Thursday, November 24, 2011

Check misleading property sales ploys

Straits Times: Thu, Nov 24
TUESDAY'S report ('Bedok project draws long queue, but...') stated that property agents, students, retirees and women were in a queue at a property launch because they were paid to do so by the agents.


Such a ploy to create a perception of high demand is not new and has worked in previous launches. The clincher to this ploy is subsequent claims that the property is fully sold or that the sale has hit an 80 per cent sold rate with only a few units left.


Yet such claims of overwhelming demand are contradicted by actual tabulation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or newspaper reports of caveats lodged.


Measures must be introduced to ensure that the public is not misled. Claims of take-up rate must be substantiated.


For instance, developers should be allowed to make sales claims only after the stamp duty and remaining option fee have been paid - providing clearer proof of an actual sale.


Agents of new launches also resort to persuading buyers to hand them a 'blank cheque' to obtain a better chance of booking a unit.


Authorities like the URA, the Council for Estate Agencies as well as the Law Society and the police should probe such practices because of the obvious possibility of fraud and other negative consequences.


The URA should also publish updates of expected supply coming on stream next year as many developers have since brought forward their completion date (temporary occupation period) fearing a global slowdown.


I have observed that projects slated for completion in 2014 or 2015 are now nearing completion, making earlier projections redundant.


David Lim


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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