Realtors yesterday once again urged the government to reduce registration fee, taxes and other charges to help low and middle-income families buy homes at reduced cost.
A cut in property transfer costs will give a boost to the sector that has seen a revival in the outgoing year, said the Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB).
It also sought a Tk 20,000 crore housing loan refinance fund from the government.
“It will be possible to arrange homes for low and mid income families if the government offers loans at a single digit interest rate from this fund,” said REHAB Senior Vice President Nurun Nabi Chowdhury Shaon.
He was addressing a press conference at the National Press Club to announce the schedule of “REHAB Fair 2017”, an annual show on housing.
The five-day event will begin on December 21 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre where products will be showcased by 203 firms, including realtors, building material makers and financial institutions, to attract prospective clients.
The fair will remain open to visitors from 2pm on the opening day and from 10am to 9pm on the remaining days, said REHAB.
Shaon, also a lawmaker, said housing market has turned around in 2017 from a downturn the previous year. It is difficult to provide actual data. Overall sales increased 5-7 percent this year, he said.
He said some banks have brought down interest rates on home loans to single digit. Yet no announcement has come from the government offering loans at a single digit interest rate, he said.
High registration cost is another bottleneck for the growth of the real estate sector, he said, urging the authorities to reduce registration cost to 6-7 percent of the deed value from over 14 percent at present.
Currently, a home buyer has to count 4 percent gain tax, 3 percent stamp duty, and 2 percent registration fee for the government and for the city corporation each, totalling 11 percent of the property's deed value.
In addition, the buyer has to pay between 1.5 percent and 4.5 percent value added tax and count advance income tax depending on the size of flats.
Citing a recent meeting between high ups of the National Board of Revenue and REHAB, he said the revenue administration has assured them of bringing a reduction. “We hope to see a reflection in the next budget,” he said.
Shaon said Bangladesh has a secondary market for homes and a reduction in registration cost for transfer of used apartments would facilitate the market growth.
At present, the registration fees, taxes and charges for transfer of used flats should not be similar to new apartments, one of the major impediments to the growth of the secondary market, according to realtors.
Registration cost should be 2-3 percent for secondary market, he said.