Last Updated : | Source:

Women emerging as critical homebuyer segment; number of women entrepreneurs on the rise

Contrary to the increasing conservative preference for compact homes, the Indian millennial woman does not want to compromise on property size.

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1
Representative image
Representative image

Apart from several regulatory changes, the real estate sector has also seen a shift in the type of people who invest in it – from pure play investors, the thrust now is on end-users. And a majority of these happen to be women.

Interestingly, ANAROCK's consumer sentiment survey revealed that nearly 42 percent of women respondents preferred real estate as an investment asset class, followed by 30 percent for FDs and a mere 17 percent preferred gold.

Contrary to the increasing conservative preference for compact homes, the Indian millennial woman does not want to compromise on property size.

The survey revealed that almost 60 percent women home seekers preferred a property within the budget-range of Rs 80 lakh and 52 percent opted for a ready-to-move-in home. Nearly 80 percent preferred large-size units within both 2 and 3 BHK options (between 1,000-1,250 sq. ft for 2 BHKs and 1,250-2,000 sq. ft. for 3 BHKS).

These trends indicate that women are emerging as a critical homebuyer segment in India – not just a 'niche' segment. The rapid increase in women homebuyers across the country has also prompted the Government to give them added benefits. To empower women of low-income segment as per the Housing for All by 2022 mission, the Government has now made it mandatory for them to be either co-owners or sole owners of affordable homes.

They can also avail of lower stamp duty charges, low home loan interest rates and tax deductions.

That's about consumers. But what about the women who are leading real estate companies? While there are some who may have inherited the real estate business from their fathers, there are others who have proved their mettle and moved up the ranks.

Darshana Parmar Jain_Profile photo

Take the case of Darshna Parmar, chairperson, CREDAI’s Women's Wing. She has a Masters in IT and has worked in several technology firms across the United States. When she returned in 2009 to join her father's company, her biggest challenge was to break the biggest barrier of them all – of being the boss' daughter.

"To say that I am here not because I am the boss’ daughter but because I am qualified to lead. Initially, I had to put in 10 times the work that any other man had to put in. The biggest challenge was to find a seat at the table," she told Moneycontrol.

While she started off with designing brochures for her dad's company "doing some silly stuff", today she is handling everything – right from liasoning to accounts to engineering to purchase.

"The impact a woman can have at the designing stage of a house and in the creation of the final product which at the end of the cycle goes to sale is phenomenal. I have brought in several changes using technology. Through technology, we have integrated all our sites, been able to design better, improve our knowledge management. By bringing in technology, we have tried making the business more process dependent to bring in standards," she said.

As part of the Credai's Women’s initiative, she has strived to harness the leadership potential among women in real estate – be it women who run family businesses, are entrepreneurs or workers who need to be skilled. The women’s wing focuses on empowering women labourers and has taken up several clean city initiatives in Kochi, Pune and now Kolkata.

"We started with 50 members and number over 350 now," she said.

WhatsApp Image 2019-03-08 at 15.44.56

Shakuntala Iyer, chairperson, Naredco, Karnataka, joined the real estate sector in 2009 purely by ‘virtue of her interest in the sector that was pretty much disorganized in terms of accountability and practices.’

While she agrees that the sector is primarily dominated by men, that’s not a challenge that she has had to deal with. “It’s more about men being comfortable with visiting construction sites and sitting it out through the day.”

She recalls the reaction of consumers, contractors and labourers when she met them for the first time after she joined the sector, fresh from an IT background.

"I was seen as somebody who could solve all their problems. There was absolutely no resistance. There were high hopes that since I was a woman, they thought I could handle their grievances better," she told Moneycontrol.

And what's her advice for women who wish to enter the real estate sector?

"They must ‘come in with an open mind and be ready to accept the physical challenges of the industry. You would have to put in long hours, perhaps not work in a sophisticated manner because the persons you are dealing with will be crude. There's nothing ‘beautiful’ about the sector. It is mostly about dealing with a 'strong' industry and you need to have the strength to deal with it," she said.

"Challenges have to be seen as learnings," she added.
First Published on Mar 8, 2019 06:49 pm
More From
Follow us on
Available On
PCI DSS Compliant