Under the new scheme approved by the Cabinet, the interest subsidy will be made available through commercial banks and housing finance companies for construction/purchase of a new house or extension of an existing one. This will be allowed so long as the cost per housing unit does not exceed Rs 20 lakh. The move augurs well for the sector as it comes at a time when there has been a notable slide in the flow of credit to the sector. This was largely on account of increase in real estate prices, slackening of income growth, and rise in interest rate for home loans — all of which have brought home sales to a near standstill since late last year.
The sop will be available only for the first twelve instalments for loans sanctioned and disbursed in the twelve months running from the date of publication of the scheme.
Also, the one per cent subsidy will be computed for 12 months on disbursed amount, and adjusted upfront in the principal outstanding irrespective of whether the loan is taken on fixed or floating rate basis.
On a housing loan of Rs 10 lakh, the interest relief will amount to Rs 10,000 per account, an official release said. As such, the scheme of a size of Rs 1,000 crore is expected to cover 10 lakh beneficiaries in one-year period.
Meanwhile, Mr S. Sridhar, Chairman, National Housing Bank (NHB) — the designated nodal agency for this scheme — told Business Line that the scheme will help improve sentiment in the housing sector, especially those in the non-metros.
“A home loan borrower will be encouraged to take a decision. The developers can also quickly get their act together to increase the supply of affordable housing,” Mr Sridhar said. Developers such as DLF and Unitech said that the scheme would “galvanise” buying sentiments. Clearly, it would benefit buyers in tier-II and tier-III cities as also affordable housing projects that are now coming up in the suburbs of major cities. But, it may not be of much benefit to buyers in prime locations of metros where the ticket sizes tend to be over Rs 20 lakh.
“Nearly, 50-60 per cent of potential home buyers belong to the low cost housing category. So, the scheme is a welcome step and would benefit buyers in smaller cities and suburban locations”, Mr Pradeep Jain, Chairman of Parsvnath Developers, said.