The frequently asked questions and answers on this page are useful for Non Resident Indians who wish to purchase or invest in residential and commercial property in India.
According to data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the construction development sector in India has received foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflows to the tune of US$ 23,874.1 million in the period April 2000-September 2014. The Indian real estate market size is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Also, in the period FY08-20, the market size of this sector is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2 per cent. Retail, hospitality and commercial real estate are also growing significantly, providing the much-needed infrastructure for India’s growing needs.
According to a study by Knight Frank, Mumbai is the best city in India for commercial real estate investment, with returns of 12-19 per cent likely in the next five years, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
Who is an NRI under the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act?
An Indian Citizen who stays abroad for employment or is engaged in business or vocation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an non-resident Indian is an NRI. A person who is not resident in India for a period over 182 days is a non-resident Indian. Persons posted in U.N. organisations and officials deputed abroad by Central / State governments and Public Sector undertakings on temporary assignments are also treated as non-resident Indians.
Who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO)?
Under the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), a person of Indian origin is an individual (other than a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan) who at any time held an Indian passport, or he or his father or his grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955).
Do NRIs and PIOs require permission from Reserve Bank to acquire residential / commercial property in India?
NRIs and PIOs do not require permission from RBI to acquire residential / commercial premises in India (other than agricultural land / farm house / plantation property).
Can the sale proceeds of residential / commercial premises be remitted out of India?
The sale proceeds of immovable property other than agricultural land / farmhouse / plantation property can be remitted out of India on fulfillment of certain conditions.
Can NRIs obtain loans for acquisition of residential premises from authorised dealers / financial institutions providing housing finance?
Yes, NRIs can obtain loans. However, repayment of loan should be made within a period not exceeding 15 years out of inward remittances or out of funds held in the borrower’s NRE / FCNR / NRO accounts.
Can Indian companies grant loans to their NRI staff?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permits Indian firms / companies to grant housing loans to their employees deputed abroad and holding Indian passports, subject to certain conditions.
Can NRIs and PIOs gift residential / commercial premises to relatives / registered charitable trusts / organisations in India?
Yes, general permission has been granted by RBI to NRIs and PIOs to transfer by way of gift, immovable property held by them in India, to relatives and charitable trusts / organisations subject to compliance with conditions and provisions of other applicable laws.
Can NRIs and PIOs give residential / commercial premises on rent if not required for immediate use?
Yes, RBI has granted general permissions for letting out any immovable property in India. The rental income or proceeds of any such income are eligible for repatriation subject to payment of taxes and production of a certificate issued by a chartered accountant with the guidance of an Authorised Dealer, such as, a bank for completion of formalities.
How should NRIs and PIOs make payment of the consideration for residential / commercial property?
The purchase consideration should be met either out of inward remittances in foreign exchange through normal banking channels or out of funds from NRE / FCNR / NRO accounts maintained with banks in India.
Are any conditions required to be fulfilled if repatriation of sale proceeds is desired?
Applications for repatriation of sale proceeds are considered, provided the sale takes place after three years from the date of final purchase deed from the date of payment of final installment of consideration amount, whichever is later.
What is the procedure for seeking such repatriation?
Applications for necessary permission for remittance of sale proceeds should be made in form IPI 8 to the Central Office of Reserve Bank at Mumbai within 90 days of the sale of the property.