NANJING — Struggling property developers in China have started accepting payments for homes in watermelons, peaches and other farm produce, state media reported on Sunday as they try to lure buyers discouraged by the collapse of the estate market.
China’s housing market has been hit by a slowing economy and a debt crisis triggered by the government’s ban on builders taking deposits before construction begins on a project.
A promoter in the eastern city of Nanjing said he would accept trucks full of watermelons worth up to 100,000 yuan for deposit from local farmers.
In the nearby small town of Wuxi, another promoter took peaches in payment, the state-run China News Weekly magazine said.
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Homebuyers in Qi County, a major garlic-producing region in central China’s Henan Province, can trade in their goods at three times the market price to pay part of their down payment.
Accepting crops at inflated prices allowed developers to offer deeper discounts on homes than allowed by local governments, while tapping into an underserved market.
“On the occasion of the new garlic season, the company has made a firm decision in favor of garlic growers in Qi County,” homebuilder Central China Management said on social media in late May.
“We help farmers with love and make it easy for them to buy homes.”
About 30 properties have been sold since the start of the garlic campaign, she added.
Home sales in China, measured in square feet, have declined for 11 consecutive months, falling 31.5% in May from the same month last year, official data showed.
- Editor/ additional report by AFP/ China News Weekly