BEIJING: Struggling developers in China have started taking payment for homes in watermelons, peaches and other agricultural produce, state media reported Sunday, as they attempt to lure buyers deterred by a property market slump, reports AFP.
China’s housing market has been hit by a slowing economy and debt crisis precipitated by a government ban on builders taking deposits before construction begins on a project. One developer in the eastern city of Nanjing said it would accept truckloads of watermelons worth up to 100,000 yuan as down payment from local farmers, state-run China News Weekly reported.
Homebuyers in Qi county, a major garlic-producing region in central China’s Henan province, can exchange their produce at three times the market price to settle part of their down payment.
Accepting crops at inflated prices has allowed developers to offer steeper discounts on homes than permitted by local governments while tapping into an underserved market.
“On the occasion of the new garlic season, the company has made a resolute decision to benefit garlic farmers in Qi county,” homebuilder Central China Management said on social media in late May.
“We are helping farmers with love, and making it easier for them to buy homes.”
About 30 properties had been sold since the garlic campaign was launched, it added.