J &K stamp duty waiver for women sets a precedent to cut transaction cost, boost housing.

The J & K government’s recent move to abolish stamp duty for property in women’s name, may have not just far reaching economic consequences for women in the state but also set a precedent for other states to bring down property transaction costs with a view to boost housing, particularly affordable housing.  Besides waiver for women, J & K government has reduced stamp duty for men from 7 percent to 5 percent for urban areas and from 5 percent to 3 percent in rural areas. The stamp duty charged by states on all immovable property averages 5-8 percent. Normally, there is a concession of 1-2 percent to women and about 1 percent for property registered in joint names. The stamp duty in urban areas is about 2 percent higher than that in rural areas. An apex real estate industry body says that stamp duty rates are unrealistic and arbitrary as these are decided on the basis of arbitrary circle rates which in many cases are higher than market rates. 

Says Pradeep Aggarwal, Chairrman, Signature Global, ” There is a clear case for rationalizing stamp duty rates as the high rates are a major source of consumption of black money in real estate as home buyers undervalue their property to save on stamp duty. There is no case for continuity of stamp duty after the implementation of GST. It should be either abolished or subsumed in GST to minimise the impact of double taxation. The Centre has been even asking states to revoke stamp duty for affordable housing to boost ‘Housing for All’ mission”

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