A legal headache - Australia

Friday 16 April 2004

It sounds like an investor's horror movie come true.

By The Landlord

That routine trip to the bank to finalise last-minute details of your off-the-plan apartment purchase has just turned into a nightmare.

What you thought was a routine session to sign the loan documents has instead developed into a make-or-break situation for you and your family, as the bank explains that new waterfront apartment you've contracted to buy for $800,000 is worth only $650,000.

As the cold sweat starts to break, you feebly mumble that the purchase price is $800,000 so it must be worth that amount.

The bank is unmoved. If you want to buy it for $800,000 that's your business, but it will only lend 70per cent of its valuation and you will have to fund the shortfall.

As the high-rise apartment market takes a turn for the worse, the number of disputes is rising as off-the-plan buyers try to get out of their contracts because they face massive shortfalls compared with their purchase prices.

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