Single women’s home ownership on the rise
Mar 08, 2014
Source : The Times of India


BHOPAL: Gone are the days when investing in real estate was exclusively for men. There is now emergence of single women in the residential space and they constitute the second biggest group of home buyers in India.

Women home buyers come in all sises, shapes and ages. With greater social acceptance of young adults moving out of joint families and into their own apartments, women are also now moving out of their parental properties in pursuit of higher education in other cities, as also for securing jobs.

Whether a middle-age divorcee or never married, widowed or professionals, single women are leaving no stone unturned in purchasing a home for themselves. Such a trend would seem the very image of women empowerment: a single woman buying a home of her own.

Reasons for the rise of single women home ownership –

1. As women increasingly occupy the formal workplace, their incomes are on the rise, and as a result they have money in their hand. While rising prices, more consumer goods and other demands of the modern life mean that a fair bit of these incomes go into spending, two income households and a rise in overall level of incomes also means more money to save.

2. The average age of marriage in a segment of the Indian population is on the rise. Added to this is the fact that education and work are often away from the hometown, so single women living independently is a common feature today, especially in the metros.

3. Another reason include, more and more people are now choosing to stay single, particularly as women become financially independent and are able to provide for themselves. Thus, property investment has become a way of building long-term security and stability for themselves and their family.

This trend is extremely visible in the metropolitan cities and big cities like, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. These cities being the largest provider of jobs have seen many single women migrating and getting a house for themselves. This trend is also being witnessed in the extension cities of the booming metro cities like, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Jaipur, Kochi, Indore, Coimbatore, Mysore, Raipur etc.

The concept of home resonates so strongly with women. Women want to come home to a place that belongs to them. When they look for a home, they are excited about turning a place into a home that reflects their personality and tastes. They know they can paint a bathroom any color they want and transform into their own personal sanctuary.

There are many reasons for a single woman to buy a house but the three reasons that drives her to this decision are, a strong desire to own her own home, needing more space or wanting smaller home and relocating closer to job or family.

While purchasing a house for the first time, Single women do a lot more due diligence than others. Realtors need to be upfront and clear in order to appeal to them. There is a lot more detail that they will read through than what we’ve seen in the past.

They analyse a property base on their emotional factors like sense of responsibility, pride and fulfillment. They also look for a house that incorporates proper security system perhaps outdoor lighting and an alarm system or windows that can be locked ajar to allow enough light and ventilation but no entry from the outside. Single women who migrated to cities like Bangalore, New Delhi or Mumbai often look for an apartment with a multipurpose space. Single women preferred a house which needs less maintenance and a close proximity to stores, shopping and gyms.

So they either save money throughout their career to purchase their dream house or inherit it from their family. Housing loan schemes that provide lower interest rates for women have also been an encouraging factor for them to take on home ownership. Till a few years back, banks hesitated to give loans to single women fearing loss of income after marriage.

With double income families becoming the norm rather than exception, lenders now are lending to single women as well. Bank and financial institutions also have special schemes for women offering them a discount up to 0.25 per cent.  Women are better savers which make them better able to cope with credit stress – saving for the deposit, paying the loan effectively, etc

The rise of single women ownerships have change the way developers think.  Single women buyers want a great location, good price, a property that is in good condition, and a home that is rentable. They are looking for a price that won’t stop them from enjoying their single lifestyle. They are also looking for the possibility of remodeling their apartment. Developers understood the strength of this focus group and are catering to their needs and requirement by building houses which appeals to them. In new construction, developers are featuring on Gourmet kitchen, larger closets and yard which require little or no maintenance at all. Since, safety is one of the most important aspects for single women; developers are investing into Gated communities, attached garage and installing home security.

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