Builders let Chinese farmers pay for their houses with fruits and vegetables

Last week, developers in China began accepting payments for homes in the form of watermelons, peaches and other agricultural products.

The Chinese housing market is suffering from the economic slowdown and the debt crisis triggered by the government’s ban on developers making down payments before construction begins.

A developer in the eastern city of Nanjing said it would accept watermelon trucks worth up to 100,000 yuan as a down payment from local farmers. In a small city like Wuxi, other developers accepted peaches as compensation.

Homebuyers in Qi County, an important garlic-growing area in Henan Province, can exchange the product at three times the market price to make part of the down payment.

By accepting harvests at inflated prices, developers were able to offer discounts on housing that were well above the levels allowed by the local government while penetrating a disadvantaged market.

“On the occasion of the new garlic season, the company has made a resolute decision to benefit garlic farmers in Qi county,” homebuilder Central China Management said.

“We are helping farmers with love, and making it easier for them to buy homes.”

About 30 properties have been sold since the garlic campaign launched.

Official data shows home sales in China, measured by floor area, have fallen for 11 straight months and dropped 31.5% in May compared to the same month of last year.

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