How NRIs can buy property in India

Owning a home is a dream for most of us, thanks to the diverse home loan schemes available. How is this different in case of non-resident Indians (NRIs)? Is it equally easy for them to obtain a home loan and own the property of their choice? NRI home loans are now easily available in India, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.

NRI status:
When it comes to defining an NRI, all banks and financial institutions go by the definition specified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), i.e., “An Indian citizen who holds a valid Indian passport and stays abroad for employment or carrying out business or vocation under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is an NRI. So those eligible for home loans under this category would be those employed or carrying out business outside India, those posted abroad by the Indian government or companies, or those Indians serving in international agencies like the IMF, UN, World Bank, etc.

Properties eligible for loan:
Home loans can be availed for any property ready for possession or under construction, construction of property on an owned plot or for alterations to the existing property. Buying of a plot also qualifies for a home loan.

Maximum amount of loan allowed and other conditions:
Income and educational qualifications play an important role in deciding the maximum amount of loan available to an NRI. Banks allow an advance of 80-85 per cent of the value of the property, subject to the gross monthly income (GMI) of an individual. Maximum amount of loan granted is in the range of 36-40 times GMI. Some banks also go by the ratio of equated monthly installment to net monthly income (EMI/NMI).

For example, State Bank of India puts a limit of 40 per cent of NMI against EMI for NRIs with annual income up to Rs 2 lakh. For those earning Rs 2-5 lakh, it is 50 per cent of NMI, and for individuals earning more than Rs 5 lakh annually, it is 55 per cent of NMI.

Few other banks set different criteria depending on educational qualifications, place of residence, etc. For example, with ICICI Bank, for those residing in the Middle East, the minimum annual salary required is 36,000 dirhams if the tenure is within five years and for tenures of 6-10 years the income requirement is set at 48000 dirhams. For those residing in the US, the respective limits are $30,000 and $42,000. The criteria differs for self-employed, depending on the educational qualifications.

It is important to note that only graduate NRIs can avail home loans in India.

Tenure of loans:
While a resident can avail loans with a maximum tenure of 30 years with some banks, the tenure for NRI home loans is restricted. It is available within the range of 5-15 years. Extension beyond the term of 15 years is solely at the discretion of the bank and in exceptional cases only.

Rate of interest:
There is a higher rate of interest charged on NRI home loans to cover the higher risk involved. There is generally a margin of 0.25--0.50 per cent charged.

Documents required:
The documentation required for NRI home loans is different from resident home loans. Documents normally required are copies of the passport, valid visa and work permit, contract of employment, work experience certificate, salary certificate and statements of NRE/NRO accounts. For those residing in the Middle East, a copy of the employment card is also required. The salary certificate should be attested from the embassy if the salary is not credited to a bank.

Submission of documents:
You need not wait for your next trip to India to apply for a home loan. Many banks have branches in places like Dubai, Singapore, London, etc. where you can apply for home loans. Few banks like ICICI, HDFC and Axis Bank also extend the facility of online submission and status updating.

However, you would require executing a general power of attorney in favor of a resident Indian who would act on your behalf with the bank. If the power of attorney is issued while you are abroad, it needs to be signed in front of the embassy official.

Repayment of loan:
The repayment of these loans can only be through non-resident external (NRE) or non-resident ordinary (NRO) accounts with remittance from abroad. No other funds can be used for repayment of these loans. The repayment needs to be made in Indian rupees only.

Change in status from NRI to resident:
When there is a change in status from NRI to resident the loan is reworked according to the revised income and interest applicable is charged and the tenure is also revised.

Resident and NRI home loans: a comparison

Properties eligible New or old flats, construction on owned plots, buying of plots or alteration to existing property Same as residents
Maximum amount of loan Up to 80 per cent of value for properties costing more than Rs 20 lakh and 90 per cent for less than Rs 20 lakh, again depending on income 80-85 per cent of the value of property depending on income, place of residence, etc
Tenure Up to 30 years with certain banks 5-20 years
Rate of interest Depending upon the Base rates of banks Higher than resident home loans
Repayment Through normal account Only through NRE/NRO account with remittance from abroad

Disclaimer: All information in this article has been provided by and NDTV Profit is not responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the same.


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