Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's Raining Freebies As Builders Try To Beat Recession

* Buy a premium apartment from Kumar Builders and go on an all paid week-long trip for a family of four to Switzerland .
* Despite the hike announced by the city builders DSK has offered 55 of its apartments in the current schemes at old rates.
* Mont Vert has offer for incentive customers who bring in another buyer.
* Many builders are offering free white goods - air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, modular kitchens.

Pune's developers and builders may not be willing to admit that the real estate market is in a slowdown mode. But check out some of their recent initiatives to woo customers and it becomes clear that the city builders are selling at discounted rates. Thus even as there is no dent in the price line which they continue to hold on diligently, potential clients are surely being wooed with a whole lot of freebies that have flooded the market of late.

These can be as extravagant as a trip for four to Switzerland and as unassuming as lining up the housing loans. There is an array of freebies that can be pegged somewhere in between these two instances, ranging from free white goods and stamp duty waiver to even offers to pay the first couple of EMIs on behalf of the buyer.

Naresh Malkani, CEO describes the scenario of the last few months as a "no-deals time". Cushman and Wakefield in their latest report on Pune residential scene have also noted that sale transactions are expected to see a further slowdown which "may force certain developers to offer better deals or free amenities to incentivise purchaser and ensure cash flow for their projects." The point seems to have been well taken by the builders.

"We are offering a trip to Switzerland for seven days and six nights for two adults and two children for those buying a flat in our premium projects where the cost is over Rs one crore. In projects that are lesser in price we have the same offer with Malaysia being the destination instead," says Prabha Shankar, vice president, Sales, Kumar Properties.

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Mont Vert Homes that had offered a discount of Rs 50-100 on Gudi Padwa day are now extending this scheme. " Whenever the price is needed to be hiked because of increase in prices of input materials, we offer small incentives so that the customers do not feel disheartened," says Manish Kaneria, director of Mont Vert Homes.

"We also have a scheme called `Mont Vert Customer Appreciation' in which if one of our customers gets along another potential buyer then he is offered incentives," he adds.

DSK has been advertising that it's thrown open 55 of their apartments at rates prevalent before the Promoters and Builders of Pune (PBAP) announced a price hike. Says Sudesh Kosumbkar, manager at DSK, "Rates in our projects are slated to go up significantly after the hike. We decided to keep 55 flats open at old rates for the benefit of customers."

According to S Motwani, a city real estate broker, goodies and early bird discounts are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception: "The objective is to of course pump up sales and motivate the customer to buy."

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