Indian developers target NRIs in Emirates with special offers for Diwali

MUMBAI // Property developers in India are actively targeting Indian expats in the UAE with a slew of offers, ranging from free gold to discounts as they try to drum up sales this Diwali amid weak demand closer to home.

Diwali is traditionally considered to be an auspicious time for Indians to buy homes and many purchases tend to take place during this period.

But home sales in India have been subdued, amid factors including high prices, particularly in major cities such as Mumbai.

“To counter the sluggish market conditions that they’re seeing here locally, the developers are looking at NRI [non-resident Indian] investors and especially the UAE because of the proximity to India and the number of Indians there,” said Mona Jalota, the director of international and NRI, residential services at Colliers International India.

Lodha Group, India’s largest property developer by sales, has launched a range of offers in its efforts to lure buyers from the UAE during the festive season.

It is giving 108,000 rupees (just under Dh6,000) of gold vouchers – which can be redeemed at jewellers that the developer has tied up with – to customers who buy homes in its luxury New Cuffe Parade project in Mumbai.

The developer is also offering a discount for the festive season of up to 520,000 rupees on top of another offer with prices already discounted by up to 800,000 rupees. It has also created a special payment plan for NRIs for another of its projects in Mumbai, called The Park.

Festive season “demand has been good” in the UAE, said Praveer Gill, the deputy vice president of international for sales at Lodha.

He explained that the UAE was the biggest market outside India for the company, accounting for up to 60 per cent of sales to NRIs and making up about 7 per cent of sales overall.

The company is expecting a surge in sales on Friday, which is Dhanteras, the first day of the Diwali celebrations, Mr Gill said.

Gulam Zia, an executive director at Knight Frank India, said that demand had been subdued for some time in India.

“Diwali is where the festive season sales peak out, but with hardly a couple of days remaining until to Diwali, it still hasn’t really picked up to meet expectations,” said Mr Zia. “And it’s the third consecutive year of bad Diwali.”

He said that along with high prices, there were other factors at work.

“The macroeconomic picture is not yet falling into place and overall job security is not yet there and the home sales are dir­ectly linked to creation of new jobs,” said Mr Zia.

Jayendra Krishna, the head of marketing and sales at The Wire Group, which is developing a luxury project called Raffles Park in Bangalore, where villas start from US$1.2 million, said that the UAE is a “significant market” for the company and it is actively targeting NRIs with a Diwali offer to pay the interest on home loans for its buyers for three years.

“In times like this, the focus [on NRIs in the UAE] is much more than in buoyant markets,” he said.