Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Houses most affordable since 2005

Buying your own home is more affordable now than it has ever been in the last four years. The average price of a house is around 4.5 times of the buyers average income, against 4.6 times in 2005.

In 2007, the affordability factor had widened to 5.1% due to a sharp increase in real estate prices. However, with the prices of new houses dropping by around 30%, the number of years’ income required to buy a house has come down to 4.5 years.

Developers have realized the need to introduce affordable housing and are reducing dwelling size and omitting amenities which drive up cost in a bid to cater to the untapped demand.

HDFC, India’s largest housing finance company, calculates the ‘‘affordability factor’’ based on data of its home loan borrowers. At 4.5 times of annual income, the average EMI would be about 50% of a house buyer’s income on a 15-year loan. In the home loan market, this is considered affordable.

Joint property hope for wife Assetventures

The time has come for a “holistic” policy that will allow women joint rights over matrimonial property, law minister M. Veerappa Moily told Parliament today.

Matrimonial property is property acquired by either spouse or both together during the period of marriage.

The question had, of course, been raised by a woman — Brinda Karat of the CPM.

In reply, Moily said it was time to “modernise our thinking”.

“The husband can always claim that this is my property, this is acquired by me, this is exclusive to me. They think that the wife does not inherit that or the wife does not contribute to that,” the minister said.

“I think the day has come when we have to modernise our thinking, our mindset. There cannot be exclusiveness when they (husband and wife) are in a family, when she belongs to that family.”

Karat had asked Moily: “Would you kindly set up a small committee to look into the concrete recommendations… by the Status of the Women Committee Report in 1975 and by the Gujarat government in its Gaurav Nari Niti which was passed in 2006?”

Under the Gaurav Nari Niti, the Narendra Modi government has exempted transfer fees and stamp duty for land or property that is solely in the name of a woman.

Upper House members, dissatisfied with Moily’s reply that women’s property rights were governed by personal laws, began a debate that ended with Moily’s words on the issue. The minister promised the issue would be referred to the Law Commission and the National Commission for Women to chalk out a “holistic” policy.

Karat said no personal law in the country recognised the concept of joint rights over matrimonial property. “Even 62 years after Independence, Indian women are denied this right under the community property regime,” she said.