Table of Contents
Single women are driving the demand for housing in India, with as many as 68% of them planning property purchase after acquiring financial independence, show the findings of a recent survey by real estate research firm Track2Realty. In comparison, only 56% of married women think property should be their first priority in life, shows the survey. Also, only 60% of married working women who took part in the survey wanted a house of their own.
The survey aimed at exploring the investment choice and property buying preferences of single and married women in India’s housing market. The pan-India survey of 500 women across various income levels, showed that women’s role in influencing the family decision to buy a house is fast changing with their financial independence.
Property acquisition vs marriage
While 78% married women felt that a house was a means of social security, 84% single women saw property as a prudent investment choice. Consequently, as many as 54% single women delayed their marriages to focus on property acquisition.
“For me, a home purchase was the first financial and life goal ever since I got into a job. It is a sound investment decision, as well as a social security. However, in a city like Bengaluru, with ever-increasing house cost and rent, it is more of a financial decision. It is otherwise a safe city but there are issues in getting a house on rent for single women,” says Bhavya Mishra, an IT professional.
A new emerging trend is that single women far outnumber married ones, when it comes to buying an additional home for investment. While only half the married women (52%) would be tempted to buy a second home for investment, 70% single women have the intent to buy a second home for investment.
Investment preferences of women
The changing preferences are also being noticed with respect to their overall investment options. Gold, a traditional asset class that women hold, is not as popular among the single women – only 46% want to possess the precious yellow metal. In contrast, 82% married women want to possess jewellery as a safe means of investment.
“My mother had gifted me some gold, with the intention of keeping it for my marriage. I told her marriage was not on my mind for the next few years. So, I got it liquidated to make the down payment for my property in Noida. I have some gold still left and hopefully that will help me in my next property purchase,” maintains Deepika Agnihotri, a banking professional in Noida.
When it comes to investment in real estate stocks, only 12% married women have some exposure to real estate stocks, as against 26% of single women.
Locations that women property buyers prefer
Another stereotype that single women are demolishing today, is with their choice of location. While 90% of married women prefer to buy a house in the vicinity of the workplace along with necessary social infrastructure for their family, single women are more location-agnostic. Only 76% of single women are fixated with the idea of a particular neighbourhood and the remaining are willing to travel, if it makes a better investment choice.
Property market knowledge among women
Single women also have more knowledge of the housing market than their married peers, with 74% single women maintaining they researched the market and visited multiple properties, before making a final purchase commitment as against 54% married women who shortlisted their preferences online and did not explore the market further.
This knowledge leads to less emotional and impulsive buying behavior, leading to better negotiation power. No less than 70% single women negotiated for discounted property prices, as against the 58% married women who were particular about a location, not leaving enough room for negotiation.
“It is easier to deal with a family and/or married woman in the property market than a single woman. A single woman as a home buyer is someone who has the habit of negotiating a lot. Over and above that, they always drop the names of competing projects that they have already visited and often have the competitive offers from there. This set of informed buyers leaves little room for us to make better profits and brokerage,” says Sudesh Madaan, a broker in Gurgaon.
Challenges faced by women property buyers
Nevertheless, single women complain that they have to face numerous challenges, vis-à-vis mortgages. More than two-thirds (66%) have faced suspicion from home loan lenders over being a single woman home buyer, while only 30% married women faced such perception issues on part of the lender.
See also: Best banks for home loans for women
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)
More women ready to defer marriage for property purchase: Track2Realty survey
Single women are one of the most aspiring lot of home seekers and do not mind even deferring their marriage for the sake of taking a mortgage for home purchase, finds a survey by Track2Realty across the top 10 cities
March 8, 2019: Manasi Mitra is a single working woman and at the age of 34, she is now planning to get married. While her other friends of the same age, already have one or two children, she took a conscious decision to defer her marriage, in order to buy a house. Mitra, a copywriter at an advertising agency, bought a two-BHK house five years ago in New Town Rajarhat, an upcoming affordable locality of Kolkata. Mitra is not the only one to take such a decision.
28% women across the top 10 cities of India, are ready to defer their marriage plans for mortgage, as compared to only 22% men. Nearly two out of three women (62%) would not even mind selling their jewellery, for a piece of property. Even more in number (70% of single women) would prefer real estate as their preferred choice of investment. This is in comparison to only 58% single men who opt for real estate as primary investment option. These are the findings of a survey by Track2Realty across the top 10 cities.
