Women are buying homes either for end-use or investment purposes. Real estate is now the preferred investment asset class for 64 percent of women respondents; it was 62 percent in the last study (H2 2020) and 57 percent in the pre-Covid survey (H2 2019). Present-day women portray immense desirability towards financial independence, security, and stability. They desire to lead an aspirational lifestyle and want a better standard of living for their families and themselves, and they are achieving just that through their ‘own’ home. Moreover, their home-making skills make them the most detail-oriented home-buyers.
To build a better life economically
Women have always been an important part of the decision-making process of buying a home. However, over the years, we have seen women evolve from ‘homemakers’ to ‘home-buyer’. There has been a steady increase in the number of women joining the workforce over the last few decades. Besides, as the education and employment opportunities for women increase, so does their purchasing power. And with women increasingly taking their own financial decisions, the number of women home-buyers is on the rise. Besides, the home gives a sense of confidence, allows you to create a personal sanctuary, and saves you from the trouble of moving houses every year.
“More women are also purchasing homes as they are driven by the twin benefits of capital appreciation and rental income. Integrated townships have also provided ‘walk-to-work’ opportunities, thereby making it easier for more women in India to continue or resume work. Similarly, work-from-home options have also created an increased emphasis on owning or expanding homes. There is an increasing and growing realization that owning a home makes them less vulnerable to exploitation, and is an asset that can support their requirements at different stages of their life,”.
There are a host of advantages being rolled out by developers, regulatory bodies, and financial institutions to encourage women to invest in real estate. For instance, 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 Maharashtra Government in its Budget of 2021-2022 announced a one percent discount on stamp duty if a flat is purchased by a woman. So instead of the prevalent stamp duty of five percent in Mumbai, if a woman is solely buying the property, she would end up paying four percent. Besides, various government policies also promote homeownership in India. For instance, to avail homes under the government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), homes have to be mandatorily registered either in a woman’s name or with women as co-owners. This was done to especially empower women of the lower-income segments,”.
Almost all lenders offer discounted interest rates (in the range of five-10 basis points) on home loans to women. “While this may look like a very small number, lower policy rates have, in turn, translated to a decline in lending rates by banks and financial institutions. And these lower rates translate to lower EMIs for women borrowers and over the tenure of the loan may lead to large savings on interest payments,”. Many lenders also offer a bouquet of benefits to make the process more seamless for women home-buyers, including zero processing fee, doorstep service, and home loan insurance.
There is also a major reason why more men are seeing the merit in co-borrowing a home loan alongside their wives. After all, if you take a joint home loan, you can avail of a tax benefit u/s 80C and 24B i.e. co-borrowers, who are also co-owners of the property, can each claim a tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh u/s 80C on principal repayment as long as the combined claim doesn’t exceed the total principal repaid during the year. Similarly, co-owners of self-occupied properties can further claim tax deductions of Rs 2 lakh each u/s 24B on home loan interest payment as long as the combined claim doesn’t exceed the total interest repaid during the year.
“It’s only a myth that it’s the man of the house who calls the shots. During site inspection or while viewing a sample flat, the woman has a keen eye for space, utilities, amenities, proximity to key areas of interest, etc. She views it from a more holistic point of view. If you cater to the woman of the house, you cater to the whole family. And developers are also getting sensitized to that fact and constructing projects keeping the woman buyer in mind,”.