In the last few years, several initiatives were taken to help women be more financially independent and successful home-owners, from making it mandatory to have a woman co-owner when applying for a home via PMAY to offering additional stamp duty cuts in select states.
The efforts seem to be bearing fruit. According to a recent report by Knight Frank India, women home-buyers constituted 6.6 per cent of the total new home sales in Mumbai BMC region in April 2021. In May 2021, the number dropped to 1.7 per cent and in June 2021, it again rose to 4.7 per cent. This constant interest by women home-buyers in Mumbai can be attributed to the one per cent stamp duty rebate that was announced by the Maharashtra government on Women’s Day, March 8, 2021.
However, this is not true just for Mumbai; the phenomenon can be witnessed across the top cities in the country. “There has been a steady increase in the number of women opting for real estate as an investment option. The perks of rental income, capital appreciation, taxation benefits make it ideal for long-term wealth creation,” says Niranjan Hiranandani, national president, NAREDCO.
Anarock’s survey conducted early this year confirms this. “Approximately 62 per cent of women respondents declared housing as their preferred asset class. This number stood at 57 per cent pre-Covid-19,” says Santhosh Kumar, vice chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.
Financially speaking, as per Transunion Cibil’s report, over the last six years, the share of women borrowers grew to approx. 28 per cent, up from 23 per cent in September 2014. 11 per cent of the total amount borrowed in 2020, was for home loans.
“Anarock survey revealed that the psychological assurance of physical assets influenced 31 per cent of women home-buyers; 28 per cent responded favourably towards the availability of cheaper home loans, and 22 per cent decided to quit being fence-sitters due to ongoing offers and deals by developers,” adds Kumar.
Ashlesha Ambre, 30, who recently bought a home says, “This was completely unexpected; my father nudged me into making a substantial investment for my future. Buying a home in the city was beyond my budget. We thus bought a home in the outskirts which was in budget. The developer offered a good deal, so I took the leap.” Ambre is now planning her finances so that she is able to pay off her loan at the earliest possible. “My parents are happy, and I too feel like I have accomplished a huge life goal,” says Ambre.
Developers are catering to this new consumer market by prioritising women’s requirements. Along with safety and social infrastructure, women home-buyers also have a keen understanding of the layout and the ‘make’ of the house; developers are thus paying attention to these details. “To encourage women home-buyers, real estate developers are ensuring that their requirements and requests are addressed. Developers are also offering several discounts, especially tailored for women buyers,” says Hiranandani.
Some of the perks women home-buyers can avail are:
1. To avail a home under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY), the home has to be mandatorily registered either in a woman’s name or with a woman as the co-owner;
2. Stamp duty charges are lower if property registration is executed in the name of a woman, although these charges vary from state to state. The exemption for women varies between 1 and 2 per cent across different states;
3. Many banks offer discounted home loan rates to women as compared to men. This again varies from bank to bank, but the difference benefits a woman home-buyer
4. To avail certain tax benefits, a woman can also become the joint owner of a property with her spouse and if she has a separate source of income, both can claim tax deductions individually.