Real Estate Comes Calling For Women
A woman in real estate is news in itself. Although times have changed, women are largely participate in related areas, say, architecture and design. Even across advertisements, women are show discussing the colour of walls and the kind of wardrobes they would want. Has this changed for the better?
Mira Gujral, a 36-year-old professional working with a remittance firm says she has tackled a lot of rejections and surprises on her journey of buying a new home. “I banked on a broker who had facilitated home purchases for some of my colleagues. With me he was different, he felt I had approached him too early on in the cycle. He expected a husband or a brother to accompany him. That would mean that my home-buying looked more serious,” she chuckles. Gujral is a single woman based out of Pune and is the owner of a 2BHK apartment in the city.
In the United States, single women form 15 per cent of the total home buyers. Back in 2009, this number stood at 21 per cent. As per a recent report by Bloomberg, this share is going to see a comeback. The reason behind this pattern is the increasing spending capacity. Over the past three years for example, there has been an increase in the number of single women earning more than $100,000 in cities such as Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. In India, the number of women buying homes is less, but, increasing which is encouraging.
However, there are many deterrents, too. For example, in 2014, a three-state survey conducted by UN Women and Landesa recorded that in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, only 13 per cent of women who could inherit land have inherited or expect to inherit. Over 60 per cent, signed no-objection certificates and renounced it and let it go to their brothers. The survey was undertaken to study the formal and informal barriers to the implementation of the Hindu Succession Act 2005. Therefore, for women who are born in one home and wed in another, the only opportunity to buy an own house is to collaborate with her husband or if finances are stable, buy on her own. However, there are aspects that aren’t still a woman’s realm.
Ravi Nautiyal, a banker by profession says he gives as much importance to his wife’s decision as to his own. “Ultimately both of us have to live in the nest so it is far more important that the two of us like where we live.” An engineer by profession, Pallavi Nautiyal says that the location and even the property was shortlisted by her, but, the transactions or the many meetings with people concerned were undertaken by her husband because it is ‘not safe’ for her to venture out on ‘such errands’ all alone. It is not a dictat set by the patriarchs in the family, but, something she is consciously aware of, she insists. Therefore, women largely are joint applicants or even when the property is solely hers, she prefers to keep out of ‘money matters’ and ‘running around’. Also, between 2004-2011, the percentage of working women fell drastically from 35 per cent to 25 per cent as projected by The International Labour Organization. The organisation suggested that India should put in place better-working conditions, access to jobs and an anti-discrimination policy to help them participate better.
But there’s no dearth of women who are happy to invest. Sakshi Vasudeva, an economist with a Chennai-based company says, “There are many benefits of being able to buy a home on your own. There are stamp duty reductions and even home loan discounts, although marginal and backed by many terms and conditions. Although many women keep away from investing, it surely is a liberating feeling.”
Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd says, “Buying a home is not just a matter of instincts and good taste, but also one for adequate planning and foresight. For women who are investigating the market for suitable properties, either for themselves or for their family, consider the initial costs, be confident about the monthly outgoings, be realistic with a forward focus, shop around extensively for home loans and never compromise on the credibility of the developer.”
More and more women who can afford a house today are leaving no stone unturned and thanks to the rising incomes, the opportunities to invest are plenty. Real estate for women, just like men, is security they can bank on and Indian women are shattering their comfort zones like never before.