Real Estate Scenario in Chennai

In the last decade, one of the great metropolitans of India, literally, Chennai has witnessed a changeover in the field of real estate. Our global economy has recovered corporate wise and the preference goes to real estate, where people look for their best choice of flats or homes. Chennai has become one of the popularly growing metro cities for owning a large number of IT and ITES corporate. Even if you are an IT-ian, you might have evidenced a splendid change in real estate sectors. Moreover, a great number of professionals and their families have migrated here for reasonable rents to lead a stress-free life.

Mortgage lenders have gone by and the new trend that arose in people minds is real estate investment. Chennai has offered more than surplus in the domain of real estate investment when compared with some major metro cities of south India. A cumulative rise of buyers has paved way for the real estate owners to construct hi-tech luxury flats that are in demand. Once when you make a visit to the real estate scenario in Chennai, déjà-vu of your past entering a fictional IT valley will strike your brain. Interestingly, you can plan your luxury condos in any segments of Chennai real estate.

Real estate have plunged the rise of economical growth in any cities. However, the increasing demand for real estate has made few heads turn around for the past five years. Sriperambadur, Sholinganallur are some of the great examples of IT-occupied land that stand at top for tech-infrastructures. The capital value of real estate market in Chennai has changed overtime and is expected to be optimistic for the upcoming years. Real estate is now solely dependent on Chennai for its rise in demanding land value.

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Chennai – Emerging Real Estate Trend

Residential Apartments in Chennai

Property in Chennai has been picking pace in the real estate market lately. While, the residential properties of Chennai have reached a point where it is very difficult to purchase a residence in popular places, the home choices are also modifying with people’s preference.

Chennai brokers reveal that Chennai Property Costs have been on rise since long, especially the residential prices. The costs of residential homes are quite high in places like T.Nagar, Adyar, and Anna Nagar. The price ranges from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 5 crore based on the unit area. As a result to buy a property in Chennai or especially in these areas are getting more costly.

As these places have achieved high growth new sectors and software companies are arriving up at NH4, GST Road, and OMR. Especially, the new improvements are arriving in affordable boundaries and larger places.

Further, the growing professional section and increasing number of IT experts have forced the personal demand and costs to a new height in Chennai over the last few years. Now, with increase in house tax by the local govt the real estate property prices have increased multiple folds.

Moreover, with more contact with other western world and incomes going up, individuals all over the country desire for a high-class lifestyle. This pattern has also caught up with Chennai people as well, wherein individuals are looking for luxurious housing options.

Also residential apartments in Chennai are becoming more popular day by day due to its cosmopolitan nature and high comfort. Many popular contractors in Chennai are building apartments that includes luxurious homes, offering super modern amenities. With young experts going in more for leased models, the luxurious apartments are attracting huge investment from the NRIs.

Since, growing industrial sectors and other developments produce 100 % profit in the future; investment in the Chennai residence is considered a great idea by real estate experts.


Chennai – The real estate trend

As the economic condition improves in India buyers are more confident in investing in real estate. A whopping 10 million square feet of land is needed for the IT/SEZ sector which indicates the kind of demand presently witnessed in the commercial sector. With the Indian economy getting back on its foot after the global meltdown, buyers have come forward towards investing in real estate property as an investment option.

Buy a Property in Chennai

Chennai city has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of real estate investments. Developers are going with the stride in constructing new projects in prime parts of the town. The demand has been rising consistently and corresponding number of housing units are supplied to meet the demand. Thus, there is a balanced demand supply ratio in the city of Chennai.

However, there is an inconsistent proportion of demand supply in regions like GST road and OMR region. The housing units exceed the demand ratio leaving a pile of stock of housing complexes unused. The rest of the city is however maintaining a good trend with positive real estate scenario.

The real estate property prices have increased by 40 percent in certain areas which cause price sensitive buyers to be hesitant. The demand for quality homes in localities like Velachery, R.A. Puram, Nungambakkam, Annanagar and Adyar are on rise. An investment in these localities is most likely to bring in huge returns.

The city’s realty market has got a facelift through excellent social infrastructure, good transport connectivity, entertainment centers etc. The upper middle class segment and middle class are showing keen interest to invest. The property prices are also being corrected in places where the demand has been reduced. Overall, to buy a property in Chennai is a wise choice and one can expect good returns after a certain period of time.

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The Luxury Home segment in the Real Estate India Market

The business of the luxury home segment has been going steady in recent years. Though the Indian property market is in a lull phase, yet the luxury home market is unaffected. The luxury home segment has been more favored by the NRI’s after the Rupee depreciation.

