In a move to bolster real estate sales, the Maharashtra government has announced a reduction in stamp duty rates of up to 2-3%.
As a new home buyer, this is an opinionated piece and somewhat of a warped perspective. However, I will try to be as objective as possible and hope to give enough citations to qualify my stance.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is the additional charge that you will have to pay if you are buying a home anywhere in India. Depending on the state you are in, this stamp duty is payable at different stages in the home buying journey.
In Maharashtra, the stamp duty is to be paid upfront when you are doing the home down payment. In other states, such as Karnataka or Telangana (I am mentioning these because these are the two fastest growing states in terms of real estate) this stamp duty is to be paid on possession.
Why is this so important?
Well, most people end up saving for buying their first homes. Unless if you have access to super awesome payment plans and offers such as the home down payment assistance of HomeCapital, the majority of their savings end up being spent for buying that first home.
A stamp duty is usually levied on top of the agreement value. So in Maharashtra whenever you buy a home, not only will you be paying the usual 5% GST, you will also have to pay a 5% stamp duty as well. This pretty much puts the cost of the home at 110% of the agreement value. This is not even factoring in the cost of the broker, the registration fees, the home loan processing fees. If you add that up, the cost of the home is often 115% of the agreement value.
Stamp duty is 30% of this chunk. This chunk of expense is usually not visible to the average home buyer, until the point of purchase. That means you realize that you have incur additional expenses when you commit to buying a home.
Reducing this stamp duty from it’s 5% to 2-3%, the Maharashtra government has reduced the overheads of home buying.
So … what is the actual impact?
This is the question that a lot of us are asking. The actual impact if you are purchasing a home anywhere in Maharashtra, is a 60% reduction in stamp duty (that’s 2-3% of the agreement value). So, if you were to purchase a home worth 1Cr INR (roughly USD 140,000), then the net benefit you are getting is 2-3 Lakhs INR (roughly USD 3000-4000).
Would this impact real estate sales in the long term? No. In the larger scheme of things, this is but a drop in the ocean that’s not the painful part. In the smaller scheme of things, there might be some speculator transactions hoping to cash in on the “opportunity”.
Having just finished the worst quarter in the last 20 years, the sales are bound to rise. As the industry slowly recovers to its pre-COVID numbers, this small respite is a precisely that. It’s a small reprieve and pretty much nothing else. After 10 years, no one will remember this move, however, if this move were to solidify into the norm … then this would be interesting to see.
I think the government needs to look at the larger issues of access to affordable capital. Granting a small reprieve is not really an incentive to the industry.
The short term transaction upheavals would be an issue, and this hurts the same industry more than actually helping. However, most state governments have historically shown to be myopic and short sighted .. due to the nature of their terms and I cannot really fault them for this. So, like all things in the past 4 years, this shall also pass.