Buy a flat, get gold coins, air-conditioners for free

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Don’t be taken by surprise if you are offered freebies like 100 gms of gold coins, discounts, cash back of monthly rentals up to a year, free parking facilities and payment of stamp duty and registration charges while you go to book a property in the city. In order to boost sales in the stagnant real estate market, developers have been forced to offer a variety of freebies.

“Freebies and discounts encourage buyers. It especially makes sense during the festive season of Ganeshotsava, which is considered auspicious by most people,” said Rachna Raj Sethi, head of marketing, Mantri Realty, which recently spruced up its marketing activity for its 18-storey tower in Goregaon. The group is now offering 100 gms of gold coins for 1-BHKs, 2-BHKs, 3-BHKs flats, and duplexx in Mantri Serene, which houses close to 300 apartments.

“While some developers are offering discounts, some are luring buyers with readymade kitchens, air conditioners in the flats. These marketing schemes are targeted based on the income-level of the buyers and the range of flats,” said a broker. However, the broker added that not many developers would like to advertise such discounts as it diminishes the market value of the property.

A report by real estate consulting firm Knight Frank has quoted Mumbai as the most unaffordable market with 29 per cent of the city’s total under-construction units priced at over Rs 1 crore as against 11 per cent of the NCR and 5 per cent of the Bangalore markets. “Incessant price rise and higher concentration of premium projects have limited the purchasing ability of home buyers, resulting into a decelerating rate of absorption over the past few months,” the report said.

Recently, there has been a spate of launches including residential apartments from the Lodha Group, Omkar Realtors & Developers and K Raheja Corporation among other developers. Pankaj Kapoor of real estate research and rating firm Liases Foras feels that such freebies are directing the market towards an impending price correction. “Instead of directly reducing prices, developers are offering discounts and freebies to encourage sales,” Kapoor said. The developers who had earlier sold the stocks at higher prices are now in a fix, he added. “Now, they have to devise ways to offer homes at lower rates,” Kapoor said.

While potential home buyers are being lured with cash discounts, brokers are being offered foreign junkets besides huge incentives. “The brokerage which would earlier range between 3-4 per cent is now almost 7-10 per cent of the project cost. In addition, developers are now offering specialised foreign trips to top-rated brokers who manage to sell a huge number of flats,” said an agent of a south-Mumbai based brokerage firm.

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