Reports from the Confederation of Indian Industry indicate a 20% growth in the luxury real estate India market almost touching $5.8 billion. After the slowdown during the year 2012, the current year is witnessing signs of recovery. The market is springing with projects being launched all across the country. New home offerings, more influx of NRI’s and a drastic change in people’s lifestyle has caused the spurt of demand for luxury homes that are sold at a price tag from 1 Crore upto 20 Crore rupees.

The rise in the demand of luxury homes has caused the developers to come up with many plans and schemes to promote luxury housing in every metro of the city. Luxury homes for every budget is created and promoted successfully meeting every need of the consumers.

Since, the prices of the luxury homes are quite high there are always speculations around the pricing as to how the price is determined. Developers say that factors such as location of the project, real estate developer’s reputation, the layout design, size, and neighborhood are some of factors that determine the cost of homes. The residential location is however the most important factor that determines the cost of the house. Such luxury home projects are priced between Rs. 8 Crores upto 35 Crores. For eg, in the city of Gurgaon a residential project is priced at around Rs. 7000 psf which is considered to be luxurious whereas in the city of Mumbai the range starts from Rs. 15000 psf. Developers expect a further growth between 25 to 30% in the luxury market in the coming days.

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Chennai Realty – A brief excerpt

Please find excerpt’s interview of the real estate market scenario of Chennai realty:

What are the main market segments in Chennai?

Since, the middle class segment of the city is vast in the Chennai city, the mid-market segment has been a popular sector for the developers. The mid-market segment apartments are priced in the range between Rs. 40 and 80 lakhs. The high-end segment also has takers and is priced over Rs. 2 Crore. Grand luxury projects are proposed in upscale areas like Nungambakkam and Guindy with massive number of apartment units at elite prices. These apartments have world class facilities like business lounge, swimming pool, cafeteria, automatic car park etc.

What kind of market do we find in Chennai?

The market in Chennai is very robust. There has never been a crash in the past three decades in the real estate market. Therefore the Chennai market provides safe investment atmosphere with respect to real estate. The upscale segment is booming with proposed luxurious residential structures in the Central Business Districts like Nungambakkam, Poes Garden, Alwarpet etc.

Why are the prices going up in Chennai as opposed to other cities?

The main reason is to maintain the stability of the market. An erratic pricing scheme would only result in insecure builders and consumers. Early bird offers are offered with a percentage of deduction in the overall price. Apart from that every apartment unit is sold at a standard market price.

Is this a good time to invest?This is certainly a great time to invest in the housing segment. With the global market recovering from recession, there are many projects in construction at popular localities. Prices have stagnated for a while, so it is a good time to take advantage of this factor before liquidity.

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Rules for NRIs Paying Money to buy a Property in India

Once you have decided to buy a property in India next question comes about the payments. An NRI / PIO make payment for purchase of residential / commercial property in India out of

(a) funds remitted to India through normal banking channels or

(b) funds held in NRE / FCNR (B) / NRO account maintained in India

Traveller’s cheque or foreign currency notes or by other mode except those specifically mentioned above, cannot be used to make the payments

Property buying is always a big risk. There might be cases when the deal does not go till the end. So the questions of repatriation arises. Is repatriation of application money for booking of flat / payment made to the builder by NRI/ PIO allowed when the flat or plot is not allotted or the booking / contract is cancelled?

The Authorised Dealers can allow NRIs / PIOs to credit refund of application/ earnest money/ purchase consideration made by the house building agencies/ seller on account of non-allotment of flat/ plot/ cancellation of bookings/ deals for purchase of residential, commercial property, together with interest, if any, net of income tax payable thereon, to NRE/FCNR account, provided, the original payment was made out of NRE/FCNR account of the account holder or remittance from outside India through normal banking channels and the Authorised Dealer is satisfied about the genuineness of the transaction.

In some cases NRIs might want to go for loans. In this case the NRI / PIO can avail of loan from an authorised dealer for acquiring flat / house in India for his own residential use against the security of funds held in his NRE Fixed Deposit account / FCNR (B) account. Such loans are permitted subject to the terms and conditions laid down in Schedules 1 and 2 to the Notification No. FEMA 5/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 viz. Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time. Banks cannot grant fresh loans or renew existing loans in excess of Rs. 100 lakhs against NRE and FCNR (B) deposits, either to the depositors or to third parties. The banks should also not undertake artificial slicing of the loan amount to circumvent the ceiling of Rs. 100 lakh.

Such loans can be repaid in the following manner:

(a) by way of inward remittance through normal banking channel or

(b) by debit to the NRE / FCNR (B) / NRO account of the NRI/ PIO or

(c) out of rental income from such property

(d) by the borrower’s close relatives, as defined in section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956, through their account in India by crediting the borrower’s loan account.

NRI / PIO, can also avail of housing loan in Rupees from an Authorised Dealer or a Housing Finance Institution in India approved by the National Housing Bank for purchase of residential accommodation or for the purpose of repairs / renovation / improvement of residential accommodation.

