Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government on Wednesday decided to leave the ready reckoner (RR) rates for 2021-22 unchanged, to be applicable from April 1. However, it has not extended the reduction in stamp duty rates beyond March 31, which means the regular rates will be in force from April 1. Further, the state government issued a notification for a 1% reduction in stamp duty on the purchase and sale of homes by women but has said the beneficiary cannot sell the home for 15 years and if they do so, then they will be fined. This will be applicable from April 1.
The government’s decision has evoked mixed reactions from the real estate sector, which has welcomed the non-revision of RR rates. However, realty players pointed out that lack of extension on stamp duty waiver would dampen sentiment.
With Wednesday’s decision, RR rates, which were effective from September 12 last year, will be applicable for fiscal 2021-22. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the state government had increased the RR rates in the state by around 1.74 percent. The decision was also taken because the realty sector was one of the hardest-hit sectors in the prolonged lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government had increased the RR rates after having kept it unchanged for two consecutive years, 2018-19 and 2019-20, following an increase in the rates by 3.9 per cent in 2017 due to the slowdown in the realty sector. RR rates are the minimum values set by a state government, below which a property cannot be registered. Every area within a city has its own RR rate, based on which stamp duty is calculated.
As far as the stamp duty waiver is concerned, the deadline for the 2 per cent stamp duty waiver was to expire on March 31. “With a view to revive the real estate sector, the state government had given a rebate in stamp duty till March. It has ended today. From now on, regular stamp duty rates will be applicable,” said Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.
On August 26 last year, the state government had announced to a stamp duty cut on housing units, from 5 per cent to 2 per cent until 31 December, 2020. From January 1 to March 31, 2021, stamp duty charges were reduced to 3 per cent. The state government’s decision had led to a surge in property transactions in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and also in the rest of Maharashtra.
Various realty sector organisations had urged the state government to extend the stamp duty cut beyond March 31.
ANAROCK Property Consultants Chairman Anuj Puri said the state government had stayed firm on not extending the stamp duty cut. “While this is disappointing, there were really no indications that such an extension was forthcoming. Bringing down the RR rate at this juncture would have definitely aided the real estate market as it was something that all stakeholders were looking forward to. A cut in RR rates would have given more room to developers to bring down the prices.” He further said that today, in few of the micro markets, the RR rate was almost on a par with the ongoing market price.
On the other hand, CREDAI-MCHI Hon Secretary Pritam Chivukula said the state government’s decision to discontinue the stamp duty benefit would mean huge distress for homebuyers, who would have to hold off on buying their dream home because of the severe impact of the pandemic. “We had requested the government to extend the stamp duty benefit for at least a year so that more buyers could fulfil their wish of buying their home. We will continue to urge the government to reconsider their decision and extend the stamp duty benefit further in interest of the homebuyers,” he added.