The festival season may have lost much of it novelty and pious considerations given the perpetual nature of marketing strategies and the profile of new-age consumers, but the real estate developers have tremendous hopes. Although, the last two seasons have failed to come up to the industry’s expectations, normally in good times the festival season contributes 30 to 40 per cent of annual realty sales. Can the previous trend be reversed and hopes turn into reality this time around, only time will tell. For the present, however, the mood is upbeat and the single-minded focus only on the weeks ahead.
The festival season, which kicked off this year with the onset of Ganesh Chaturthi on September 17, will spread over Navratras, Durga Puja, Diwali next month and lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Though the lean phase in the real estate sector has been rather prolonged, the coming few weeks are expected to witness a spurt in the sales.
A much-needed trigger has also been provided by the Reserve Bank of India in the form of 50 bps cut in interest rates and that has added to the hopes of the industry. With the country’s largest lender SBI taking the lead and other banks following suit, the drop in home loan rates will be an added motivator in homebuyers’ decision-making press during this festival season.
The sector has been witnessing muted sales since the festive season of 2014 when merely less than 1,00,000 housing units were sold in the top eight cities, recording 30-40 per cent lower sales compared to the healthy period of 2010-11.
After a sluggish 2013, housing sales did not pick up during the 2014 festival season also, despite hopes of market sentiment improving following the installation of a new Government led by Narendra Modi. The efforts of the developers to extend the last festive season into the New Year, right up to the festive season of 2015 by offering various incentives and promotional schemes also didn’t work much. It only led to the upcoming festival season losing its novelty, almost.
Apart from the incentives and schemes offered by developers, one factor which guides the homebuyers’ decision during the festival season is the religious connect. But with the changing age of homebuyers, this emphasis has also been sufficiently diluted. More than auspicious period, w at IS critical now for Gen-X is a we I thought-out and sound investment decision. Before loosening their purse strings, the young buyers of today want to make sure that their investment is safe and is capable of giving healthy returns.
These two factors have contributed to some skeptics’ refusal to expect any extraordinary response from this year’s festive season. The major reason, they say, is the fact that over the past one year the real estate companies have exhausted all marketing tricks to woo homebuyers. Besides offering standard freebies like parking and club facilities, modular kitchens, airconditioners, furnishings, cars, foreign trips, gift vouchers, they have even tried flexible payment plans with subvention schemes without much success.
However, looking at the upside, they too admit that there are hordes of positive developments that point towards a healthy upcoming festival season with a substantial pickup in home sales. The first, of course, is the reduced home loan rates following the surprising RBI policy announcement of September 29. In the NCR, the truncated Okhla ESZ notification has come as a boon to homebuyers around this zone where about 3.5 lakh flat bookings were stuck. This has given a boost to the market sentiment which will get a further uplift in the weeks ahead. The recent trend towards ready-to-move-in properties may also get a push with many developers planning to offer these properties at discounted rates during the festival season.
And last, but not the least, the NRI’s interest in buying properties due to rupee depreciation is likely to manifest itself more pronouncedly during the period. Perhaps keeping all these factors in mind, developers across board have lined up host of goodies and discounts to offer to their customers during the festival period of 2015.
Besides, they are upbeat about their schemes and offers yielding requisite results thereby spreading the much-needed cheer within the sector during the festival period. Real estate industry’s umbrella body Credai President, Getamber Anand most appropriately summarised the overall scenario when he told Realty & More, “As the sentiment in the market has become more positive, post the rate-cut by RBI and banks, we expect the mood to turn up wherein the fence-sitters would come forward to close the deals and buy houses in this upcoming festive season.”
“Since the last six months have been very lean for the sector, developers are banking on the festival season,” Manoj Gaur, Managing Director of Gaursons India Ltd told Realty & More. And enquiries have already picked up 15 per cent against last year, he said. The company is running radio and outdoor campaigns to encourage people to “buy now and shift on Diwali.” For three projects in NCR, “we are encouraging buyers towards our ready-to-move-in properties”, he added.
