Women across urban India are buying property either to diversify their investment portfolios or to avail multiple benefits exclusive to women.
In India today, women have become an important focal point for developers. As opposed to the earlier scenario where they could at best be considered decision influencers, Indian women are now highly empowered and have become independent decision-makers in home purchase matters. Women hold very good jobs with excellent growth prospects – not only in corporate India but also in government positions across ranks.
“It is an accepted fact that today’s Indian woman is perfectly capable of making her own decisions, and more and more of them are taking one of the most important steps towards their and their children’s independence — homeownership in their own right. An increasing number of women now consider owning a home as de rigueur even before contemplating marriage, and whether or not they intend to get married at all. Owning a home is by far the strongest security anchor that an Indian woman can have,” says Santhosh Kumar, Vice Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants.
The scenario has changed even in the case of married women. To the backdrop of the fairly new dynamic or dual-income families, many women are now active financial partners with equal powers of proposal and disposal, and are increasingly becoming financially independent.
This had led to a distinct shift in her investment preferences – where while gold and FDs (fixed deposits) used to be the primary choices for Indian women earlier, real estate now rides high in her investment portfolio. In fact, in a recent ANAROCK-LIC Housing Finance Consumer Sentiment survey, nearly 57 per cent women respondents said they prefer real estate as an investment asset class, while 28 per cent preferred investing in the stock market, 11 per cent in fixed deposits and a mere 4 per cent in gold.
Developers are keenly wired into this dynamic and often actively gear their promotions towards women. The government and banking system are also going the extra mile to encourage women into standalone homeownership.
For example, in India, stamp duty charges of property registration are lower in some states if it is executed in the name of a woman. Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana are States with such a relaxation in stamp duty for women buyers. The exemption on stamp duty ranges from 1-2% in different states:
* Women get a rebate of INR 10,000 on total stamp duty charged
“There could be an additional tax benefit if property is in a joint ownership. Like men, women homebuyers are also eligible for a tax exemption up to Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act on the principal paid on a housing loan, and up to Rs 2 lakh under Section 24 per annum on the interest on a home loan. If a property is rented out, then the entire interest on the home loan is allowed as a deduction. However, to avail this additional tax benefit on a home loan, the property must be in co-ownership,” informs Kumar.
Moreover, many major banks in India offer a lower home loan interest to women borrowers as against men. The rebate can vary from .05% to .25%, depending on the bank and the loan amount.
Thus, women across urban India are buying property either to diversify their investment portfolios or to avail multiple benefits exclusive to women, which range from tax benefits to reduced home loan interest rates by some banks, and also reduced stamp duty and registration charges across different states.