Buyers offered incentives to live in luxury

Spare a thought for the residential property developer. Like estate agents, making money for them is as easy as falling off a log when the market is flying high but as with estate agents, life is pretty bleak right know.

Fair play then that some developers are being inventive in trying to get first-time buyers to commit.

To date, nothing beats what’s on offer at the Ipsus development in Wandsworth, London SW18.

Here you can be seduced by what the developer refers to as a complete lifestyle package designed to appeal to young professionals – somewhat like myself, in fact.

So get this. For 250,000 you get a City boy-style flat (whatever that is), a Waitrose voucher worth 4,160 a year, a zone one and two tube travel card for the year worth 1,032 and your Council Tax paid for a year, worth 1,175.

And it gets better because it also throws in a year’s membership at the local Virgin Active gym, a free DVD a week from the local video rental store and a monthly pass for two for a year at Wandsworth’s Cineworld movie complex.

This last batch of freebies alone adds up to 1,370. And did I mention the mortgage subsidy of 10,000?

That isn’t far short of 20,000 in total but it strikes me that after a year it’s back to reality with a big bump, rather like coming off a good fixed rate.

Adopting a more genteel approach is a developer in Eastbourne that is building some nice townhouses with sea views, gold taps and balconies.

They are on the market at more than 1m each and are going nowhere fast, which is a concern for the developer.

If you have ever harboured a secret desire to retire to the South Coast to savour what I understand to be the varied delights of downtown Eastbourne, look no further.

And if you are the first to complete, when you move in you will find a new Aston Martin DB9 waiting for you in the built-in garage with your name on it. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Until you realise that you have to tax and insure the damned thing.

There’s also an element of poacher turned gamekeeper about all this because for many years developers have complained bitterly about the length of time it takes local authorities’ planning departments to grant them permission.

Now developers are more than happy for planners to drag their feet because as soon as permission is granted their land goes up in value which means additional taxes are imposed on it.

Little wonder then that the last thing large developers want at the moment is planning permission. As I said earlier, spare them a thought in these tough times.