS 115 (new industry standard) mentions that all listed real estate companies will have to write back about Rs. 20,000 crore from their net profit of the current fiscal. The new industry standard started rolling since last April of this fiscal.

Real estate companies will have to run after their project completion with best of their efforts. They will have to switch to Project Completion Method from the existing Percentage Completion Method (POC).

Under the earlier regime, the booking amounts received from the home buyers for under construction projects, used to be shown as yearly turnover and the net income generated from those projects were regarded as gross profit by the builder companies.

Under the revised norm, the amount home buyers would pay towards an on-going project, would be treated as ‘advances’/ ‘loans’; but certainly not as income from sales. The developers have to write back the profit booked till date on all on-going projects that are not fully completed under the new norm.

A recent analytic report published by the ICICI Securities said, “This would happen in the first quarter on a retrospective basis and would lead to a hit on the net worth and lead to a temporary spike in companies’ debt-equity ratio.”

In a submission to the ministry of corporate affairs the National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco) said, “Any change from Percentage of Completion (POC) accounting to accounting on Completion of Project would have a very significant revenues and cost reversal as at the opening balance sheet and re-recognition of the same in ensuing period.”

This new industry standard is expected to impact on the credit rating part. Starting from the revenue generation to the net profit – every calculation will be under the finest institutional radar. This will not only have a direct outlook on the debt-equity ratio of the companies, but also restrict the borrowing capacity of the companies too.

Alike DLF and Lodha Group, many other leading real estate builders have kept their mum on this new industry standard and profit calculation part in amalgam.

“Real estate sector in India has been witnessing one after another massive changes during these past 3 years. Under these significant changes and stringent framework, there is no way a builder can escape from the ethics and the industry standards for his survival and sustenance, in the present market scenario. This change in particular, will definitely have a big bite on the revenue generation of the builders and also will give rise to higher tax outflow,” said Mr. Mahesh Somani, Chairman – National RERA Committee, National Association of Realtors, India.

-By LNN (Liyans News Network)