State governments should reduce stamp duty on registration of properties by at least 50 per cent to boost housing sales and revive the real estate sector, according to experts. Addressing a webinar on Thursday, realtors' body Naredco's Chairman Rajeev Talwar said, "we need to cut down the stamp duty by half".
Maharashtra government's decision to reduce the stamp duty during September to March of the last fiscal year helped a lot in reviving sales in the state, he noted. Talwar, who recently retired as CEO of India's largest realty firm DLF, said many developers from Maharashtra made payment of the reduced stamp duty on behalf of their customers.
The webinar 'Ins & Outs- Impact 2020 on Real Estate Investments & Road ahead' was organised by industry body PHDCCI. About the outlook for the real estate industry, Ashwinder R Singh, CEO - Residential, Bhartiya Urban, said sales are likely to bounce back in the second half of this year as it happened in 2020 after the first COVID wave. He said interest rates are favourable and will aid in revival.
Mudassir Zaidi, Executive Director- North, Knight Frank India, said office leasing activities will remain muted during this fiscal. According to him, the revival of office market will depend on the pace of the vaccination programme. Zaidi hoped that office leasing activities are expected to improve from the next fiscal onwards with return of workforce to their workplaces.
While noting that the impact of the pandemic has been varied on various segments of real estate, he said retail and hospitality have been most affected. According to property consultants, housing sales and office leasing fell around 40-50 per cent during 2020 compared to the previous year because of the adverse impact of COVID. The second wave has dashed hopes of the real estate sector to reach pre-COVID level during this calendar year.