Real estate transactions should go digital: Naidu

NEW DELHI: Home prices could come down if the real estate sector moves away from cash transactions and embraces digital economy, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said. This, according to him, will also make the sector truly transparent and, therefore, valuation will become more realistic.

Speaking at the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India Conclave here on Monday, Naidu said: “Land prices in some cities in India have sky-rocketed. There is a need to bring down land prices to the ground level.”

Referring to the high prices in some of the metro cities, the minister said, “When you look at the land prices here, it is on par with prices in Paris or New York.”

Explaining the benefits of going digital, the minister said the real estate sector should seriously think of digitising all transactions. “There has to be a voluntary code of conduct. I want the real estate sector to go for digital transaction to maintain transparency,” he said.

In reply to demand from a section of the real estate sector to amend the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Bill and make it only prospective and not retrospective, Naidu said there were several ongoing projects that had overshot the deadline for completion and were still nowhere near completion.

Unless these issues are addressed, making RERA only prospective might not work, he added. The whole purpose of the regulation was to eliminate fly-by-night operators and ensure project completion, he emphasised.

Naidu noted that the government is also pushing for ease of approvals, guaranteeing an approval status to applicants within 30 days. He said that had interacted with other departments involved in this exercise and would make a presentation before the Prime Minister soon. Naidu said he had also written to all chief ministers to take steps to reduce stamp duty.

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