Buyers of two freehold condos still waiting on completion despite 2016 TOP

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One elderly couple invested most of their life savings in a new residential project that remains incomplete. 

Two freehold condominiums in Singapore should have been completed in 2016, but until now buyers are still awaiting their completion, reported the Straits Times.

According to Emmeline Ho, 34, her parents invested most of their life savings in a condo measuring nearly 350 sq ft and priced at almost $500,000 at Sycamore Tree in Joo Chiat in May 2012.

Developed by Astoria Development, the five-storey block containing 96 residential units and 17 shops should have received its temporary occupation permit (TOP) in December 2016.

“I had thought that since (the developer) is a Singapore-registered company, it should be one that I can trust,” said Ho, who now regrets advising her parents who are in their 60s to invest in a condo there.

“Almost every fortnight, we will go down to check on the construction. My parents are very anxious. This is their investment. It was going to be their source of income.” Her parents, who operate a drinks stall at Old Airport Road Food Centre, plan to rent out the condo after it’s built.

Ho revealed that she got a letter from Astoria in June 2018 informing buyers that the delay was caused by changes in its building methods and a disagreement among the contractors regarding the installation of a mechanised carpark system.

During a visit in September, Sycamore Tree appeared partially completed as the building was still surrounded by blue tarpaulin and scaffolding.

Meanwhile, buyers at the Laurel Tree at Hillview Terrace are facing a similar problem as the 70-unit freehold condominium is still under construction even though it should have been finished by December 2016.

“I feel very frustrated and helpless,” said a purchaser who wants to remain anonymous.

The 40-year-old man who works in sales revealed that he bought a 463 sq ft unit there for around $600,000. He has also repaid 60 percent of the housing loan he took out for the unit, which is his first property, but he’s still paying $500 in monthly rental as the condo is still not ready.

Buyers alleged that the condo’s developer, Lerida, failed to inform them about the reason for the delay. Nonetheless, the Straits Times learned that a creditor has filed a winding-up application against the main contractor Bravo Building Construction.

They also discovered that Astoria, Lerida and Bravo all have the same major stockholder and company secretary.

According to a spokesperson from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), they have instructed the developers of Sycamore Tree and Laurel Tree to update the buyers on the construction progress.

Meanwhile, an unnamed lawyer revealed that such delays are uncommon in Singapore as home builders must usually complete their developments within a set period to avoid having issues with their financers.

Property developers also don’t want to pay daily liquidated damages to buyers arising from delays.

Home buyers looking for Singapore Properties may like to visit our ListingsProject Reviews and Guides.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg