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Published on 3/11/2018 2:33:17 PM
Women, this way please…
As we celebrate Women's Day on 8th March, experts tell us how women are giving their investment portfolio the much-needed boost by opting for real estate. Read on…

Women in the last one decade have become increasingly self-reliant, thereby making a strong contribution towards not only their family, but also the economy. In fact, even the real estate sector has been witness to this paradigm shift, wherein women are breaking the stereotypes and purchasing homes (read: at times, even without the assistance from their fathers or husbands).

"The increasing presence of women in the corporate workforce across management levels and women entrepreneurs has definitely enhanced the ability of women to buy flats on their own. Currently, we are also seeing right-sized apartments being launched by developers, even in prime city areas, thus making it more convenient for women to buy and invest in real estate solely on their own earnings. What is further helping the case for women buyers to buy now is the increased transparency due to RERA and the attractive deals that a majority of the developers are offering to woo buyers," mentions Rubi Arya, Vice-Chairperson, Milestone Capital Advisors.

The developers coming to the party:

The real estate sector is increasingly conceptualizing projects catering to women homebuyers in particular. Lately, we have seen a trend as well wherein builders are developing projects in the leading cities closer to the commercial hubs (such as Gurugram and Noida in the NCR; Navi Mumbai and BKC in Mumbai and the IT corridors in Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai). Several builders are also providing amenities aimed at working women - such as crèche facility, supermarkets, laundry, convenience stores, clinic and medical stores, sports and recreational activities, within the project, so as to provide a convenient and hassle-free living experience.

"Women are increasingly looking at real estate to park their money not only purely for self-use, but also for securing their retirement; ensuring an extra source of income; increasing their investment portfolio and saving on income tax. Hence, the developers too are perceiving them as a potential investor class," says Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head, JLL India.

The advantage is on her side:

Rashmi Deshpande, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co lists down the factors that have encouraged women to take up home ownership: The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005: This passage of law has led to daughters having an equal right to the ancestral property, which has resulted in women having a say in affairs of the family, getting their share of the property and in many cases, liquidity to invest in property in their own name.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY): The affordable housing scheme launched by the Government has mandated the property to be registered in the joint names of husband and wife. This initiative not only protects the rights of women from the weaker section, but also ensures ownership rights over the property.

Income tax benefits: The incentives under the Income Tax Act enables women to claim deductions for payment of interest, principal amount and also depreciation in their name and such benefit can be availed even while the property is held in the joint names of husband and wife. Additionally, first-time home-buyers are allowed to claim additional deduction for loans not exceeding Rs 35 lakh, to incentivise affordable housing. Also, if you have taken a loan to buy a house where you live, the interest paid is eligible for a deduction up to Rs 2 lakh under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act (read: if you and your husband are co-applicants of the home loan, both of you will be able to claim tax deductions on the interest rate paid).

The banks too have taken a series of initiatives so that women are financially independent and socially empowered. These steps include: Leading banks are offering loans to women borrowers at concessional rates; a lot of banks are also moving away from the requirement of having a male family member as a co-applicant and are willing to offer loans with the woman as the sole applicant; another benefit for women buyers is lower stamp duty. Many states offer a waiver of one percent-two percent on stamp duty, if the property is in a woman's name, either as a sole owner or joint owner.

—Deepali Shinde, unit head, Mahila Awas Loan Division (MALA), Aspire Home Finance Corporation Limited (AHFCL)