NRI Real Estate Investment in India: A Comprehensive Guide

NRI Real Estate Investment in India: A Comprehensive Guide

May 23, 2024

May 23, 2024

nri real estate investment india
nri real estate investment india

NRI real estate investment in India has seen a significant rise in recent years. The Indian real estate market becomes an attractive investment option for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) due to various factors like a booming economy, favourable government policies, and a strong emotional connection to their homeland. Here’s an in-depth look at why NRIs are investing in Indian real estate and the key things they should keep in mind.

Why Should NRIs Invest in Real Estate in India?

Here are the few main reasons for NRI Real Estate investment in India: 

1. High Returns on Investment:

India's real estate market is known for its potential to deliver high returns. With urbanization and infrastructural developments on the rise, property values in major cities are appreciating rapidly. NRIs can benefit from this trend by investing in residential and commercial properties.

2. Diverse Investment Options:

From luxury apartments to commercial spaces and plots, NRIs have an abundance of options to choose from. Cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Chennai are hotspots for real estate investments due to their economic and infrastructural growth.

3. Emotional and Cultural Ties:

Investing in real estate provides NRIs with a tangible connection to their homeland. Many NRIs invest in properties to stay connected with their roots or to have a retirement home in India.

4. Favorable Exchange Rates:

NRIs often benefit from favorable exchange rates when converting foreign currency to Indian Rupees, making property investments more affordable and attractive.

Key Considerations for NRI Real Estate Investment In India:

1. Regulatory Compliance:

NRIs must comply with Indian regulations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). They can buy residential and commercial properties but are prohibited from purchasing agricultural land, plantation properties, or farmhouses.

2. Financing Options:

Indian banks and financial institutions offer home loans to NRIs. It's essential to understand the terms, interest rates, and repayment options before availing of a loan.

3. Property Management:

Managing properties from abroad can be challenging. NRIs should consider hiring property management services to handle maintenance, tenant management, and other logistical aspects.

4. Tax Implications:

NRIs need to be aware of the tax implications of buying, renting, and selling property in India. They are subject to TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) on rental income and capital gains tax on property sales. Consulting with a tax advisor can help navigate these complexities.

 5. Legal Due Diligence:

Before purchasing property, NRIs should conduct thorough legal due diligence to verify the property’s title, check for any legal disputes, and ensure all approvals and clearances are in place.

Steps for NRIs to Invest in Indian Real Estate:

1. Identify the Property: Research and shortlist properties based on location, budget, and investment goals.

2. Legal Verification: Ensure the property has a clear title and all necessary approvals.

3. Financing: Secure financing, if required, through an NRI home loan.

4. Registration: Register the property in your name and pay the necessary stamp duty and registration fees.

5. Property Management: Consider hiring a property management service to handle the day-to-day aspects of property management.

NRI Investment in Real Estate: What You Can and Can't Buy!

The Indian real estate market favours Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) seeking lucrative investment opportunities. Understanding what properties NRIs can invest in is crucial for making informed decisions. Here's a breakdown of the regulations:

Green Light for Residential and Commercial Properties:

The good news is that NRIs enjoy the freedom to invest in both residential and commercial properties in India. This liberalization by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) eliminates the need for specific permits or prior communication with the RBI for such purchases. NRIs can even own multiple properties, maximizing their investment potential.

Power of Attorney for Remote Transactions:

If you're an NRI unable to visit India for property purchase, fret not! A Power of Attorney allows you to authorize a trusted individual to handle the necessary documentation on your behalf, ensuring a smooth transaction.

Restricted Zones: Agricultural Land and Farmhouses:

It's important to note that NRIs are prohibited from directly owning agricultural land or farmhouses in India. However, there's a potential exception. If a specific case presents compelling reasons, NRIs can approach the RBI for permission to purchase a farmhouse or plantation property. The RBI evaluates these requests on a case-by-case basis.

