Back in 2008 Damac, one of Dubai’s largest private developers, made headlines when it announced a promotion whereby every property bought entitled the customer with a chance to win either a private island or a private jet. In addition to this raffle, the exceedingly generous property moguls gave away a Bentley or BMW with every apartment purchased.
Tune-in to the local radio in Mumbai this month, and you are likely to hear an advertising campaign that seems to have taken some inspiration, albeit of a different scale, from Dubai’s golden days. In the commercial, new budget homes being built on the outskirts of India’s business capital are on offer for just US$ 9,500. A price tag that low is sufficient to create plenty of chatter on its own. However, the decibel levels were surely ratcheted up when the developer, Karrm Infrastructure, threw in free helicopter joy-rides and jobs “for one female member of the buyer’s family upon purchase”to sweeten the deal.
Low-cost housing developments are something that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes will become commonplace as he promotes his “Housing for All by 2022” program. But not all policymakers are convinced that it is a recipe for long-term success. Some feel that this initiative is reminiscent of the affordable housing “mission” that the US government sponsored in the early 2000s, which then contributed to the bursting of a minor housing bubble in 2008.