But the loans are subject to certain terms and conditions laid down in Regulation 8 of Notification No. FEMA 4/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 viz. Foreign Exchange Management (Borrowing and lending in rupees) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time. Authorised Dealers/ Housing Finance Institutions can also lend to the NRIs/ PIOs for the purpose of repairs/renovation/ improvement of residential accommodation owned by them in India. Such a loan can be repaid (a) by way of inward remittance through normal banking channel or (b) by debit to the NRE / FCNR (B) / NRO account of the NRI / PIO or (c) out of rental income from such property; or (d) by the borrower’s close relatives, as defined in section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956, through their account in India by crediting the borrower’s loan account.

Another option for loans by NRI/PIO avail of housing loan in Rupees from his employer in India but subject to certain terms and conditions given in Regulation 8A of Notification No. FEMA 4/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 and A.P. (DIR Series) Circular No.27 dated October 10, 2003, i.e.,

(i) The loan shall be granted only for personal purposes including purchase of housing property in India;

(ii) The loan shall be granted in accordance with the lender’s Staff Welfare Scheme/Staff Housing Loan Scheme and subject to other terms and conditions applicable to its staff resident in India;

(iii) The lender shall ensure that the loan amount is not used for the purposes specified in sub-clauses (i) to (iv) of clause (1) and in clause (2) of Regulation 6 of Notification No.FEMA.4/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000.

(iv) The lender shall credit the loan amount to the borrower’s NRO account in India or shall ensure credit to such account by specific indication on the payment instrument;

(v) The loan agreement shall specify that the repayment of loan shall be by way of remittance from outside India or by debit to NRE/NRO/FCNR Account of the borrower and the lender shall not accept repayment by any other means.


NRIs Should Beaware of Tax Before Investment in Property

There are few deductions which are applicable to Indian residences when they buy a property in India. An NRI / PIO also have the same deductions for the property.

Just like Indian residents the same deductions are applicable for NRIs. Municipal taxes paid during the year and housing loan interest payment are deductible. Standard deduction of 30 per cent of the net rent (gross rent less municipal taxes) can be obtained for repair and maintenance, irrespective of actual expenditure.

Housing loan principal repayment, stamp duty and registration charges are allowed as deduction from one’s gross income under the overall limit of Rs 1 lakh per year, under Section 80C.

Incase the NRI / PIO decides to give away his property on rent then taxes become applicable. When a certain threshold limit is reached rent received becomes taxable in India and NRI has to file a tax return in India in case the rent received along with other income exceeds the threshold limit.

The rent may be additionally taxed in the NRI’s country of tax residence. There may be some tax relief available under the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) for NRIs who are tax residents in certain countries. This may allow one to get credit for Indian taxes paid.

How does one handle a vacant property?

Again, treatment here is similar to a resident. A property which is not rented out is treated as a self-occupied property and the taxable value is NIL. The only deduction available against such property is interest on housing loan up to Rs 1.5 lakh per year. When there are more than one property that is not rented, then the owner can choose one property as self-occupied and all the other un-rented properties shall be deemed to be let out, even if not actually let out. For these, the rent that the property would likely fetch is considered as gross rent and all other deductions as applicable for a rented property will be allowed.

Deduction for principal repayment on housing loan can be obtained on all property, whether it is rented, self-occupied or deemed to be let out.

An NRI is exempt from wealth tax on a property that has been rented for more than 300 days. Also, one vacant house property can be declared as self-occupied property and is exempt from wealth tax. The value (net of outstanding loans) of second and subsequent vacant properties would be subject to wealth tax, at the rate of 1 per cent on the value in excess of Rs 30 lakh, says Parizad Sirwalla, Practicing Chartered Accountant, KPMG.

NRIs are subject to capital gains tax in India, similar to what is applied to residents. They can get long-term capital gains rate for property held for over 36 months and can claim exemption by investing in another house property or specified bonds. Capital gains may also be taxable in the NRI’s country of residence. Relief may be available in the form of credit for Indian taxes paid, in case the NRI is a tax resident of a country with which India has a DTAA.

Limits and conditions for repatriation are different based on the funds used for buying property. If the property was acquired as per the foreign exchange laws, the amount of repatriation is restricted to the extent of the initial purchase cost of the property. For example, assume the purchase price was $100,000 (Rs 40 lakh, with an exchange rate of Rs 40) and the sale price was Rs 75 lakh. Assuming the prevailing exchange rate at the time of sale is Rs 60, one can repatriate Rs 60 lakh ($100,000).

Gains made on foreign source funded properties (Rs 15 lakh in the example above) as well as all proceeds from property purchased with rupee sources, can be repatriated under the general limit of Rs 10 lakh per financial year.