Key Takeaways:

  • NRIs can freely invest in residential and commercial properties in India.

  • No special permits or RBI approval are required for these purchases.

  • NRIs can own multiple properties.

  • A Power of Attorney facilitates property purchase for remote NRIs.

  • NRIs are restricted from owning agricultural land or farm houses without RBI permission.

Navigating Joint Ownership for NRI Real Estate Investments In India:

Investing in Indian real estate can be an attractive option for NRIs. But what about joint ownership? This blog clarifies the rules for NRIs considering co-ownership of a property:

Joint Ownership with Another NRI:

NRIs have the flexibility to purchase property in India jointly with another NRI. This allows for shared investment costs and potential decision-making benefits. However, it's crucial to understand that the co-owner must also be an NRI.

Restriction on Indian Residents as Joint Owners:

The key takeaway is that Indian residents or individuals ineligible to invest in Indian property cannot be joint owners, regardless of their financial contribution towards the purchase.

Why This Restriction?

This regulation aims to prevent misuse of NRI investment privileges. It ensures that NRIs are the primary beneficiaries of their investments in Indian real estate.

Planning for Joint Ownership?

If you're an NRI considering joint ownership, it's vital to:

  • Choose a trustworthy NRI co-owner.

  • Establish a clear ownership agreement outlining responsibilities, profit-sharing, and exit strategies.

  • Consult a legal professional to ensure the agreement adheres to all regulations.

Alternatives to Joint Ownership:

If an Indian resident is involved, consider alternative arrangements:

  • Gifting a portion of the property to the resident after purchase (subject to tax implications).

  • Adding the resident's name after obtaining the necessary approvals (complex process).

What If You Become an NRI Later?

If you currently own property in India and later become an NRI, you can retain ownership of your property. NRIs are allowed to continue holding any plantation, farmhouse, or agricultural land they owned before becoming an NRI, although they cannot purchase such properties afterward. Additionally, you can rent out your property, and the rental income can be remitted abroad, provided Indian taxes are duly paid.

NRIs can gift or sell immovable property to an Indian resident. They can also transfer or gift properties, excluding plantation, farmhouse, or agricultural land, to another NRI.

NRI Real Estate Investment: Key Points

1. Property Types: NRIs can purchase residential and commercial properties but cannot buy plantation or agricultural land unless reviewed by the RBI.

2. Home Loans: There is no cap on home loans for NRIs.

3. Power of Attorney: NRIs can authorize someone to complete transactions on their behalf, using a Power of Attorney.

4. Taxes: NRIs must pay registration fees, stamp duty, property taxes, and GST (if applicable) like any Indian resident.

5. Rental Income: Rental income is taxed at 30% TDS, with the remaining amount repatriated under FEMA rules.

6. Property Sale Proceeds: Proceeds from selling property are repatriated after deducting 20-30% TDS, depending on whether the gain is short-term or long-term.

Understanding these guidelines can help NRIs make informed decisions about their real estate investments in India.

Best Cities for NRI Real Estate Investment in India:

Tier 1 Cities:

1. Mumbai - As the financial and commercial capital, Mumbai offers a robust real estate market with high potential for capital appreciation, though property prices are also on the higher end.

2. Bangalore - Known as the "Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore boasts a thriving IT industry and a growing economy, resulting in high rental yields and a promising investment climate.

3. Delhi  - The national capital provides a diverse range of property options, from luxury apartments to builder floors, with significant infrastructure development enhancing its investment appeal.

4. Chennai - Renowned for its well-developed infrastructure and stable real estate market, Chennai balances capital appreciation and rental income potential effectively.

Tier 2 Cities:

1. Pune - A major IT hub and educational center, Pune attracts a young population, leading to high demand for rental properties, making it ideal for NRIs seeking rental income.

2. Hyderabad- With its booming IT sector and growing infrastructure, Hyderabad offers a mix of affordable and high-end properties, making it an attractive investment destination.

