Affordable housing company shares rose sharply ahead of the Union Budget 2017, on hopes that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will incentivise low-cost housing via measures such as interest rate subsidies, extending the sops to the segment of the public not already covered under the Prime Minister’s housing scheme.
Ashiana Housing shares were up 5.88%; Indiabulls Real Estate rose 2.05%; and NBCC (India) was up 1.68%. Other top developers including DLF, Oberoi Realty, Godrej Property were also sharply up. The Nifty Realty index rose 1.11% amid choppy markets. Shares of housing finance companies also rose. Housing Development Finance Corp – India’s largest housing financier – surged and was trading at Rs 1,383.2 up 1.27%.
The government is expected to re-categorise low-cost houses and announce interest subsidy on loans for them. It may include low-cost housing in infrastructure sector with a change in definition. Currently, affordable housing does not have a formal definition by the government but is generally considered to be what is within the affordability of those whose income is below the median household income.
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The government is learnt to be mulling 3% interest subvention for loans taken for affordable housing. The subvention will be applicable on the loan amount of up to Rs 12 lakh, while the actual loan taken may be higher.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2015, with an aim to help provide housing for all by the year 2022 by building 2 crore houses. The scheme provides for an upfront subsidy for low cost housing and an interest rate subsidy of 6.5% for loans up to Rs 6 lakh taken for the purpose.
Broader markets continue to be cautious, waiting to see if Jaitley announces more populist measures and thus risking fiscal prudence. BSE Sensex was up 0.15% at 27,697.51 points and NSE Nifty was up 0.05% at 8,565.85 points.