Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Homing in on a perfect match

23 Mar 2019 | 6:45 AM

THE WRITER IS CEO:Marriage is not on the mind of 26-year-old Anjana Kaul, who has migrated to Chandigarh from Jammu.

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Ravi Sinha

Marriage is not on the mind of 26-year-old Anjana Kaul, who has migrated to Chandigarh from Jammu. This data analyst is busy working on her financial security and a home purchase is, actually, on top of her priority list at present. 

“I feel a woman should not be chained, either financially or emotionally. If we seek and demand equal space with men then we have to prove a point that we are capable of being equal in every sense of the term. Right now I am negotiating for a 2BHK small apartment in Mohali and that would be my stepping stone of a getting settled financially,” says Kaul.     

This is not a one-off case or a study in isolation, this in fact is a noticeable trend in metros as well as Tier II cities across the country. Single women in their 20s and early 30s are deferring marriage in order to realise their dream of owning a home. 

Manasi Mitra is a single working woman and at the age of 34 she is now planning to get married. While her other friends have one or two kids by this age, she took a conscious decision to go for mortgage over marriage. 

She bought a 2BHK house five years back in New Town Rajarhat, an upcoming affordable locality of Kolkata.

Some facts seem to suggest the Indian women in general, and single women in particular, have taken a giant leap in their thought process and financial prudence. According to a recent survey by  Track2Realty survey, 28 per cent women across the top ten cities of India are ready to defer marriage plans for mortgage, as compared to only 22 per cent men. Nearly two out of three women  won’t even mind selling their jewellery to purchase a piece of property. 

Women in general and single women in particular are nowadays keeping a house at the core of their financial decisions. “I see marriage as a choice rather than a woman’s destiny.  Today, for me buying a home on mortgage is not only viable but also a smart way to spend money and secure my future. I make well-informed choice and am confident in my abilities to build equity, without having to rely on a spouse, roommate or parents,” says Meera Sampath in Bengaluru. 

Natasha, a sales and marketing executive in Noida, who is looking forward to settling down in near future, believes that women should not only be financially independent but also be in a position to contribute towards the financial causes of the household. For her, having roof of her own is not only an asset or mode of investment or source of supplementary income, it is also a fall back option if tomorrow things don’t go as planned. 

“I want to make sure that this security is there before I embark on my marital journey. Also, I intend to adopt a child and genuinely believe that having a secured roof of my own on my head is one less thing to worry about while bringing up a child. It is to ensure there is no hassle of rent and lease deeds getting over every 11 months. It is also about my own little world where I can live with my own rules, and my child can have his own little world with unnecessary restrictions that come along with a rented accommodation,” says Natasha.

The moot point today is whether the Indian developers are understanding this paradigm shift in the home buying pattern. Amit Modi, Director of ABA Corp admits that it is only recently that women are seen independently coming forward and taking real estate ownership decisions and making purchase decision according to their preference. 

Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group is more forthright in admitting that the developers have been as slow in catching up with the trend of single women buyers as society in general. According to him, since the number of such women buyers is miniscule the developers have not been focussed on this target group.

“They are increasingly forcing us to rethink the way we are addressing to their wants & needs. It is an evolving trend as of now,” says Hawelia.   

It is not just the developer’s mindset but it seems society in general is not ready to accept single home owners. And if it is women then the element of curiosity also turns into suspicion. Do the single women buyers really bother? The emerging trend does not seem to suggest so.

Mortgage over marriage

Marriage is as much a choice for women as mortgage, and marriage is definitely not mandatory for home ownership. Even among the married couples the role of the women is changing and they are increasingly getting on the driver’s seat when buying a house.  

"Even though in percentage terms it is miniscule and less than 1 per cent, but what is heartening to see is that this number is steadily increasing, especially in metros and mini-metro regions where there is a sizeable population of independent working women, who now have their own independent disposable income and are mature enough to make investment decisions." — Amit Modi, Director of ABA Corp 

"They are increasingly forcing us to rethink the way we are addressing to their wants & needs. It is an evolving trend as of now." — Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group 

The writer is CEO, Track2Realty

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