A desperate developer in China's softening property market is coming up with a novel promotion to attract buyers, recently offering to take wheat and garlic as down payments.
One advertisement of Henan-based Central China Real Estate that had "swap wheat for house" in the title says buyers can use the crop, priced at 2 yuan per catty, a Chinese unit of mass equal to roughly 500 grams, to offset as much as 160,000 yuan ($23,900.22) of down payment in one of its developments.
A Central China Real Estate sales agent who answered the phone number on the advertisement said the promotion, aimed mainly at farmers in the region, started on Monday and will end on July 10. The development in the central province of Henan offers houses for around 600,000 to 900,000 yuan, said the agent who declined to give her name.
Late last month, another Central China advertisement said buyers of houses in another development could make down payments in garlic at 5 yuan per catty.
The garlic promotion attracted 852 visits and 30 transactions involving 860,000 catties of garlic during the 16 days it was available, the advertisement said.
The wholesale market price for both garlic and wheat is 1.5 yuan per 500 grams.
Property developers are scrambling to boost sales after a nosedive in transactions in January to May, as China's strict Covid-19 curbs combined with worries about a deeper property correction cloud Beijing's 2022 economic growth target of 5.5%.