Govt's to ease cement, iron prices to help real estate, say builders

The increasing costs of cement and steel, which had risen by up to 45 per cent in recent times, had forced the developers to pass the burden on buyers, they said.
Govt's to ease cement, iron prices to help real estate, say builders
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NEW DELHI: Real estate developers in the national capital region on Wednesday said the central government's move to ease prices of iron, steel and cement will provide a significant relief to builders as well as homebuyers.

The increasing costs of cement and steel, which had risen by up to 45 per cent in recent times, had forced the developers to pass the burden on buyers, they said.

The central government had last week announced measures like levying export duty on steel and reducing import duty raw materials used in steel manufacturing to curb the rising prices of steel and increase its availability. It had also announced steps to shore up cement supplies.

''Measures are being taken up to improve the availability of #Cement and through better logistics to reduce the cost of cement,'' finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had tweeted.

The government had also issued a notification imposing an export duty of 45 per cent on iron ore pellets and 15 per cent on select pig iron, flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloyed steel, bars and rods and various flat-rolled products of stainless steel, thereby making export of these items costly.

''In spite of the surge in real estate purchases, the prices have also risen by 6-8 per cent. Along with hike in home loan interest rates, this was making a dent in the budget of the buyers, especially those looking for affordable housing,'' said Amit Modi, realtors' body Credai's western UP president.

SKA Group director Sanjay Sharma said the Centre's decisions are timely.

''Along with recent reduction in fuel prices, and hopefully, a future reduction in GST on cement, which is at the highest slab of 28 per cent, it will go a long way in fulfilling India's aspiration for affordable housing,'' Sharma said.

The increasing costs of steel and cement were significantly impacting the prices of homes and offices, according to Ajendra Singh, vice president for sales and marketing, Spectrum Metro.

''And all this was happening at a time when the country is coming out from the shadows of the pandemic and the interest in the realty sector had just reached the pre-COVID levels,'' Singh said.

Gulshan Homz director Deepak Kapoor said the prices of steel and cement, which have gone up by 40-45 per cent in recent times, forced the developers to ''pass on the burden to customers''.

''For buyers in the luxury segment, where we have a significant presence, it has meant a huge difference in the final cost. Post-pandemic the luxury residential segment has gained a huge traction and any development that can enable us to reduce the price will mean big savings for the customers buying luxury apartments,'' Kapoor said.

The Migsun Group said elevated prices of critical inputs, especially steel and cement, had ''threatened to inflate'' the costs of the construction, and it was having major impact not just on the projects by the private players but was also ''making a big dent'' in the government's vision of housing for all.

''Now that the course has been corrected, the move is going to bring a significant relief both for the developers and the buyers,'' Migsun Group's managing director Yash Miglani said.

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