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Budget 2018: Affordable housing gets a leg-up

Budget 2018: As per the Budget, the government will set up a dedicated fund for affordable housing. “My government will establish a dedicated affordable housing fund (AHF) in National Housing Bank, funded from priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bonds authorised by the Government of India,” said finance minister Arun Jaitley in his speech. The targets for construction of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for 2018-19 were also outlined. Under the PMAY (Gramin), 49 lakh houses will be constructed and the outlay for the programme stands at Rs 33,000 crore. Of this, Rs 21,000 crore will come in the form of gross budgetary support, while the rest will be funded through extra budgetary resources. The budgeted estimate for the capital outlay under the PMAY (Urban) programme is Rs 31,500 crore. Of the total outlay, a chunky Rs 25,000 crore is to come from internal and extra budgetary resources, while the rest will be provided as GBR.

Financiers said the steps will help push the offtake of affordable housing, which has been driving growth in home loans recently. Vaijinath MG, chief general manager (real estate and housing business unit), State Bank of India, said lenders will wait for the fine print on the AHF. “The infrastructure status for affordable housing has already given a big push. Measures announced today will boost lending further,” he said.

 

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Govind Sankaranarayanan, COO, retail business and housing finance, Tata Capital, said the initiatives in the Budget should boost rural incomes and push consumption. “The dedicated fund reinforces the government’s commitment to this sector, which should provide a fillip to the real estate sector and financial institutions supporting PMAY,” he said. Akhil Bansal, deputy CEO, KPMG India, said, “The dedicated fund for affordable housing will provide a thrust to the construction sector, one of the largest employers in the country.” A recent Reserve Bank of India report says while the total disbursement of housing loans by public sector banks and housing finance companies decreased in FY17, there was significant growth for lower slabs. In the below Rs 10-lakh category, housing loans worth Rs 42,990 crore were disbursed that year, up 23% from FY16. The Budget announcements are expected to add to the buoyancy in the segment.