At a time when housing sales have reached an all-time high, women are a key homebuyer segment. 83% women respondents in ANAROCK's most recent Consumer Sentiment Survey looking at homes priced above INR 45 lakh. The INR 45 - 90 lakh budget range is the 'sweet spot' for 36% of women home seekers, and 27% prefer premium homes priced from INR 90 lakh to INR 1.5 Cr. 20% prefer luxury homes priced >INR 1.5 Cr. Affordable homes priced under INR 45 lakh are the least preferred.
The survey also finds that gold has lost its sheen even as real estate has gained favour for women investors. At least 65% women homebuyers now prefer to invest in real estate, followed by 20% favouring the stock markets. Just 8% of women respondents favour gold, and 7% prefer FDs.
Santhosh Kumar, Vice Chairman - ANAROCK Group, says, "Over the last decade, women have emerged as a major residential real estate buyer segment, especially in the urban centres. Their preferences are also distinctly shaping newer trends - from bigger homes, ready-to-move properties to specific budgets, they know exactly what they want. And like millennials, their preferences now influence the supply that developers put on the market."
More women are now also buying property for investment. As per the survey, the ratio of women buying properties for end-use and investment has changes from the previous survey. It now stands at 77:23, where it was previously 82:18.
Of the total of 5,500 survey participants, 50% of respondents were women and among these, more than 80% consider the current time as ideal for buying homes.
Advantage - Women Homebuyers
There are many benefits that Indian women can avail by buying and registering properties in their names:
- Various government policies support and promote women homeownership in India. For instance, to avail homes under the government's flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) introduced in 2015, homes have to be mandatorily registered either in a woman's name or with a woman as co-owner. This was done to empower women of the lower-income segments.
- Lower stamp duty is another benefit women homebuyers enjoy. Stamp duty charges are lower if the property is registered in a woman's name, albeit with variations from state to state. The exemption varies from 1-2% across states, and may even vary within a particular state, based on the classification of regions as 'urban' and 'rural'. For instance, Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana offer a relaxation in stamp duty for women buyers.
- Many banks such as SBI, ICICI, and HDFC offer discounted home loan rates to women as compared to men. This again varies from bank to bank, with a difference of around 0.25%.
- To avail of certain tax benefits, a woman can also become the joint owner of a property with her husband and, if she has a separate source of income, both can claim tax deductions individually.