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Property developers are showering prospective homebuyers with festive season offers of flexible payment, cash discounts, free-parking space and holidays abroad to get the market moving amid a pandemic-induced fear of job losses and pay cuts.

Given the tough economic situation, exacerbated by the covid-19 crisis, many people have postponed buying homes due to mounting job insecurity and low hopes of pay hikes.

Real estate sales generally pick up during the festive season when many people plan big-ticket purchases.

“Festive occasions still govern the buyers’ psyche across the country with several property seekers advancing or postponing their purchase decisions to coincide with the festivals. The sales during previous festive seasons have been good and we are highly optimistic this season," said Surendra Hiranandani, chairman and managing director, House of Hiranandani, a Mumbai-based real estate developer.

Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint
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Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

There are a variety of schemes that developers have come up with. “Apart from the regular freebies, many developers are offering different types of payment plans including no EMI till possession or booking at 10%, rest on possession," said Samir Jasuja, chief executive officer of P.E. Analytics, a Gurugram-based real estate research firm.

Sunteck Realty has launched a scheme under which the residences of SunteckWorld, Naigaon, and SunteckCity, Oshiwara District Centre Goregaon West could be booked with a 10% down payment and the rest can be paid at the time of possession.

Around 600-plus developers, registered with the National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco), Maharashtra, are offering to pay stamp duty charges on behalf of homebuyers. The offer will be available for purchases made up to 31 October.

Last month, Maharashtra reduced stamp duty by 3 percentage points from 1 September to 31 December, and by 2 percentage points from January to March 2021. Earlier, stamp duty charges were 5% in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik, and 6% in others.

Experts believe that as Maharashtra has already reduced the stamp duty charges, such discounts may not be enough to lure buyers.

“It’s a welcome move given the fact that the developers are realizing the problem of affordability and coming forward with schemes to offer discounts," said Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liases Foras.

Homebuyers should be mindful of the risks. “Freebies should never sway a purchase decision. They add nothing to the inherent value of the property and fly-by-night developers often use attractive freebies to distract buyers from inherent flaws in the project," said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.

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