The survey was aimed at understanding and assessing the role of women in home buying. It also aimed to gauge the quest of women for home ownership. Track2Realty conducted this survey in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. A majority of the respondents were working professionals and included singles and couples belonging to double-income families.
Women home buyer survey highlights
- 28% women prefer mortgage over marriage, against 22% men.
- 62% women are ready to sell their jewellery for property.
- 70% women prefer real estate as their first investment, as compared to 58% men.
- Single women are willing to spend up to 60% of their income on property, against 38% for men.
- 74% of the women are involved in home buying.
- 66% of married women were involved in the home buying decision of their families.
- The share of single women buyers in India, is 9%.
- The top three cities with single women buyers are Ahmedabad (14%), Kolkata (12%) and Bengaluru (11%).
- 13% of married women are major contributors in the home buying process.
- 60% of women buyers are below 40 years of age.
- 84% feel that developers do not understand the needs of women buyers.
- 58% of single buyers have faced discrimination.
- 92% women buyers said that they would like to see women sales staff.
- 78% single women buyers say they have faced discrimination in their neighbourhood.
- 64% women do not find the lower interest/stamp duty rates to be attractive.
- 42% of the women in the top 10 cities said they inherited family properties.
Home buying patterns of women
The survey clearly suggests marriage is as much a choice for women as mortgage. Even among married couples, the role of women is changing and they are increasingly getting into the driver’s seat, vis-à-vis property purchase. The survey finds that women in general and single women in particular, are keeping a house property at the core of their financial decisions. Take the case of Sweta Jha, a 26-year-old company secretary based in Delhi-NCR. She earns Rs 30,000 working at a Noida firm but has still ventured to buy a one-BHK apartment at Rs 16 lakhs in the city’s outskirts. “After all, it is going to be my own place, where no one will be allowed to interfere. It was tough for me to manage both, rent and EMI and hence, I decided to stay in a PG hostel, till I get the possession. I know the house is small but it is enough for a single woman and I can always think of incremental housing in the future,” says Jha.
The survey also finds that single men spend more than single women. More importantly, women tend to save a greater share of their earnings for a house, compared to men who spend a significant amount on travelling, hobbies, parties and leisure. Single women are ready to shell out 60% of their income for homes, as against men who are ready to shell out 38%. “For me, buying a home with a home loan, is not only viable but also a smart way to spend money and secure my future. I am confident in my ability to build equity, without having to rely on a spouse, roommate or parents,” says Meera Sampath in Bengaluru.
The role of women in property purchase decisions
Women are also major influencers in home buying, with as many as 74% women being directly involved in the decision making. Even when home buying is a family decision, 66% directly get involved in the process, right from house-hunting to the acquisition processes. The share of single women home buyers has crossed double digit percentage in cities like Ahmedabad (14%), Kolkata (12%) and Bengaluru (11%). Overall, the share of women home buyers who are single, is 9% across the top 10 cities. Moreover, no less than 13% of married women are large contributors in home purchases. Collectively, this means that women account for 22% of major buyers in the housing market. The survey also found that a majority of single women, who want to acquire a property, want to do so at a young age. No less than 60% single women home buyers that the survey reached out to, are below the age of 40 years. The survey also found that 42% of the respondents were the first generation of women to have a share in the family property.
Problems faced by women home buyers
However, developers, it seems, have failed to understand this changing home buying pattern. No less than 84% women maintain that the developers are neither listening to nor understanding their buying powers or choices. “Firstly, they do not treat us as serious buyers, unless accompanied by a male family member or friend. They often ask us to come with a cheque book, even if we want to negotiate with them, as if to judge whether we are serious buyers,” says Saloni Sharda in Noida. As many as 58% women even maintain that there is discrimination against them, when it comes to buying a house. The sales team of the developers is often clueless in how to deal with the women buyers.
“I once had a nauseating experience with a Pune developer, who had put a signboard at his project site that read: ‘Foreigners, dogs and singles are not allowed to buy’. Above all, what it says aloud is the mentality of the society at large, in dealing with singles in general and single women, in particular,” says a female journalist who wished to remain anonymous.
The society in general too seems unwilling to accept single home owners, with no less than 78% single home owners saying that they faced ostracism in their neighbourhood, in one form or another. So, what are the changes that women buyers would like to see, to make it easier for them to own properties? Nearly three out of four (64%) women do not think that concessional interest rates and/or lower stamp duty will attract women to invest in property. However, as many as 92% women maintain that developers need to have female sales staff to facilitate their home buying.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)