Faced with slump in housing sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate developers are adopting various marketing strategies to lure prospective homebuyers including cash discounts, waiver in stamp duty or GST, free car parking, attractive payment plans, assured rents and other freebies.
The cash discounts have helped developers to some extent in selling their inventories during this COVID-19 period and they are likely to continue with such offers in the upcoming festive season, which accounts for maximum sales in a year.
In the first quarter of this financial year, Godrej Properties probably set the trend by offering 10:90 scheme in its ongoing projects where a prospective buyer needs to pay 10 per cent initially and the rest 90 per cent on possession. This scheme helped company a lot in achieving over Rs 1,500 crore of sales bookings despite the pandemic.
Bengaluru-based Embassy Group is also offering a 10:90 scheme (pay 10 per cent now and 90 per cent on possession) as well as assured rent in some of its residential projects.
Taking cue from the Maharashtra government's decision to cut stamp duty till March next year, industry body NAREDCO's Maharashtra chapter recently announced that it would bear stamp duty on behalf of the customers in almost 1,000 projects being developed by its members.
Property consultant Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said the swathe of offers and schemes currently being offered by the developers are quite varied in scope and approach.
"Our reading is that many of these schemes and offers are meeting with success to some degree or the other," he added.
Without naming the developers, the property consultant firm listed out various offers available in the market - pay 10 per cent now and nothing for 2 years; pay only down payment and move in, while EMI starts after 12 months from the date of booking; pay 10 per now and 90 per cent at possession; 15 per cent special discount during the festive season.
Anarock said that other incentives being offered are - book now and get free car parking on each booking; get 7 per cent cash discount.
In the Pune market, the builders are offering Rs 10-15 lakh cash discount - cash discount of Rs 6.9 lakh and no GST impact of Rs 4.09 lakh.
A developer in Chennai is offering free registration and modular kitchen, if property is booked before September 27, while another is commiting an assured rent of Rs 25,000 per month for one year, according to Anarock.
Mani Rangarajan, chief operating officer of Housing.com and PropTiger.com, said a number of developers roll out festive season offers to drive incremental sales every year and 2020 is not an exception.
Gaurs Group said it is offering relaxed payment plan in one of its commercial projects and free gifts such as laptop, washing machine, mobile phone, microwave, video doorbell, refrigerator and chimney in some housing projects.
Ajnara India Ltd is offering differentiated payment plans to its customers across various projects.
Mumbai-based Wadhwa Group is offering payment of 10 per cent now and the rest later in their ready-to-move-in projects.
Vijay Khetan group in its project Krishna Residences at Andheri East, Mumbai, is asking homebuyer to just pay Rs 1 as a token amount along with two per cent stamp duty and the EMI will begin after a year.
According to PropTiger data, sales of residential properties fell 52 per cent to 88,593 units across eight cities during January-June period this year.
Many developers have reported a revival in sales during July and August.
Mumbai-based Lodha group sold properties worth Rs 1,167 crore during July-August.
M3M group reported sales bookings of Rs 1,150 crore in the last two months.
Investors Clinic founder Honeyy Katiyal said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the real estate sector badly. However, industry players have been innovative enough to create opportunities during the pandemic situation and kept the momentum rolling in the sector." He added that special schemes have been introduced to ignite the purchasing interest in consumers.
Katiyal said the Property Swap scheme, which is aimed to revive investment of homebuyers in stuck projects, has generated a total sale of Rs 750 crore.