In addition, they can also avail of benefits up to Rs 10 lakh on properties worth Rs 70-80 lakh. Another developer, prateek Group, has announcement – a tJ).: bouquet of offers to to seekers to make it easier for them to own a home of their choice. The offers are valid for two of their projects, Prateek Stylome and Grand Paeonia. In premium housing Prateek Stylome which is located in Sector 45, Noida, the Group is offering a bouquet where homebuyers can pick an offer of their choice from the ran e such as no EMI for six months, free car parking, free club membership, free power backup, or no stamp duty.
In Grand Paeonia, which is a part of Prateek Grand City located at Siddhartha Vihar, next to Indirapuram, the offer is no EMI for the first 30 months and thereafter the homebuyers will get home loan at 4.9 per cent till possession.
According to Prashant Tiwari, Chairman, Prateek Group, “It is our effort to bring the homes at two of the best locations to the buyers in a pocket-friendly way. Siddharth Vihar on NH-24 in Ghaziabad and Sector 45 in Noida are one of the most sought after locations because of their connectivity. People have been thronging these places and it makes sense when they get the preferred location under offers that help expedite the process of buying.”
Without elaborating any special offers that have been lined up by his company, RK Panpalia, MD, Wave Infratech, said, “The festivities start with a positive indication; the rate cut by 50 basis points from 7.25 per cent to 6.75 per cent by RBI, is a big move that will give our economy the much-needed momentum.”
The rate cut, he said, will make home loans cheaper and also ensure plenty of liquidity. “It would help boost the market sentiment, reduce the EMls and bring higher productivity for sustainable growth,” he summed up. Real estate player Gulshan Homz has offered to install a modular kitchen with chimney for buyers of a ground floor flat in its project Ikebana during this festival season. Those who buy a top floor flat will get, apart from a modular kitchen with chimney, four installed split ACs (brand- LG/Samsung 4-star rating).
Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz, said, “This time of the year is expected to create heavy footfall as the customers are eagerly waiting to invest during the festive season” The time being considered auspicious, he said, the demand for property is very high and thus, provokes the developers to offer unique schemes. “We believe that providing add on goodies to a flat not only reduces certain monetary burden off the customers but also gives a superior look to the home,” he told Realty & More.
Supertech Limited has launched a ‘9 Days of Navratras – 9 EMIs free’ scheme for its customers during the Navratras. The offer is applicable for all the projects of Supertech across Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Meerut, Muradabad, Rudrapur, Haridwar and Bengaluru. Under the scheme, customers can make a booking on any Supertech project during the Navratras and they do not have to pay the first nine EMIs. This amount will be borne by Supertech.
RK Arora, Chairman, Supertech Limited, said, “Navratra time happens to be the most auspicious time for a buyer to invest in property. We have, for the first time, come out with ‘9 Days of Navratras – 9 EMls free’ scheme – on all our projects to lure our valuable customers who can take the maximum advantage out of it. We are looking forward to a huge number of bookings his Navratra”.
Ajnara India Ltd is offering a 77- 7 scheme this festive season, where it gives a discount of up to Rs 7 lakh and possession in the next seven months. To avail of this benefit, homebuyers have to pay 7 per cent of the property cost at the time of booking. The scheme is available for Daffodil, Gen X, Integrity, Le Garden, Ajnara Homes, Ambrosia and Panorama projects of the company. Ashok Gupta, CMD of Ajnara, told R&M, “Navratras are considered to be an auspicious time for investing.
And the best investment in today’s time is property as the returns are higher and any scheme is a big draw for any buyer.” Saya Homes has a 10:80:10 festival payment plan with No Pre-EMI clause for its Gold Avenue project during the coming weeks. In Saya Homes MD Vikas Bhasin‘s view “For every business, this is the perfect time to come out with something new in the market so as to generate the highest sales.” He said it has been also noticed that customers believe this time period as the most auspicious time to invest and invest big, such as a car, gold or even a property.