3. Ahmedabad- As a commercial and industrial center with a lower cost of living compared to Tier 1 cities, Ahmedabad’s steadily growing real estate market makes it a good long-term investment option.

4. Thane - Located near Mumbai, Thane offers more affordable property options with good connectivity and infrastructure development, providing value for investment.

These cities provide varied opportunities based on factors like potential returns, rental income, infrastructure development, and market stability, making them prime choices for NRI real estate investment in India.

Tax Benefits For NRI Real Estate Investment In India:

While there aren't direct tax benefits for NRIs selling property in India, there are strategies to minimize tax liabilities:

Capital Gains Tax:

  • NRIs selling property in India are liable to pay capital gains tax on the profit earned. The tax rate depends on the holding period of the property:

    • Long-term capital gains (held for more than 2 years): 20% with indexation benefit (adjustment for inflation).

    • Short-term capital gains (held for 2 years or less): Taxed at applicable income tax slab rates.

Minimizing Tax Impact:

Here are some ways NRIs can minimize their capital gains tax burden:

  • Invest in New Property (Section 54 & 54F):

    • NRIs can reinvest the capital gains from selling a property in a new residential property in India within one year before or two years after the sale (Section 54).

    • Alternatively, they can invest in any capital asset (excluding residential property) within one year before the transfer or three years after (Section 54F). This reduces or eliminates capital gains tax liability.

  • Long-Term Holding: Holding the property for more than 2 years qualifies for long-term capital gains with a lower tax rate (20%) and the benefit of indexation.

  • Offsetting Expenses: Expenses incurred during property purchase and improvement can be deducted from the sale price to reduce capital gains.

Tax Deducted at Source (TDS):

  • The buyer is required to deduct TDS at 20% (long-term capital gains) or 30% (short-term capital gains) on the sale proceeds.

  • Claiming Tax Refund: If the actual capital gains tax liability is lower than the deducted TDS, NRIs can file an income tax return in India to claim a refund.


NRI investment in real estate in India presents a promising opportunity to diversify investment portfolios and gain substantial returns. By understanding the market dynamics, regulatory framework, and financial aspects, NRIs can make informed decisions and capitalize on the booming Indian real estate market.

If you’re an NRI looking beyond real estate investments, sign up on Tap Invest and explore fixed income instruments like invoice discounting, asset leasing, and bonds. Secure your financial future with stable and attractive returns today!

FAQs On NRI Investments In Real Estate Of India:

1. Can NRIs buy agricultural land in India?

 No, NRIs cannot purchase agricultural land, plantation properties, or farmhouses in India. They can only buy residential and commercial properties.

2. Are there any restrictions on the number of properties NRIs can own in India?

 No, NRIs can own multiple residential and commercial properties in India without any restrictions.

3. How can NRIs manage their properties in India remotely?

 NRIs can manage their properties by appointing a Power of Attorney (PoA) to a trusted person who can handle transactions and manage the property on their behalf.

4. What are the tax implications for NRIs on rental income from properties in India?

 Rental income for NRIs is subject to a 30% Tax Deducted at Source (TDS). The remaining amount can be repatriated under FEMA rules after taxes are paid.

5. How can NRIs finance their property purchases in India?

 NRIs can avail of home loans from Indian banks. It’s important to understand the terms, interest rates, and repayment options before securing a loan.

Investing in real estate in India offers NRIs the potential for high returns, diverse options, and a strong connection to their homeland. By understanding the market and adhering to legal and financial requirements, NRIs can make informed and profitable investments.

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© 2023 Purple Petal Invest Private Limited

Get started with as low as ₹50,000.

Get started today

The Company is an intermediary platform facilitating transactions in financial products. The information comprised herein is merely for information purposes and are subject to verification by investors. Investors are advised to refer and read carefully the offer documents.

© 2023 Purple Petal Invest Private Limited