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Property marketing gimmicks back

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Buying an apartment for just under Dh550,000 may, in fact, get you a luxury car!

The extravagant offers of free luxury sedans, home furnishing vouchers and guaranteed rental income , which had dried up for property buyers in Dubai post the 2008 global financial crisis, are back again!

This Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), Damac Properties is offering luxury cars - Lamorghini, BMW or a Mini Cooper - to buyers of apartments/penthouses in its luxury developments.

"The starting price for an apartment, which comes with a car as part of our DSF promotion, is just under Dh550,000," Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President of Damac Properties told Emirates 24|7.

The offer is valid on purchase of a one-bedroom apartment in its Emirates Gardens development in Jumeirah Village.

"Prices of our available apartments within our luxury developments, Ocean Heights, Burjside Boulevard and Damac Heights are above Dh1 million," he adds.

According to the developer, most of the developments included in its new promotion are either complete or close to completion. The inventory is limited when it comes to completed developments, but the range is extensive in the close to completion category.

Although McLoughlin did not indicate the number of units they expect to sell during DSF, he mentions: "We expect a large proportion of our sales during DSF will be to visitors to Dubai, who are attracted by our product offering as well as the added incentive of receiving a luxury car with their apartment.

 Separately, we also expect that our offer will entice Dubai residents, who have perhaps been considering purchasing a property, but have been waiting for the right time."

Currently, a real estate agency, selling a project in Dubai Silicon Oasis, is offering an eight per cent guaranteed rental income to buyers for two years. It says it will handover post-dated rent cheques to investors after the contract is signed.

Until recently, a property developer was paying the entire cost of property registration i.e. 2 per cent of the sale values (As per law, the seller and buyers pay one per cent each). However, the scheme has not been extended.

During the property boom, a number of developers, especially in Dubai, did offer freebies such as guaranteed rental return of 12 per cent, buy back offers, cruise and exotic holiday packages.

Real estate agents admit the Damac campaign could be an effective one, but say investors are more discerning than before and will not get enticed just by freebies.

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate, says: "Damac has been using this approach even during the boom days so it must be working for them somehow to repeat it again."

He adds that with the increasing number of end-users this could be an effective campaign.

"I appreciate such added value offers much more than price discounts. But in order for such initiatives to work, they must introduce relevant and genuine added value to the customers. The offers must be relevant to the customers and offer a real emotional or functional value."

Parvees Gafur, CEO, PropSquare Real Estate, says it is a positive step and could possibly trigger a trend again to a certain extent.

"Somebody has to lead now and surely will increase sales for them, it is a clear message to the market. But again there is a difference in this motivation to buy today with freebies. The project offering has to be really strong and convincing... the consumer demand has changed in the last few years of downturn."

McLoughlin, gently, puts it: "What better time to buy, than at a time when you will receive a free car!"