As part of the company’s special plan, one can pay 10 per cent at the time of booking, 80 per cent from bank funding and the remaining 10 per cent on offer of possession. The major attraction is that till the offer of possession of unit, customers are not liable to pay any installments to the bank.
Another realty player JM Housing is offering a 30:70 festive payment plan for its Aroma project and 5:95 plan for Florence. In the first plan, 30 per cent of the amount can be paid at the time of booking and the rest on possession. In the other, only 5 per cent is to be paid at the booking stage. Rupesh Gupta, Director, JM Housing, said, “In India, buyers generally prefer to buy properties during some auspicious events and Navratri being one of the most holy times of Hindu calendar, we usually witness a greater footfall of customers as compared to other days.” Keeping this in mind, he said, “this year we have launched two different schemes for our two projects.”
“While it is an accepted notion that the festive season in India induces property purchase,” Vineet Relia, Managing Director of SARE Homes, agreed with our contention that “there has been a slight change in this purchase pattern over the last couple of years.” Moreover, he said, the recent RBI rate cut by 50 bps is also likely to bring in the festivities much earlier than anticipated, with prospective homebuyers re-Iooking at the available home financing options. As a positive response to support this move, Relia said, “SARE Homes is honouring our customers with a nation-wide ‘Gold Rush’ scheme under which we would offer 5 kg of gold across our projects in addition to discounts offered on paying the initial booking amount.”
Real estate firm Morpheus Group has come up with two special schemes to attract customers during this festival season. The company has introduced an exclusive Navratra deal for its Pratiksha project in Greater Noida West.
As part of the deal, on purchase of 2BHK flats, homebuyers will get two air-conditioners free while on buying 3BHK flats, Morpheus is giving two air conditioners and an LCD TV free of cost. Prithvi Raj Kasana, MD of the company, told Realty & More, “We are hopeful that the potential customers will take full benefit of these festive showers and our sales will go up.” The festival time, he said, is considered propitious to make new purchase and “we are also trying to do our part in making it more delightful for our customers.”
Another realtor Orris Infrastructures has reduced BSP of its residential project Orris Carnation Residency at New Gurgaon from (5950 per square feet to 4495). The firm has already activated this scheme and received tremendous response from the end-users as well as our channel partners.
An elated Vijay Gupta, CMD of Orris, told us, “The outcome of this exclusive scheme is so successful that we have already sold out the entire inventory of 2BHK apartments of this project in just a few days of the launch of this offer.” Now, the firm is “Looking forward to receive similar response for the 3-4BHK flats of this project during the festive season,” Gupta said.
Similarly, KDP Infrastructures has also lined up a series of offers to make the upcoming festive season “a very special and truly auspicious” for customers at its project Grand Savana in Rajnagar Extension, Ghaziabad. Anuj Goel, ED of KDP Infrastructures, said, “To start with, we are planning to offer discounts up to (10 lakh or equivalent benefits in the form of providing free-of-cost modular kitchen and free-of-cost furnishing of the apartment besides other freebies to new homebuyers at this project.”
Amid the prevailing euphoria and heightened expectations of the majority developer community, Sam Chopra, Founder & Chairman, RE/MAX India, has a different take to offer. He told R&M, “Like every year, this year also everyone is hopeful that the religious connect will work for the real estate market. But with the prevailing market sentiments, it looks like even the festive season is not being able to bring that cheer back.”
In his view, though a lot of policies and Government initiatives are well-timed with the buying season, “still we need some more catalysts for end-users to make the purchasing decision.” Chopra agreed that the tag of ‘home ownership’ is still among the highest investment priorities among Indians, but virtually seconding R&M contention, said, “With the changing age of homebuyers, the focus from the pious days of investments has shifted to being more calculative and informative. The buyers make sure that their investments are safe and they get a good return on it.”
Summing up on a note of advice, he said, “The developers need to work more innovatively on what they are presenting to the buyer.” Sane voices like these are surely not lost on the developers’ ears but the focus for the present is what best can be done to make the festival season 2015 most beneficial for the entire industry.
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