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Monday, September 19, 2011

Buyers complain of prime units being taken up before launch

PETALING JAYA: As the property market gets “hotter”, there are complaints that prime units are being “pre-booked” before the launch dates.

Groups of house buyers have claimed that although they were early at property launches, almost all end and corner lots of homes have been taken up.

National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong, who disclosed this, said prime lots in new housing projects were usually marked as sold because the units had been offered to selected groups of people before the launch.

They included staff of the developers and their subsidiary companies, shareholders as well as support staff such as lawyers, architects and bankers, he added.

“By right, developers can only launch their properties after all the necessary permits have been obtained, but they circumvent this by organising events such as registration and pre-launches.

“It is not illegal as it is merely the registration of potential buyers with no payments being made at all,” Chang said.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) president Datuk Seri Michael Yam acknowledged that developers, at times, gave the opportunity to their regular buyers to obtain prime lots.

“Unfortunately, in any given block a buyer has only a one in five chance of getting a prime unit such as the end lot,” he said.

Yam said developers who were responsible and adhered to good corporate practice would open up the sale of all units in their projects to the public.

“I don't think developers would be holding the prime lots for their own people and employees as this would require them to give rebates on the property price,” he said, adding that it would also not be financially viable for the developers as it would lessen their cash flow.

Yam said generally, sales should be based on a first-come-first-serve basis, with developers offering units to those who paid first.

He said if the allegations were true, it was not a nice way of marketing property.

“The most practical way of selling property would be to draw lots,” he suggested.

By The Star

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