Some financial institutions are now offering special home loan rates for women. A look at this trend…

Since late 2013, several home financiers like State Bank of India and LIC Housing Finance have promoted time-bound schemes to lure the woman borrower with discounted loan rates for home purchases. Some shaved off 5 basis points or 0.05% from their rates to woo India’s women borrowers. And now, Tata Capital Housing Finance (TCHF) has joined the ranks with its discount scheme, which offers them home loans of up to `40,00,000 at a discounted rate of 10.15 per cent vis-a-vis its present rate of 10.50 per cent for male borrowers.

While I am personally against the idea of caste-based politics and sex-based financing, financial prudence dictates that we evaluate the benefits for our financial well being. So here goes.

If you intend to take a loan from Tata Capital Housing Finance of up to `40,00,000, it helps to be a woman. You can expect to save as much as `864 a month on a 15-year loan and `935 a month on a 20-year loan. And if you add this up, even without accounting for the interest the money saved might earn over the loan period, you stand to save between `150,000 and `225,000 over 15 to 20 years. That’s a tidy sum.

However, the picture changes dramatically once you start comparing home loans offered by some of the other large home financiers who are offering loans up to `75,00,000 at a gender-neutral rate of 10.25%. The attractiveness of TCHF’s ‘woman only’ offer fades. Savings per month crimp to `267 and `246 a month for 20-year and 15-year tenures. What you save over the tenures, without taking into account opportunity cost, also dwindles to between just over `44,000 to `64,000, respectively.

Compared with other lenders, the offer seems far less enticing, but if you want to make the most of any discounts you can get, go ahead. You have till March 8 to grab this offer. To avail this facility, the property must be in the single/joint name of the borrower and the borrower must have income to support the EMIs. There is also a provision for a co-borrower to be included in the application, without any gender qualifications.

So, if you are a married working couple looking to buy a home, there just might be merit in the lady of the house paying for the new abode. And if you are the “fairer” and single kind, there’s a little more pocket money to tuck away with such schemes.