The art of ‘gift­ing’ through the years

Both buy­ers and de­vel­op­ers now seem to think cash in­cen­tives work best

HT Estates - - Front Page -

Giving out gifts or ‘free­bies’ in the fes­tive sea­son has tra­di­tion­ally been the norm for builders in In­dia, par­tic­u­larly in the res­i­den­tial sec­tor. Over the years, how­ever, the rules of ‘gift­ing’ have changed. While pro­vid­ing free white goods such as air con­di­tion­ers, re­frig­er­a­tors, etc and fit­ted-out mod­u­lar kitchens were given out to at­tract buy­ers in 2007-08, the later years saw de­vel­op­ers of­fer­ing free car parks and gold as add-on of­fer­ings. In the more re­cent past, how­ever, de­vel­op­ers have banked on com­pli­men­tary regis­tra­tion and EMI-free pe­ri­ods to at­tract buy­ers. Real es­tate in­vestors were mak­ing hay. They shopped for homes as if they were buy­ing veg­eta­bles - and that too at in­ter­est rates at a mere 7% to 8%. Many de­vel­op­ers gave away free­bies to ap­pease the over-ea­ger buy­ers The dhamaka was clearly miss­ing. Only a few de­vel­op­ers of­fered dis­counts dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. TDI In­fra­struc­ture Limited (TDIL) of­fered two schemes for plot own­ers - “As­sured rent for 22 months post con­truc­tion” and “gross ad­just­ment in the con­struc­tion ex­pense.” Their club mem­ber­ship fee, too, was re­duced to R25000. Era Group gave away free gold coins and dis­counts on the ini­tial book­ing amount The baits dis­ap­peared. Real es­tate de­vel­op­ers were hit hard by the slowdown - the six-month pe­riod be­tween Oc­to­ber 2008 to March 2009 was a real damp­ener. The mood dur­ing the sea­son was that of “cau­tious op­ti­mism.” Su­pertech or­gan­ised a lucky draw that got the win­ner a 1BHK flat in its Green Vil­lage town­ship in Meerut. For its other projects such as 34 Pav­il­ion and Emer­ald Court in Noida it of­fered air con­di­tion­ers to cus­tomers – as many ACs as the num­ber of rooms in the flat The thrust was on new launches, es­pe­cially in the mid seg­ment. The big­gest spoil­sport was un­cer­tainty on the home loan front. An­sal API launched Palm Ville in Luc­know. These were limited edi­ton vil­las priced at R90 lakh. Su­pertech of­fered a gold coin to cus­tomers on ev­ery book­ing and or­gan­ised a lucky draw where cus­tomers could win a flat as the first prize, a Swift car in the sec­ond cat­e­gory and an Alto as the third prize A Mum­bai-based de­vel­oper of­fered a hol­i­day to Malaysia or Sin­ga­pore to cus­tomers book­ing flats. Another of­fered a buy­back scheme, giving cus­tomers the op­tion of sell­ing their apart­ments to the builder at the sell­ing price if the value of their as­set de­pre­ci­ated. In Ghazi­abad, SG Es­tates of­fered a Tata Nano car with a 2BHK flat and a Chevro­let Beat diesel car with a 4BHK flat. The re­sult was that sales went up by 1520%. Cus­tomers who bought pent­houses in a Gaur­sons project got their in­te­ri­ors done for free, a 50% dis­count on car park­ing and even a free elec­tric me­ter (5KVA) and free power back-up (1KVA) Com­piled by: Van­dana Ram­nani

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