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Ghar ki Lakshmi: How women are unlocking their true potential


Not very long ago, women shied away from decision making surrounding the Ghar ki Lakshmi, the wealth in the house, even though they are often called ‘Ghar ki Lakshmi’ themselves.  This is changing now.

The evolution of women from being the Ghar ki Lakshmi to a homeowner and investor in the real estate market is significant. Experts point that there is an increased interest in women taking decisions, including making investments in property.

“Along with investment tools, including mutual funds, stocks and gold, women also consider real estate as an excellent investment option. In today’s post-COVID world, financially independent and empowered Indian women have emerged as a key driver of demand in the residential real estate segment,” says Reeza Sebastian Karimpanal, president – residential business, Embassy Group.

Ghar ki Lakshmi: Increased real estate preference

New-age women are risk-oriented and broadminded when it comes to monetary independence.

“From working women to entrepreneurs, they are majorly looking to expand their investment portfolios. We are also witnessing a shift in investment from gold and fixed assets to real estate as COVID-19 has stressed the importance of ownership,” says Atul Monga, CEO and co- Founder, BASIC Home loan.

Their approach towards financial investment is taking a paradigm shift from asset classes like gold, fixed deposits, stock markets to real estate.

“Women buyers nowadays are investing in real estate either driven by the benefits of finance assistance, rental income or the exclusive offers specially curated for them,” says Shraddha Kedia-Agarwal, Director, Transcon Developers.

In addition to diversifying their portfolios, for safety, security and good return on investment, they are stepping up and taking informed decisions on financial investment in the real estate sector.

Also, joint ownership numbers have also increased as the willingness shown by women has grown manifolds.

“Joint ownership enhances the loan eligibility and tax benefits to both co-borrowers on interest and principal repayments. It helps in getting equal taxation and capital gains benefits. In the case of NRIs, the move towards joint ownership is steadily rising and the market is seeing increased inquiries from them to acquire property in India,” says Aditya Kedia, MD, Transcon Developers.

Joint ownership makes it easy for NRIs in taking care of many formalities like registering and leasing the property, signing property agreements, selling the property etc.

Ghar ki Lakshmi: Government backing

Year-on-year, more women are investing in buying homes, thanks to several initiatives introduced by the government to support and encourage this consumer segment. Some of the benefits offered to women homebuyers include: 

  • Differential pricing of stamp duty based on gender: To encourage women homebuyers, some state governments offer lower stamp duty for this category of consumers. For example, Maharashtra gave a 1% stamp duty discount for women homebuyers during February 2021. Similarly, the stamp duty in Delhi is 6% for men and 4% for women.
  • Rebates on property tax: Property tax is applicable to both commercial and residential real estate. Though variable across states, some municipal corporations offer a tax rebate on properties registered in a woman’s name, another factor boosting women homebuyer sentiments. 
  • Lower interest rates on home loans offered by some banks and NBFCs:  This has come a long way towards attracting women investors in this sector. “Women availing of home loans also have the benefit of various exemptions under Section 80C, Section 80EE, Section 80 EEA and Section 24B of the Income Tax Act,” says Karimpanal.
  • PMAY Benefits: Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the government has made it mandatory that any property purchased under the scheme should be registered under the name of at least one woman in the household. And if the woman is the borrower of the loan under this scheme, she can reap the benefits of low interest rate, too.

Ghar ki Lakshmi: Festive season good time for property investment

The period commencing from Ganesh Chaturthi and culminating to Dussehra and Diwali is considered to be the most auspicious time to invest in anything new, including real estate. Developers roll out several offers during the season to incentivise the prospective buyers and thus this period will be the most rewarding quarter for both the buyers and the sellers.

This festive season, the interest is at an all-time low.

In the last one and half years, many banks and other housing finance institutions have come up with many offers during the festive season in 2020 and the end of the financial year in March 2021. Many banks are offering additional benefits of 0.05% rates for salaried woman borrowers, making it a great time for proceeding with real estate investment.

Ghar ki Lakshmi: More women to catch up

Unfortunately, while a larger section of women have tried to change the course, this scenario of non-participation stands true for many women- both home makers and working women. While the former often limits her role in spending money cautiously and saves a small amount from the pool of monthly spendings, little does she know that she is doing a kind of damage here- by stagnating its growth.

For instance, Kalyani, a Navi Mumbai resident, manages to save close to Rs 15,000 from her monthly home expenses every month that she keeps with herself for any extravagant, emergency or immediate spending. Looking at a scenario of a year later, this money only becomes Rs 1,80,000 and not a single paisa more, whereas there is every possibility for it to increase. All she has to do is take care of this money like her family by investing it in the right asset class like real estate and allow it to grow like their requirements.

Many working women also lag behind when it comes to understanding the power of investments. While breaking the glass ceiling, women are working hard and doing exceedingly well in their careers- be it entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, media professionals etc. and earning handsome pay packages, they are clueless on how to make the money they earn grow and support them in their time of need. A house is the biggest security one can have and investing in real estate will help them in all walks of life.

FAQs

What are the benefits offered to women home buyers?

Benefits for women home buyers include lower home loan interest rates, 1-2% stamp duty concession offered by many state governments, registration charges and tax benefits that make the purchase more profitable for them.

What is the advantage for a woman if she opts for joint ownership?

In case of joint ownership, a woman is required to become the co-applicant in the home loan application. An advantage of this would be both spouses will be able to claim tax deductions on their individual incomes.

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